Category Archives: Mobility

Product News: Flipstick Foldaway Adjustable Walking Stick

Flipstick Folding Adjustable stick with seat

Flipstick in Dayglo Pink

Flipstick could become your perfect travelling companion, taking the strain when your legs are tired or you need a short rest.  Whether you are standing in a queue, waiting for a bus or enjoying an outdoor festival or concert, Flipstick is there to support you.

The comfortable walking cane handle doubles as a seat and the whole unit fits easily into the carry bag that is supplied when you purchase your Flipstick. The rubber-grip ferrule is suitable for indoor and outdoor use and the seat/handle is available in either stunning dayglo pink, navy blue or black.

Flipstick folding adjustable walking cane with seat

Flipstick Navy Blue

Folding Adjustable Flipstick walking stick with seat black

Flipstick Black

The shaft of the stick is made from aluminium and is therefore strong and sturdy and there is the facility to adjust the height of the stick from 87.6cm to 91.5 cm, which make this a great gift –  idea for friends or family. Flipstick is easy to use, when the cane is released from the bag, it almost assembles itself for you.

You can read more HERE

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.

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

How To Measure Your Walking Stick / Cane

Top & Derby walking stick stylish

Top & Derby Chatfield Canes

When buying a new cane or walking stick, you need to ensure that you are buying the correct size. Buying the wrong sized cane can result in a stressed shoulder or elbow joint. The length of the walking stick is not determined by your height, but by the distance from your wrist joint to the floor. You will find that the correct length of walking stick will be more comfortable and more efficient when you use it.

When sizing your cane, it is best to have someone to help you.  Put on a pair of shoes that you most frequently wear and stand upright, letting your arm hang loosely by your side, with your arm very slightly bent. The person helping you should then measure the distance from the floor up to your wrist joint. This measurement will determine the ideal length of cane for you. If you are purchasing a cane that is pre-cut in various size options and your measurement falls between two sizes, we recommend purchasing the cane that is the size above your measurement.

size-guide-for-top-derby-walking-sticks

Sizing guide for walking stick measurement

If you have bought a cane to cut to size yourself, again, having a friend to help measure the size would be helpful. In this case, remove the ferrule and turn the cane upside down, so that the handle is resting on the floor and measure up to the wrist joint and with a piece of chalk or a pencil, make a mark on the shaft of the cane at this point. You will need to factor in the measurement of the ferrule and then using a small saw,  cut the cane to customise it to your size. You can then replace the ferrule onto the end of the cane.

If you already have a cane that you feel is the perfect height for you, then simply measure the length from the bottom of the cane to the top of the handle and repeat as above.

If you are buying a walking stick as a gift for someone and you are unsure of the length of walking stick to buy, an adjustable height walking stick would be the safest option and these are widely available as either a telescopic/height adjustable walking stick or a folding height adjustable walking stick.

folding adjustable walking stick black

Flexyfoot folding height adjustable walking stick

A new cane need not be dull, if you purchase one that has some style or flair it can be used as a fashion statement, just like a pair of trendy glasses that says something about who you are.  So be brave and bold and let your cane say something about who you are #StayActiveWithStyle.

colourful stylish funky canes

Sabi Classic Canes

At designed2enable, we have an enviable collection of stylish, trendy, funky and contemporary walking sticks and canes that will help you stand out from the crowd. Click HERE for our full range.

 

 

3D Screen Printing For Disability

Bespoke 3d prosthetic

Bespoke 3D Prosthetic

Nowadays, anyone can pick up a plastic 3D printer for a couple of hundred pounds and start printing their own limbs. To a certain extent.

Amazing technological advances are allowing scientists to take a 3D scan of an amputee’s arm, 3D print a custom fitted socket for the defective limb overnight, and create a bio-electrically controlled limb with sensors on its muscles which can pick up signals from the brain, so that the hand moves in response to those signals.

Scientists are able to mirror the side that exists and undergo “virtual planning” on the computer, whereby they take data from the functional side and reflect it onto the other side. This process will make prosthetic surgery much more efficient time-wise, with less risk involved and improved outcome.

There are also new materials on the prosthetics scene which complement the 3D printing technology and allow for better integration into the body, such as a honeycomb structure which allows bone to grow and merge with 3D printed scaffolding. In the future, developers hope to print and grow complete organs for our bodies, and print using human stem cells, which are the building blocks for any other cell in our body. Currently, they are able to print basic living structures such as liver cells, and this is significant in regards to drug testing, meaning they can test on 3D printed cells rather than on animals or humans.

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

GO-6 Layer 3D Printing Wheelchair

There are a number of strategic industrial design agencies forging the way in intelligent technological research, improving the quality of life for people with disabilities and amputations. One of these agencies is LayerLAB and their inaugural project “GO”, a made to measure 3D printed consumer wheelchair that has been designed to fit the individual needs of a wide range of disabilities and lifestyles. The custom form of the seat and foot-bay is driven by 3D digital data derived from mapping each user’s biometric information. The resulting wheelchair accurately fits the individual’s body shape, weight and disability to reduce injury and increase comfort, flexibility, and support. The accompanying GO app allows users to participate in the design process by specifying their preferences of colour, elements and patterns.

This is a wonderful example of how we can use 3D printing to offer customisation to the individual customer, and a personalisation of products which allows the wheelchair users to have a greater sense of control around their situation, feeling that the wheelchair is made for them, rather than them having to mould to fit the wheelchair.

 

3d printed wheelchair gloves

Go Gloves Materialise 2016

From this project and the research and interviewing process around it, LayerLAB discovered that a great mental and physical stress for wheelchair users was the strain and effort involved in self-propelling. They developed the GO glove alongside the GO wheelchair, where the glove grips more efficiently to the wheelchair push rims. The user can lock into the push rims and get a greater power-to-push ratio, taking some of the strain of their arm, neck and shoulder muscles, and reducing the exhaustion and injury induced by self-propelling, which so many wheelchair users suffer from.

 

Philip the duck 3d printing

Philip the duck with his 3D printed feet

The story of Phillip the duck is another example of the far-reaching potential of 3D printing technology. Phillip lost his feet from frostbite, and was rescued by a teacher in Wisconsin, who was considering having him put down, due to his immobility. A local teacher had recently purchased a 3D printer and, with the help of his students, was able to design Phillip some new prosthetic legs from flexible plastic. The simple design allows the remnants of Phillip’s legs to slot in the top of the prosthetic legs, with flat artificial webbed feet underneath providing stability.

Now Phillip the duck is able to walk again, not quite as nimble as before, but a pretty incredible feat..

Hugh Herr – Double Amputee & Bionics Inventor

Hugh Herr Amputee - Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Hugg Herr; Bionic Prosthetic Inventor

Have you ever wondered whether something that is perceived as your shortcoming, something that stops you from living life in a “normal” way, could actually be seen as an opportunity to push past conventional boundaries?

Hugh Herr is doing just that. He has created bionic limbs that are more flexible, more versatile, and much stronger than normal biological limbs, and is challenging our understanding of disability as something that hinders us from doing the things we love. Through his creations he is managing to bridge the gap between disability and ability, and at the same time exploring human limitation and potential.

Herr had both legs amputated below the knee after tissue damage from frostbite in a mountain climbing accident.  He was very well known in climbing circles, and at 17 years old, he had scaled cliff faces that no adult had ever attempted before. As a teenage climbing phenomenon, he met fellow climber Jeff Batzer and together decided to scale Mount Washington in New Hampshire. As they set out, avalanche conditions set in, but they kept going in the snow, believing it mild enough to manage, enjoying themselves. The conditions got worse, visibility was poor, and they got higher and higher on the mountain and further north, meaning further away from civilisation. They realised they needed to turn around, but Herr fell through ice during a river crossing and lost body heat and precious energy. After three days on the mountain they were eventually rescued, but Herr’s legs were severely frostbitten and gangrene was threatening to creep into the rest of his body. Seven surgeries later and doctors were still unable to get blood flowing back into his feet. His legs were amputated just below the knees, and he was fitted with legs made from plaster of paris. He cried every day for two years, his main focus not so much walking again, but whether he could climb. All he wanted was to feel normal again.

Image: Heinz Award

Image: Heinz Award

A few months after his surgery, he was fitted with a pair of acrylic legs, and took himself back into the mountains. As he climbed he realised that the real parts of his body got colder and achier, while his artificial limbs had no muscle fatigue whatsoever. He could also move a lot more quickly, because the amputations had left him 14 pounds lighter. This was when he had the realisation that fake limbs could possibly outperform real ones. A life changing realisation and one that set him on the path to creating dynamic bionic limbs that moved and felt better than real ones.

He realised there was a gap in artificial limb technology for bionic limbs – data driven creations rather than artisan crafted. So he filled that gap.

hugh herr double amputee

image: Shaun G Henry for Forbes

How do his legs work? There are three interfaces – mechanical, dynamic, and electrical.

Mechanically, he discovered a way to attach the limbs to the body in a comfortable and durable way – a relief for anyone who wears an artificial limb and endures the pain where the artificial and biological limbs meet. Where the body is stiff, he made the synthetic skin soft, and vice versa. This was done through a combination of MRI scans, robotic data and experimenting with different synthetic materials.

Dynamically, it was necessary to understand what each muscle does, how they connect with each other, and how those muscles are controlled by the spine.

Electrically, he realised that to make the limbs feel real, they needed to be a real part of the body, connecting with other processes, most importantly, the nervous system. He modelled the artificial limb on the biological limb, and researched the spinal reflexes and connections between the limb and the brain. He even went a step further, realising that through motor channels we can sense how a person wants to move. He now wears synthetic limbs that move and FEEL like flesh and bone.

Over half the world’s population suffers from some kind of cognitive, emotional sensory and motor condition, and due to poor technology these conditions so often end up as some form of disability.

Herr believes every person should have the right to live life without disability. To be able to see a loved one even with impaired sight, to be able to live without severe depression, to walk or dance in the case of limb paralysis or amputation.

Herr is shifting our viewpoint on disability and amputation, from the belief that a person is broken, to the idea that our environment is disabled and inadequate. A broken body is not a broken person.

He is passionate about bringing this innovative technology to the people that need it.

For more information on Hugh Herr and his work, see his Ted Talk, “The New Bionics That Let Us Run, Climb and Dance”:

 

 

Product News: Apres Body Dryer

Body Dryer 3

Apres Body, Warm Air Dryer

Drying your body after a shower or bath may be awkward to do, if you are disabled or unsteady on your feet.  The Apres Body Drier completely dries the body within a few minutes, with a gentle stream of warm air has been designed to remove the anxiety and physical struggle of drying yourself, turning it instead into a pleasurable experience.

With the Body Dryer, there is no need to dry yourself off with a towel; even the most awkward places are dried by the warm, gentle, air flow. This increases safety by reducing the risk of slipping or falling from awkward movements whilst towel drying, which benefits people with balance and mobility problems, arthritis, amputees and wheelchair users. It is also helpful for people with sensitive skin that becomes chaffed from conventional towel drying.

Positioned in the corner or on the wall of the shower, the dryer is designed to be installed inside your shower area and activated by pressing a pneumatic two speed push-button which can be located anywhere in the shower.  The pleasant warm air temperature, is set slightly above room temperature.

The Body Dryer features a full-body length air tube that dries you evenly from head to toes. The Body Dryer tube contains air openings, that gently and effectively create a blanket of swirling warm air to envelope and dry your entire body – front, back and sides – no matter which way you stand or sit or face.

You can find further information on the Apres Body Dryer HERE

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

 

Product News – Folding Walking Sticks by Classic Canes

Camel Check folding walking stick

Folding Camel Check Cane

Folding canes are a great solution for when you need to keep your walking stick to hand but also like to pop it away out of sight when it is not required.

Our new range of women’s folding sticks by Classic Canes are real fashion statements, designed to co-ordinate with many an outfit.  Lightweight, attractive and height adjustable, the folding canes can be stowed away discreetly when in a restaurant or on a plane and will fit neatly into your bag or glove box of your car for when you need it.

Multi Tartan folding walking stick

Multi Tartan folding cane

The traditional derby handle offers excellent support to the hand as it can slip neither forward or back and may be popped over your arm when not in use. The sides of the handle are rounded for comfort and the strong, aluminium shaft folds neatly into four sections.

Floral black folding walking stick

Floral black folding cane

The adjustable height of these canes make them a safe, stylish, considerate and affordable gift for family and friends.

You can see our full range of walking sticks here