Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: June 29th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: New products! | Comments Off
We are really pleased to introduce to you a new product – the innovative Trabasack. It was created by artist Clare Edwards, when as an experienced traveller and busy mum, she identified a gap in the market for a portable lap tray which could also carry essential belongings.
The Trabasack Mini is big enough for most notebooks/netbooks computers and can be worn as a rucksack or a messenger bag. With a firm leather feel surface on one side and a bean bag cushion insert on the other, the Trabasack gives you a flat surface wherever you need one, making it ideal for writing notes in a lecture or meeting or having a snack in the car, lunch in the park or sketching. If you have ever found youself struggling to write in your notebook on your knee, balancing coffee cups on the dashboard or your netbook on a cushion on your knee, this is for you.
The Trabasack can also make it easier to give children snacks whilst they are out and about in their pushchairs.
In smart black, the versatile Trabasack is at home in the lecture hall, the office or at home. Much more stylish than the traditional beanbag lap trays.
Particularly useful for wheelchair users, side straps are available separately for additional anchoring.
For more details, including information as to how to buy, click here.
Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: New products!, Press coverage | No Comments »
Nice feature on the Culti Cave in July’s edition of Choice magazine. A newcomer to The Future Perfect Company range, this innovative product allows you to erect a greenhouse wherever you want one and it is as easy to take down as it is to put up (handy if you are planning a summer garden party and need the extra space). It is surprisingly capacious by itself but if you want more growing room, you can zip one or more units together. It is also much safer to have around than the standard glass greenhouse, particularly when you have boisterous small children visiting. We are growing tomatoes and melons in ours. What will you use yours for?
For details of how to buy the Culti Cave, click here
Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Health, Miscellaneous, Retirement | Comments Off
The Sunday Times reported this weekend that scientists have discovered that the human brain can improve with advancing years.
While short term memory may decline as we age, long term memory, vocabulary, emotional intelligence and social skills may all get better – which doesn’t seem a bad pay off.
The researchers found that older people are more likely to be rational than young people because their brains are less susceptible to surges of the “feelgood” hormone dopamine that can lead to impulsive reactions. Older people are able to retain a range of skills effectively. Expert knowledge such as that needed for hobbies is stored in brain cells called dendritic spikes which seem to be protected against ageing. Also despite slower brain speeds, older people solve problems more efficiently than the young, drawing on cognitive templates of how they resolved similar problems in the past. Not sure how much of this is new, really.
However, the findings are supported by the fact that many of the most influential people in business, law and science are in their 50s and 60s, prompting the demand for the retirement age to be lifted in some professions. Judges, for instance, are pressing for a change in the law to allow senior members to remain in post beyond the age of 70.
So how do we go about boosting brain power? Mental and physical exercise, apparently. Eric Jones, 73 from North Wales goes skydiving at least 10 times a year. He credits his active lifestyle with keeping his mind sharp and is quoted as saying ” Extreme sports have helped keep me young in the mind. There’s an edge to sporting activities – you have to be totally focused. My ability to think on my feet and my long term memory have certainly improved with age”.
Think I might just stick with crosswords…
Posted: June 28th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Legal - employment, Wills, Lasting Powers of Attorney, Offers and competitions, Retirement | Comments Off
David Edwards is a partner with Burt Brill & Cardens and an expert in Wills, LPAs and protecting family wealth. Customers of The Future Perfect Company can benefit from 10% off normal rates by emailing email@example.com and quoting this website.
Reaching 50 is a milestone for many people. It is often the point at which an individual starts to notice the aging process and often around this time that parents and other relatives reach an age where they need help or at least want to be sure that the procedures for getting help have been put in place.
Family and friends can provide a great deal of care and support but it is best to have all the legal paperwork in place so that if a more proactive role is required, the necessary arrangements can be made.
First of all, an up to date Will saves all sorts of difficulties after death.
Next up is a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA). This sounds complicated but the idea behind it is simple. It is a legal document that allows you to name one or more people to do things for you if you are unwilling or unable to do them yourself.
For many individuals there comes a time when the business of paying bills, organising savings, keeping up with investments either becomes too much or, through failing mental health, simply impossible.
The person or persons named in the LPA can then take over and deal with things on behalf of the parent or relative or other elderly person.
There are some rules, including:
The person creating the LPA (the donor) must do so at a time when they are fully mentally capable. So make sure you have the LPA in place before it is needed.
The person or persons named must act in the interests of the donor. Only appoint someone you can trust without reservation. The supervision of the Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) is limited unless there are formal complaints and even then the OPG can appear very reluctant to take decisive action. If you do not have any suitable family or friends, then a professional person, such as a solicitor, may agree to undertake this role for you. In that case, you are protected by strict professional conduct rules as well as insurance.
The LPA must be registered at the OPG before it is used. Again plan ahead, not least because the OPG is currently taking up to 14 weeks to complete this process, quite apart from worrying stories about LPAs being lost by the OPG during the registration process. All the more reason to get the LPA set up well before there is a chance it will be needed.
You need one LPA to deal with money and property and one to deal with personal welfare issues.
You can impose conditions and restrictions in them. If you are tempted to do that, then take advice as sometimes you will find that what seems a sensible restriction actually produces real problems.
LPAs are a bit like your home insurance; you hope they will not be needed, many are never used but when they are they make life very much easier.
Finally what happens if it is too late for an LPA?
There is a solution, although it is more expensive, slower and more bureaucratic. It is to apply to the Court of Protection for the appointment of a Deputy for the elderly person who is no longer mentally capable. The application process requires a medical report and detailed information about the elderly person, their assets and family. Once the Deputy is appointed there are much more rigorous accounting and reporting processes as well as ongoing Court fees if there are substantial assets involved.
Don’t forget this is general comment; you should take legal advice relevant for your circumstances before acting – or deciding not to act.
Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | No Comments »
I have never been one for watching sport, (though I did years ago enjoy tuning in to Topless Darts on the telly until they banned it) but prompted by one of the many self-appointed counsellors who have emerged since I retired, I thought I’d give it a go on Wednesday. And what a day it turned out to be.
At three in the afternoon, England v Slovenia. With a population no bigger than that of Whitby, they shouldn’t give us any trouble; be nice to see England win something. I set my alarm. Two things I noticed, during the pre-match ceremonies; first, that the Spud-Faced Nipper was tight-lipped during the singing of the National Anthem, and second that one of the Slovenian players was wearing a hairnet, giving him the appearance of Nora Batty. In fact the entire Slovenian team to a notable degree lacked the physical beauty of our side, apart, that is, from the Spud-Faced Nipper.
We did win, as I had hoped, though Slovenia were no pushover, giving away only one goal and threatening to score against us several times. Our goal was scored by a tiny fellow whose name I cannot recall – I want to say Robinson Crusoe, but that’s not quite right – and whom I had not previously come across. Although not a soccer fan, I am familiar with the top players from close study of my wife’s copies of Hello! magazine, but maybe Crusoe has not yet found his WAG. To my admittedly poorly informed eyes, he was the best player on the field, reminding me of Nobby Stiles.
To celebrate, and to steady me, I cracked open a bottle of Toasted Head, a Californian number that is my new best friend, a wine that Americans describe as “oaky and buddery”. Not a sophisticated drink I know, but I enjoy it – it’s a bit like drinking sweets. And then I switched over to Wimbledon for the tennis where I stumbled upon an astonishing match, which had already been underway for several hours with the score in the fifth set 34 all.
There they were, a six foot nine American, good-looking in that sexless way of Hollywood matinee idols, and a relatively tiny Frenchman. To the American’s surprise, this was no pushover. On and on they went, each holding his serve, perfectly matched. My sympathies were pretty much with the Frenchman on the grounds that no-one as tall and pretty as the Yank should be allowed to win anything.
At first it was exciting, watching these two slugging it out, but after a few hours I became increasingly uneasy. The pretty one could hardly stand up, though the tiny one still looked fresh, but even he must have been close to collapse. If this had been a boxing match, I thought, the ringside physician would have stepped in long ago and put a stop to it, but it seemed the rules did not permit, even in these extraordinary circumstances (fifty all, I think), any outcome other than a win on points, rain stopped play, nightfall, or the sudden death from heat exhaustion of one or both players. It will take Wimbledon years of committee time to allow for such an eventuality in the future; forget a sensible decision on the spot. Darkness duly fell, and in spite of a lunatic suggestion from a commentator that the match be continued on the Centre Court under artificial light, play was suspended.
I’m setting my alarm again this afternoon. After more of the tiny Frenchman and the giant, perhaps there’ll be bullfighting.
P.S. The lounge lizard won – the Frenchman went home. Gutted.
Posted: June 25th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | No Comments »
It’s been an interesting week. At the weekend Tim and Jenny came to stay, accompanied by a whippet called Lily. Tim I have known since the early seventies when we both worked at the same publishing company and like me is largely retired, spending his retirement going racing and buying racehorses. Saturday afternoon we went to York races where we had a good day, both coming home with quite a bit more cash than we took. I backed two winners, the only reason for picking them being that they were trained in Malton, but the real score was Tim’s. In the fifth race one of the runners was a horse called Singapore Lily,
which he backed large in honour of his whippet, and it romped home winning him a substantial amount. Backing horses trained in Malton seems to be a good policy; I had a similar experience at York last year.
We took the train from Malton to York, but as Tim had forgotten his OAP concession card (a third off) I included him on my disabled concession card (deaf, remember) as my carer so he also enjoyed the disabled discount, also a third off. When the ticket inspector came round he started hissing at me in a stage whisper “Are you alright? Do you need the toilet?”, I suppose in an attempt to demonstrate his familiarity with a carer’s duties. The thought of being lifted onto the toilet by Tim is an uncomfortable one; I would be prepared to go along with it only if he were to dress up in a nurse’s uniform. Wouldn’t want anyone to think there was something going on. Luckily my bladder is wearing better than my ears so it didn’t arise.
On Monday Fiona and I went to London for a couple of days, staying at the Groucho Club. We went by train and this time it was Fiona who was my carer, with a joint saving of about sixty quid and this time no stage whispers. Do you remember when the guard would announce the next station, a helpful but not complicated piece of information. Then some years ago the guard disappeared and people called customer service managers would announce the “next station stop”, Why? Who writes these scripts? Does some nerd in head office think that the passengers – called customers now – might get confused and think that stations we are speeding past were being announced unless they made it clear by calling them “station stops”? They must have appointed some new super-nerds, possibly recruited in Whitehall since the government took over the north east line, because they now call the stations “station calls”, which must confuse American passengers. Just as I was startled, really, the first time I heard an American pilot announce that the aircraft would be taking off momentarily.
Anyway, at the Groucho Club there was a bit of incident. I somehow managed to tip a considerable amount of red wine over my trousers, rather fetching fawn chinos expensively purchased from Austin Reed reserved especially for occasions when I’m swaggering about in Soho. A woman from a nearby table shot over with a napkin and started rubbing at my thighs in an attempt to help while other, less helpful people yelled “Higher! Higher!” When I looked down at her energetic, and frankly exploratory efforts I didn’t know whether to send for a policeman or ask her for a date.
Anyway, back to York station call and glad of it, in time for our general election. The low turnout was as predictable as the result, and there was no excitement; enough ballot papers and no feverish queues as ten o’clock approached. Malton and Thirsk constituency is not a banana republic, unlike some parts gleefully identified three weeks ago by observers from the Third World.
Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Inclusive design | No Comments »
Ready for some more designs? Next up is something a bit more conceptual.
Jono’s starting point was that we all need to stay in touch with those close to us to avoid feeling lonely so he has designed a light which serves as a reminder of when we need to contact a friend and re-establish that connection.
The product is a light box with a cord. Pull the cord a certain length depending on the amount of time intended, say a week or a month. As the cord, retracts, LEDs light up one by one revealing a flower-like pattern. As it brightens, the light acts as a passive reminder to reconnect with someone close to you.
An elegant idea. What do you think?
Miranda Holms and Hanna Crick
Miranda and Hanna were interested in how “meals on wheels” were delivered and in particular, wanted to re-design the serving bowls to make supper an altogether more stylish and enjoyable affair. Their supper tray is functional but also very attractive. The two handled tray provides stability for the user, leaving one hand free to open doors and manoeuvre around other obstacles. The bowls are angled to aid self service for the less dexterous and are also inset on the tray to provide extra stability, preventing spills or breakages.
A nice touch is the bud vase in the centre of the tray designed to hold seasonal flowers.
A lovely addition to anyone’s kitchen. What do you think?
Posted: June 22nd, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Inclusive design, Press coverage | Comments Off
Tue, 15 Jun 2010 | By Angus Montgomery
Organisation Enabled by Design is holding an event at London’s Design Museum on Thursday which will focus on the principle of ‘design for all’.
This is a design philosophy that promotes the development of products, services and systems which can be used by as many people as possible without the need for adaptation.
Enabled by Design, which was co-founded by Denise Stephens and Dominic Campbell, promotes the principle of design for all and the good design of assistive equipment. The organisation was set up by Stephens following her diagnosis with multiple sclerosis in 2003 and experiences of using assistive equipment.
Stephens says, ‘Enabled by Design is passionate about design for all and how it can by harnessed to make the world a more accessible and inclusive place.’
She adds, ‘We want to help reframe the ageing and disability debate, so rather than focusing on impairments, we want to concentrate on people’s abilities and the products and services that can help support them to live as independently as possible, as well as making life that little bit easier and more manageable. For us, design for all means accessibility for the masses.’
The We Are Enabled by Design event will examine the potential for using design for all in areas including product design, service design, urban design and the workplace.
Speakers will include Wayne Hemingway, Julia Cassim of the Royal College of Art’s Helen Hamlyn Centre, and Cassie Robinson and Ella Britton from Think Public. The event is also supported by the Future Perfect Company.
Posted: June 21st, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: Inclusive design, Miscellaneous | No Comments »
What happens when you get a lot of passionate, creative people in one place? They start to re-design the world.
This is what happened at an event organised by Enabled by Design last week at the London Design Museum. Enabled by Design set up by Denise Stephens in 2008 aims to challenge the one-size-fits-all approach to assistive equipment through the use of clever modern design.
This event, which was a first for Enabled by Design, brought together service users, designers, technologists, health and social care professionals, third sector organisations and charities to help reframe the ageing/disability debate so, said Denise “ rather than focusing on impairments, we want to concentrate on people’s abilities and the products/services that can help support them to live as independently as possible, as well as making life that little bit easier and more manageable”.
Speakers at the event included Wayne Hemingway who talked about the urban landscape and how much of our modern urban architecture lacked the livability factor apparent in other European countries such as Copenhagen.
Julia Cassim from the Helen Hamlyn Centre shared her views on inclusive design, suggesting that we should encourage designers to think about disability as an opportunity for innovation rather than creative handcuffs. After all, the typewriter was invented for someone who had difficulty writing.
Much was said about user centred design and social innovator, Charles Leadbeater talked about the risks of having things done to you when having things done for you, and the importance of working with people rather than for them. As Julia Cassim pointed out, it is important to design alongside users rather than treating them as guinea pigs.
However, it was in the workshops which ran throughout the day where the event really differentiated itself. Various workshops explored art and leisure, product design, workplace (including employment law, with our legal expert Catriona Watt), technology and urban design. The first floor of the Design Museum was awash with paper, post it notes and stickers full of notes, ideas and re-designs of household objects as the assembled creative brains were fired into action.
There is no doubting the enthusiasm and passion of the design community to make inclusive design a reality. However, with Tuesday’s debt busting budget looming, we will need to make the business case for inclusive design to ensure that the products and services which will so enhance the lives of us all, make it to the mainstream.
Posted: June 19th, 2010 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft | No Comments »
A number of readers have remarked that I write too much about dogs, show photographs of them even, and that in revealing my fondness for them undermine the irascible “Victor Meldrew” persona that I have invented for myself and behind which I hide. Sadly, not an invention, as my children with characteristic loyalty will confirm; bright as they are, and educated to the hilt, they seem not to have twigged that what I have become is to some extent their fault. Some might think – but not say – entirely their fault.
Anyway, about these dogs. A couple of weeks ago my daughter Helen brought her three month old Labrador Rufus for a sleepover with Rosie, still a puppy herself although two now. How we fretted. Would they get on? Would Rosie feel displaced and become depressed? Would she eat him in the night? All turned out well and they played happily together. There was a hint of jealousy occasionally, but I couldn’t help noticing that this was only when I was showing affection to either one of them. After they went home Rosie moped about and slept for the whole of the next day. So did Rufus. Keen to build on this early bonding between the dogs we made a return visit two weeks later.
How we fretted. Would they remember each other? Would the relationship progress? They greeted each other rapturously, Rufus even doing a little excited wee he was so beside himself. For much of the two days we were with them they passed their time play-fighting, with Rosie showing remarkable tolerance of the exuberant and clumsy Rufus who, when Rosie lay down exhausted groomed her with such skill that she closed her eyes and assumed an expression of bliss. She was a bit like an older sister, leading him around, occasionally correcting him, and when we went out for a walk she led him into a lake for a swim.
But it wasn’t only about the dogs. Rufus has taken a shine to my moustache and likes nothing more than to nibble at it; in his canine way he is expressing fathomless affection for me. Or so I believe. Others present insisted that he is rooting for debris from my previous meal, possibly the meal before that. There’s the loyalty peeping out again.
So after a couple of nights that ended between four and five when I responded to dogs with full bladders and renewed enthusiasm for play, I was glad to get home, but not to an early night – I had to go to a licensing service (did I tell you that I’ve got a church in my garden?) that gives legal force to the appointment of the new vicar. It was a splendid occasion, packed out with the great and the good, gold chains and purple everywhere. It was conducted by the Bishop of Selby with whom as it happens we had spent an evening last week on the Derwent, stopping the boat by the ruins of Kirkham Priory for a picnic. The bishop was dressed from head to toe in camouflage combat gear, so I was a bit worried about what he would show up in for the licensing service. My concerns were groundless – he was gorgeously attired, as befits a Prince of the Church. He winked at Fiona from the procession as they paraded out of the Great West Door, which I thought was a bit much, and she blushed for at least twenty four hours. Mind you, I was winked at by a nun once.