Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: February 19th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Health, Inclusive design | No Comments »
Fantastic to see that Hanna Mawbey, one of our Designing for the Future alumni, has been chosen to be part of the Nesta artists showcase.
Hanna Mawbey recently graduated from the University of Brighton 3D Materials Practice MDes course and is beginning her career as a designer working in the field of inclusive design and assistive technology. Growing up with a sister suffering a long-term illness highlighted the importance of aesthetics as well as function in this field of design. Hanna’s work focusses on making medical aids more appealing so that the people who use them are proud of their illness. Hanna is currently developing a range of precious metal asthma inhalers.
Hanna has three pieces displayed in Nesta’s reception area. Go and have a look, if you get the chance.
Posted: February 8th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health | No Comments »
We have featured Carefound before and this week director Oliver Stirk got in touch with an account of the sort of person-centred care his organisation delivers which provides a heartening antidote to the terrible stories of poor care currently dominating the press.
Oliver writes : Each member of our home care team will typically visit several clients in a day. Although we are able to build strong relationships with our clients through providing continuity of care and visits of at least one hour in length the role is very varied and depends very much on each client’s needs.
My name is Jo and I am a home carerat Carefound where I visit elderly clients in their own homes in and around the Harrogate area (North Yorkshire). I love my job – no two days are ever the same even though I generally visit the same clients.
On a typical day my first visit will start at 7:45am. I go to see an elderly gentleman who lives alone but has family close by. I am there to give him the confidence to shower independently, prepare his breakfast, wash-up, clean the bathroom after he has finished using it, and carry out any other tasks he may need doing such as ironing. This morning I changed the bed linen and put it to wash. I was also asked to go to the flat below to clean the bath after a leak from the ceiling! I check he is eating his breakfast and has all he needs before leaving for my next appointment. We will only visit clients for periods of one hour upwards which is great as we get the time to make sure that their needs are truly met.
After this I drive to my next client – an elderly lady with dementia who lives alone. I am able to use the specialist dementia training we receive at Carefound which is based on something called the ‘SPECAL method’. This includes things such as not asking direct questions (this is very hard at first but does make a huge difference), not contradicting, and gathering as much information as possible from the ‘expert’ (the person with dementia).
I arrive, let myself in and call out “hello”, to let her know that I have arrived. I find her in bed and offer to assist her with a wash and a change of clothes. This is accepted along with the promise of a footbath. I get everything ready and we chat and laugh together as she has a wash and changes her clothes. Then she puts her feet into the bath of warm, soapy water and sits, soaking and splashing her feet. We talk about all sorts of things – her love of running, being in the army, working in a shop and then somehow get onto talking about childhood memories and sledging!
When the client is ready, I prepare her breakfast. Whilst she is eating I wash up, clean the bathroom, and make her bed. Then I join her to have a drink and we chat together. She has a lovely smile and a good sense of humour; we have some fabulous conversations together. At the end of the visit I always tell her when I will be back and leave her with a cup of tea and a biscuit, and she waves me off down her drive from the window of her bungalow.
I then go on to my next client who is a gentleman with dementia in need of prompting and assisting with taking his medication. I am met at the door with a smile and set to work, gathering his medication from the safe where it is kept. Once they are taken, signed for and put away, we sit down with a drink. I am given a tour of his house and shown his collection of button hooks in a cabinet. He then talks of his sailing days and comments on the many pictures of boats on his walls. He tells me of travels to France and Portugal. Then we move to South America and all the animals he saw up close. He talks of elephants and lions, so close that you could touch them – at the end of the visit I feel I have travelled the world and not even left Harrogate! Again, I am able to use my dementia training to ensure that the client remains comfortable and trusting in communicating with me.
I now go to my last client of the day. Here I am greeted by the clients’ dog at the door. I start by feeding the birds, stocking up the garden bird feeders. There are so many birds here including woodpeckers, bluebirds, goldfinches, sparrows and the occasional pigeon. Any I don’t know, the lady tells me. I then refill the feed bags before taking the dog around the block at the owners’ request. I then go inside and wash up the client’s breakfast pots. We chat about various things including her favourite television programmes, if she has been watching the horse racing and most importantly, if any of her bets have been successful! I then find out her lunch preferences and find out what she would like for supper. I make soup with assistance from the client and she decides she would like a jacket potato and salad dressing for lunch. I also prepare garlic mash and vegetables for her to have with her tea. I then do her recycling – newspaper, plastic and compost. Whilst the client has her lunch I take her dog out for a walk into the grounds of the estate where she lives. I walk for an hour amongst the deer and red kite that circle overhead. It is a fabulous part of the job, especially when the sun is shining. Who needs a gym workout, when you can be out and about in the fresh air! On my return, the client and I chat. I might do a little ironing, cleaning or tidying before leaving, refill her water jugs, and change the dog’s water. On occasion I do some gardening and have even collected soil from molehills to fill up her pots for patio plants.
The joys of this job really are the variety, the people you meet and the journeys you can go on with them. You learn so much about people and their lives without having to ask too many questions, just by listening. Where else can you get so much variety, laughter and exercise?
Carefound (www.carefound.co.uk) is a provider of specialist home care and dementia care services to elderly people in North Yorkshire, enabling clients to continue to live independently in the comfort of their own home whilst maintaining the highest quality of life achievable.
Posted: January 28th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Housing, Retirement | No Comments »
Tea for Two by Florence Pike, Designing for the Future 2012
Much of the discussion around housing for older people centres around the notion of independent living. But while being able to stay at home is the aspiration of many, what if independence is not the right goal?
We may not want to rely on others for our care but few of us relish being alone. And indeed the epidemic of loneliness sweeping through our older people is testament to that very fact.
Rather than having to choose between home or care home, some innovative new projects are challenging the goal of independence, suggesting instead that we should be aspiring to a kind of interdependence.
Take for example, homesharing schemes such as Uniitee, or Homeshare Eden which encourages older people to rent out spare bedrooms to cash-strapped students who can provide them with companionship and some help around the home in return for a reduced rent.
Other projects such as The Threshold Centre in Dorset are pioneering the idea of co-housing. Open to all ages, The Threshold Centre is a cluster of cottages with a shared farmhouse which sees itself as an intentional community where people share their lives but retain private space. In last week’s Guardian, one of the residents tells the story of her 75 year old neighbour Caroline, who died last year. When Caroline was in a hospice, several residents offered to care for her: “Before she came here, she nursed her 90-year-old mum for three years. She always said she never wanted that for her children. Maybe she thought if she was in a community the burden would not entirely rest on them – and that’s how it worked.”
Aside from structured projects, many families are finding their own models of interdependency. No longer a simple case of the carers looking after the cared for, many grandparents, parents and children are involved in increasingly complex interdependent relationships. Grown up children are moving back into family homes so that grandparents can avoid downsizing; grandparents are childminding the grandchildren and grandparents and children are working out how together to help the grandchildren onto that elusive first rung of the property ladder.
So maybe we should be aiming for a new kind of interdependence with new a range of housing options to match.
Posted: January 16th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Inclusive design, Press coverage | Comments Off
Nice write up for The Future Perfect Company today on the Caron Cares blog.
“Just because people are older does not mean they become dull and if you are looking for something practical with a good design and a bit of flair to it then this is the shop to visit. To finish off the service the company also sell cards and gift wrap which are also beautiful and innovative.”
Thanks, Caron. Much appreciated!
To read the blog post in full, Click Here
Posted: January 10th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, New products! | Comments Off
Fantastic to hear that Julie Robinson, founder of Move It or Lose It! exercise DVDs has won a National Diversity Award. The Awards celebrate the achievements of grass-root communities tackling the issues in today’s society. Julie picked up the Entrepreneurial Award for Excellence in the Age category.
Julie Robinson is a specialist teacher of exercise for older or less able people of any age and runs a network of classes in the Midlands area. The Move it or Lose it! DVD reaches those who cannot get to an exercise class or as an additional resource for those who can.
”The idea for this DVD comes from my clients who are in their 50s, 60s, 70s, 80s and 90s. From people in community centres to care homes, from Age Concern projects to hospice courses, so many people have said they want to follow the routines at home but can’t remember what to do. So the first Move it or Lose it! routine is aimed at those who need gentle but progressive exercise so they can improve their strength, mobility and confidence.
I am frequently contacted by the people who are concerned about their parents or grandparents as they are worried about their physical decline as they age. They know they need to exercise but don’t know what to do and cannot always get out to join a class. The Move it or Lose it! DVD brings the exercise class to their living room, encouraging them to keep on moving just like the people in the DVD”
To find out more and buy the Move IT or Lose It! DVD, CLICK HERE
Posted: September 25th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Inclusive design | Comments Off
OXO Good Grips - exemplar of inclusive design
How do you identify what products might make life easier
for older people
and how do you go about creating and ultimately selling them? Last week I took part in a workshop organised by engage, Age UK’s business network
, which set out to explore the product development journey from user needs through to concept creation.
Armed with post-it notes (about which more later), highlighter pens and swathes of paper, we split into teams made up of designers, retailers and manufacturers and set about interrogating two older people as to how their lives worked and what products could make life easier.
The two older people in our team were expert older people in that they had clearly been involved in such exercises before, were able to talk articulately about themselves and their lives and already had some ideas about what products currently caused them problems. Not all of us are so well informed and one of the major barriers to the market for older consumers of assistive living products is lack of information or awareness about such products existing. And many of us do not perceive a need for any such products at all.
So, where to start? With the post-it notes, it turned out, as no-one could open them! Three adults having tried and failed, packaging is obviously a problem area for all of us. And indeed difficult- to- open packaging has been identified as a real issue for older people. But is the solution better designed packaging or is it a separate tool? Another barrier to the market is the perceived stigma associated with assisted living technologies, deriving from negative attitudes towards ageing, dependence or frailty. We do not necessarily want special products in our kitchens which scream “old person!” Style and good design is just as important to older people as to any other section of the population.
When they have finally opened their new purchases, the next issue our users identified was making them work, particularly the new generation of technology. Instruction manuals were often complex and difficult to follow. We all wanted some additional form of help, whether given at the time of choosing the product or some sort of follow up service. This, our users felt, would make them feel more confident in the technology. So, there are also issues about brand trust and good service.
Lots here to think about for designers and retailers. The market for assistive technologies has haltingly been changing over the past 15 years from statutory provision to a retail model but although the market is potentially huge, the journey has not been straightforward. Having identified the “need”, the challenge is to change that need into a “want” by producing innovative, attractive and desirable products which not only allow people to live independently for longer but to do so in a way which is life-enhancing, positive and fun. And then to tell older people about them.
It’s not just about “the stuff”; it’s about how we use and feel about the products in our lives. Design is just as important as functionality and this does not change as we get older.
For more information about engage, CLICK HERE ; Also see “Unlocking the potential of the younger older consumer” Research findings from the CO-MODAL project led by Coventry University in partnership with Age UK and Grandparents Plus.
Posted: September 12th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Health | Comments Off
Care costs are a very complex area. Broadly, healthcare costs are fully funded by the NHS whereas social care costs are means-tested. For anyone with a serious, long term health condition an important deadline is fast approaching. Here Continuing Care review specialists, Cheselden explain more
An important deadline for continuing care home claims is fast approaching and people have until 30th September 2012 to register for a refund.
If you or a relative believes that you have wrongly paid care fees at home or in a care home, you must submit a claim before the end of September. The Department of Health announced back in March that people disputing fees paid between 1st April 2004 and 31st March 2011 have until this cut-off date to make a claim.
Anyone who has a serious, long-term health condition can qualify for NHS Continuing Healthcare which means the Government must fund the full cost of the care including nursing fees and accommodation. It is a package of social care and health funded solely by the NHS when a person has a need for healthcare. However, many older people have been wrongly denied funding.
So if you would like to be reassessed and you think you are entitled to free NHS Continuing Healthcare, act quickly. Even if the patient in question is deceased, relatives can still submit a claim. After the deadline, no-one will be able to register for a refund. Only claims with special extenuating circumstances will be considered.
Bear in mind that those wishing to make a claim for fees paid between 1st April 2011 and 31st March 2012 have until the 31st March 2013 deadline.
The deadlines were introduced by the Department of Health to give everyone the opportunity to have their case examined. But the responsibility for the healthcare assessments will change from 1st April 2013. Currently, Primary Care Trusts (PCTs) are responsible for identifying when a patient might qualify for continuing care but this will pass to the newly formed Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs). It is hoped that the cut-off deadlines will make the handover easier.
For more information, visit http://www.cheselden.co.uk/
Posted: September 10th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Inclusive design | No Comments »
There is currently much discussion about how technology will revolutionise the way we care for older people. But how do you use cutting edge technology to care for someone who is not tech-savvy? How do you domesticate telecare to make it effective but unobtrusive? One possible answer is suggested by TapCare.
TapCare is a new idea to use the latest technology, Near Field Communication (NFC) and mobile devices like smartphones and tablet computers together to make it easy and cheap to provide complex, personalised care at home. Here designer Alastair Somerville explains how TapCare would work in practice:
TapCare came out of our own lives
My mother in law has regular carer visits every day.
At 7.30am, 12.00pm, 4.45pm and 9.30pm she is visited by 2 carers to assist her with bathing, and dressing and medications. We help look after her in terms of meals and social life.
Given our work and childcare, we cannot be around all the time so we need some way to confirm that things are OK and regular needs are being met. This is why we have made a TapCare clock.
It’s just a normal clock but we’ve stuck Near Field Communication tags to the back of it.
They’re matched up to the times the carers should be attending.
If everything is OK, she just taps her phone on the clock at the right time. We get a quick Tweet and know what’s happening.
If things aren’t OK: for example, if the carers are delayed or they have left something undone. Then she can just tap the Call Me tag which is near her in bed. That tag sends a Text and Tweet to us.
What TapCare means
So TapCare is trying to make a balance between technology and personal life. We don’t want to make the house and fittings even more medical-looking than now so hiding the tags in the clock is better.
It’s also cognitively easier to remember and something the carers can remind her to do if she forgets.
Keeping in contact and maintaining independence are mutual things that need agreement from all of us.
TapCare works for us because it allows us to just build a telecare system that is simple and personalised to the needs of my mother in law”
Interesting. In theory, you can set up the system yourself and decide on your own Tags. In practice, you might want to call on the expertise of Alastair and his colleagues. Either way, this is a potentially straightforward, cost effective and versatile way of communicating and caring at a distance. What do you think?
For more information, go to http://tapcare.blogspot.co.uk/2012/09/what-is-tapcare-tapcare-is-new-idea-to.html
Posted: August 28th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Designing for the Future Competition - University of Brighton, Fashion, Health, Inclusive design | No Comments »
"Chap style" prosthetic leg by Hanna Mawbey
As the world turns its attention to the paralympics and the Blade Runner, Oscar Pistorius, designer Hanna Mawbey describes how her sister’s congenital illness triggered an interest in medical aids which led her to design a prosthetic leg which owes more to craft than technology.
My interest in the design of medical equipment has its roots in my firsthand observations of growing up with a congenitally ill sister. Her constant ill-health, and conversely my relative good-health, is the catalyst from which my interest has grown.
My sister has to use numerous medical aids and devices to help ease the symptoms of her illness. Often, these objects are functional and ‘ugly’ to behold; their primary concern is with performing a task. For example, breathing apparatus and intravenous drips are produced in garish colours, weird shapes and in materials that lend the objects little sense of worth or longevity.
Whilst photographing my sister during a recent hospital stay, I started to make connections between the medical equipment she used and the work I had been undertaking at the University of Brighton.
Prosthetic limbs have been a personal interest of mine for a number of years. When I first visited the Wellcome Collection I was struck by the display of prosthetic arms and legs, how beautifully made and detailed they were in comparison to the ones that are made now. Innovations in the manufacture and production of prostheses is an essential thing – companies such as Blatchford and Otto Bock are constantly striving to find new durable, lightweight and comfortable materials to make prosthetics with. Speed of production is the key. Amputations due to increased action in war, increased cases of diabetes and various other illnesses mean that more and more patients require the use of a prosthetic.
I first became involved with Otto Bock Sussex Rehab Centre a number of years ago when my friend was going there for a routine appointment. I was invited along to meet the team of prosthetists and technicians. From this moment onward, I knew I wanted to come back and visit again.
A requirement of the MDes course at the University of Brighton is that a period of work placement is undertaken. The time spent on my work placement at Otto Bock was incredibly useful. The team of technicians supported and helped me to understand how to make prosthesis, the technical aspects of balance and forces involved as well as gaining an understanding of the materials used in the production process.
Technical Engineers at Otto Bock
One aspect I became very interested in was the use of leatherwork in the making of limbs. Leather is not used so much any more – it takes a long time to prepare. It is however the most comfortable material to have next to skin. Modern prosthesis are made from various plastic foams such as plastezote or pedilin.
I was struck by how detailed the leatherwork was, in comparison to the rest of the limb and I began to learn about leatherworking techniques. The leatherworker at Otto Bock is a man named Tony. He has done the job for over forty years and watching him work is just amazing – I have never seen someone work so fast and make a difficult process look so easy.
I was not sure how, or why I was going to use leatherwork at this point of the project, but I knew that I really enjoyed the process and was keen to somehow integrate it into my work. Then I met the patient that would inspire me to make a prosthetic leg. He is an below-knee amputee who was in a motorcycle accident when he was a teenager. Becoming an amputee at a relatively young and fit age has meant that he was able to adjust and adapt to his new circumstances relatively quickly. He was involved in the ‘chap’ movement of modern gentlemen. This sub-cultural group live as though they are typical English ‘gents’ from yesteryear – wearing tweed, mustaches, brogues, vintage clothing from a bygone era. This seemed to fit in so well with my desire to use leatherwork, so I proposed that I make a prototype “Gentleman’s Leg”, inspired by this man.
Quickly, I got to researching brogue patterning on shoes and found that the use of patterning on these shoes is because they were worn in marshy, swampy areas. The holes from the patterns served as drainage. Initially thought to have developed in Scotland and Ireland, these shoes that were once working men’s shoes became gentlemen’s shoes.
I decided to go with this and started playing around with laser-cutting the leather I had been given by the technicians at Otto Bock. This is when the project really started to come to life and I was able to start designing pieces specifically with my patient in mind.
I decided to use a combination of Beech wood and leather as a reference to the materials formerly used in the manufacture and fabrication of prostheses. It created a link with the past – Beech was historically used for its strength and durability, leather for its comfort and warmth.
Through manipulation of materials and applying their use to the modern day, I was aiming to create a link with the past and to highlight the positive aspects of using those materials. I specifically wanted to make a prosthetic leg that was bespoke, tailored like a suit would be and with the patient’s personality in mind. This move away from fast production and cheap materials means that it took longer to make, but was very much in keeping with the patient’s needs and tastes. I hoped to highlight that disabled individuals were just that – individuals. In the same way you might choose a new outfit, I am hinting that perhaps prosthetics can be picked and chosen in the same way. I hope that my concept could highlight a similar need in the design of prosthetics and medical aids.
Further reading and information can be found by visiting my website and my research blog. For a refreshing look at prosthetics, please also watch this video by Aimee Mullins at a TED talk she gave a few years ago. If you have any questions, please do get in contact with me.
Posted: July 25th, 2012 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health | No Comments »
Getting in the party spirit, Llandudno, December 2011
You meet some interesting organisations on Twitter and recently I came across the National Benevolent Fund for the Ageing which for some 55 years has been supporting older people on low incomes. Here one of their volunteers, Rob, explains more about what they do.
Now in its 55th year, the National Benevolent Fund for the Aged (NBFA) provides practical support to older people on low incomes who feel isolated and marginalised.
Each year the NBFA organises free 5-day ‘Breaks-Away’ for about 1,000 older people who have not been on holiday for at least 3 years and who cannot afford to arrange a holiday for themselves. Each Break-Away consists of one or two coaches of older people accompanied by NFBA staff and volunteers. The many social activities provide the holiday-makers with an opportunity to make new friends and to try something new. Each week usually includes 2 or 3 outings to local beauty spots or places of interest, and every evening there is an entertainer after dinner. Thursday nights are reserved for the ever-popular fancy-dress competition and a raffle.
NBFA has recently started providing NBFA Day-Trips for older people who are potentially put-off by the length of the Breaks-Away, and an NBFA Reunion Programme to bring together participants from previous events. A participant commented: ‘Loneliness, there’s a lot of loneliness and depression and nobody helps; but on trips like this, people do help and they try to talk to each other and make friends’
NBFA helps to enhance independence and reduce the sense of vulnerability of frail older people by offering Emergency Telephone Alarms. Emergency Alarms give older people the confidence to stay in their own homes for longer and to lead more active lives without being worried if someone will come to help them if needed.
NBFA also works though Physiotherapists and GPs to provide easy to use, reliable, electrical pain relief machines free of charge to older people who would benefit.
Breaks –Away planned for Autumn 2012 include a holiday village in Bracklesham Bay in Sussex, for participants from London, and one to Bridlington, on the Yorkshire coast, for participants from the Leeds and Bradford area. Further Breaks-Away and day-trips for Spring 2013 are being planned.
If you think that you know an older person, or an agency working in this field, who might want to work with NBFA or who might benefit from one of their services, please contact the NBFA on 0207 828 0200 or look at their website at www.nbfa.org.uk