A Skegness woman who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 1999 has finally found relief at home thanks to a simple stairlift.
Jennifer Croxford (52) faced an uncertain future with the chronic condition which affects the central nervous system by slowing or blocking the signals that control muscle co-ordination, strength, sensation and vision.
"For 13 years the impact of the condition gradually got worse and I grew to dread climbing the stairs in my own home because it was just too painful, too draining and after a number of falls too frightening,"explains Jennifer, a former IT tutor.
"Simple tasks like carrying a glass of water up to bed or trying to carry my ironing upstairs would take three times as long as it should as I would place things three steps above me and then crawl on my hands and knees to reach it before moving it up another three steps. I would feel as if I had completely drained all my innermost strength by the time I got to the top."
In May 2012, Jennifer, now too weak to climb the stairs alone, realised her independence was under threat unless she made changes to her home.
"I realised that the staircase was a major barrier to my quality of life and after years of suffering, the simplest solution came through an advert in the local papers. I approached social services for support and funding but had no luck and knew I had to take the plunge myself to preserve my independence. Which is when my world was literally transformed overnight."
"I have never looked back since the day I bought it. I have gone from feeling trapped in the downstairs of my home and dreading the ordeal of getting upstairs to not only enjoying the experience but also feeling liberated by the freedom."
Jennifer adds: "I know there can be a stigma attached to stairlifts with people thinking they are only for the elderly. But when you are struck down with a disability in the prime of your life, I am proof that they are an essential element in helping you increase your mobility and independence. My only regret is that I did not get one sooner!"