Tag Archives: ageing

100 Best Blogs for Disabled People and Carers

 3d Grandpa with his walking frame works online on laptop

Blogging is a great way to share stories, information, personal experiences and practical advice from all corners of the world. It can bring people together in remarkable ways, particularly when the article is uplifting, inspiring or even when they touch a nerve and are hard to read for their brutal honesty.

When a blog is written about something personal, such as dealing with a medical condition or life changing experience, good or bad, it gives the reader an insight into an area that they may not have experienced themselves and by sharing the information, it gives others a greater understanding of the issues and the challenges faced.

In many cases, disability can be isolating and to read a blog written by someone that has had a shared medical condition or disability and to see how they are dealing with it can be hugely reassuring, just to realise that you are not alone. For family, friends and carers, it can also provide greater understanding for the person they care for and the physical and emotional impact of their condition, that they might otherwise find difficult to discuss.

Blogs can also be a great resource for a host of providers, such as travel, holiday accommodation, places to go and things to do, reviews on products and services which can be invaluable.

We were recently contacted by StairliftsReviews, informing us that we have been included in their listing of the 100 Best Blogs for Disabled People and Carers, which of course, we were delighted with  - we are number 19 in the list. The list has some really inspiring blogs, showing you how much some of these bloggers have achieved, along with a whole range of practical advice from finance to travel. So enjoy reading and perhaps follow your favourites to keep up to date with what they are doing.

 

 

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

 

Thai Massage for the Elderly

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Having recently completed a very energetic Thai Yoga Massage Certification, I find myself with the conviction that giving Thai Massage must be a young person’s game. It’s energetic, agile and requires a certain amount of flexibility. Receiving massage, however, is a pleasure that doesn’t expire no matter how advanced your years are. I personally can’t wait until I’m old enough to be solely on the receiving end of the massage train.

Depending on your physical abilities, limitations and your reasons for getting a massage, a good masseuse can tailor a sequence to your needs, so that you leave feeling refreshed, lightly pummelled and fully relaxed every time.

There are many different styles of massage that can be good for the elderly, and it’s good to do a little research before you spend the money, so you know what style is going to be most beneficial. Today we talk about Thai Massage, what to expect, and how this particular style can be particularly good for health and vitality.

Massage for elderly

What should I expect from a Thai Massage?

Thai Massage is generally a more vigorous style of massage, often likened to “passive yoga”, in that a lot of the movements replicate yoga asana (postures). The massage is done fully clothed, and can last anywhere from one hour to two and a half hours, depending on whether you want the full works, or a shorter session. The receiver simply needs to relax entirely, and the masseuse does all the work (even when the receiver is much larger than the masseuse!). It’s best to choose a masseuse with therapeutic qualifications – a certificate in Thai Massage doesn’t guarantee their knowledge of the therapeutic application of massage techniques, and you want to make sure you’re in safe hands, particularly if you have any physical conditions.

A good masseuse should ask you if you have any physical conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, any injuries or chronic pain. They should then be able to adapt the massage sequence to keep the massage safe, comfortable and hopefully help with some of the issues you are dealing with.

A full body thai massage means just that – every area of your body is massaged. The masseuse will work through a sequence following the pattern of stretching out the muscle, kneading or palming the energy lines, pressing (lightly or firmly) on certain points along the energy lines to temporarily stem the blood flow, then allow it to rush back in with more strength and vitality.

The massage will usually start from the feet and work up to the head, as Thailand is a primarily Buddhist country, and in Buddhist tradition, the feet are the lowest part of the body and therefore the most unclean. It is considered rude in Buddhist tradition to point your feet towards the Buddha.

The masseuse works the energy lines on the legs, massages both legs individually then both together in two leg stretches (inversions, or going upside down, should be avoided in the case of heart disease or high blood pressure), then moves on to the stomach, chest and arms. Next is the side position, stretching the side energy lines of the legs and the arms, and for anyone with sciatica, they might spend extra time working on the gluteus and IT band, all the way from the bottom to the outer calf.

The stomach can be an incredibly sensitive and personal area to have massaged, and requires a certain amount of trust between masseuse and receiver. If the receiver has any issues with slow digestion a clockwise stomach massage with gentle circular motions can help to stimulate bowel movements and digestive fire. If digestion is relatively normal, the massage can be performed counter-clockwise with pressure applied onto certain points of the stomach. Any kind of stomach massage helps the internal and digestive organs to work more efficiently, and can help to relieve stomach pain, gas, indigestion and bloating.

From here, the masseuse will move the receiver onto their stomach in a prone position and work the back of the body, before moving into a sitting position to work the shoulders, neck and head. Then, the masseuse will lie the receiver down, go to wash their hands (to cleanse from touching the feet and body) before massaging the face, to complete the massage.

Why is it considered beneficial for the elderly?

As we age, we experience a decrease in mobility, joint flexibility and suppleness, and range of motion that we perhaps had in younger years, which can create joint pain, aches, stiffness and the weakening of muscles. Through therapeutic Thai massage specifically for older patients, we can alleviate discomfort and facilitate pain relief, relaxation and an overall feeling of well-being. The healing power of a compassionate touch is incredibly valuable, and has the ability to help us feel more connected with others and with our own bodies. This can be something more difficult to find in ageing years, as we find ourselves increasingly out of touch with our physical bodies and feel that they are separate from our minds, where we are convinced we are still 25 years old. Massage induces a feeling of well-being and a boost of endorphins, minimising the likeliness of depression and creating a more optimistic outlook on life.

Do I have to lie down to receive a Thai Massage?

Generally, Thai Massage is performed on a thin, supportive mattress on the ground, or alternatively on a massage table. However, a good masseuse should be able to adapt to the receiver’s physical requirements. Massage can be given in the comfort of your home, long-term care facility, or hospital. Depending on the condition, the person receiving the massage can be in bed, seated upright in a chair or wheelchair, or lay on a floor mat.

For clients who are bed-bound, the practitioner will administer massage right on the bed. More focus will be spent on the hands, arms, legs and feet. This will also enhance relaxation, body in-home or on-location services so the patient doesn’t need to leave their home.

An overview of the benefits:

  • helps restore balance, emotional clarity, and promote relaxation and healing
  • helps to relieve joint and muscle pain and stiffness; and improves mobility
  • improves skin condition through better circulation and relieves itchiness
  • calms the mind and body, and promotes a more restful sleep
  • relieves old age depression, stress, anxiety and the feeling of physical isolation
  • helps maintain some muscle tone and flexibility, preventing muscle atrophy
  • releases endorphins which act as a natural painkiller in the bloodstream
  • offers human contact and a compassionate and healing touch
  • helps to relieve other ailments such as arthritis, tendonitis, bursitis, osteoporosis, and respiratory problems such as asthma and emphysema

To ensure that therapeutic massage can be received, it is important that the client consults a medical professional to gain approval. In some cases, Thai Massage is not recommended for the elderly in certain conditions.

Overall, Thai Massage can be incredibly beneficial for increasing vitality in the elderly, and can be a powerful treatment alongside medication and lifestyle changes for managing physical conditions, chronic pain, and creating an optimistic outlook of the years to come.

designed2enable specialise in stylish daily living products for the elderly and those needing a little extra help in life click HERE for more information

 

Author: Rosie Moreton

 

 

Top & Derby: The Design Interview

designed2enable has a few words with Matt and Ben of Canadian design company Top & Derby, the people behind our beautiful new Chatfield Canes and Compression Socks.

Trendy contemporary walking stick

Top & Derby Canes 

Ben: Matt and I met while working for the international furniture retailer, EQ3. I did store planning and design for the each of the company’s corporate stores and independent retail partners around the world. Matt worked as an independent product designer, and designed many of the company’s top selling upholstery and casegood items.

We saw there was a gap in the home healthcare market for well-designed products, and from this little spark, Top & Derby was born.

d2e: What inspired you to focus on healthcare products and on the Chatfield cane as your launch product?

Matt: Although we would have loved to design and launch a large portfolio of products, we decided to focus initially on one product in order to test the market. Since walking canes were once used as a fashion accessory, and they are currently the most frequently used mobility accessory, we decided to launch a cane as our first product.

Additionally, the Chatfield was designed to be a simple and beautiful product, crafted of premium materials. We wanted people to be excited by the cane that they use, since many people are embarrassed to use a cane. Essentially, we started with a product that we felt our customers would be proud to own.

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d2e: Was there a particular person who inspired you to produce such a dandy cane?

Matt: We didn’t have one particular person in mind when we designed the Chatfield. We thought about every person who uses clinical looking home healthcare products and how we could enhance their lives; we didn’t think it was fair that there was limited choice in the products that they were using. Overall, our goal with Top & Derby has been to make an impact on the industry with unique, design-driven home healthcare products.

Medical socks for tired legs

Top & Derby Compression Socks

d2e: Why did you choose compression socks for your second product?

Ben: We decided to launch compression socks because they represent a meaningful product extension for the Top & Derby product range. Like canes, compression socks are also fashion accessories for people who use home healthcare products. We’ve been delighted with the reception to our decidedly different sock designs.

d2e: You launched your products with Kickstarter funding. Did you have an overwhelming response to the Kickstarter campaign? Can you give us any insight into the pros and cons of the crowdfunding process?

Ben: Kickstarter is a topic that we could write a book about; we’ve launched two crowdfunding campaigns and have become quite intimate with the process of it. We have been fortunate to receive funding through both of our campaigns, but we don’t take for granted the hard work that goes into planning a successful campaign.

In a nutshell, the pros of crowdfunding are twofold.

1) It gives people the opportunity to access capital, test the market with an idea, and generate pre-sales for a product before it goes into production.

2) Crowdfunding provides people the opportunity to gain exposure in the market – sometimes through press and other times through organic site traffic – which helps to generate awareness for both a product and company.

Often, the biggest pitfall for crowdfunders is underestimating the capital required to launch a project. Underestimating capital can compromise a person’s ability to be able to deliver on his or her promises further down the road. Fortunately, we have not encountered these issues. Prior to launching each of our campaigns, we have been quite diligent in fully understanding the strategy and economics of crowdfunding.

Compression flight socks

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d2e: Can you share any information on the design process and how long it took to design the canes.

Matt: The design process for our canes, and for all of our products in development, is often quite long. Ben and I often jam on product concepts, then I start drawing rough sketches. Eventually these sketches are turned into renderings and we will build some rapid (rough) prototypes before finding factories that we might want to work with to produce our designs. Once we narrow down the factories that we want to work with, we get some pre-production prototypes built and refine them until we are happy for them to go into production.

d2e: What challenges/setbacks did you come up against in manufacturing the products – or did the whole process run very smoothly? 

Matt: The most challenging thing about manufacturing any type of product is finding high quality manufacturers that can deliver on the vision we have for a product. Since our products often combine multiple materials, it can be challenging to find one manufacturer with the capabilities to produce products that use many different materials and manufacturing processes.

d2e: How do you select the manufacturers that produce your products? Did they have to meet certain criteria?

Matt: We spend a great deal of time finding the high quality manufacturing partners. Once we design rough prototypes, the longest part of the development cycle is finding manufacturers that we want to work with.

d2e: Have you had any specific feedback from retailers/design institutes and the general public? Are the larger department stores buying into the idea?

Ben: The general public (who use home healthcare products) seem to really resonate with the T&D brand and what we are trying to achieve. Larger department stores are not as open to the idea, since they don’t believe that consumers want design-driven home healthcare products. However, we believe that it will only be a matter of time before the market demands it.

If you would like to know more about Top & Derby’s products, check out the Chatfield walking cane and compression socks at designed2enable.co.uk

 

 

Iris Apfel, Style Icon

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image credit: thetimes.co.uk

Iris Apfel first came onto our radar a few years ago when she was featured on Advanced Style Blog. At the grand age of 94, most people are slowing down in life but Iris is an incredible woman who has become a ‘geriatric starlet’, known for her iconic style and creative brilliance.

A former interior designer, Iris and her husband Carl Apfel; a textile merchant who died earlier this year, landed a contract consulting on the interiors for the White House and were well known within the New York design circles.

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Iris & her husband Carl. Image: Rex

Her career as an interior designer and textile creator took her around the world. Through her travels to the far corners of the world, she collected her eclectic mix of vintage and designer clothes and costume jewellery which was exhibited at the New York Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute.  This exhibition was a turning point in her career. Apfel styled the show herself and through word of mouth became a new fashion sensation, more or less overnight.

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Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures

Iris is celebrated in countless style magazines covers and insists that her appeal is due to the glamour that is missing in life these days and the fact that people like her because she is different. She is a master at mixing something cheap with something chic and manages to create her own style. She engages with all sorts of people, of all ages, from all walks of life and shares with them her excitement about living.

Loved for her no-nonsense attitude, she is well known for her ‘Irisisms’ where she shares her pearls of wisdom and her style inspiration:

“Fashion you can buy, but style you possess”

“When you don’t dress like everyone else, you don’t have to think like everyone else”

“I don’t see anything wrong with a wrinkle. It’s kind of a badge of courage”

“There’s no how-to road map to style. It’s about self expression and above all, attitude”

This year has seen the launch of Iris, a documentary film about Apfel’s life. Iris is living proof that keeping active is the key to ageing gracefully.