Category Archives: Independent Living

Review: myHailo Call Alert for Refuelling Your Car

As a disabled driver and wheelchair user, refuelling my car has always been a bit of a challenge, and not the most dignified of experiences.

I always try to make sure that I never run too low on petrol and tend to use the same fuel stations for filling up. I have found that the smaller petrol stations do not always have someone on hand to come and assist me, which can be really inconvenient, especially if I am running low on fuel. Once I am at the petrol station, I have to make sure that I use one of the refuelling points near the forecourt window, so that the staff can see me, which can mean a bit of a wait if the station is busy. I then have to loudly blast my horn to try to catch their attention, whilst frantically waving my blue badge at them.

This always creates confusion and a huge amount of attention from other drivers, wondering what I am doing. I am not one to enjoy attention so I have found this quite hard to do but I have had to just grit my teeth and get on with it. One of my local stations has revamped their forecourt and I can no longer see the staff properly so I have to call them on my mobile, but if the tills are busy, they don’t always answer the phone!

Finally, when the assistants do appear, they are always very helpful and once they have filled the tank, I pay with my credit card. My card is authorised with a signature, rather than a pin, so that the attendant can take the payment without me having to get out of the car.

I recently came across myHailo,  a call alert system for disabled drivers needing to refuel their car, which has been fairly recently launched and is being rolled out to petrol stations around the country. Perfect!

So, once I had received myHailo key fob, I went to my nearest Sainsbury’s, who I was delighted to find had signed up to the scheme. This time, I parked at one of the pumps at the rear of the petrol station, turned off my engine and then pressed the button on the fob. A receiver at the front of the forecourt, above the shop, flashed red. I could see that this immediately alerted the staff and with a discreet wave of my blue badge they located me and immediately came out to serve me. As soon as they had received the alert, the receiver then flashed green, to reassure me that they were on their way.

It was a lovely feeling, to not have to blast my horn and create havoc as I normally do and to have such a quick response from the staff was impressive. I would really recommend myHailo to other disabled drivers and also to anyone who is elderly and finds it difficult to get in and out of the car. It is also reassuring that the scheme is endorsed by Disabled Motoring UK.

MyHailo can be purchased for £14.95 and you can check as to whether myHailo is available at your local fuel station by visiting their myHailo zone page. If it isn’t, then talk to your local petrol station and suggest that they install it, or myHailo have a letter that you can print out from their website to hand to them, to suggest the scheme.

By coincidence, I also received a promotion in the post this morning from Shell drivers club, about their new Fill Up & Go App which enables you to pay for your fuel as you fill your tank, without having to go to the tills. Take a look at the video below to see how it works – I have yet to try it.


Life is slowly getting easier for us disabled peeps and it is the little things, like hassle free refuelling of your car that make a big difference. Happy motoring folks :)

By Katherine,





Product News: Ponte Giulio WC / Washroom Area Kit

accessible bathroom kit

Ponte Giulio W.C./Washroom Kit

Did you know that with the requirements of the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act), there is now a legal requirement for businesses to provide inclusive washroom facilities for all?

The provision of accessible washrooms has definitely come a long way in the last few years and the major supermarkets and department stores seem to have met the brief but there are still many smaller businesses that have yet to take the DDA requirements on board.

Ponte Giulio have therefore created this kit solution that fits the bill and can easily be installed into a washroom, consisting of five straight Prestigio grab rails and one hinged rail, a cushioned back rest for added safety and a mirror assembly kit. 

Ponte Giulio Prestigio straight safety grab rail bar range

Ponte Giulio Prestigio Grab Rail Colours

The washroom kit solution is ideal for restaurants, tea rooms, pubs, offices, shops, cafes, car sales showrooms etc., and the rails are available in a range of colour options. Coloured grab bars are particularly helpful for the visually impaired  and those with dementia (red or blue). However, we have personally come across accessible washrooms that have been well equipped but are then used by the company for storage for high chairs or other such equipment and then there is an embarrassing few minutes which the staff have to clear the room to make it usable again, which is not really recommended!

Ponte Giulio prestigio safety folding up grab rail

Ponte Giulio Prestigio Folding Safety Rails

The WC / Washroom Kit can also be used just as easily in your home, if you need the extra safety and support that is provided in this complete kit solution for yourself, friend / family member. The grab bars can also be purchased, without the mirror assembly kit and back support, if that is all that is required.

Further information is available here






Guest Blog by Kathy Lawrence


Supporting family and friends as they get older

Kathy Lawrence is co-founder of the When They Get Older web site.

When my parents first began to need real help I was so grateful to have friends who could give me the benefit of their experience. But there was still an awful lot to learn. From how the NHS works to why you need power of attorney and how to choose a care home, most of us are entering uncharted territory as our ageing friends and relatives need more support. And for many of us that’s something we have to squeeze in between our day jobs, caring for our own families, and having a life for ourselves.

That’s why we created When They Get Older. It’s a web site where we’ve brought together expert advice and experience about a huge range of topics around how life changes as people age. We’re aiming to give really practical help provided by people who really get it, rather than simply regurgitating what’s been written many times before.

It might be the joys of finance, such as applying for Attendance Allowance, or understanding medical issues, such as what really happens in a cataract operation. It could be adding more fun to life, with anything from dementia days out to living well with hearing loss.

It’s our intention that When They Get Older is a first port of call in a crisis and a great place to browse just to be ready for any eventuality. As just as importantly, we want it to be a source of ideas to maintain and even improve the quality of life of our loved ones.

As we’ve become more knowledgeable we’ve become more aware of the gaps in elder care. How people are going to pay for their care if they need it is a major issue, and one that needs a national strategy to address. But there are smaller challenges too, and one of those is something we feel we can help to fix.

We believe that ageing is not just about getting by. It’s about having a full and enjoyable life. And eating well with pleasure becomes increasingly important. Yet not everyone is in a position to cook for themselves or eat out regularly. There are meal delivery services available, but not everyone sees these as adding pleasure to their lives.

So we’ve filled what we see as a gap by creating the Joseph Pip range of handmade, home-delivered frozen meals. They’re everything you need for a meal, in one tasty and nutritious dish. It’s currently a local service in Bucks and Berks but we aim to take it nationwide in time.

For the most part we aren’t a provider of products or services ourselves, though we do review some. We are a place that people can come to gather ideas, learn about other people’s experiences, and find the way to other services that can help them help their relatives. And we don’t forget that our readers need support too. So we have our own Agony Aunt who can advise on the emotional aspects of trying to balance life with care.

You can find out more about When They Get Older’s story on our web site, download our free guides, and browse hundreds of articles about health, finance, legal issues, life changes and more on the site. You can sign up for our regular newsletter there too. And we are always happy to hear from readers who can offer their own experiences for the benefit of those who follow after them. Just mail us at

Self Lacing Shoes and Footwear for Disability

Putting on a pair of shoes can be a daily struggle and a chore if you are disabled or elderly.  But shoe designers are coming up with some interesting, futuristic designs that could help make life easier.

As a result of an open letter sent  by a teenager with Cerebral Palsy, Nike have developed a cool pair of trainers designed for people with disabilities. Matthew Walzer, then 16, wrote asking Nike to make a pair of accessible shoes that would provide support and a closure system that could be used by everyone.

Nike Flyease

Nike Flyease trainers

In his letter, Matthew said “Out of all the challenges I have overcome in my life, there is one that I am still trying to master, tying my shoes. Cerebral palsy stiffens the muscles in the body. As a result I have flexibility in only one of my hands which makes it impossible for me to tie my shoes. My dream is to go to the college of my choice without having to worry about someone coming to tie my shoes everyday”

In response to his plea, Nike have developed Flyease, a trainer that uses a wrap around zipper system to secure the shoe, whilst a larger opening has been created to make it easier to slide the foot in and out.

In a posting on the Nike website, designer Tinker Hatfield said “While varying levels of mobility make it difficult to provide a universal solution, we feel this is a significant development for anyone who has ever struggled with independently securing their foot within Nike shoes.” Matthew responded by saying “There are not enough ‘thank yous’ in the world to express my undying gratitude.”

Limited quantities of the LeBron Soldier 8 FLYEASE are now available on website.


Japanese footwear designer Masaya Hashimoto has joined forces with Italian shoe maker Vibram to create the Vibram Furoshiki; a minimalist piece of footwear that has been described as Origami for the feet.

Vibram-furoshiki shoes

Vibram Furoshiki


Furoshiki is the traditional Japanese technique of cloth wrapping which is still used today for gift wrapping and transporting goods. This ancient technique has been used to create a minimalist piece of footwear with an innovative and anatomical grip sole that literally wraps the shoe in place. This is a really interesting concept which may help those with limited hand dexterity. You could imagine they would feel like second skin footwear; whether they will be waterproof or more of a slipper shoe is unclear but we will watch the shoe’s progress with interest.


Later this year, Nike is planning to release the Nike AIr MAG, a pair of self-lacing shoes, inspired by the time travel film  ’Back to the Future II’ worn by the fictional character Marty McFly when he is transported in the movie to 2015.


Nike Air MAG

Rollers embedded in the sole of the Nike Air MAG  would be activated by a control system which senses weight in the sole of the shoe. The power laces then respond by tightening and wrapping themselves around the shoe. Teasers have been dropped recently by Nike’s designer Tinker Hatfield as to the launch date later this year for the Air MAG so watch this space…








Product News – Sabi Space, Award Winning Bathroom Collection

Sabi Space, award winning, multi-generational range of easy-to-install storage and organisation products gives you the freedom to curate the perfect bathroom.

Sabi Space Mirror-shelf blog

Designed by MAP Project Office; a London based creative consultancy founded by Edward Barber and Jay Osgerby, Space is currently exhibited at the London Design Museum and nominated for their Product Design of the Year 2015.

Sabi designs products for the older baby boomer market with the aim of removing any stigma usually associated with these products. With Space, Sabi have created a line of products that are easy to customise, that give people a sense of empowerment when it comes to designing or renovating their environment.

Working closely with Sabi, MAP undertook product research, interviewing Sabi’s demographic that gave a surprising conclusion that one of the biggest issues for them is creating a bathroom that they want, without the inconvenience of the usual difficulties of DIY installation; products that 60 year old women could easily install in their homes.

MAP then developed a system of products that centres around a single building block: the peg. The collection includes bathroom accessories such as a towel rail, mirror, shelves, hooks and a caddy organiser and each of these components connect to the wall through small aluminium pegs that adhere to the wall with adhesive pads, so no screws necessary! This allows you to mix and match the components and change things around if you decide that you want to rearrange your bathroom.

Space products are easy to install with 1:1 template stickers for positioning with the option to use the high strength self adhesive and moisture-resistant pads.

Sabi Space hold-rail hooks blog resized

Sabi Space Hang Rail and Hold

Products include Hang Rail, a bead blasted aluminium rail with adjustable hooks, available in 45 cm or 60 cm lengths.

Sabi Space caddy blog

Sabi Space Caddy

The Caddy organises and stores toiletries; drainage slots in the base keeps the Caddy clean and dry. A moveable cup and two hooks are included.

Magnify is an angle adjustable and detachable anti-fog wall mounted mirror. The handle shape is designed for easy adjustment when positioned on the wall mount.

Sabi Space magnify shelf copy

Sabi Space Magnify and Shelf

Shelf has the appearance of floating elegantly on the wall and lends itself to multiples, installed at different heights to store objects of various sizes and shapes.

Hold, a powder coated aluminium circular rail delivers a strong, secure and reassuring grip. The curved shape can suit someone with arthritis and is easy to grip from any angle. Its unique shape makes it look like a fun product, suitable for users of different heights; great for added bath play and safety for kids. Professional installation of the Hold is recommended.

Sabi Space is meant to make life easier for the ageing but its flexibility is equally appealing and useful to a university student or generation rent.

Sabi Space will soon be available at John Lewis online and selected stores .

To see the Sabi Space collection visit

For further information on Sabi Space,  contact Sabi UK Sales Agent




Product News- Sabi ROAM Luxe Cane

Sabi ROAM Luxe Walking Cane contemporary black with stained wooden handle

Sabi ROAM Luxe walking cane

Whether it be a wedding, formal dinner or black tie occasion, a cocktail party or simply a stroll in the park, the Sabi ROAM Luxe Cane is an exceedingly handsome and stylish accessory that makes a bold statement.

The Luxe walking cane features a wide, hand-stained Baltic birch wood handle that is reassuring to hold and beautifies with age; the hand stained handle allows the colour and character of the wood to show through.

The single-piece, non-adjustable shaft made of high-strength aluminum; the same grade of aluminum used in bicycle frames. Super-durable and powder-painted, just like a bike, it offers a much more stable alternative to the adjustable walking stick.

The Sabi ROAM Luxe walking cane is now available on our website. You can read more HERE


Guest Blog – Lin Henry, Aequus Consulting (OT)


The “uncaring face” of Social Services

This month’s blog is giving a voice to a disabled woman and her experience of being disabled in 2015. In this, we can get an idea of how effectively disability services are supporting people who need their support.

“I am disabled and have had a care package for many years because I can’t use my hands properly and have trouble standing or walking.

Now that Social Services are having their budgets squeezed, they are trying to cut down my care package. They are reassessing me by getting the Care Coordinator to watch whilst the carer washes me and helps me get dressed.

They tell me that I should wear big socks and I should not wear fashionable clothes but baggy ones that are easier for the carer to take off.

They told me that I have to use a trolley to carry my food from the kitchen although I am reliant upon a walking frame. I fall on a regular basis because I have balance problems, what will happen if I fall whilst pushing the trolley indoors?

I feel scared as I thought that the Social Workers and OTs were there to help me; instead I feel that they are against me and that their main concern is saving money. They don’t treat me like a person but see me as a problem to their budgets.

I understand that they need to explain what money they spend on people but do they have to be so unfriendly and seemingly accusing me of taking services that I don’t deserve? Is it right that when I say I want to wash everyday, they tell me I have to make do with one wash a day? Why don’t they want to listen to me about my needs?

Over the years, my condition has got worse but instead of getting more help as my needs increase, I am getting less support. This means that I have to either go without a wash or something to eat, unless my family can help.

I don’t know whom to turn to now for the support to fight this injustice. I know that there are other disabled people who will be going through this stress as well. I just hope that the people in charge of these services realise that one day, it could be them. I used to be a nurse and I tried to give the best nursing care to all my patients. I hope that one day, we can go back to the days when people in the caring services, do what it says on the tin, which is provide…….. Care.”

Words of disabled woman, Birmingham, West Midlands

This is a troubling account on one person’s experience of the system; reading this will help us question the system we work within. We have to ask ourselves if the Social Care system is able to deliver all the things it promises, such as personalised care support for the person’s well-being.

The Care Act 2014 comes into force on 1st April 2015; the principle of promoting well-being is key to the function of Social Care. It could be argued that such cost cutting exercises not only contradict the principle of wellbeing, but it also increases the possibility of cost shunting to the NHS, the voluntary sector and the family.

If Social Care does not support people, they will no doubt, deteriorate to the point where they need a hospital admission, and thus creating more burdens on the NHS. We all need to work with the local councils to ensure that the scarce resources are used effectively. Local councils need to ensure that they do not forget one of their key functions that came from the Chronically Sick and Disabled Persons Act 1970, which is to monitor the number of people in need and provide for them.

Lin Henry

Aequus Consulting (OT)

Product News – Muggi Drinks Carrier

Red Muggi & Black Mugs 72 dpi

Muggi Drinks Carrier

Muggi is a new and versatile drinks carrier which is useful for carrying a number of cups, glasses and small bottles at one time, without the fear of spills and breakages. This clever little invention is suitable for cups of all different shapes and sizes whilst the handle slots ensure that the cups sit securely.

Ideal for wheelchair users for positioning on your lap or for crutch and walking stick users to carry with a free hand. You even have room to sneak a few biscuits in, if you have a cup holder spare!


Blue Muggi With Beer 72dpi resized

Muggi Drinks Carrier

Whether you are relaxing in your garden, enjoying an outdoor occasion or needing to carry drinks safely around the home, Muggi can hold up to four mugs or glasses. It will catch any unwanted spillages and features four non slip feet with finger and thumb holds making it easy for young or old hands. Muggi is light and easy to carry but also strong and secure.

Muggi is a great design for sailing, camping, picnics, tea (or Pimms) in the garden, festivals and music events. Available in three fun colours:  Red, Purple or Blue.

Buy yours here


Product News – Bosign Laptrays Anti-Slip

Bosign laptray with olive green cushion

Bosign Laptray Anti-Slip

Scandinavian homewares designers Bosign, supply design solutions which combine detail and lasting functionality with unexpected twists to bring you lifestyle products that make even the most everyday activities an enjoyable experience.

Bosign have put a contemporary twist on their Laptrays, resulting in a very modern, stylish product.  Bosign’s Laptray, with shape-able cushion is the tray to use for breakfast in bed, dinner on the couch or while surfing the Internet from your favourite armchair.

Bosign laptray for use with a laptop computer

Bosign Laptray with olive green cushion

Bosign’s antislip tray in high-quality plastic creates a stable surface, while the shapeable cushion allows you to adjust the angle of the tray to suit the task at hand.

The tray and pillow together effectively disperse the heat from your computer. Laptray is a multi-purpose tray that comes in handy any time you need a small table.

The soft cushion is attached to the tray with velcro. With a cover made of 100 percent cotton, it can easily be removed and machine washed on a cool setting.

More information on the Bosign Laptray can be found here


HEWI Accessible Bathroom Solutions

HEWI support rail 800

HEWI – Comfort to Care Range

A market leader in accessible bathroom solutions, HEWI’s stylish bathroom range sets high standards. The underlying idea of HEWI’s Comfort to Care solutions is to create products for people of all ages, ensuring comfort, convenience and accessibility for all.

HEWI is a German company that design and manufacture their own high quality hardware, sanitary and accessibility products. HEWI’s Comfort to Care solutions fit beautifully within our stylish accessible bathroom range, where many of the products fulfill the criteria of universal design.

950 HEWI Washbasin

HEWI Washbasin

The HEWI Washbasin is designed to be wheelchair accessible, whilst having an elegant appeal. The washbasin has a shelf and round basin with integrated hand holds on the sides, giving you extra safety and stability. The hand holds can also be used as towel holders.

950_51_02090_1 450 with Backrest for BC

HEWI Hinged Seat With Backrest

With it’s minimal, contemporary design, the wall hung HEWI Hinged Shower Seat With Backrest will fit beautifully into any modern bathroom. The surface of the seat is slip resistant, the seat is curved for user comfort whilst the seat edges have been rounded for safety.

More information on our HEWI products and our accessible bathroom range can be found HERE