Jan 05

10 New Online Workouts Launched For Disabled Children

Matthew

National charity for wheelchair sport WheelPower has announced that it will be releasing ten new online workouts aimed at primary and secondary age disabled children, giving them more opportunities to keep fit and healthy at the moment.

The videos will be divided into two age groups, according to MKFM, with five aimed at primary school children and five at secondary, each one with their own unique theme to ensure that each workout is different and varied.

Former GB wheelchair basketball player Ella Beaumont has agreed to be the instructor and she also has some amazing fitness resources available to help disabled people train at home.

WheelPower head of sport Emily Weller explained that these new exercise videos are being released at a time when children are homeschooling and therefore missing regular PE classes.

“These ten workouts feature our instructor Ella, as she leads us through a series of exercises around a particular theme. Each workout is approximately 20 minutes long and they are all fully adaptable and inclusive, so all family members can join in the movements too!” she said.

WheelPower itself has been providing opportunities in sport for disabled people for more than 70 years. Each year, it supports more than 62,099 disabled people to take part in sport and activity all over the country.

It promotes participation at all levels, from first-timers to Paralympic medallists, demonstrating how playing sport can enrich lives, no matter age or ability.

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Nov 24

Government Scheme Gives Extra Support For Disabled

Matthew

Additional help is being made available for disabled people who are continuing to work from home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Express reports that the Access to Work scheme has been extended, which will enable additional support and assistance in several needed areas, meaning there will be extra financial support for disabled people to help them work from home, and grant applications will be fast-tracked for the clinically extremely vulnerable.

This additional financial support will now also cover transport expenses, such as taxi fares and public transport costs if a health condition would prevent them from using public transport during the pandemic. A factsheet is available on the GOV.UK website with more details about the Access to Work scheme.

The Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) has also produced a range of new resources that are for encouraging employers to consider the benefits of taking on people from a wide variety of backgrounds including, among others, the disabled, older workers and the homeless.

The resources include guidance notes, case studies, and further information on how to attract, recruit and retain workers from a diverse range of backgrounds.

There have also been new resources launched that are designed to help anyone who is experiencing difficulties or concerns with maintaining a safe, social distance during the pandemic.

A downloadable badge stating ‘Please Give Me Space’ is being introduced for people to wear when they go out to encourage others around them to give some space to the wearer.

If you need to make your home more accessible and looking for disability baths, then visit our site today.

Nov 15

Disability Rights UK Criticises FA’s Diversity Code

Matthew

Disability Rights UK has called the Football Association’s Football Leadership Diversity Code into question, saying that it misses out Britain’s biggest minority in its recruitment targets.

According to the Guardian, the voluntary code (which is supported by 19 of the 20 clubs in the Premier League) calls on signatories to make sure that 15 per cent of all new senior non-coaching roles are taken up by black, Asian or mixed ethnicity candidates.

There is also a similar target of 30 per cent for roles filled by women, but no targets have been included for disabled people.

The code itself was released after a three-month consultation period, with the publication coinciding with greater focus on representation in sport more broadly, not just where football is concerned.

Kamran Mallick, chief executive of the advocacy group, said it is unsurprising to see such a big institution release a diversity statement and neglect to mention disabled people.

“Diversity isn’t about any one single aspect of an individual’s make-up, it’s about the intersectional dimension. The multiple levels of discrimination and exclusion that are experienced.

“The Premier League is one of the richest in the world and yet it continues to exclude disabled people, their passionate supporters, the potential supporters, employees and those in positions of influence and power. The message this gives to the general public is that it is OK to exclude disabled people,” he went on to say.

Last year, Sport England and UK Sport announced action to address the issue of diversity of sports boards, following the publication of the Diversity in Sport Governance report revealing that although women now make up 40 per cent of board members across UK Sport and Sport England funded bodies, areas like disability and ethnicity are still challenging.

Looking for disability baths? Get in touch with Practical Bathing today.

Nov 04

Why Is There A Shortage Of Accessible Housing In The UK?

Matthew

Although there is a clear need or accessible housing in the UK, it seems that there is a very real shortage in this regard, with recent figures from Habinteg revealing that 400,000 wheelchair users in England alone currently live in unsuitable accommodation.

According to the BBC, part of the problem is that there is no nationwide commitment to building wheelchair accessible properties for disabled people to live in as standard. Instead, it’s left up to local councils to set accessibility targets, but the Equality and Human Rights Commission has found that just five per cent of authorities require developers to construct housing suitable for wheelchairs.

In London, however, ten per cent of new builds have needed to be either adaptable or accessible since 2004 and disability groups are now calling for this to be turned into a national standard.

Disability charity Scope said the organisation regularly hears from disabled people who can’t find suitable accommodation, adding: “Something desperately needs to change. Government and local authorities need to step up and ensure affordable and appropriate housing is available to everyone.”

Home adaptations include everything from fitting stairlifts or bannisters to the stairs, installing easy access baths and grab rails to widening doorways, lowering kitchen worktops, installing outdoor ramps or step rails and so on.

It could be useful to seek advice from an occupational therapist when considering making changes so an assessment can be carried out and the appropriate solutions identified. This can potentially be provided by your local authority – and you may be eligible for funding to help cover the costs, as well.

Nov 01

Intergenerational Housing Development Comes To York

Matthew

A new council development in York in the offing is putting intergenerational living at its heart, with 85 new properties being built that could allow older people to live next door to younger members of their family, with 40 per cent of the homes set to be affordable and the remainder sold at market value.

According to Yorkshire Live, the properties will be built to passivhaus standards, with a focus on low carbon emissions. And it will be near to Applefields School for young people with special educational needs, with the hope being that the development will prove to be attractive to families with children at the school.

The plans also include traffic-free streets so children can play safely and shared alleyways at the back of the properties, so that residents can grow vegetables and eat together, with children spending more time outside.

A council report read: “These houses support two parts of a family to live together with independence. The two parts of the house contain everything needed to live as a separate household but with a connecting door to enable family support as circumstances require.

“This design supports our ambitions of enabling people to live well at home for as long as possible. Evidence suggests this is the best health and wellbeing outcome for individuals and families.”

Benefits of intergenerational living include stimulating learning for both young and older people, sharing skills, reducing age segregation and tackling big issues like social isolation and loneliness, which we know is a huge problem in the UK.

Looking for inflatable bath lifts? See what we have in stock here at Practical Bathing.

Impey Mendip shower trays
Oct 07

What Will The Homes Of The Future Look Like?

Matthew

Thinking about how your needs may change over the years is certainly advisable if you’re keen to stay in your home for as long as you possibly can, living independently.

Adapting your house as time goes on can prove particularly beneficial in this regard – and it seems as though this is becoming a key consideration in building design from the outset, with the government having launched a competition to design the homes of the future, featuring low-carbon, age-friendly properties.

The finalists of the Home of 2030 competition have just been announced, in fact, all of which will be introduced to Homes England development partners to explore the possibility of housing on Homes England land. Each of the finalists have received £40,000 in funding to help them develop their plans.

Finalist Studio OPEN, for example, has submitted a project idea that promotes community and caring for people through a central garden shared between four homes, built using locally sourced materials and timber construction methods to help reduce the impact on the environment.

And Openstudio Architects has come up with a plan that includes landscape elements such as small private gardens, a communal green space, front gardens and upper level balconies and terraces, focusing on sustainable, age-friendly environments.

Helen Whately, minister for care, said: “We want everyone, regardless of their age, to lead healthy, active lives in communities that work for them. As the population of the UK ages, our housing and infrastructure must be adaptable to our changing needs.”

Reviewing your own home, bearing in mind how your needs may evolve over time, could be particularly beneficial. Perhaps focus on the bathroom first, which can pose serious health risks if the design isn’t appropriate for older people.

Do you need half height shower doors? Get in touch with Practical Bathing today to see how we can help.

Sep 28

‘More Places Should Apply Design Guidelines For Dementia’

Matthew

It’s important that more of our homes and public spaces are designed to help those with dementia enjoy them and live fulfilled lives.

That’s the opinion of Paola Barbarino, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Disease International (ADI), who recently told the New Straits Times that dementia designs need to be implemented in the built environment all over the world.

“We need to apply design guidelines and principles for people living with dementia in the same way as design guidelines are provided for people living with physical disability,” Ms Barbarino asserted.

The ADI recently published the world’s most comprehensive report into dementia-related design, with a wide variety of suggestions included, many of which don’t cost a lot of money. The report focuses on simple steps, such as removing hazards, improving wayfinding and reducing stimulation to help reduce anxiety and agitation in those suffering from dementia.

Simply adapted bathrooms are one of the recommendations in the report, along with dementia-friendly outdoor gardens and using traditional cupboard handles in kitchens.

Introducing walk in baths to the bathroom could also be another way to help someone with dementia cope better in their own home.

There is certainly good reason to focus on dementia-friendly design here in the UK, with the Alzheimer’s Society estimating that there are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK currently, while that figure is expected to climb to 1.6 million by 2040.

The ADI report also set out a range of principles to follow in relation to dementia-friendly design, which include unobtrusively removing risks and supporting movement and engagement.

Sep 15

Changing Times For Changing Places

Matthew

In the 2020 Budget, Chancellor Rishi Sunak committed to invest £30million to increase access to Changing Places toilets, and the government plans to work closely with the Changing Places Consortium to identify the sectors where these facilities are needed the most.

Alongside this investment, the UK government also announced major changes to current building regulations for disabled people, and these changes mean that from next year, all new buildings (or majorly refurbished buildings) must have Changing Places toilets. Translation?

Larger accessible toilets with specialist equipment for disabled people, such as hoists, curtains, adult-sized changing benches, and space for wheelchairs and carers.

From 2021, all places of “assembly, recreation and entertainment with a capacity of 350+” will also be required to install Changing Places toilets. Other public venues included cover arts venues, cinemas, universities, libraries, places of worship, motorway services and museums.

Mark Sadler, a specialist in the field of disabled bathrooms, says there are some challenges: “One of the biggest challenges is when the venue is a listed building as you cannot just start knocking down walls,” he says. “Sometimes it is necessary to place the facility in an adjoining building or a portable unit.”

He went on to say that space can also be an issue with existing buildings, along with finding suitable locations that is accessible for all potential users. “They must be at least 4m x 3m with a ceiling height of at least 2.4m if possible,” he said. “Smaller Changing Places have been approved in the past, but these minimum dimensions are acknowledged as best practice.”

Though there are challenges, this is very positive news and the government is on track to deliver by 2021.

If you’re looking for accessible easy access baths or easy access showers, get in touch with us today.

Sep 09

Financial Support For Disabled People Working From Home

Matthew

The government has announced an extension of the Access to Work scheme, providing extra help for disabled people working from home or in the workplace, with funding now covering taxi fares and public transport costs, as well as the fast-tracking of new applications for grant funding for clinically extremely vulnerable people.

Grant funding is now available for disabled people if they need support to work from home because of coronavirus, used to pay for special equipment or support worker services.

It is also possible to secure mental health support through Access to Work if you’re anxious about staging a return to the office, with a tailored support package available for up to nine months.

The scheme itself was designed to help people stay in employment and, in 2019, it provided personalised support to 36,000 disabled people and others with health conditions, enabling them to continue doing their jobs.

Justin Tomlinson, minister for disabled people, said: “In these unprecedented times, it is absolutely right that we continue to support disabled people to pursue employment without barriers. This extension of funding and support will help to protect thousands of jobs which provide vital independence allowing disabled people to reach their full potential.”

To be eligible for the scheme, you need to have a disability or a physical or mental health condition that makes it difficult for you to do parts of your job, or to get to and from work. You must be over the age of 16 and either live in England, Scotland or Wales, with Northern Ireland serviced by a different scheme.

Do you need a Bath Buddy bath lift? Get in touch with Practical Bathing to see how we can help.

walk in bath with glass door
Sep 01

Safety A Top Priority For UK Consumers Looking For A New Bathroom

Matthew

It’s fair to say that the Covid-19 pandemic has made many of us re-evaluate our homes in a new light given that we’ve all been spending so much more time in them. If you have been using your bathroom as something of a sanctuary during this period, you’re certainly not alone.

However, there are plenty of people who want a bathroom that is functional and safe too, not just a wellness retreat, as a recent survey showed.

Kbb Review reported on a survey conducted by Explorare on behalf of Grohe, which revealed that over three-quarters of Brits are concerned about the safety of their bathroom. One of the top features they would look for when choosing a bathroom upgrade was a shower surface that doesn’t get hot.

Others said that they would be prepared to invest in a thermostat to even out the temperature of the water that comes out of their shower.

For anyone with mobility issues, creating a safe bathroom is a top priority. Keeping the water temperature even and not too hot is important because it may not be possible to move out of the flow quickly if it becomes too hot, for instance.

There are many other changes you can make to your bathroom to make it safer and more accessible, however, such as installing walk in baths and shower seats.

Earlier this year, Which? highlighted some of the steps that older people can take to ensure they are able to remain independent in their homes for longer.

It noted that bathing is often one of the first activities that becomes challenging as your mobility is restricted and therefore recommended investing in an easy-access bath. Consider also tubs that feature a built-in seat to make it easier for you to both sit in the bath and get out of it once you’ve finished.

Grab rails, although a simple addition, are another one that can make a significant difference to those who are starting to struggle with their mobility or strength.

Another top tip from the consumer rights group is to make sure that you have good lighting in all areas of your home. This could be especially important in the bathroom if you don’t have a source of natural light during the day.

High wattage light bulbs will provide more brightness and therefore make it easier to see what you’re doing, regardless of the time of day. It’s also essential to check that light switches are working and easily accessible to you as you move around your home.

Other basic safety tips include ensuring that you get your boiler serviced each year and that you check your home for trip hazards, such as rugs, loose carpet or uneven floorboards. These are all small elements that you might not ordinarily notice, but as mobility becomes more challenging these can become obstacles that could cause a trip or fall.

If you have an elderly relative or friend who is still living at home, it could be worth talking to them about some simple steps they can take to improve the safety of their home and make it a more comfortable place for them to live in the coming years.