Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: November 25th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents | No Comments »
I heard a worrying story today about unscrupulous companies preying on vulnerable older people.
My friend, a lady in her 90s, received a phone call from someone wanting to visit her to discuss a “change in terms for her care alarm”. She agreed a time but feeling a little uneasy asked her daughter to be present.
At the appointed time, a tall man arrived and asked first to use the toilet which was slightly odd. Then he came into the sitting room and asked if he might have a cup of tea. At this point, my friend’s daughter was getting rather suspicious and started quizzing him about the company he represented. It transpired that he did not work for the company which supplied my friend’s current care alarm but a rival company and he was there to persuade her to switch contracts.
Feeling not a little discomforted, my friend’s daughter asked the salesman to leave.
My friend’s daughter has notified the appropriate authorities but the damage is done. Both my friend and her daughter have been shaken by this whole espisode.
What struck me was that this is not a dramatic tale in that (fortunately) nothing was stolen and no-one was attacked. But these sort of insidious and underhand sales tactics can badly undermine a person’s confidence and there is something so cynical about directing them at our vulnerable older people who are often too polite to say no.
Posted: November 24th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Housing, Inclusive design | No Comments »
Need extra space for a carer, a granny annex or simply just a downstairs bathroom or wetroom but can’t face the upheaval of re-configuring your home or building an extension? At Naidex South this year, I came upon a solution – the pre-fabricated iHUS.
By chance, Grand Designs on Channel 4 last night was all about pre-fabs. Kevin McCloud went to visit Alan Dawson who had built much of his house in his workshop before transporting it to site.
The iHus follows similar principles to the Grand Designs pre-fab but is much quicker to build. The whole unit is put together in the factory and then simply winched into place. I am told that standard installation time including groundworks is just 2 weeks.
An iHUS can be of any size, with a range of different bespoke finishing touches, inside and out, and with as little or as many rooms as are needed. The units can be manufactured to any finish and specificaiton, from roofing styles to the number of plug sockets. And most importantly the exterior can be finished to match your home.
Planning permission is usually required.
When you want to move, you can either leave the iHUS in place (it is an accredited extension that exceeds British Standards) or take it with you.
iHUS was founded by Trevor Smeaton and Mark Smith who believe they have found a gap in the market by combining high quality accommodation for older and disabled people with an innovative approach which enables families to stay together comfortably. They work with a team of occupational therapists and design and adaptations experts to make sure they understand the needs of their customers – not many builders do that!
I think the iHUS is a great idea with huge potential and could be the solution for lots of hard pressed families wondering how they are going to cope with multi-generational caring.
For an example of how installation of an iHUS has worked for one family and some more photos, read Chantal and Chris’ story here:http://www.ihusaccess.com/chantal-and-chris-say-thank-you-ihus
For more information, visit www.ihusaccess.com
Posted: November 21st, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton | No Comments »
A couple of weeks ago I was invited by Faculty of Arts, University of Brighton to talk to final year product design students about using social media to promote themselves.
I talked about how since I set up my business two years ago, I have eschewed traditional PR methods in favour of using Twitter (@thFuturePerfect), Facebook and blogging. And how that had not only been more fruitful in terms of driving sales and raising the profile of The Future Perfect Company, but that the ability to interact with my potential customers was invaluable in terms of developing the brand.
Given the benefits I have found, could these students, I wondered use social media to similarly launch themselves at the Degree Show next year?
What was immediately striking to me was that whilst this cohort of 20-somethings used Facebook regularly, most of them had not thought about using it to promote themselves as designers.
Indeed one student admitted to Facebook fatigue, asking me whether I was so keen on social media because I was a relative newbie to the medium. And I have to say I had to think carefully about that. Was I possessed of a kind of beginner’s zeal?
I must admit to being very enthusiastic about social media but mostly because as a lawyer I had spent 20 years using traditional marketing methods. Legal marketing is mostly driven by personal connections and in law firms often more senior partners act as gatekeepers to existing client relationships – which makes it very difficult for more junior lawyers to develop their own client base. Social media on the other hand flattens traditional and social hierarchies – everyone is equal and accessible. That makes it a perfect medium for the new business – or the graduate launching into the design world.
I hope I have convinced my audience to give social media a go and to take it seriously as a marketing tool.
(And isn’t there something rather ironic about our older customers being more social media savvy than the younger generation!?)
Posted: November 14th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Inclusive design | No Comments »
At Naidex South, I met up with Richard Child, Technical Director of Hymid R&D.
Richard recently graduated from University College Falmouth with a first class honours degree in 3D design and has since set up Hymid R&D as an ideas hub for the independent living sector.
Based at the Paignton Innovation Centre, South Devon College, Hymid R&D is focused on revolutionising the independent living industry by adding value through design.
Richard says “It is clear within the independent living sector, that end users and industry professionals are aware of all the issues and problems. However, if they have an idea about how to solve a problem, what do they do with it? It’s these ideas that Hymid R&D are looking to develop. We want to work with communities, end users and industry professionals to solve problems through inclusive design. Our mission is simple; to nurture innovative ideas into existence”.
Richard is currently working on a product for the crutches market. If you or someone you know has ever used crutches, then he wants to hear about the problems you faced or are facing.
Getting products to market is one of the biggest challenges faced by all designers particularly in the independent living sector and we wish Richard every success with his new venture.
To get in touch with Richard and for more information, visit http://www.hymidrandd.co.uk/idea. Like all good entrepreneurs, Richard has also embraced social media at http://www.facebook.com/hymidrandd and http://www.twitter.com/hymidrandd
Posted: November 10th, 2011 | Author: admin | Filed under: Miscellaneous | No Comments »
Yesterday I overhead the following conversation:
“Been settling Mum into the care home. Have bought her some more DVDs today. There they play war songs all the time but actually she likes music from the 1950s and 60s..”
It’s a good point. How often do we see images of elderly care homes with the residents sat around in a circle listening to music from the 1940s and singing along to Vera Lynn? Yet if you do the maths, even our current generation of 80 year olds were young adults in the 1950s and 1960s – very different music eras.
And there does seem to be an assumption of homogeny when in reality we often don’t have the same musical tastes as our spouses, let alone a group of strangers who just happen to be our age. And with the huge range of music now on offer, this diversity is likely to increase as we all get older.
So maybe we will all be sitting around in a circle with our iPods plugged into our ears instead!
What do you think?