Independent Living

The Art of Independent Living - at 99!

The Art of Independent Living - at 99!

With an ageing population, finding centenarians who clock up a hundred years is becoming less rare, but finding a 99 year old enjoying independent living is still quite a find. 

Miss Jean Butchart is her own boss, with her own home, friends and hobbies. When asked what her secret was, Miss Butchart retorted, “Your guess is as good as mine”. Admittedly there’s no magic wand or secret potion.

Born in Newcastle, Jean Butchart moved to Scotland aged six months where she grew up until qualifying as a teacher in Domestic Science and Home Economics. During the war Miss Butchart taught in a Herefordshire school until a role in Aberdeen’s College of Domestic Science brought Jean to the Granite City in 1948. 

Alarming rise in joint problems set to pose major burden on society

Knee joint pain

Leading experts, who have concluded that the incidence of musculoskeletal conditions is increasing at such an alarming rate that it is set to affect three times more of us than cancer by 2030[i], are calling for urgent steps to be taken to protect the mobility and wellbeing of an ageing population.

Commenting in a new Joint Health of the Nation Report recently released, musculoskeletal experts and patient organisations warn that the burden of joint health problems is set to place an unprecedented strain on society and an already overstretched NHS. 

Guide Dogs Left Barking at the Door 

Guide Dogs Left Barking at the Door 

As someone with a severe visual impairment, my assistance dog is a vital part of my life, both as a guide and friend. We have a special bond that you will understand if you have seen the Sponsor a Guide Dog ads on TV. They show just how much assistance dogs give independent lives back to people with visual impairments, and how that independence is to be treasured.

My relationship with Zodiac is the best; we look after each other, care about each other, and occasionally irritate the hell out of each other. Quite honestly, we’re like an old married couple, but without the bickering over who gets to have the remote control. 

Innovative wheels will help you ‘spring’ in action

Man using innovation wheels by Loopwheels on his bike

Loopwheels are changing the way wheelchair users move – so much so that the pain and exhaustion from pushing over uneven surfaces can be relieved immensely. Here, Loopwheels director Ian Abbott explains how the wheels work and why they can make such a difference to pushing...

As the NHS itself reports, NHS wheelchair services are sub-optimal and frustrating for both practitioners and patients. The main constraints are budgets, awareness of
the options available and risk aversion. This leads to sub-optimal chairs being supplied, which means the patient does not get the right chair. Standard issue NHS chairs fit badly and are heavy.

Taking the dis- out of disability through extreme sports

Sportability a muddy quadbike rider and wheelchair

David Heard, the founder of Sportability, spoke to UCan2 editor Victoria Galligan about why he decided to set up a charity which helps people with paralysis to take part in extreme sports, and the range of activities now available...

Paralsis needn’t stop a person from living life to the full. But back in the late 80’s when David Heard’s friend Richard, a ski instructor, was injured in a motoring accident, there weren’t a lot of options available in sport for people with disabilities.

50 Faces Campaign - Meet Phoebe Boyce

Phoebe Boyce

To celebrate its 50th anniversary year in 2019, Riding for the Disabled Association is marking the milestone through its 50 Faces campaign, telling the stories of some of the amazing people who make RDA the extraordinary organisation it is today. 

Designed to challenge preconceptions about disability and volunteering, and to celebrate the diversity and inclusiveness of RDA, 50 Faces features a collage of portraits, as well as the surprising and often moving stories of horse riders, carriage drivers and volunteers from all over the UK. 

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Top Tips for flying with a visual impairment or blindness 

Altogether Travel is the UK’s leading Supported Holiday Company, our excellent holiday and travel companions accompany our customers all over the world. We asked our customers and staff for some advice, tips and what to expect if flying as a blind or visually impaired person. 

Booking stage

If you require additional assistance either within the airport or on the flight, then you should notify your travel agent or the airline direct. The more notice the better but at least 48 hrs before departure should ensure they allocate someone to help. 

Contact the airports special assistance team and advise them of your arrival time should you need assistance into the terminal.

Arriving at the airport 

Accessibility Mark Helps Transform Lives

Alisha riding Accessibility Mark horse

Horses are amazing animals that have the ability to make a real difference to people’s lives. Evidence of this can be seen on a daily basis at Accessibility Mark centres up and down the country.

When Church Farm Equestrian Centre organised an event to mark Disabled Access Day in March 2017, they hoped it might generate some interest from a few new riders.

Such was the success of the event that some of the visitors who attended the day are still riding at the centre nearly two years on, and it has had a hugely positive impact on their lives.

Reliable Cleanliness from Closomat

Closomat toilet

How long would you expect a piece of technology to last? In Mandy de la Mare’s case, it’s decades. The “tech” in question is her Closomat shower (wash & dry) toilet. Looking like, and capable of being used as a conventional WC, the Closomat has integrated automatic douching and drying. The user does not have to wipe clean (or be wiped clean).

“I’ve had a Closomat for 42 years and am only on my second one!” she says. “I only replaced the first one when I moved in 2003 after 30 years, and thought then that I had better upgrade to a new one.”

4 ways to create an easy access bathroom

easy access bathroom

Every little opportunity to gain back a little bit of independence can make the biggest difference to someone disabled. To avoid any disruption to a daily routine that can come with mobility issues, it is important to simplify and tailor your living space to your needs. Bespoke Interiors Newcastle has put together 4 tips to help you achieve just that without compromising style and design over function. 

Replace a bath with a walk in shower enclosureaccessible-bathroom.jpg

Mark Lane: Gardening tips for people who thought they could never garden

Mark Lane is an afeard-winning landscape gardener and TV host

Mark Lane, wheelchair user and presenter of the award-winning BBC Gardeners’ World, as well as the RHS Flower Shows, discusses getting out into the garden and how to make gardening easier if you have mobility issues…

It doesn’t matter what level of ability you have, you can still enjoy gardening. Gardening makes you feel safe and secure and it has a positive effect on mental and physical wellbeing. With these simple tips you can get outside, enjoy nature, be alone for personal reflection or socialise with family and friends.

First tenants move into Warrington Supported Living scheme

Young girl moves into Warrington Supported Living scheme

A new supported living service run by Eden Futures in Warrington has welcomed its first tenants this week. They have each moved into a specialist apartment designed to provide a supported living service for people with a learning disability or mental health need who require an alternative to residential care provision.

The new service which is located close to the centre of Warrington, Cheshire is made up of 4 bungalows, 2 ground floor apartments and 3 first floor apartments. 

Each apartment is generously sized with its own front door, kitchen-diner, bedroom and bathroom. There are communal spaces within the development and a garden area. 

Leading social care interest groups warn government that its mental capacity reforms are not fit for purpose

Leading social care interest groups warn government that its mental capacity reforms are not fit for purpose

Leading social care interest groups from across the care sector are calling on the Government to urgently rethink its Mental Capacity (Amendment) Bill that is now at a crucial parliamentary stage. 

Concerns about the legislation are outlined in a new paper ahead of the House of Lords committee stage when it will be scrutinised by peers. The paper reflects the views of a wide range of organisations that represent people using support services, their families, care provider organisations and infrastructure bodies.

New survey highlights major accessibility gap for UK’s 20 million disabled people and carers

disabled people and carers

Disability organisation AccessAble has today published their new 2018 survey ‘Accessibility and You’. It highlights the stark contrast between the expectations of those with access needs and what is provided by the majority of public and private sector organisations.

The survey, completed by 845 people across the UK with an average completion time of 20 minutes, asked disabled people and carers about their experiences accessing venues and services.

The results show an overwhelming need to plan. 99% of respondents said it was important to know about accessibility before visiting a new place and 98% search for accessibility information in advance.