Category Archives: Health and Wellbeing

Designer Stoma Bags & Ostomy Devices

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Silicone stoma device image credit: Dezeen

Until recently, the word colostomy had not featured in our lives. Now, within the last year, two family members suddenly found themselves with a colostomy bag as a result of major bowel and cancer operations, which requires a steep learning curve on maintenance and management and the emotional impact should not be underestimated. Some stomas can be reversed, but many are for life.

However, ostomy bags have come a long way and in many cases, they can be life-changing for the better, as they allow for a piece of diseased organ to be removed, allowing the user to live a healthier and fuller life.

After the initial operation, you are left with a stoma, which is the healthy end of the intestine, turned inside out and sits externally on the abdomen. This is the exit point for the poo and is the piece that the stoma bag can be fixed to. Stoma bags can now be ordered to your stoma’s own specific dimensions, ensuring a snugger fit which is more comfortable and less likely to leak.

Fashion designer Ted Baker had a temporary stoma and after experiencing the products that were then available to him, he worked with the manufacturer Coloplast to improve the design of the bag.

With both family members, it is a hidden disability and access to an accessible washroom can make life easier as this provides a washbasin next to the toilet which is really important for hygiene. Having a stoma bag makes you eligible for a Radar Key, providing access to accessible toilets around the UK.

Colostomy or stoma bags can generally be unattractive and quite unsexy, to say the least, but with the help of tattoos and a bit of imagination, some creative people have found a way to make them more attractive for intimate moments.

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image credit: Dezeen

Inspired by her own family’s struggle with Crohn’s disease, Brunel University Graduate Stephanie Monty designed a prototype silicone ostomy device which is washable and re-usable and more appealing than the usual pouch. The flexible device adheres to the users’s skin, and is covered with a waterproof membrane that creates a natural, skin-like feel. Inflammation and infection are also an issue, so she included integrated vents that release gas but contain odours.

Northumbria  University student James Shutt noticed that stoma users were getting younger and after research involving teenage colostomy users, came up with the ‘Myostomy’ product.

Stoma decoration Myostomy range

Stoma device Myostomy Range

James found colostomy users struggle with sexual intimacy and body consciousness, as well as more practical issues such as the bag inflating with wind, or concerns about leaving their spare bags and cleaning kits behind if they stayed over at friends or a partner’s house. They also found that their partners were put off by the bag at intimate moments and really needed something that would be more discreet which would give the them more confidence with body image.

stoma plug myostomy range

Stoma Plug Myostomy Range

James’s Myostomy range includes a jewellery stoma plug that fits into the stoma to prevent any bowel accidents at intimate moments, which restores dignity for the user. James also came up with the idea of body art and tattoos to help users embrace their stoma. As yet, the Myostomy range has yet to be launched.

Support:

The Colostomy Association is available for support and they run the Stoma Aid project which collates unused stoma bags and re-distributes them to patients living with stomas in developing countries that cannot afford or access supplies.

StomaWise is an internet based support website offering support and advice to Ostomates of all types. They are available online and a contact telephone number is also available.

Guest Blog: The History Behind The Bidet by Ponte Giulio

Tall Bidet for the elderly

Ponte Giulio Bidet

The bidet. A strange object shaped like a guitar

Some countries are introducing it in private homes (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil) others such as Japan, already use it but integrated with the WC.

A journalist of an important British network stressed the utility of the bidet. The article she wrote was so successful that it led to a survey, where 30% of participants declared they had used it when on holiday. Many of those Britons though, never had the idea of having the bidet in their own home and many others, probably the remaining 70% of them, never even thought to use it even on holiday, considering it as a strange object and not very useful.

But why? The answer has historic reasons. The history of bidet and its diffusion are old and controversial. The name dates back to ponies, or better the position you adopt to ride it.

Going back to the history of bidet, the first time we came across it was in France, towards the end of XVII century and the beginning of the XVIII century. It’s possible inventor, Christophe Des Rosiers, installed it in the home of the French royal family, even though it was never used.

Only during the second half of 1700 the Queen of Naples, Maria Carolina D’Asburgo-Lorena wanted one in her private bathroom at the Caserta palace.

After the unification of Italy, the officials of the Savoys had to draw an inventory of the objects in the Palace and when seeing the bidet they described it as an “object for an unknown use and shaped like a guitar”.

During the early years of 1900, with the spread of water pipes inside private homes, the bidet along with the WC moved from the bedroom, where it used to be placed, to the bathroom.

As for the diffusion of the bidet it is used only in a few countries. Italy tops the chart, with 97% of its population using it according to a 1995 survey, followed by Portugal with 92%, France 42%, Germany 6% and the UK with 3% of users.

Some countries such as the USA even consider the bidet improper. It seems the first time Americans came across the bidet was in brothels during the Second World War, so they associate it to something weird and inappropriate.

Many non Italians admit having used it on holiday even for unusual purposes – fish tank, ice holder, shoes holder or dish washer – some countries are beginning to introduce it in their private homes (Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil) while others such as Japan, use a version of it which integrates it with the WC in private homes and hotels.

Too few people still value the utility of the bidet in our opinion. It is especially handy for the elderly, who have difficulty in taking a shower and could use the bidet and the washbasins as an alternative. The same applies to people with motion difficulties.

Ponte Giulio also offer the bidet among its wide selection of products. We offer higher bidets, 500 millimetres, to make it easier to use by non self-sufficient or aged people. Together with the hygiene, comfort and safety is granted with the provision of Ponte Giulio grab rails next to the bidet.

We are sure that little by little many more people in different countries will value the benefits of the bidet and will start using it.

This article has been supplied by our Italian partners Ponte Giulio,

designed2enable do not currently stock Ponte Giulio Bidets, but inquiries are welcome, via our contact page 

 

Laughter Yoga Therapy

Credit Richard Duszczak

Credit: Richard Duszczak

The word yoga comes from the Sanskrit word “Yuj”, meaning to yoke, to integrate, to harmonise. It means union, or connection – with your own body, with your thoughts, with the world around you, your environment, and also your breath. Your breath acts as a bridge between your mind and your body – a constant exchange of energy, a mirroring between your physical and mental being – when you deepen your breath, you calm your body by activating the parasympathetic nervous system. When you calm your body, you calm your mind, and when both your mind and your body are at ease, then you start to become more relaxed in the present moment. This ability to be fully present in “the now” is the key to finding happiness, because we can only experience happiness in this present moment. We cannot feel an emotion in the past or the future, only now. Being present allows us to forget about the emotions of our past and the anxieties of the future, and enjoy simply being.

The practice of yoga asana, which is what most of us would recognise as yoga, is a means of using the unity of mind, body and breath to find joy in the present moment, as are meditation and mindfulness practices. Laughter yoga, however, takes a slightly different approach – there are no physical requirements or limitations to practicing laughter yoga, which makes it a universal option for people seeking a happiness practice but who are unable to practice hatha yoga.

Laughter_Club_India

Laughter Club India

 Scientific research has proven that laughter has a documented positive impact on mental and physical well-being, as a form of complementary preventative and therapeutic medicine. In March 1995 Dr Madan Kataria, a GP from Mumbai, India, was curious about the practice, having researched the benefits and discovered a man who claimed to have recovered from a terminal illness by using laughter yoga as his main form of therapy. Kataria began a laughter yoga group, starting with just 4 people and growing to over 50 people, encouraging his participants to release their inner childlike playfulness out of its learned confines. He started with sharing jokes and anecdotes, but the jokes soon became tired and old, and then he realised that if just one person was laughing, the others were more likely to laugh – not necessarily because the joke was funny, but because they enjoyed seeing another person laugh. As they say, laughter is contagious, and he realised that there didn’t need to be something to laugh ABOUT – the magic lay in the act of laughing itself. They started making up mime and other laughter exercises – doing normal daily activities in the group but laughing the whole time. Madan’s wife, Madhuri Kataria, suggested the addition of some breathing exercises in between the laughter exercises, which incorporates the yogic connection.

 The groups started small, then began to expand in size as people began to reap the benefits. The behaviour was undeniably strange, but the health benefits were real, so more and more laughter clubs started up. Nowadays there are thousands of laughter clubs around the world, and there are also a number of organisations encouraging laughter yoga as a means of finding peace and happiness, of developing a positive community, bringing together people from all walks of life, and healing physical and emotional illnesses.

We are happiest and when we are playing, and to laugh means to be in the present moment fully, free from anxieties and fears. We’ve all heard it before, and there’s nothing like a good belly laugh, but now we know: laughter really is the best medicine!

For more info:

Action for Happiness is a movement for positive social change, bringing together people from all walks of life who want to play a part in creating a happier society for everyone. actionforhappiness.org

R x Laughter develops & implements projects that examine the positive health benefits of entertainment to reduce or alleviate the trauma of serious physical and emotional issues of children and adults. www.rxlaughter.org

 www.laughteryoga.org is the site of Dr Madan Kataria, founder of Laughter Yoga.

Opting into exercise improves knee osteoarthritis – Arthritis Digest Magazine

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Choice is key when it comes to improving osteoarthritis symptoms through exercise, highlights a new study in Clinical Rheumatology.

A total of 69 older people with knee osteoarthritis were split into groups: a supervised community-based or unsupervised walking programme. Six months later, people who expressed a preference, either for the supervised or unsupervised programme, and who were assigned to their preferred choice of programme were more likely to continue with the walking sessions, compared to those who did not obtain their preferred choice of programme.

After nine months, people who had been given the group they wanted had improved levels of stiffness and function compared to those who did not get the group they wanted.

The researchers conclude:
“We show this approach promotes long-term adherence to a community-based walking program, while ensuring the maintenance of clinical benefits of walking, among older adults susceptible to avoid or not properly engage in physical activity.”

Keep up to date with the latest arthritis research news by subscribing to Arthritis Digest Magazine

Trees Please – Forest Bathing for Health & Wellbeing

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image: John Mundy @golfphotostore

Shinrin-Yoku is the medicine of simply being in the forest. As a remedial tonic to the over-stimulation of modern life, this practice of “forest bathing” or “taking in the forest atmosphere”, of taking a walk, breathing in the fresh air, opening our senses and feeling contact with the earth and our natural surroundings has become a cornerstone of preventative health care and healing in Japanese medicine.

What kind of sickness can be cured from walking in the woods? An age old remedy to get some colour in your cheeks, as Grandma would say, it’s now scientifically proven that getting outside can help you heal and increase your vitality. We all recognise that we feel better and generally more alive when we step away from our technology and screens for an hour (or a whole day) and just practice being mindful of our surroundings, opening our senses of smell, sight, sound, hearing, taste. We have more energy, we feel more inspired, more in touch with our surroundings, we make healthier choices, and we develop a closer connection to the natural world around us, more aware of how our individual choices have an impact on our environment.

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Image: John Mundy @golfphotostore

In the last several decades there have been a number of scientific studies on the healing effects of simply being in wild and natural areas. It is no coincidence that this comes at a time when the popularity of outdoor adventure, environmental consciousness, adventure tourism, and alternative therapies such as wilderness therapy for troubled or at-risk youths are increasing ten-fold. A number of organisations are creating programs incorporating mindfulness meditation, hiking, just being outside. People are recognising the importance of our natural world to the health of our internal landscapes. This scientific research proves that our plants and trees are designed to heal. There is an incredible life-supporting synergy and cycle in the natural world, and forest therapy places us as humans amongst this healing environment. Many trees give off organic compounds which support our ‘natural killer’ cells – an integral part of our immune system’s way of fighting off cancer.

Other benefits of spending time in nature? Reduced stress, better sleep, increased recovery from illness, reduced blood pressure, improved mood, increase in ability to focus on one thing at a time, more energy. Opening our senses to nature also develops our intuition –  we learn to contact the world around us in new ways and in turn listen to what our bodies are telling us – messages that can be clouded by technology, mixed messages and distraction. When you spend too long in the city and all you want is to lie in the park, this is your cells sending you a message about what it needs. Other long term benefits on a more personal level include better relationships, increased flow of life force energy, overall increased happiness, a better understanding of the land on which we live, and the condition of our natural environment.

john M forest 1

Image: John Mundy @golfphotostore

One of the most significant problems in our age of connection is that, ironically, we are becoming more and more disconnected from reality. We develop relationships over social media rather than in person, we hide behind our technology, we don’t understand that our actions have a knock-on effect in the world. The more technologically wired we are, the more isolated we become, to the extent that we don’t need to leave our house all day. We order food online, we talk to our friends online, we work online, we shop online, we entertain ourselves online.  By stepping out of our homes, walking into the forest, we are aligning ourselves with nature and taking a step towards healing the chronic modern illness of disconnection.

And the idea, in returning to nature, is not to achieve anything, which is exactly the opposite of the demands of our daily lives. We are conditioned to always be achieving, working towards something. In the forest, Forest Bathing masters do nothing, and gain illumination. As Einstein wisely proclaimed,

“I think 99 times, and find nothing. I stop thinking, swim in silence, and the truth comes to me”.

So just be with the trees –  no need to count your steps, track your calories – just sit, or meander around, but the point is to relax rather than accomplish anything.

John M forest 7

Image: John Mundy @golfphotostore

The healing power of nature isn’t a new scientific discovery. John Muir, also known as “John of the Mountains”, an American naturalist, author, environmental philosopher, glaciologist and early advocate for the preservation of wilderness in the United States, recognised this as early as the 1800s. He wrote “thousands of tired, nerve-shaken, over-civilized people are beginning to find out that going to the mountains is going home. Wilderness is a necessity.” So we’ve known it for centuries, but age-old wisdom brings new significance in modern times, as a remedy for modern illness.

And on that note, I’m going to step away from my computer and get back to nature, back to where I came from.

You didn’t come into this world.
You came out of it, like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.” 
Alan Watts

Guest post: CRG Homecare Services – Improving Quality of Life for Disabled People

CRG logo

How Homecare Services Can Improve Quality of Life for Disabled People

Living with a disability can make everyday tasks challenging. Regular daily routines can be strenuous or tricky – things like getting dressed in the morning, cooking meals, and bathing might not be possible without help.

For many disabled people, homecare provides the ideal solution, allowing them to retain much of their independence while also benefiting from the support and aid of a care worker.

Regular Support When It Is Needed

The nature of homecare means that it can be adapted specifically to suit individual needs. The person may only require help on a short-term basis, such as once a week to do their grocery shopping or cleaning; or they might benefit from more regular care at specific times of the day, such as mornings or mealtimes.

Unlike in supported living environments, homecare provides continuous one-to-one attention and support for a person at a time of their choosing, ensuring personalised care as and when it is needed. Care workers can dedicate their full attention to the individual’s needs, around a structure that works for them.

An important part of a care worker’s role is to build a strong relationship with the people they visit. As such, visits are designed not only to support individuals and relieve the pressures of their disabilities, but also to offer a friendly face and some companionship. This can be especially good if the individual can’t leave the house regularly to visit friends and family.

CRG Homecare Services

The Little Home Comforts

One of the major benefits of homecare is that it lets individuals still enjoy the small comforts of living in their own homes. They don’t have to adjust to an unfamiliar environment or community, and they don’t have to move away from their family and friends. Whether living with a permanent or temporary disability, continuing to live at home can be far more beneficial for the individual’s health and happiness, because they stay among their treasured possessions and fond memories.

With various technological advances and creations, it is now easier than ever to find ways to accommodate disabilities. There are plenty of gadgets that can be fitted into homes, making various tasks far easier, especially during the times when care workers are absent. These home modifications can support mobility and accessibility, such as getting up and down the stairs or navigating the bathroom.

Installing simple but effective mechanisms such as bathroom grab rails, bath steps or shower seats can also make life much easier for disabled and vulnerable people, ensuring that they can remain independent for longer.

Safety in Case of Accidents

When living with a disability, accidents can easily happen. Homecare offers that extra peace of mind in the case of accidents or emergencies. The individual can feel secure and safe in their own home by having access to care and support should they need it. People can also enjoy the benefits of around-the-clock care if they need that intensive level of support.

Modifying a home to meet accessibility needs can help to prevent accidents, but the individual may want to also consider fitting personal fall and panic alarms. This way, if something does happen, they can rest assured that a carer will be able to reach them, as these systems are constantly monitored.

Real Life: How Homecare Has Helped Jane

Jane is 82 years old and a widow with no children. During the last two years, she has started to struggle with her mobility, resulting in her having to walk with a stick. She was struggling to complete basic daily tasks, and became increasingly house bound because of the pain in her hips, and she feels unsteady on her walking stick.

She started to struggle with basic personal care and was going for days without showering. Being a proud woman, she hid this from her friends and neighbours. She was becoming more isolated and reliant upon a neighbour and her nephew and niece to get her shopping. As people were helping with her shopping, she felt it an imposition to ask for someone to take her out to lunch or to do the shopping with her, so she just stayed at home. When her surgeon suggested a hip replacement she decided to go for it, in the hope that it would improve her general health and wellbeing. She was admitted to hospital in quite a poor state of personal hygiene.

Once the operation had taken place, and plans were being made for her discharge, a hospital social worker came to see her. The nurse who had admitted Jane had raised concerns about self-neglect, and questioned Jane’s ability to go home and continue to live unaided. The hospital social worker suggested that it was time to get some help or think about moving into a care home – at this suggestion Jane broke down. She explained to the social worker that she was struggling to get washed and dressed and hadn’t been able to change her bedding in over a month. They discussed the options available to Jane, who agreed to give home care a try. It was agreed that Jane would have three visits a day to begin with, and four hours for shopping and cleaning the house.

Jane went home and CRG went round to meet her to formulate a person-centred care plan, with a re-enablement focus, to try and get some independence back. Jane worked well with her care workers and built up a great rapport with them. At the end of the six-week period, Jane’s confidence had been rebuilt and she was able to reduce to two calls a day and two hours of shopping and cleaning assistance per week. She is now able to keep on top of cleaning the house, and only needs assistance with changing the bedding, washing it and remaking the bed. Instead of someone going for her shopping, Jane and her care worker go out in a taxi to the supermarket, have a cup of tea and a scone in a café, and then go back and put the shopping away.

Without this support, Jane would either have continued to struggle and her decline would have been greater, or she would have ended up going into residential care. By her own admission, Jane now has a new lease of life and looks forward to seeing her care workers every day, and she especially looks forward to her weekly outing.

CRG Homecare Services 2

 Homecare Can Ease Your Disability

Disabled people needn’t struggle alone. Homecare offers a flexible way for disabled people to receive support and still enjoy the independence of living in their own homes. Whatever the level of care needed, care plans can be adapted to suit the individual.

CRG Homecare provides domiciliary care and supported living services, allowing vulnerable people to remain a level of independence in their own homes. Established in 2000, the company opened its first branch and delivered homecare services to vulnerable adults and children in St Helens, Merseyside. Since then the organisation has grown tremendously, now delivering one million hours of homecare services from 17 branches located across the UK, including Lancashire, London, the Midlands, Tyneside and Yorkshire.

designed2enable.co.uk provides a wide range of stylish mobility products and an enviable range of accessible bathroom accessories to help with independent living.

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