Sep 18

Old Age Safety Net ‘Dangerously Weak’

Matthew

Older people in the UK are being put at risk because the safety net we expect to be there once we reach a certain age has become dangerously weak, a new report from Age UK has now warned.

Estimations from the charity show that there are almost half a million people over the age of 65 who need help with essential daily activities and are living with significant health conditions – but many of these are living alone and have no family or friends to look after or support them.

It went on to suggest that although we may assume that there are care professionals out there who will keep an eye on us when we’re older and still living at home, this is no longer a guarantee because there are now deficits within the country’s health and care services, and the two are fragmented.

Charity director Caroline Abrahams commented: “We need to build up all our community health and social care services once again, gradually fill the yawning workforce gaps in both health and care, and do more to support the family members who step in to ‘hold the ring’ of a system under huge pressure – often ageing partners with their own health problems.”

One way that family members can help their relatives now is to go around their house to see if there are any changes that could be made to ensure they can stay in their homes for longer and are safe while there.

It might be that you have a need for a walk in shower bath or something similar – and if making small adaptations to the property means your friend or relative is able to stay independent for longer, they’re certainly worth doing.

Sep 16

Have You Heard Of The Motability Scheme?

Matthew

Those of you who’ve made the decision to renovate your home to adapt to your changing physical needs, such as by installing half height shower doors or similar, may also find that there comes a time when you need a bit of a helping hand outside the house as well.

Luckily, there’s a Motability Scheme now in operation that allows people to become more mobile by exchanging their mobility allowance for leasing a new scooter, car or powered wheelchair so they can get out and about with ease.

In order to be eligible for the scheme, you need to receive a specific mobility allowance from the Department of Work and Pensions and have at least one year’s award length remaining. The attendance allowance can’t be used to lease a car through this scheme, however.

Benefits of the initiative include the fact that you’re able to pick your choice of vehicle at a price that works for you from all the latest makes and models, as well as the fact that the deal is all-inclusive – so Motability will arrange the insurance, servicing, maintenance and breakdown assistance for you, all part of the price you pay.

More good news for those with mobility issues also recently came from the Department for Transport earlier this year, which is apparently planning to invest up to £300 million to make our travel network more disabled-friendly and more inclusive.

The plans include installing Changing Places toilets at motorway service stations, loos that are more accessible than regular disabled toilets and which boast features like adult-sized changing benches, tracking hoist systems, privacy screens and enough room for a disabled person and two carers.

Liftseat
Sep 11

Majority Of People Happy To Adapt Homes

Matthew

It’s understandable that the majority of us want to stay in our own homes as we get older. Luckily, there is a range of modifications you can make should your mobility worsen as you age, and many people are happy to make these alterations if it means they don’t have to move.

A survey by Which? found that 92 per cent of people over 55 would be happy to make alterations to their homes, such as installing a stairlift, if this would allow them to continue living independently.

When you’re making these kinds of modifications to your property it’s important to think about how to make every part of your home as safe as possible.

Bathrooms are one space where slips and falls are more likely, so doing things like installing easy access showers or shower seats could be a good way to make the space safer and easier to use.

It isn’t only changing physical elements of a property that people over 55 are prepared to do. Over 80 per cent of those surveyed revealed they’d be happy to use a cleaner, gardener or handy person if it meant they could continue living independently.

The Which? survey also found that the majority of people aren’t saving money to pay for their care in later life. Just 12 per cent of the people who responded to the survey had set aside cash to help cover the cost of their care as they got older.

If you’re worried about how to pay for these adaptations, be sure to compare prices from reputable sources like Practical Bathing. It may be less than you thought.

Aug 13

How To Cope With Caregiver Fear

Matthew

Have you heard of the term caregiver fear? It refers to the anxiety and worry a person can feel when they become a carer for a loved one.

According to Drugwatch, one of the most common ways in which it manifests is through the caregiver asking themselves a lot of ‘what if’ questions.

These questions can lead you down a stressful and frightening chain of thought, but the good news is that there are a number of things you can do to ease your worries.

The first stage is to write down all your fears, whatever they may be and regardless of how trivial you may think they are. Once you’ve done this, you can make the list smaller by deleting all the ones that are highly unlikely to happen.

Of the ones that remain, you should then start looking at how you can reduce these worries. Are you concerned about your loved one falling and hurting themselves at home, for example? One way to tackle this could be to carry out modifications on their home, such as installing easy access showers.

You could also explore providing in-home care and assistance to take some of the weight off your mind and ensure your loved one is getting the care they need at all times.

If you decide that renovations may be necessary, consider how you can future-proof them to ensure you don’t need to keep making updates.

In fact, future-proofing our homes is something we should all be thinking about, designer Kevin McCloud told the Express earlier this year.

Relaxa bath lift
Jul 27

Arthritis Sufferers ‘Missing Out’ On Home Adaptations

Matthew

If you’re suffering from something like arthritis, home adaptations such as bath lifts aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity.

The UK’s social care system does support a range of adaptations that can be carried out for arthritis sufferers, however, the majority of people haven’t been made aware of this, according to Home Care.

According to new research from Arthritis Research UK, as many as 80 per cent of those with arthritis who are eligible for support are missing out on this kind of helpful equipment – and with 17 million living in the UK with arthritis-related illnesses, it’s a significant chunk of people.

Morgan Vine, campaigns manager at Arthritis Research UK, said that of those that are aware, even fewer have been assessed and provided with equipment.

“We need both local authorities and central government to work with us to make sure their legal obligations are met – to improve people’s lives and to ease the pressure on our already strained social care system,” she said.

Of course, not everyone will be eligible to receive support such as this, or have the time to endure a lengthy wait for approval. If you’re not, it’s essential that you make the necessary changes at home that will mean you can stay safe and remain living independently for longer.

Jul 05

Disability Pay Gap Reaches Highest Level Since 2013

Matthew

In 2017, the average hourly pay for disabled people was £9.90, while non-disabled workers made £11.40. This is according to a new report from the TUC, finding that the disability pay gap has now risen to its highest level in five years – peaking at 15 per cent.

The study also found that disabled people are less likely to be in work in the first place, and when they are employed they’re paid less than their non-disabled colleagues.

Other key findings included that disabled people are more likely to have a job in lower-paid occupations, while there are fewer disabled people with higher levels of education – which may make it more difficult for them to attain jobs with higher rates of pay.

Commenting on the findings, TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Too many disabled people face lower pay and worse jobs than their non-disabled peers.

“New rules to make bosses reveal gender pay gaps have been successful at shining a light on the problem. We’d like the government to consider a similar law requiring employers to publish their disability pay gap, along with the steps they will take to close it.

“The government should also reverse cuts to disability benefits, which are making it harder for disabled people to cover extra costs to get to work. And employers should talk to their disabled workers about how to make work more accessible.”

She went on to recommend joining a union, as reps will have experience in negotiating with companies to ensure that people get the support they need.

Do you need a new sitting bath? Take a look at our website today.

Jun 28

Squeezed-Middle Pay Up To £10k A Year For Elderly Parents

Matthew

After years of providing financial support for their children, elderly people now need monetary assistance of their own, according to a report commissioned by health insurer Beneden.

Its Tipping Point survey found that those in their 50s, 60s and 70s are paying up to £10,000 a year to help their parents out, with more than 40 per cent who care for an elderly relative spending up to £1,000 per annum, and 30 per cent between £1,000 and £10,000 every 12 months.

This is simply to pay for everyday essentials, including food and toiletries, as well as further care or support that is not being adequately provided by the state, the Telegraph reported.

As well as offering their time as carers, many are also providing a significant amount of money to help their family member maintain their quality of life. What’s more, as two-thirds of people spend between ten and 20 hours a week caring for their relatives, they are not entitled to receive Carers’ Allowance, which would at least help out with their finances.

Charity director of Age UK Caroline Abrahams said: “We are so lucky that millions of people in this country are prepared to care for someone they love, but we also need to be realistic about the impact this can have on them – physically, emotionally and financially.”

One of the best ways to help an elderly relative is by buying them an easy access bath for their home. This enables them to retain their independence for longer by being able to bathe themselves without help.

The Baby Boomers are not just paying for their parents, but also offer financial help to their children in many incidences. According to recent findings from SunLife, 46 per cent of dads and granddads over the age of 50 give their adult children or grandchildren a significant amount of money to buy a new car or put a deposit on a house.

Jun 27

Need A New Bath? Make Sure You Consider Safety

Matthew

When you look at home renovation magazines or scroll through social media for inspiration on how to renovate your bathroom, you’re likely to see a lot of freestanding bathtubs.

However, while these look incredibly stylish, they’re actually highly impractical. A recent article for Treehugger – which noted that it was International Bath Day on 14th June – explained that focusing on safety and comfort is far more important when choosing a new bath than picking a tub based on aesthetics.

The website notes that bath design hasn’t changed much in the past few centuries and that in many cases they’re uncomfortable to lie in and difficult to get in or out of.

The article also stressed the safety issues with many modern baths. “The fancy new tubs have no ledge to sit on so they are particularly dangerous, and being away from the wall, no place to put a safety rail,” it notes.

So, if you are looking for a new bath what kind of thing should you invest in? A walk in shower bath could be the ideal option, as it will allow you to enter and exit the tub safely.

You could even follow the example of the Japanese, who shower first to wash and then soak in the tub once they’re clean.

Even if you currently have no difficulties getting in and out of the bath, it’s worth future-proofing your home. Last month, designer Kevin McCloud told the Express that everyone should be thinking about the future when carrying out big renovations to their homes.

He added that this is particularly important if you’re intending to stay in this home for the rest of your life. Among his top tips were to borrow a wheelchair for a day and see how easy it is to move around in your property.

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.