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Feb 23

Advice On Designing Accessible Bathrooms Offered


If you’re considering carrying out a bathroom redesign this year, there are a number of elements you should think about to ensure it’s future-proof.

Among them is to ensure that it’s an accessible space. An article in the Telegraph has offered some suggestions on how best to go about this without compromising on style.

One of the top suggestions is to install a walk-in shower. Because these do away with the traditional shower tray, they become easy access showers that make bathing safer for both younger and older members of a family.

What’s more, if you only have a small bathroom, a walk-in shower can be an excellent way to make the most of the space. By choosing simple tiles and a stylish shower screen, it can look elegant as well as being highly practical.

Another element worth splashing out on during a bathroom revamp is low-slip floor tiles. These are available in a range of colours and designs, so you should be able to find something that suits your decor.

Even taking the time to think about the kind of taps you install can make a difference to those with reduced dexterity being able to use things in the bathroom. The newspaper noted that by selecting long-handled, lever-style taps you’ll make it easier for people who struggle with their dexterity to use them.

In December, a study by Tepilo.com suggested that more and more families are considering multigenerational living, which could make it more important to make alterations like these to ensure everyone can safely use spaces like the bathroom.

Jan 29

Council Hoping To Boost Use Of Assistive Tech By Elderly


We all understand that as we get older we may need to make modifications to our homes to help us stay safe and live independent lives.

That might involve having things like easy access showers installed in our bathrooms, but now one council in the UK is running a scheme to try and get more elderly residents in its area to adopt assistive care technology.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council has received a £25,000 grant from the Local Government Association (LGA) to help it develop a project that it hopes will encourage more elderly people to make use of such devices.

Dave Tyrell, project manager, told UK Authority that it can be difficult to encourage people in this demographic to adopt new technology, which is why they’re going to work with a behavioural insights specialist to help drive take-up.

“I think people are sometimes put off because they think of technology as being complicated,” he explained.

Mr Tyrell added: “We want to look at what people understand about how it works, with the key words being ‘awareness’ and ‘training’.”

To help overcome any negative perception of the cost, the council will be offering people devices free of charge for a 12-week period, as well as providing them at no cost after they are discharged from hospital. The hope is that these devices will help people stay safe in their homes.

There are always new innovations happening where technology is concerned, and one of the latest comes in the form of an IllumiBowl light that can be attached to the rim of your toilet. Technabob noted that the light turns on and off using motion sensors, illuminating your toilet in the night and making it easy to navigate your bathroom.

Jan 07

13m Brits Argue ‘About Sharing Bathrooms’


It can be difficult living with friends and family, but apparently one of the most challenging things about cohabiting for Brits is sharing bathrooms.

According to recent figures from Direct Line Home Insurance, 13 million adults have had an argument about the use of the bathroom in the past. For 800,000 of these people, the disagreement has been so severe it has resulted in the end of a friendship.

Dan Simson, head of home insurance at Direct Line, said: “Shared bathrooms can quickly descend into chaos, with families feuding over the ‘best bathroom’, couples bickering about whose turn it is to clean the shower and flatmates clashing over who used the last of the shampoo.”

The findings revealed the most common disagreement is to do with the state the bathroom has been left in, with 40 per cent saying this was the major cause of conflict in their house.

Some 29 per cent stated that arguments were usually about leaving the toilet seat up, while 23 per cent had disputes about how long people spent in the washroom.

These are just some of the reasons why many would prefer to have their own private bathroom, with 15 million Brits having to share the space with at least three other people.

It is not a surprise so many inhabitants share bathrooms these days – two million claim to use theirs with five or more people – as multigenerational living has become the norm in the UK.

Indeed, online estate agent Tepilo.com recently revealed that three in five Brits would consider purchasing a property with relatives, AOL reported. However, while families may want to live together, residing with several generations in one house could easily lead to conflict.

Older residents would fare better by having their own facilities, so they can install easy access showers or baths that are easier to climb in and out of.  

Dec 20

How To Reduce The Risk Of Fractures Among Elderly


Ageing brings with it an increased risk of fractures but there are ways to guard against the trips and slips so commonly responsible for fractures in older people.

Bones lose mineral content with age and become more likely to break during a fall. According to TheHealthSite, one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 suffer from osteoporosis, which is often undiagnosed until an accident happens.

To prevent such incidents, the website cites a number of considerations worth making at home from orthopaedic knee surgeon Dr Miten Sheth.


Declutter and repair

Keeping clutter to a minimum helps reduce the risk of tripping over items left lying around, especially in hallways and staircases, while repairing loose tiles or other hazards may reduce the chance of slipping.


Wear fitted clothing and shoes

Long, loose clothes can trail along the floor and be stepped on accidentally, potentially resulting in a fall. Likewise, wearing socks without shoes can pose a slipping risk, so wearing some shoes with a rubber sole or tread to better grip the floor may help lower the risk.


Well-lit and on one level

The surgeon advises older people to live on one level where possible, reducing the risks associated with falling on the stairs. Likewise, making sure the property is well lit is important – night lights can provide guidance in darkness.


Bathroom safety

The bathroom is a common place for trips and slips. Dr Sheth advises the installation of handrails for more support when using the bathroom, while easy access showers and walk in baths can help ensure the elderly can continue to use the bathroom safely yet independently.

Dec 04

Physiotherapy Services Should Be Delivered In Full


When a physiotherapist recommends a programme of sessions, they should be allowed to deliver it, rather than being encouraged to cut back on the number of sessions provided to patients.

This is the opinion of Dawn Skelton, professor of ageing and health at Glasgow Caledonian University, who addressed the British Geriatric Society this month.

The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP), of which Professor Skelton is an honorary member, reported on her address in which she urged physiotherapists to stand their ground when asked to cut back on treatment programmes.

“We should treat it [exercise] like a drug and prescribe the correct dose and duration and the right people should be prescribing it,” she stated.

Professor Skelton said that if GPs were told they had to cut half of a treatment regime due to cuts to resources they would “create havoc”, and she argues that physiotherapists need to be vocal in protecting their treatment plans.

Delivering a 12-week tailored programme of either two or three sessions a week can lead to significant improvements in strength, balance and muscle tone among the elderly, she pointed out.

This can therefore help prevent trips and falls, which often lead to older people being hospitalised, putting pressure on health and social care services.

Making sure that homes are suitably adapted, such as by introducing easy access showers, is another step that people can take to reduce their risk of injury in their own homes.

Other hazards that commonly cause injuries in the home include stairs, slippery floor surfaces and loose rugs and carpets, according to research that was published recently in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Nov 14

What Funding Is Available For Home Adaptations?


As we get older, our bodies will naturally change and we’ll become more prone to accidents at home – which is why it pays to be prepared and make the necessary adaptations to our houses to cater for our evolving needs.

But how do you go about paying for these renovations and is there funding available? If you find you do need support with daily living because you’re disabled, have a long-term health condition or are elderly you can get in touch with your local authority to have a care needs assessment.

The amount of money you can get to help will depend on whether you need major or minor adaptations. Minor changes include hand rails in the bathroom or lever taps on sinks, while major alterations would be something like widening doorways, bringing the worktops in your kitchen down or installing easy access showers downstairs.

According to the Money Advice Service, if you live in England your local authority will typically provide you with small adaptations that cost under £1,000 and other disability equipment free of charge if you’re eligible and have been assessed as requiring it.

You’re also able to apply for a Disabled Facilities Grant if your council has decided that the work being carried out is appropriate for your needs and is necessary. The maximum amount for those living in England is £30,000 – but be mindful that the grants are means-tested so any income and savings you or your partner have will also be taken into account. Charities such as The ACT Foundation may also be able to help with funds.

Nov 02

Slips, Trips and Falls ‘Can Happen To Anyone’ In The Home


The importance of easy access showers and other bathroom safety features has been made clearer than ever, as a fresh report has revealed that slips, trips and falls can happen to just about anybody in the home.

Reuters reported on a new study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine revealing that people of all ages are being taken to A&E for sprains, strains, fractures and bumps.

However, older people, younger children and women were reported to be more likely to be seen by a doctor in the emergency department than other demographics.

Indeed, pensioners over the age of 85, children under three and young adults in their 20s had the highest injury rates, but over two-thirds of visitors to A&E were a mix of ages between 11 and 60.

Senior author of the report Dr Gary Smith of Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, Ohio, said: “Stairs are a common source of injury among all ages and the frequency and rate of stair-related injuries are increasing.”

As well as stairs, slippery floor surfaces and loose rugs and carpets were identified as major hazards.

The study found that power grip facilities around the home, which allow people to grab a rail more securely, reduce more severe injuries in falls.

Myfox8 recently reported that regular eye tests and exercising can help prevent accidents around the home by keeping your peepers in the best condition to spot hazards, and to keep reflexes and muscles toned. Prevention is always better than cure when it comes to dealing with injuries around the home.

Oct 20

Mobility Problems Set To Soar?


Our installations of disability baths and easy access showers helps people to remain independent in their own homes, even when their mobility is impaired.

As we all know, there is a growing older population in this country, but did you realise this means there is also set to be a growing number of people with mobility problems?

The total number of people with mobility problems in the UK at present is 20.37 per cent of women, and 16.07 per cent of men. This rises with age so that 44.8 per cent of women over 85 say they have severe long-term activity limitations, as do 37.4 per cent of men.

But by 2047 overall it is predicted to be 21.25 and 16.87 per cent respectively across all age groups, due to the rising age of our population.

Lead researcher Dr Daniela Weber, of the Wittgenstein Centre International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis in Austria, told The Express Newspaper: “Life expectancy is increasing and fertility rates are declining, leading to an increase of older populations.

“The health status of older population is raising public interest and a broadly discussed issue since many countries fear a rise in economic costs caused by ageing.”

The problem is that while people are living longer, the number of ‘healthy life years’ hasn’t caught up with our new longer life expectancy. Countries with older populations, such as Germany, are expected to suffer more because of this.

Oct 18

Researchers Working On Eye Scan For Alzheimer’s


Alzheimer’s disease affects hundreds of thousands of people around the world and although we’ve got better at diagnosing it early, scientists believe we aren’t able to identify those with the condition soon enough.

The Scientist reported on research being conducted in the US, where neuroscientists are working on developing a simple eye test that can identify Alzheimer’s years before any symptoms are present.

Dr Keith Black, a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in LA, explained that one of the difficulties when it comes to Alzheimer’s disease is that by the time it’s diagnosed, a lot of damage has already occurred in the brain.

What’s required is a way of diagnosing the condition much earlier, when treatments can be more effective.

Dr Black’s team has come up with an eye test that has the potential to identify the condition at a much earlier stage. Although more research is needed, the results at this point are promising, and Dr Black is optimistic about future treatment options for the disease.

“If we could potentially stop the disease … I think that’s a realistic possibility – that’s an excellent outcome,” he told the news provider.

At the moment, there is no cure for the condition and the NHS advises setting up a care plan to allow anyone suffering from the disease to “remain as independent as possible”. This could involve making modifications to your home, such as installing easy-access showers.

The organisation also notes that there is a variety of medication available that has been found to slow the progression of the illness and temporarily improve some of the symptoms.

Oct 03

Advice Offered To Prevent Falls Around The Home


As you get older it can get more difficult to move around your home and carry out day-to-day tasks than it used to be. One of the biggest potential problems for elderly people in the UK and elsewhere in the world is falls.

These can often lead to reduced mobility and can even result in hospital stays, so fall prevention is certainly worth worrying about.

Myfox8 recently offered some advice on the best ways to prevent falls as you get older, which included doing regular exercise and having regular eye tests.

However, there is a lot you can do around the home too. Removing loose rugs that you could trip on is a simple step to take, as is ensuring there is good lighting at all times of the day to ensure you can see where you’re going.

Bathrooms are naturally areas where slips and falls are more likely to occur, so do everything you can to make these spaces as safe as possible. Products like easy access showers could make all the difference if you’re starting to struggle with your mobility, so installing them sooner rather than later is the best way to prevent a fall or slip.

The York Press recently reported on a trial being conducted in the University of York to look at ways of preventing falls among the elderly. The researchers are also looking at how home assessments from occupational therapists could be key to helping people understand and make the right modifications to their home to prevent falls.