Mobility is an ability we all take for granted – until we can no longer do it.
It swiftly becomes a major problem if, for whatever reason,we can no longer walk any distance without pain, bend down to pick something up, or even reach up to a shelf.
However, help is at hand. Solving these everyday problems is the aim of Sheen Mobility, a new business just opened in Sheen Lane which is dedicated to making life easier for the elderly, handicapped, injured and disabled people.
It fills a much-needed gap in the market as the only other specialised mobility shop in South-West London is in Teddington.
“We’ve only been open a few weeks but people seem very happy that we are offering these products,” said General Manager Amol Rajmane. “With the population growing older there is a definite need.”
Mr Rajmane obtained his bachelor’s degree in pharmacy and master’s degree in finance and marketing management. He has more than eleven years’ experience in the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry which he thinks will be useful for people visiting Sheen Mobility.
And it’s not only the elderly whom the shop helps. Anyone who has a short-term problem, like a broken leg, who may need a walking stick, crutches, orthopaedic support or a wheelchair, can find what they need there.
He is very receptive in finding out from customers which items they find most useful and which he is then able to get in stock.
“We don’t have much space to display everything so I also have two catalogues containing over 1,400 items which customers can look at. If they choose something they would like I can usually get it by the next working day,” he said.
He’s also developing an iPhone App which customers can use to make inquiries and even order items. “If, for example, someone needs a neck collar support, if they send me their neck size using the iPhone App, I can order one in to be collected the next day.”
Currently the shop stocks a range of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, walking aids, bath equipment for the disabled, and many other items designed to make life easier in the kitchen, bathroom, around the home and outside.
These include handi-reachers to help people who cannot bend very far, jar openers for those with weak wrists, cup holders which do not spill, tablet crushers, pill dispensers, pill reminder with alarm, kettle tipper, key turners etc.
There is also a complete range of knee, elbow, wrist, back and all kind of supports, as well as a good selection of walking sticks including several folding and adjustable height versions.
For trips to the supermarket there are various shopping trolleys including one with a built-in seat so the owner can take a brief rest during what may be an exhausting outing.
Among the more unusual items on sale is a long-handle sponge which can be bent to reach awkward parts of your back, an inflatable pillow to make lying in the bath a very comfortable experience, and a one-handed tin opener.
Pilates is often prescribed to help people stay supple or recover from an injury, so the shop also stocks a range of Pilates and Yoga equipment’s which may be helpful.
“My biggest challenge now is to get the business known,” added Mr Rajmane. “Richmond Council told me that our shop is much needed in this area and are helping me. I’m also contacting local health professionals because many of our products can be prescribed on the NHS under the TCES scheme (Transforming Community Equipment Services).”
Sheen Mobility, 111 Sheen Lane, East Sheen, London, SW14 8AE
© East Sheen Village
Words Mark Dowdney – Pictures Bob Lisney – Project Coordination Richard Osborne