Saturday, 10 September 2016

Up, Up and Away! Balloon Ride Auction by 'Stairlift King' Keith

It might come as a surprise to find out that Keith, the managing director of Castle Comfort Stairlifts, wouldn't be that comfortable with heights. After all, he does spend quite a lot of time personally seeing to the surveying and measuring of many people's staircases, some of which can be very steep!

So being used to heights, his team had clubbed together to buy six tickets for a hot air balloon ride for his birthday.

However, after a recent brush with the council planning office, (which will be another story) involving balancing up a ladder to attend to the eye-catching signs on the local landmark of Bank House, he had developed a touch of vertigo and has decided to auction the tickets for the Wickers World balloon ride company, for a flight setting off from the Shugborough Estate.  The proceeds of this will be donated to charity.

Senior Stairlifts Engineer Malcolm Tackles The Heights
  With Keith Firmly On the Ground!
Nearly all of the balloon flights you would have seen near the Trentham or Shugborough estates are from Wickers, which have been going as long as Castle Comfort, virtually twenty years. 

Setting off in just the right weather conditions you will be rewarded with panoramic views of mile upon mile of the Staffordshire countryside, stretching off into the horizon.  This is something which has to be seen to be believed, and is often a once in a lifetime opportunity.

What makes this auction extra special is that the highest bidder will be sharing this breathtaking experience by being joined by 5 of their closest friends, family or work colleagues - whoever they choose to accompany them.  And if that isn't enough, all of their generous bid will be donated to the Donna Louise Children's Hospice, so it's all in a good cause.

To make your offer for these special tickets, which are worth nearly £800, please contact 01782 611411 or you can bid by email to  
The auction closes on 31st October 2016 so you have time to organise who you will take. Happy bidding!

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Retirement Apartments in Newcastle under Lyme

Newcastle under Lyme is a well regarded place to live, and for many good reasons.  It's got a lot going for it to suit all ages but particularly the more senior members of society who are in retirement.


Being smaller in size than a family-sized home, an independent living flat, whether it is one or two bedroomed, is much easier to look after, because maintenance is taken care of by the complex management, and also because the gardens and grounds are all beautifully landscaped and without you needing to lift a finger!

The popularity of such developments is perhaps due to the lack of individual private and unique opportunities - as seen here:-

Private apartments in Staffordshire are indeed rare. And those lending themselves to a perfect retirement situation - with the added advantage of an adjoining  place for the family (or carer) ... even rarer.

All the senior living apartment complexes in the Newcastle under Lyme area have all been built in the last couple of decades, so benefit from enhanced insulation and modern central heating, so keeping warm in winter won't be nearly as expensive as an older home.

Compared to a larger residence where a widow or widower may be living alone, apartment living has the option of being more socially involved with other residents as they have organised activities and clubs that you are free to join in with or not, as you choose. In this way, isolation and loneliness won't become a problem.

Most complexes have been sited near to a hub of local shopping facilities or on the bus route to them, so it makes life easier for getting around even if your mobility is not as good as it was. A few also have their own minibus for shopping trips or days out, so you don't even need a car.

If there is a requirement for additional support needs, then staff within the homes can attend to this for you.  For example managing financial affairs, personal care needs or cleaning, laundry or shopping tasks can all be dealt with for a small extra fee.

The available flats in the Newcastle under Lyme area consist of both those for purchase as well as rental.  There are also part-buy flats through housing association managed complexes.

Let's look at a couple of the newest developments.

Rykeneld Retirement Apartment Complex, Wolstanton
The most recent private complex with apartments for sale is Rykeneld Court in Wolstanton. Probably the most well known provider of retirement housing for the over 50's, this is a McCarthy and Stone development and is very nearly sold out.

Situated facing the Marsh in Wolstanton this apartment complex consists of 18 one bedroom and 13 two bedroom luxury apartments.  There are 4 x 2 beds still available which are priced from £216,500 to £231,500.  There are more 1 bed apartments available which are priced from £171,500 to £176,500.

The video below shows a computer animation of what the development looks like, including the grounds at the back, but you can visit the complex when it officially opens on Saturday 10th September with a champagne tour.  You can book your place by emailing the office with the Subject Line "Sparkling Opening RSVP"

These apartments are obviously for those downsizing from a larger family home, where room sizes tend to be larger.  For this reason a new start in a new home can bring the opportunity for a fresh start with a space saving lounge chair to match the decor.  As the best known provider of special chairs and adjustable beds Castle Comfort Centre is just around the corner from this development at 50 High Street, Wolstanton, Newcastle under Lyme.  So it's really handy for picking up any mobility aids you might need.  Call in for some simple advice, a replacement ferrule for your walking stick or to try out any of the comfortable furniture or beds.  Wolstanton really is the place to be!

For those not looking to buy their own apartment, then renting is the option, so nearing completion, again not far from the Wolstanton showroom is the Shire Living complex named "Beechwood" in the Brampton on May Place. This is a bigger site than the McCarthy & Stone complex at Rykeneld Court and has about double the number of flats available.  It has 65 apartments in all - 37 x 2 bedroom ones and 28 x 1 bed apartments.

Beechwood Retirement Apartment Complex, Brampton
These retirement apartments for rent are priced approximately at £114.23 per week for 1 bedroom + £81.51 property service charge + £18.24 per week lifestyle charge + £20.34 for utilities - so for around £225 a week you can rent an apartment in the Brampton. You would only need to add council tax, broadband and telephone to this.

These apartments are suitable for those over 55 with either a low, medium or high care need and you must have a connection to the area, either personally or with immediate family to be considered.

Contemporary kitchens and an accessible shower room are part of each flat, with on-site cafe/restaurant and video entry and 24hr on call staff it is both modern and safe.

To apply visit or call 0800 0232244.  A show flat will be available for viewing this month.

So if you are looking to move into either of these developments we are very close by as a friendly source of information and advice on anything to do with independent living products for the elderly.

If we don't stock it, we know someone who does.

We hope to see you soon at either of our showrooms in Newcastle under Lyme - Castle Comfort Centre in Wolstanton, and Castle Comfort Stairlifts in Cross Heath.

Call in  anytime between 9.30 and 4.30 Monday through Saturday or visit our website anytime to see our full range of products.  Phone ahead to 01782 611411 and by appointment we can arrange to open our showrooms outside these hours for you to make your purchases.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Fall Prevention For The Elderly

Are You At Risk Of A Fall?

It's not only the over 80's that are more prone to falls each year, though that age group has a 50% chance of falling at least once a year.

It can happen to those of us who are younger, in fact a third of those aged 65 and over will have a fall this year. There are a number of factors that increase the chances of a fall, so let's take a look at them.

Environmental Factors

Is your staircase safe?
Image Credit:Anthony Kelly
The stairs are the number one most likely place for a fall and so you need to make sure that a banister is in place.  

Is that carpeting properly fitted and not causing trip hazards on the staircase? 

Is the lighting bright enough on the stairs?  

In winter time an overcast day can mean that the only light coming through a hall window is very dim indeed. 

Add in a low wattage bulb right at the top of the stairs and it can be quite difficult to be climbing safely up or down, whatever your age. 

If any of the other risk factors are present, which we will get to shortly, and you can see why the stairs could be a dangerous place for some.

Lifestyle Factors
If you are older and on a pension, maybe living alone, you might want to save money by not having the heating on as much, and the same for not wanting to switch your lights on. 

If you go cold, then the circulation can be less vigorous and so you might be stiff when moving.  Trying to save a few quid, by leaving the lights off can be a danger, as you need to see where you're going wherever you are in the house. 

Are there trailing cables or ruffled up carpets or lino? Do you have a lot of ornaments and belongings around, perhaps in piles where you store things around your home?  These are all potential trip hazards and need re-arranging for safety reasons.

Personal Factors
If you have fallen already, you are then more likely to fall again. You need to let your doctor know, even if you weren't injured, in case your medication was a factor in the fall. You need to make sure that your vision is checked regularly too.
Eyesight checked recently?
Image Credit:George Redgrave

  • Are your feet looked after by a podiatrist and/or chiropodist? and is your footwear well-fitted and comfortable, with plenty of grip? 
  • Is your eyesight checked regularly, and hence are you sure that your glasses prescription is up to date? 
All of this will ensure that your foot placement is accurate when you are moving around your home, so lessening the chance of you tripping over.

Local University Introduces Falls Toolkit 
The cost of falls to the NHS is around £2billion a year, so any efforts to reduce the risks of falling are very much in favour.  Keele University, with it's links with the local UHNS Teaching Hospital, recently publicised a falls assessment toolkit, which you can look  at here Click it here to go to the Keele website  

Although it was designed initially for health professionals, we think that the questions it asks could be considered by a worried younger member of the family, to help mum or dad get the right advice, to help them to stay safe in their own home.  This has already been used throughout the whole of the UK, and we are very proud that it was developed here in North Staffordshire.  

Simple Products To Help You
You can equip your home with some or all of our helpful products, that will work towards fall prevention for the elderly.  Wherever you are in the home there could be a hazard.

Lino or tiled floors in the kitchen or bathroom can become slippery, especially with the addition of water from the basin or sink, so the addition of grab rails or safety rails here and at other specific points around the home, and particularly around the stairs area or the bathtub/shower, can be a good way to keep safe.  

We even have specialist bed rails, with or without an electric bed, for assisting with getting in or out of the sleeping position.
If you are having one of our stairlifts for your stairs you can still have a grab rail added to either the top and/or the bottom, which we can get you fitted for free* as part of your installation.  

Our premium range of electric riser recliner chairs can allow the move from sitting to standing, and back again, to be performed in a comfortable and easy way, if mobility is becoming more difficult. Take a look at how they work here.

When you are out and about shopping, attending appointments or visiting, and even within the home, then any of our aids to walking can be a real boon. Lightweight yet strong walkers and walking sticks help to give reassuring support to those who might be unsteady on their feet, and therefore at risk from a fall. 

So if any of the factors mentioned above are at all a concern, then please see your doctor or other qualified health professional, or pay us a visit at Castle Comfort Centre, where we have an array of products to assist in all areas of the home, from the bedroom, lounge and bathroom, through to outside.  

A warm welcome awaits you whenever you visit either of our showrooms here in the Potteries. See you soon!

*Conditions apply. Please enquire about grab rails when you make your order.

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Dementia Advice To Help Save You Money

Regular readers of our blog will know that we have been working at Marks and Spencer's to raise money for Approach the local charity that helps those who are affected by Dementia or Alzheimer's.  

Keith the MD, has found out some very useful information, in a chance conversation, which isn't very widely known, for those who may have a family member suffering with either of these.  

Quite a few of us have had family members or have known someone who has signs of a condition like those just mentioned.  It can be quite a burden to help continue to care for them in their own home, when there is a risk, however small, of them not being able to look after themselves.

Castle Comfort Staff - Keith (photographer), Ann Bruce and Dr.Neil Stirling visiting the Carers Cafe in Silverdale
With a simple process, not advertised by the local councils, there is a way to possibly have your council tax bill reduced or even completely eliminated!


Council Tax Exemptions or Reductions

For those With Alzheimer's or Dementia 

If a relative of yours has had a diagnosis of Dementia or Alzheimer's, which can be classed as a severe mental impairment that makes them unable to look after themselves independently 
with out assistance then they may well be able to get a full exemption if they live alone.  

All that is required is that the local council will require a confirmation of diagnosis with the form and it is straightforward to apply.  

It is worth applying also if a family member is a carer as they would get a discount too. 

If the person with such a diagnosis lives in your home with you, and there are just two of you in the house, then you can apply for a 25% discount on the council tax bill.  See this page on the citizens advice website for more information.

Here's the steps to follow for Newcastle under Lyme Council
1)Click Here to download this form (Claim Form for Council Tax)

2)Print it out and complete it with confirmation of the diagnosis (which doesn't have to be from the person's own GP, it can be another suitably qualified individual, consultant or medical professional.) 

3)Post to:
Revenues and Benefits
Civic Offices
Merrial Street

If you are a carer for the person you can make a separate claim with this form and follow the same procedure, and post to the same address. Help with the form is available on 01782 715500 or by emailing 

Here's the steps to follow for Stoke on Trent City Council
1) Download this form that needs to be signed by a medical professional confirming diagnosis.

2) Once completed by the doctor it needs to be scanned into your computer before it is uploaded when you complete the online application form.

3) Go to this page to complete the online application form.

There is advice and assistance on 01782 234234 or you can go online and use this initial enquiry form here.

Here's the steps to follow for Staffordshire Moorlands Council
Unfortunately there isn't a detailed form for completion directly on the Local Council website, though all local authorities follow roughly the same procedure, requiring a medical diagnosis for exemption, however you can enquire online about it, giving your council tax reference number, so at least the process can be started. There is an enquiry form here.

There is also a phone number to call if you want to speak directly to someone in the Council Tax section - 0345 605 3011

More money off!

As well as the council tax reductions mentioned above, there are also cases which a lot of our customers have had success with, where a reduction is made for someone who lives there with a physical disability. This discount is called the "Disabled Reduction."

The only criteria to meet are just one of the following, i.e. you don't need to meet all these criteria, just one. 

  • A room, other than a bathroom, kitchen or lavatory, which is used mainly by the disabled person and is required for meeting their needs.
  • Or an additional bathroom or kitchen which is required to meet their needs.
  • Or enough space for the use of a wheelchair where one needs to be used inside the dwelling.

Once the form is completed your home would be banded at the next rung down in terms of council tax due. For example if you lived in a band D property you would only have to pay the band C rate for it.  So, downstairs wet-rooms or doorway alterations would count as an adaptation, or if you have a main living room or study which is set up to primarily meet just the disabled persons particular physical needs.

So if you have been thinking about an additional bathroom adaptation at home for a physical disability then the money you save could help you afford to go ahead with your plans.

If you want to save more money on helping you to live independently we also stock reconditioned riser recliner chairs to help you to stand and sit more easily.

And finally, for a last money saving method we can put you in touch with grant awarding charities and schemes that can help with the purchase of chairs or stairlifts. Just call us on 0800 007 5060 today to find out if you could qualify.

Monday, 28 March 2016

Happy Easter at Marks and Spencer

It was a Happy Easter for a lot of the customers that met us recently, not at our Bank House showroom as you might expect, but at Marks and Spencers on the Wolstanton Retail Park.  We had had such a successful time in terms of helping people with getting new ferrules on their walking sticks before Christmas, that we repeated the exercise to make sure everyone with a stick had a safe and secure end to their walking aid, and if it wasn't, then we fitted a new one for free. 

When we set up an earlier charity ferrule change with M and S for their Christmas shopping event, we raised a lot of money and also helped to raise awareness by publicising the Approach charity which helps the elderly in North Staffordshire.  This Easter we raised several hundred pounds again in our time there, which will go to the charity.

We also appeared in the Sentinel Newspaper which helped to highlight the good work, and would remind those lucky people that had entered their name for the Easter Draw, that a prize might well be on it's way pretty soon.


The first name drawn who will receive the chocolate basket was Mrs June Belfield of Basford who we will be in touch with very soon.

For our 15 runners up, who are listed below, they will each receive a Castle Comfort China Mug and Saucer as pictured below. 

Mrs Barbara G of Bradwell
Mr Terry B of Milton
Mr Peter M of Alsager
Mr Charles G of Brown Lees
Mr Sydney C of Halmerend
Mrs Eileen D of Kidsgrove
Mrs Pauline K of Kidsgrove
Mrs Joan B of Newcastle under Lyme
Mrs Yvonne C of Tunstall
Mrs Alice M of Clayton
Mr Henry M of Trentham
Mr Jeffrey P of Burslem
Mr Brian M of Leek
Mrs Kathleen B of Leek
Mrs Kathleen S of Hanford

For next draw in 2017 we will be arranging to have one of these special musical Easter chicks, which will appeal to all those who are young at heart in life (Choccy cakes not included!)

Remember that for everyone who entered, there is still the opportunity to take a £50 discount off any of the current chairs, beds or stairlifts in the showrooms at either Wolstanton or Cross Heath. 
Just mention it when you make your purchase.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Castle Comfort at Marks and Spencers Wolstanton

Marks and Spencers Wolstanton join forces with Castle Comfort Centre in aid of Approach

Our December good deeds event this year was held in the Marks and Spencers store at Wolstanton in the run up to Christmas this month. Working together with Marks and Spencers, we were raising much needed funds to support Approach, a North Staffordshire charity that helps elderly people with dementia. Will Boyce the CEO of Approach also presents a radio show on 6towns radio in Stoke and Keith went along to talk about the planned event and about some of the history of how Castle Comfort started off at Hanley Market. You can hear the interview and a great selection of music here.
You can jump to the interview by clicking at the 49 minute mark.

The original fundraising plan was to donate £1 for every ferrule and provide free teas and coffees, but the demand was so great on what was quite a cold weather weekend that the Castle Comfort team kept running out of them and had to go downstairs to the store and bring more.

It was great for some of our staff as they met up with lots of familiar faces from recent customers of the Wolstanton store, and some that remembered them from their Hanley market days nearly twenty years ago!

The event itself was very successful and raised £770 for the charity and around 200 ferrules were changed. More events are planned.   The community room itself is on the first floor of the store and for those readers who missed it Keith took a video tour of the space to get a feel for it.


Photos of the day are below and include the presentation of the cheque for £770 outside the store, which was also featured in the Sentinel to highlight the good deed.  

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Friday, 16 October 2015

Womble in Stone Cleanup Prompts Charity Cheque For Dougie Mac

Stone Town Centre Cleanup Helps Out In More Ways Than One

When Keith from Castle Comfort was out delivering a riser recliner chair in Stone just the other week, the lady receiving it was listening to Radio Stoke. The story they both heard was that a mystery man had been spotted in Stone Town Centre who was going round tidying up all the litter with a grabber - an often used aid that sells well at both of Castle Comfort's Stoke on Trent showrooms and is used to help reach and pick up items around the home as well as outside it. But he wasn't a council worker as was first thought, but a retired member of the public who as part of his civic duty was keeping the local area clean and tidy while getting some fresh air and exercise. There were three reports about it on Radio Stoke over the course of several weeks, (which are all on the video below)  
Once his identity was discovered the story culminated with Keith meeting Andrew the Litter Picker aka "The Womble of Stone", to present him with a cheque for £100 as part of the Castle Comfort Good Deeds Fund. Both a Stoke Sentinel photographer and Emma the roving Stafford reporter on Radio Stoke were there to capture the unmasking of the mystery man and to find out more about how it all started - would you believe it - it began with 3 cows over 16 years ago. Listen to all the BBC footage on the video to hear the story progress. Keen cleanup whizz Andrew can collect up to two full bin liners of litter in a morning's work and admits he doesn't mind being recognised now. As well as the giant cheque for £100 Keith also gave Andrew a new grabber as a backup and to help keep him reaching and picking up items easily as he approaches his 70th year - though he doesn't look like he is slowing down just yet. Andrew told us that he wanted to donate the money to the Douglas MacMillan hospice which celebrated it's annual bring a pound a day fundraiser this week. Here's some pictures from the day taken in Stone Town Centre.