According to the Census Bureau Report on People with Disabilities there are 3.6 million wheelchair users in the U.S. Among those aged 65 and older, roughly 2 million people use a wheelchair, and this number is expected to increase every year, due to the growing need of aging Baby Boomers, as well as the dramatic increase in the number of veterans who have lost limbs in military operations overseas.
Wheelchair users face access barriers on a daily basis. Indeed, simply being comfortably seated at the family dining room table can be a challenge for anyone unable to easily transfer to a standard dining room chair.
Since dining tables are typically too low to allow the arm rests of a wheelchair to easily slide beneath the edge of the table, a person confined to a wheelchair is unable to sit close enough to the table to maintain the proper balance and support necessary to eat properly without removing the arms of the chair.
Additionally, the space beneath a standard dining table, critical for anyone who cannot easily bend their legs—prosthetic or otherwise—is often blocked by table legs or trestles. The height of standard adult wheelchairs also means that most will people will not be able to fit their knees and thighs comfortably beneath the table.
The result is that at many family gatherings, a person confined to the wheelchair must sit apart from the group, often using the kind of adjustable-height tables typically found in hospital rooms.
For this reason, Borkholder Furniture, a producer of heirloom quality, solid wood furniture handcrafted in America by Amish artisans, has created the innovative Samantha Table, designed to easily accommodate anyone seated in a wheelchair.
At first glance, Samantha is simply a good-looking and well-crafted gathering table. Her true beauty, however, lies in her smartly-hidden function, designed to accommodate a person confined to a wheelchair. Simply remove a dining chair, and the entire table top can be easily slid backward to allow the approach of a wheelchair, while the table’s legs and everything on the table, remains safely in place.
Once the wheelchair is positioned and locked down, the tabletop slides forward to meet the chair’s occupant, allowing the person in the chair to comfortably join in mealtimes and celebrations with plenty of unencumbered leg-room.
This ground-breaking, thoughtful, universal design is an ideal dining choice for anyone interested in aging in place, as well as all those with physical challenges. Samantha can also be easily expanded to seat as many as 18 guests.