Half height shower doors
May 25

Renovating? Think About How To Future-Proof Your Home

Matthew

If you’re getting started on a home renovation project, you should be thinking about how long you plan to remain in your property and whether it’s worth making changes that will ensure it remains suitable as your needs change.

This is the opinion of designer Kevin McCloud, who told the Express that it’s more important to future-proof with renovations than to do something grand.

He made a number of suggestions of things you should think about if you’re going to make substantial changes to your current home, especially if it’s the one that you plan to live in for the rest of your life.

“If you think you have an opportunity to renovate why not borrow a wheelchair for a day, get in it and try to go round your house and see how you get on,” he stated.

Mr McCloud also recommends thinking about what it is about your home that makes you want to stay there long term. These are some of the areas that you need to focus on making accessible, he stressed.

Of course, practical rooms, such as the bathroom and kitchen, will also need to be addressed, so if you’re going to replace your suite, consider fitting easy access showers that look stylish but that won’t need to be replaced if your mobility changes.

Mr McCloud also said that, if you’re undertaking a big renovation project, it’s worth taking this opportunity to install a downstairs bathroom.

He isn’t the first person to suggest that we should be thinking about how our homes can adapt as we age. A recent exhibit in the US showed how a space measuring 1,000 sq ft could be configured to suit roommates sharing, a multigenerational family and a retired couple.

May 14

Older People With Moderate Needs Waiting Longer For Care

Matthew

Older people with what are termed ‘moderate needs’ – such as those who could be at risk of a fall or of becoming malnourished – are waiting too long to receive the care and support they need.

The Independent highlighted the findings of a report by the Commons Public Account Committee (PAC), which stated that those who have the greatest need are being prioritised when it comes to arranging care packages, leaving those in moderate need to wait too long for their care.

The news provider noted that, should these people then be admitted to hospital because of a preventable fall or other health complication, this is likely to cost more money than providing the care they needed initially to remain in their own homes.

Age UK has stated that 1.2 million older people in the country currently have unmet care needs, giving an indication of the scale of the problem.

Part of this may be assessing the home environment and helping people to make changes, such as installing easy access showers to make their home safer and enable them to continue to carry out certain tasks for themselves.

Earlier this year, Age UK stressed the importance of helping more older people get active and remain mobile.

The charity noted that dancing is particularly good exercise, because it not only helps keep people healthy and active, but also reduces their risk of suffering from a fall at home. According to its figures, one in ten people over the age of 65 are regularly dancing in the UK.

The organisation also noted that dance classes are more popular and engaging than traditional fall prevention programmes, as well as being a great way to improve the mental wellbeing of those who participate.

May 02

Empty Nesters Improving Homes Rather Than Moving

Matthew

More and more people are choosing to stay put when their children move out of home rather than downsizing.

That’s the finding of a survey by Lloyds Bank, which revealed that 45 per cent of empty nesters in the UK are not intending to move, but instead plan to stay where they are and make changes to their family home.

In some instances, this involves repurposing a child’s bedroom into something like a home office or a hobby room, while others have taken the opportunity to carry out wider home improvements.

Kitchens and bathrooms were found to be the rooms that people were most likely to upgrade, with 43 per cent of those who stayed in the family home stating that they’d carried out some kind of home improvement since their children left.

Upgrading a bathroom is a good idea, and it’s worth thinking about how you can future-proof that space when you do so. Installing easy access showers, for instance, is simple and can still look very stylish, but means that as you age you don’t have to worry about how you will get in and out of the shower.

Thinking about how you can design your home so that it adapts with you as you age is very sensible, and can allow you to make changes gradually rather than having to splash out on big alterations later in life.

Smart technology for the home is something else worth considering, as this can be especially useful for monitoring your safety in your home. There is an ever-growing range of devices that you can install to help with everything from lighting and heating controls, to keeping track of your movements and alerting help if you have a fall or become ill.

Apr 26

How To Design A Home That Adapts As You Age

Matthew

With people moving home less frequently than in the past there is a need for properties that can adapt as we age, ensuring that we’re able to continue living in the same homes well into our old age.

The Daily Mail has highlighted an exhibit at the National Building Museum in Washington DC, which explores the idea of homes that can adapt as you get older and your needs change.

It is taking the idea of flexible living to a whole new level, reconfiguring a space of 1,000 square feet from a home designed for roommates to one that can accommodate a multigenerational family, and finally a home for a retired couple.

Lisa Blecker, marketing director at Resource Furniture, told the newspaper that one of the main things people should take away from the exhibition is the idea that you should think about the future when making changes to your home.

“If you’re planning to renovate or reconfigure your home, it’s essential to think about the long-term opportunities for flexibility in years to come,” she stated.

With technology evolving rapidly, there is a lot to consider. Speaking to Crawley News 24 recently, spokesperson for The Southern Homebuilding and Renovating Show Michael Holmes said that smart technology is going to become increasingly important in households of all kinds.

From security and lighting to smart clothes that can monitor your health, there are constantly new innovations coming up. For those who have reduced mobility, this kind of technology could be especially useful in terms of monitoring their safety in spaces like the bathroom or kitchen.

Installing easy access showers can enable people to live independently for longer, and having a system that also monitors their safety in these spaces could also help alleviate worry and ensure that people are able to remain in their own homes for longer.

Apr 18

Britain’s Pain Hotspots Revealed

Matthew

When you suffer from joint, back or neck pain, then everyday tasks can be a real problem – meaning installing an easy access shower could make a huge difference to your day to day life. You may have examined all the reasons why you suffer such pain, but have you ever considered that your location could be a contributing factor?

Research by the British Chiropractic Association has found a real regional divide in the ways that people suffer with neck or back pain, with the results varying as much as 17 per cent from region to region.

So who has got it worst? Well, seemingly it’s those who live in Northern Ireland. According to the study, 57 per cent of people there complain about neck and back pain, compared to just 40 per cent in the lowest scoring area, which is the south east of England.

Catherine Quinn, the president of the British Chiropractic Association, said that the UK has seen a 12 per cent rise in complaints of back pain year on year: “This suggests the occurrence of back and neck pain has increased over the past year, and it appears we should all be following the lead of the south-east where they seem to be managing it best.”

Londoners are most likely to take preventative measures when it comes to ensuring back pain doesn’t get any worse, while those in the Midlands are most likely to develop pain at an early age.

The research was commissioned to mark this year’s National Chiropractic week.

Apr 17

Number Of Carers Of The Elderly ‘To Jump To 6.6m By 2023’

Matthew

There could be as many as four million people caring for an elderly loved one up to eight hours a week in the UK, with this figure set to grow to 6.6 million in the next five years.

This is according to a survey by home insurance provider Neos, reported in the Daily Express, which found that the average carer of an older spouse or relative would carry out seven visits a week.

If you are inviting an elderly relative into your home to help care for them, or if you are helping to care for an elderly loved one by visiting them in their home, one way of keeping them safe without impinging on their dignity is by installing a shower bench or similar so they can bathe independently without any worry.

Moreover, the charity Carers UK advises turning to technology to ensure our older loved ones are safe and comfortable at home, recommending smart devices connected via mobile phone that can help the pensioner or their loved ones to detect intruders, spot water leaks and even prevent fires all through an app.

“Technology can make a big difference to carers, especially those looking after a loved one from afar or juggling work with care,” director of innovation at Carers UK Madelaine Starr was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

Indeed, 57 per cent of us caring for an elderly relative find themselves in full-time employment as well, and many will also have dependents of their own to look after.

Apr 04

Sport England Launches Campaign To Keep Elderly Active

Matthew

More elderly people might start improving their health, strength, flexibility and activity levels due to a campaign Sport England has launched to help the over-55s stay fit for longer.

The group has unveiled its Active Ageing fund to encourage elderly people to get moving, so they can prevent illness till later in life.

The Telegraph reported Mike Diaper, executive director at Sport England, as saying: “Being active is one of the most important things people can do to maintain health and wellbeing as they age.”

Pensioners could find themselves attending volleyball classes run by Volleyball England, which allows older people to play from their armchair with an inflatable ball.

Or, they might be interested in lessons from British Weightlifting, which is encouraging the elderly to improve their strength by lifting water bottles and foam bars.

Getting fresh air is very important to stay healthy, so many people might be interested in making their way around the altered trails established by British Orienteering. This allows them to participate in the activity without having to walk far from home.

One of the biggest ailments people suffer from as they get older is arthritis, which can impede on their physical activity and make it difficult to stay moving.

However, advice from Arthritis Care highlighted in the Express could be of help to the elderly, informing them to keep fit by taking part in pilates, yoga, bowls and petanque.

No matter how much exercise you get involved with, it is important to bear in mind your physical abilities will decline as you age. Therefore, it is wise to install a walk-in bath in your washroom, as this will enable you to stay in your home and keep your independence for as long as possible.

Jubilee shower bath
Mar 26

‘Don’t Put Style Before Safety’ In the Home

Matthew

Many people might put off having a walk-in shower bath installed because they are worried it might not look good in their home, but these days there is plenty of choice to suit all tastes.

There is no excuse to put style before safety, which US website The Daily Commercial says is responsible for many avoidable accidents in the home.

The bathroom is a major hazard area for at-home injuries, and elderly people are especially at risk, with new figures from TheHealthSite showing that one in three women and one in five men over the age of 50 now suffer from osteoporosis.

CEO of Ro-Mac Lumber and Supply Don Magruder told the news outlet that if you want someone to fall over, the best way to go about it is to use ceramic or porcelain tiles in areas that can get wet, such as a bathroom.

It might look beautiful but it can be slippery, particularly some of those more polished grades – and if tiles aren’t installed properly and are completely level they could become a trip hazard.

Instead, Mr Magruder suggests looking into other non-slip flooring, as well as installing ramps if there are irregular steps around the property.

The expert also recommended bearing in mind how you may find accessing parts of your home as you age, even if you are fairly mobile today.

Putting easy-access solutions in place for attics, high-up windows and hard-to-reach light fixtures could save you from injury or difficulty later down the line.

He said that while a vaulted ceiling might look beautiful with that aspirational chandelier, falling off a ladder changing the bulbs in ten years could be extremely damaging.

Mar 21

Many Dementia Patients Wait Years For Diagnosis

Matthew

There is a huge disparity between the care of dementia sufferers around the country, with people in some areas having to wait years to be given a diagnosis.

The Alzheimer’s Society revealed research that looked at dementia detection across England and found many GPs are reluctant to give elderly people a label and, therefore, fail to offer them a diagnosis at all.

Figures from NHS Digital showed dementia patients in some locations were twice as likely to be diagnosed than if they lived elsewhere, the Daily Mail reported.

Chief executive of the charity Jeremy Hughes told the news provider some people wait years for an outcome, and 207,000 patients with dementia are currently left undiagnosed.

He said: “You would expect [a timely diagnosis] with any other disease and the fact that people with dementia don’t get it is denying their right to know what’s wrong with them.”

Mr Hughes noted that many people are turned away because they appear too young. However, he stated the assumption that Alzheimer’s is a condition that only old people suffer from is “false”.

West Somerset has the lowest levels of diagnosis, with only 42.6 per cent of patients with dementia having it confirmed. Comparatively, Stockton-on-Tees has the best diagnosis rates at 91.2 per cent, showing the stark difference between the two areas.

Those who do suffer from dementia need to make sure they make changes to their home so it is safe for them to live in.

Channel3000 advised assessing the condition of the patient and what they can manage first. Bathroom modifications, such as installing bath lifts, is advisable, as this helps those who struggle to get in and out of the bath on their own.

Sufferers should also have childproof latches on medicine cupboards, safety knobs on the stove, and locks where knives, matches, scissors and cleaning products are kept.

Mar 01

Advice On Exercise For Arthritis Sufferers

Matthew

Arthritis can be a debilitating condition that can make it difficult to do even basic daily tasks when it becomes severe.

However, doing certain exercise can help alleviate symptoms and make it easier to live an independent life for longer. The Express has highlighted advice about the best exercise to do if you suffer from arthritis.

Among the options are pilates and bowls, both of which can be beneficial to people who suffer from arthritis.

Speaking to the newspaper, Wendy Davis, from Arthritis Care, commented: “Those with arthritis can benefit from a combination of gentle stretching, strengthening and aerobic exercise – this includes yoga and pilates, or even sports such as bowls or petanque.”

Even low-impact activities like gardening or housework can class as aerobic exercise for arthritis sufferers, she added.

The important thing, according to the news provider, is to make sure you’re doing the right kind and level of exercise for your arthritis – this will ensure it doesn’t get worse.

Making changes to your home, such as by installing a walk-in shower bath and other additions to the bathroom that make it easier to use it if you have reduced mobility, may be another step you want to consider if your arthritis is worsening or becoming severe.

There are a host of other adaptations you can make to your home to ensure you’re able to stay there as long as possible, even if your mobility is reduced as you get older. One council in the UK revealed earlier this year that it’s trying to encourage more elderly people to make use of assistive technology.

Knowsley Metropolitan Borough Council is offering people devices on a free 12-week trial, as well as providing training on how to use them.