When you are an able-bodied citizen who can stand, walk and move, the chances are you don’t think twice about getting up to close the curtains, wash your hands or pull a mug from the kitchen cupboard.
But for people who are confined to a wheelchair or have limited mobility, many otherwise simple everyday tasks could be difficult or nigh impossible.
That’s where the pioneering Blackwood House design comes in where the bespoke smart technology care system CleverCogs enables customers to open blinds, switch on TVs, order shopping, or keep in touch with family, friends and carers through touchscreen devices.
Crucially it also allows residents to remain as independent as possible in their own homes.
I’d never sat in a wheelchair before, let alone manoeuvred myself through a house in one.
But yesterday I was given the opportunity to road test the new Blackwood House in a £3,000 sports wheelchair which, I was reliably informed, could “turn on a sixpence”.
Once I had mastered movement, and feeling a bit like a wheelchair basketball player, I set off on a journey of exploration through the ground floor property.
The hall and doorways have been designed with wheelchairs in mind, giving just the right space to turn.
Sliding doors between rooms are controlled by the touch of a button at wheelchair height, while in the bedroom the simple touch of an iPad opened and closed the automatic black-out blinds.
The adjoining toilet and shower room – also accessed through an automated sliding door – was spacious with a key feature being the sink that could be lowered or even moved to the side to accommodate specific wheelchair needs.
Highlights in the kitchen were the movable fittings, the rise and fall units, and the much-anticipated Brompton Washscape machine that not only washes and dries, but also irons laundry.
Now that sounds like it could be a welcome addition to any home.
I was given the opportunity to road test the new Blackwood House in a £3,000 sports wheelchair