Design Museum – New Old Exhibition

Pop up exhibition on ageing

Photography by Luke Hayes

We recently had the pleasure of attending this intriguing pop-up exhibition at the new home of the London Design Museum in Kensington. London always poses a challenge for us in finding Blue Badge parking for my wheelchair, but we were fortunate on this occasion when a quick call to the museum before we left, allowed us to park right outside the door. They do not have dedicated parking for Blue Badge card holders and when we arrived, there was a little confusion with security but in the end, they kindly let us park.

The New Old exhibition is free admission and kept us busy for a few hours. Our sixteen year old daughter also came with us and she seemed to enjoy the experience too. The exhibition rethinks the design approach to ageing, and looks at how design can help the ageing population lead fuller, happier, healthier and more rewarding lives. The exhibition is Curated by Jeremy Myerson, and Helen Hamlyn, Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art.

The exhibition is organised into six sections – Ageing, Identity, Home, Community, Working and Mobility. Each section features a special design commission by a leading designer or design team, creating new solutions for demographic change as well as addressing the challenges of age.

There were a few activities, which encouraged you to participate in their research. One invites you to complete a card, stating your age and then what age that you considered people to be ‘old’, and any comments to support your thinking. You then displayed your card on a huge board with hooks for all to read. It was a really interesting exercise and you were able to read the cards and opinions of others. It did seem that the younger you were, the lower the age that you predicted old age to begin. It will be interesting to hear the results!

Scooter For life with shopping trolley

Scooter for Life

New Old showcases concept designs such as Scooter For Life by PriestmanGoode which encourages people to stay active for longer. The fun modern design is critical to dispel the stigma of ageing.

illustration of scooter for life

Credit: PriestmanGoode

Paro, a soft robotic interactive therapy toy was also on display, designed by Takanori Shibata of the Intelligent System Research Institute of Japan. Paro is widely recognised as one of the most therapeutic devices in the world, helping comfort older people with dementia.  Paro moves and behaves like a normal animal, it vibrates and winks and responds to being stroked. People with dementia form an attachment to it for comfort and companionship. The robotics industry is being fuelled by the Japanese, who have not allowed migrants into their country and now have an overwhelming problem of an ageing population with no-one to care for them.

Paro robotic seal dementia

Paro Robotic Seal

Arthritis Research UK are one of the sponsors of the exhibition and it is estimated that around 10 million people in the UK are affected by arthritis or related conditions and the number climbs as the population ages. Arthritis Research UK is not just active in supporting medical research for breakthrough treatments, but also encouraging  innovative design to meet the daily living needs of people with arthritis. The exhibition showcased some award winning products such as the Ezi-Plug which aids the ease of use for people with arthritis in their hands, also for those with sight loss. The socket switches off automatically when the plug is removed

Plug socket for arthritis

Award winning Ezi-Plug

Another design being exhibited was the Handy Fasteners, a set of magnetic buttons that can be retro-fitted to any garment, helpful for anyone with arthritis, parkinson’s disease and many other related or neurological conditions.

Maintaining mobility, social inclusion, universal design and adaptable housing are all vital for an ageing population and so the exhibition looks at the progress other countries are making in this area which may provide working models for the UK to follow.

The New Old Exhibition looks at how the Japanese transport system has set new standards in universal design when it opened in 2005 following ten years of development. Its spaces and services are wheelchair friendly and each station has its own colour, wall material and and unique symbol to help people with cognitive impairment.

Meanwhile, the Norwegian government has an ambitious goal to make the country more age-friendly and to better harness the contribution that older people can make to society. The exhibition shows examples of universal design projects in action in Norway, from healthcare to transport, and public space to learning.

As our population ages, the world really needs to work together, sharing ideas and experiments, to make our individual countries a more welcoming age-friendly space for the elderly. This will ensure that our older people remain independent, whether through design, technology or social inclusion. The New Old exhibition is really worth a visit to see the progress, concepts and ideas that are being explored and in many cases already implemented as a vision for the future.

New Old exhibition is at the London Design Museum, running until the 19th February 2017.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Product news: Safety Gadgets for Walking Sticks

Clip on torch light for a walking stick / cane

Torch Light for a Walking Stick / Cane

Our two new handy, safety gadgets for walking stick users are very useful for fall prevention.

If you are unsteady on your feet and use a walking stick or cane, it can be too easy to trip up in the dark.  A  torch light that can be attached to your cane can be a great asset, particularly in the middle of the night when you need to get to the toilet and you don’t want to wake the whole house! Simply clip on the torch light and press the top button when you need to light your way.

Wall hung walking cane holder

DropMeNot Walking Stick / Cane and Crutch Holder

Most walking sticks tend to have the frustrating habit of falling over when you rest them up against something. Retrieving a stick from the floor can be very difficult and dangerous for the user – often resulting in a fall.

Canes that have an inbuilt grip in the handle, like the Sabi canes or the Top & Derby canes, can be safely propped up against a wall, but other canes may need a DropMeNot walking stick holder, a relatively new device, which can be secured to any wall around the home, to hold a walking stick or crutch when it is not needed. The holder can be positioned next to a favourite chair or by the bed, where it will be regularly needed.

For further information on our walking stick and canes and our complete product range visit our shop at designed2enable.co.uk #StayActiveWith Style

 

Product News – Garden Scoot

Mobile garden stool with wheels and tray beneath

Garden Scoot – Gardening Seat with Wheels in Lilac

Gardening is a hugely popular hobby that many people enjoy and it can be a great activity in retirement, to keep you fit and healthy.  Spending time in the fresh air is a wonderful form of relaxation, but gardening can be physically hard on your back and knees, and it can be quite challenging for anyone with reduced mobility or who are unsteady on their feet.

Gardening seat with wheels in Pink designed2enable.co.uk

Garden Scoot – Gardening Stool with Wheels in Pink

Garden Scoot  is lightweight yet sturdy, it makes light work of gardening, and can be manoeuvred around the garden with ease. Available in a wide range of fun colours, with solid tyres for easy maintenance, the Scoot can move in a sideways direction and it has a handy removable tray beneath the seat for holding tools, bulbs or small plants.

garden scoot gardening stool with wheels in orange

Garden Scoot – Gardening Stool with Wheels in Orange

Garden Scoot would make a great gift for any keen gardener. Read more about it here

Guest Post – Accomable recommend their top accessible city breaks

Accomable logo

Srin Madipalli, CEO and Co-founder of Accomable.com, the ‘Airbnb for disabled people’, shares his top tips for the best accessible city breaks in 2017.

Wheelchair accessible Barcelona

Barcelona City Centre

Barcelona –best for couples, culture vultures and foodies

Travel as a wheelchair user is rarely straightforward, but last summer I came to the conclusion that Barcelona is probably the most fun and accessible place in Europe I’ve visited.

First up: Barcelona has it all: iconic sights (tick!), a beautiful beach (tick!), lovely people and even better food (all present and correct!). Flights are plentiful and cheap and once you arrive, pretty much all of these attractions are accessible – from easy access to Gaudi’s famous Sagrada Familia to wheelchair friendly walkways along the beach (and free beach wheelchairs available too!).

Sagrada Familia Barcelona

Sagrada Familia

There is an awesome adapted apartment in Barcelona: MICs Sant Jordi is a block of cool, brilliantly adapted accessible apartments near the city centre of Barcelona. It’s simple, stylish and budget friendly too.

Finally, lots of the public transport is wheelchair accessible, including the Metro. This actually blew me away.

Discover more Barcelona accessible accommodation online.

Winchester – best for nature lovers, history buffs and foodies

Winchester was voted the best place to live in the UK last year, and it’s easy to see why, with its grand cathedral, excellent independent shops and thriving foodie scene.

The best way to explore is to follow the mile long accessible trail through Winchester, which takes you along the high street, into the cathedral (the ground floor is accessible) and onto Winchester College and Wolvesey Castle.

There is a good, budget accessible hotel in Winchester city centre, but if you have a car, there are some fantastic luxury options in the surrounding countryside, including one of my favourites, Wallops Wood.

Accessible accommodation  Winchester

Interior of Wallops Wood, Winchester

Discover more Winchester accessible accommodation online.

Amsterdam – best for art lovers, activity junkies and easy Eurostar access

city of Amsterdam

What with all the crazy cyclists, cobbled streets and tram tracks, you might not consider Amsterdam to be a great accessible destination. But think again, because the city has some brilliant accessible offerings, with many wheelchair-friendly trams and buses, and easy access to world class museums like the Rijksmuseum.

Check out the Blue Boat Company for accessible tours on the canals or join the locals with one of Star Bikes’ specially adapted cycles.

Star Bikes amsterdam

Star Bike Hire

There’s lots of good accessible accommodation in Amsterdam to fit a variety of tastes and budgets. Plus, if you’d prefer not to fly, you can get there by ferry from Harwich or by train by taking the Eurostar to Belgium and then changing trains and taking the Thalys service to Amsterdam.

Discover more about Amsterdam accessible accommodation online.

For more information on Accomable or to book an accessible stay, visit www.accomable.com

Product News: Hygge Inspired Homewares

Hygge inspired heated throw

Alaskan Husky Faux Fur Heated Throw

Even though they experience bitterly long cold winters, the Danes are well known for being one of the happiest nations. With up to 17 hours of darkness in the depth of winter and average temperatures of around 0C, the people of Denmark spend much of their time indoors. So how do they do it?

Their secret seems to be Hygge (pronounced “hoo-ga”), which is a lifestyle encompassing a romantic feel-good cosiness. The term Hygge comes from a Norwegian word meaning “Wellbeing”. It may be lighting candles and curling up on the sofa in front of a warm fire with a good book, or enjoying a mug of warm, luxurious hot chocolate and toasting crumpets on the fire. It is all about creating an intimate atmosphere and enjoying the moment, on your own or with friends and family.

heated faux fur cushion

Alaskan Husky Faux Fur Heated Cushion

Scandinavian styled homewares are helping to export hygge to the UK and our heated throws and heated cushions can create a gorgeously perfect hygge moment, snuggled up on the sofa enveloped with beautiful warmth. They are so cheap to heat that they may help to reduce your heating bill and would be perfect for an older person, who feels the cold and spends time at home in a favourite chair or even wrapped up in bed on a cold winter’s day.

one-leg-wood-posture-stools-room-set

OneLeg Wood Posture Stool

Beautifully crafted from Oak, OneLeg Wood Posture Stool typifies the simplicity of traditional Danish design whilst being ergonomic and functional. The stool is available in two height options and can be used as a coffee table or general seating around the home and would be great for sitting on while you toast those crumpets on the fire!

OneLeg Wood stool has a unique curved foot that allows the user to tilt and rotate around, following the body’s movements.

Oak Wood Danish posture stool

OneLeg Wood Posture Stools

When you sit on a OneLeg stool it gives your spine a completely natural stretch, with no load on the back, knees and feet. Moving around on the stool loosens tension and improves the core strength of your abdominal muscles and back. You will be amazed at the improvement to your core strength and focus by using OneLeg.

You can find out more about our products here

Robots as Companions and Carers

Robots for care homes

Robots programmed to help elderly residents in care homes

The idea of robots as companions, housemates or therapists is something we imagined as children when the future seemed very distant, but 2016 is apparently the future, and here they are.

ENRICHME (ENabling Robot and assisted living environment for Independent Care and Health Monitoring of the Elderly) is an international collaboration involving the University of Lincoln in the UK. They have developed a range of robots specifically for use inside the homes of the aged community, to help them maintain health and wellbeing – both mental and physical.

The robots are being integrated to work with ‘smart home’ technology, to provide 24-7 feedback to carers and health professionals from the inside of the person’s home. The robots are currently being used mainly as a big mobile phone or mobile assistance – giving reminders to take medications, locating lost items around the house, and enabling video chat with family and friends so that members of the elderly community are able to stay in touch with people via modern communication.

Ongoing developmental research is gathering data on how effective these robots are for the elderly community, but early research shows that they are of particular benefit to people with mild cognitive impairments, such as the early symptoms of the onset of dementia, but with bodies that are still physically able and healthy.

The European Research Project ‘Robot-Era’ recently concluded the world’s largest real-life trial of robot aides for the elderly. The four year trial was funded by Apple suppliers, Robotech and the European Commission, and are said to be ready to be released for commercial sales in 2017.

One of the biggest drives behind developing robotic care for elderly communities is to reduce strain on the healthcare system and care staffing. Mario, a European company developing robotics for elderly care, funded by the European Commission, intends to commercialise cost-effective robots by 2018 that healthcare providers can integrate into the care system, which benefits both the patient and the system.

Robot lifting patient

Robot being used in healthcare to lift patients

The way to commercialise the robots and get them into healthcare facilities is to prove that they are effective at improving senior quality of life, and at the same time reduce the cost of caring. There is  a large stigma attached to the idea of robots in our home, probably spurred by science fiction films of robots taking over the human population and controlling us. The care industry and robotics industry have work to do to get people to realise that robots are not to completely remove human interactions, but rather to complement them, reduce the load on carers to the elderly, and improve quality of life, giving peace of mind to their families in case of emergency. Mario doesn’t consider robotics an answer to everything, but if it can help elderly people to stay safe and comfortable in their own homes for longer, and at a more affordable cost, isn’t that a great thing?

paro robotic seal for elderly

Paro robotic seal for elderly and dementia patients

Another smaller-scale robot that has been well-received in care homes recently is Paro, a robotic seal. In studies, Paro has traditionally been brought to nursing homes where older people (often suffering from dementia or mental decline) hold the robot and interact with it. Positive effects include a general improvement in mood and reduction in depression. And Paro is really cute!

Of course, there are many mixed feelings, including some hilarious opinionated words from the ageing community. An article in the Guardian cites robot care for the elderly as “another way of dying miserably”. Europe’s Mobiserv project has been researching a “social companion robot” called Nadine, to encourage old people to eat healthily, exercise, and let them know when they haven’t spoken to anyone in a while – as if they hadn’t noticed!

The article ends with a reference to our ingrained fear of robots taking over the world; “who cares if Nadine and her kind go haywire and get rid of us? Will the other humans even notice?”

Robotic advancements are happening, and I suppose as elderly people, children or relatives of those elderly people, all we can do is ensure that the proper level of care and a degree of compassion is  a part of these “companion” machines. But is that worse? If they have…. feelings? Will they help themselves to cups of tea and biscuits from the pantry? Will they leave the toilet seat up? Only time will tell.

Our Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas

christmas-2016

Our Christmas Gift List 2016

FREE Shipping on orders over £100

To redeem enter code FREEPP100 at checkout

 

Medical socks for tired legs

Top and Derby Compression Socks

Everybody loves a trendy pair of socks for Christmas and these modern compression socks look great and have the added bonus of keeping your legs feeling energised all day long. Our Top & Derby compression socks increase blood flow, help prevent swelling, varicose veins and relieve tired and aching legs. They would make a great gift for anyone who is on their feet all day, pregnant mums and the elderly. Also available in Black. Read more HERE

decor-walther-bath-pillow-d2e

Decor Walther Bath Pillow

There is nothing more relaxing than a hot bath and a few candles at the end of a hard day, and the Decor Walther Bath Pillow is a great place to rest your head. The Decor Walther Bath Pillow is in keeping with any modern and contemporary bathroom and would make a luxurious gift for someone you love. The bath cushion comes with two suction cups to keep it in place and it is machine washable. Read more HERE

bowls-stack

Staybowlizer

Staybowlizer is a silicone ring that acts as a third hand by suctioning onto a work surface, securing bowls of all shapes and sizes, whilst you mix and incorporate ingredients with your free hands. It can hold any bowl size in place, whilst you are mixing, beating and whipping up a favourite recipe. It will withstand high temperatures and can therefore be used to create a double boiler or bain-marie and makes a great trivet or hotplate. It is so versatile it can even be used to keep a dog bowl secure, preventing it from being chased around the kitchen by a hungry hound! You can read more HERE

Tarten and Camel folding walking stick

Folding walking sticks

Make a statement with one of these striking, folding derby canes. The shape of the handle offers excellent support to the hand and can be hooked over the arm when not in use. The sides of the handle are rounded for comfort and the strong and light aluminium shaft folds into four sections. Lightweight, attractive and height adjustable, these folding canes can be stowed away discreetly when they are not needed and the adjustable height option of these cane makes them a safe, stylish and considerate gift. You can read more HERE

heated luxury cushion

Alaskan Heated Cushion

This beautifully soft hygge inspired heated cushion is so super snuggly that you’ll never want to leave the sofa. It takes just minutes to heat up and, if you need relief from aches and pains, the soft Intelliheat® heat pad can be removed from the cover to offer a more intense heat. Operated by the easy to use controller which has five temperature settings and auto shut-off for safety. Matching heated throw is also available. Read more HERE

NRGset[1]

Radius Garden Hand Tools

Radius Hand Tools are beautifully built and ergonomically designed. These garden tools are strong, lightweight and kind to the hands and wrists. The easy grip handles are designed to follow the curve of the palm to minimise stress on hands and wrists whilst creating more leverage. They would make a great gift for any keen gardener and are ideal for those with arthritis or weak hands and wrists. Available as a set or individually. Read more HERE

Flexyfoot folding walking stick blue 1

Flexyfoot Folding Walking Stick with Oval Handle

Ergonomic and comfortable to use, this folding walking is easy to transport when you are not needing to use it. But quite frankly, why would you not want to use it! The folding walking stick is available in two adjustable height options and has an oval handle for comfort. The Flexyfoot ferrule provides a safer grip through its innovative tread and flexible ‘bellows’. This means the rubber tip remains constantly in contact with the ground as you are moving, even if you are twisting or on wet, or uneven ground. Read more HERE

attractive shoe horns

Long Handled Shoe Horns

Ideal for anyone who finds it difficult putting their shoes on, these long handled attractive shoe horns would make a lovely gift. The hook handle means that it can be hung anywhere and never get lost. Available in three great colour options. Read more HERE

no-bend-pet-bowl-for-cats

No Bend Pet Bowl

For someone who struggles to bend down, or are unsteady on their feet, the daily task of feeding a cat or dog can be challenging. This simple pet feeder could be the solution; the extendable and height adjustable handle allows you to select your ideal height, without needing to bend or kneel and reduces the risk of falls. No Bend Pet Bowl is dishwasher safe and the easy grip, twist and lock design of the handle allows it to be easily removed for cleaning and storing. No mess, no spilling, no fuss! Read more HERE

See our website for the full range of products, read more HERE

Thank you for reading and we wish you a very Merry Christmas!        

 

Relaxed Creativity

activities, pastimes, hobbies, adult colouring

Everyone has something they do at the end of the day to relax. Some people go for a run, some watch the television, some people drink a glass of wine, some people take a nap. What do all these things have in common? They all make some attempt to turn off your brain after a long day of work. Apparently though, if your overall goal is to be happy, the best thing to do is to engage your right-side brain more. Wake it up, rather than shut it down, and you’ll find an increase in energy, and shake off any lethargy from your day.

Have you ever noticed that creativity flows more naturally when you are relaxed, open minded, and embracing your inner child? Studies show that when you engage in a creative project, your mood lifts, and your emotions and thought patterns are significantly more positive. Even if you don’t create anything overly aesthetically pleasing or useful – in fact, the less you focus on the results, the more pleasing the results will be. It’s simply the act of doing, of creating, of imagining something in your mind and then producing it with your hands. Literally, getting the thoughts out of your head and into something tangible, something you can physically manage.

Creating art or other creative pursuits allows your mind to relax, providing a break from all the usual thought patterns. The average person has over 60,000 thoughts in a day and, disturbingly, 95% of those thoughts are exactly the same, day in, day out.

When your brain is running on autopilot like this, going down the same paths each day, obviously it’s going to get lazy! That’s why it is so important to break up the routine with activities that stimulate different hemispheres of the brain, that get you out of your comfort zone, give you the satisfaction of creating something, and that provide you with a small sense of wonder at your own capabilities and the resources at your fingertips, if only you can find the inclination.

ergonomic gardening tools

Gardening for relaxation – Radius hand tools

Research shows that engaging in creative activities (nothing too crazy – we’re talking jam making, crocheting, stamp collecting, bird watching, etc) can leave the doer feeling a wonderful sense of satisfaction, calm, happiness and new energy. Cooking, baking, playing music,drawing, painting, sketching, photography, working with your hands, gardening, creative writing – basically, a lot of activities we loved to do as children, then most of us disregarded as “unnecessary” uses of our time when faced with the daily pressures of work, family, relationships, fitness, health.

 

But what if doing one of these activities actually had the potential to improve all of the above? To make your relationships more meaningful, maybe you spend an hour in the garden together, or cook a meal together. Maybe rather than spending your evenings watching television in a trance, you sit down on the floor and play a game or draw pictures with your children like you did when you were five. Maybe whilst you are sitting with your family watching TV, you can also be knitting or crocheting. Maybe you doodle in your adult colouring book while you’re on the train to work. Listen to a podcast and write down your thoughts or responses.

Creativity brings relaxation, and relaxation stimulates creativity. The right side of your brain governs creativity, holistic thinking (ie. the bigger picture), intuition, and imagination, and engaging it will lead to feeling happier and more positive on a day in, day out basis. As we age, it’s important to keep all of the pathways of our mind clear, to use our physical bodies in new ways, and interact with the world around us. Pick a creative pursuit that sticks in your mind from this article, turn off the TV, and get cracking!

Product News – Blys™ Warm Night Light for Adults

blys warm glow night light for adults and helpful with dementia

Blys Warm Nightlight for adults

As the nights are drawing in and the mornings and evenings are darker for longer, the Blys™ Warm Night Light is a handy device, which provides comfort during the dark hours. Blys™emits a soft comforting glow of light in the bedroom which, on awakening provides a focus in the room and reassurance for anyone who is elderly or who suffers from sleep anxiety, insomnia or dementia.

During the night, Blys™ softly glows with a low level light which allows uninterrupted sleep. Upon awakening, there is no need to switch on the main bedroom light as the Blys™ table top light is sufficient to allow spectacles, water glass, alarm clock and other items to be identified.

blys-controls-72dpi

Touch panel controls for dimming the night light

The night light is controlled by a simple touch panel on the side of the tray. Hand contact anywhere along the main edge of the unit switches it on or off, and the brightness can be adjusted by touching two small ‘bright’ and ‘dim’ zones. Blys™ remembers its previous light setting when it’s switched off. There is no problem with it being left on all day as it uses very low energy and the unit itself does not get hot, which is another benefit when it is being used by someone with dementia. The top surface that emits the warm glow is scratch resistant and spill proof so there is no need to worry if you spill your drink on it.

The benefits of Blys™ goes further than it just being a night light. Often the elderly prefer to sleep with the light on due to anxiety, but usual household lighting left on for sleep can promote ill -temper and poor health, which can in turn accelerate dementia.  The focussed comfort and security of Blys™ helps with spacial awareness and it can reduce falls and injury.

Winner of the UK Building Better Healthcare Award for Best Furniture Project, the Blys™ concept is derived from findings of ‘SomnIA’; a four year research programme undertaken by a consortium of universities as part of the ‘New Dynamics of Ageing’ initiative. The main research partner was the Bath Institute of Medical Engineering (now called Designability).

Blys™ is a practical, sleek looking bedroom accessory that may help those with insomnia and even young children who need the comfort of a light to settle them to sleep.

More information on the Blys™ Night Light for adults and the elderly can be found HERE

 

 

 

 

 

Keeping Fit And Active in Retirement

Petanque players

There are a number of inspirational older people in my life, who have managed to stay fit, healthy and active into their later years. Many of them simply attribute “keeping busy” as their long-living secrets, maintaining social engagements and responsibilities in a community, giving each day purpose and structure. Our physical health is directly correlated with our mental health – if we feel needed, important, and positive about things, our body is naturally happier, and works to keep up and maintain mobility. Getting together with others for physical activity can be the best way to get endorphins moving through the body, boosting physical and mental energy, increasing mood, and engaging in social interaction.

So, you want to get physical, or stay physical, as you move into later years. What are the best options for heart health, joint mobility, flexibility, strength, and getting out of your head and into your body?

 Walking /Rambling

Check with your local community organisers about local walking groups, weekend rambler gatherings, or perhaps just talk to your friends or neighbours about getting together a casual walking group a couple of times a week. Walking is wonderful for heart health, maintaining healthy weight, developing strength in the legs, promoting healthy circulation and can be a nice time to chat with your walking buddies. It’s also very invigorating for us mentally to be amongst nature, fresh air and in tune with our surroundings. Plus, if you have a dog, they will be a great advocate for this one!

Yoga

There is a vast range in styles of yoga, and one style will be great for one person, and not so great for the next. As an individual, you need to find the style that works for you. For older bodies, a slower, more restorative style may be the best option, with not too much dynamic flow.

  • Iyengar Yoga is a tradition of yoga strongly focussed on alignment, and uses props and tools to make each pose more accessible. Classes tend to move at a slower pace, working slowly into the pose using the assistance of props such as blocks, straps, cushions and the helping hand of  a teacher. This style of yoga is all about making each pose accessible to you – not trying to bend you into a certain shape.

  • Hatha Yoga is the classical foundation of yoga, based on a series of asana (poses) that focus on the breath, awareness, and moving mindfully. There are many different levels of hatha yoga, and teachers will often run 6-8 week beginners courses, moving through the practices mindfully and offering adjustments and assistance to students. This can be a great option for bodies with a lot of tightness – you don’t have to move too quickly, in fact, its better to slow down and observe the sensations.

  • Yin/ Restorative Yoga is a powerful, deeply restful style of yoga where you navigate into the pose, using bolsters, cushions, blocks and straps to find your way in, and then hold the pose for anywhere from 3-10 minutes, slowly transitioning to the next. The idea is to completely surrender into each pose, taking strain off the muscles and accessing deep physical and emotional tissue to release tightness in the body and the mind. This is a wonderful option for stiff bodies, allowing time to go deeply into a pose without placing strain on the joints or overexerting  the heart.

Swimming/ Water Aerobics

Swimming is a great low-impact option for exercise – good for improving and maintaining cardiovascular fitness without putting strain on the joints. Start slow with a few laps, and work your way up. Another good option is group exercise water fitness, such as water aerobics or aqua jogging, which involves wearing an flotation belt and walking up and down the pool, much like walking outside, but low impact, and wonderful for toning the legs and abdomen. It can also help to improve balance and prevent falls. Check with your local pool about swimming times and groups exercise schedules.

Dance/ Aerobics

Get the heart rate up, laugh at yourself and your friends, and develop a greater sense of bodily awareness and confidence in movement. An excellent cardio workout to maintain heart health, strengthening and toning for the body, and an inevitable mood lifter – try a zumba class at your local community centre. Dance and aerobics develops rhythm, and core strength which helps to maintain balance.

Boules

Throwing  or rolling big balls to hit little balls. Boules is  a wide category, including games such as lawn bowling and petanque. Beyond the concentration, skill and tactics required, boules forces all the muscles to work against resistance in order to ensure the balance and stability of the lower body. And despite a laid-back rhythm, and the preconceived idea that boules is only for the over-60s, you can burn up to 180 calories in an hour, making it a solid workout. A fun, social game, with a little heat of competition to keep you on your toes.

Bridge

A mentally challenging game involving memory, visualisation and concentration, which is discovered to be effective in preventing the onset of mental disorders such  as depression and Alzheimer’s. Much like the satisfaction of completing a cryptic crossword, bridge provides an intellectual challenge and problem-solving satisfaction, leaving the player on a mental high with a sense of achievement. Even better if it is repeated regularly on a weekly basis, providing social and intellectual stimulation.

Volunteering

Get out of the house and into the community. Volunteering is a good way to get involved in a project or cause close to your heart, develop your sense of purpose and self worth, and meet new people. Helping at an animal shelter, organising community events, or helping people in need, are just a selection of volunteer projects. Think about something you feel passionately about, and get involved in something you can call your “passion project”.

This is just a selection of ideas – check with your local community organisers and fitness centres and see what they have to offer. If all else fails, taking a regular walk in the fresh air and taking on the challenge of a crossword or sudoku in the daily newspaper  is a simple and effective way to stimulate your mental and physical body.