Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.
Posted: December 11th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Grandparents, Inclusive design, Retirement | Comments Off
Displacement Jug by Sophia Fong
In October, I took part in a seminar organised as part of the ILC-UK and Personal Finance Resource Centre project on financial circumstances and wellbeing hosted by Brown-Forman to discuss findings around consumer spending. David Hayes from the PFRC presented new research exploring patterns of expenditure among older people which was then debated by an expert roundtable, along with broader questions surrounding the ‘older consumer’.
How to market to older people is becoming an increasingly important topic as the UK’s population ages. A key issue to be addressed by marketeers is how to avoid the homogenisation of this group, as its diversity is often lost in ageist perceptions of ‘what older people want’. The research findings combat this one dimensional view of older people by investigating their differing spending habits and showing just how diverse this group can be.
What was clear from the assembled experts is that trying to segment this market is full of bear traps. For me, the challenge of marketing to older people is best summed up by marketing expert Dick Stroud who has identified what he sees as the paradox in the older consumers’ market: “Older people want products and marketing that relate to them at their age but they don’t want products and marketing that relate to them because of their age”.
For more information about the event and the PFRC research findings, visit http://blog.ilcuk.org.uk/2013/11/26/should-we-forget-about-the-older-consumer/
Posted: November 25th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Grandparents, Health, Inclusive design | Comments Off
I first came across Aging 2.0 last year when I was invited to speak at one of their events in London.
Aging 2.0 is a US based network of innovators working in the 50+ market who are aiming to create an interdisciplinary, collaborative community drawn from business, research, policy, design and technology. Their mission – to accelerate innovation to improve the quality of life for older adults around the world.
This year Aging 2.0 have stepped up a gear by launching the GENerator, a new founders program which will “provide strategic advice and access to mentors, pilots and capital for a small number of high-potential, early-stage companies”.
The first cohort of entrepreneurial businesses has just been announced as follows :
- BrainAid (www.brainaid.com) is a smartphone or tablet application with patented “executive function” software to provide flexible activity reminders and automatic planning assistance for individuals with cognitive impairment.
- CareLinx (www.carelinx.com) is a professional in-home caregiver online marketplace that helps people easily find, screen, hire and pay caregivers who match their specific needs and budget.
- CareSolver (www.caresolver.com) activates, educates, and supports the nation’s $450B per year senior care workforce – family caregivers – to drive significant improvements in senior health and caregiver wellness.
- Life2 (www.life2inc.com) is a healthcare focused predictive analytics company that helps caregivers predict and manage future health risks by providing them information on “who” is at risk, “why” they are at risk, and “what” can be done to mitigate the risk.
- Lift Hero (www.lifthero.com) is a platform for arranging convenient, door-through-door transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments from reliable, qualified drivers.
- Lively (www.mylively.com) uses passive, stylish activity sensors and a social sharing platform to help older adults live independently longer and provide tighter connection to family.
- My Grove (www.mygrove.co) is a multimedia marketplace and social engagement platform tailored for Active Adults and their communities, which engages and empowers them to connect, share and shop with privacy, security and purpose.
- OpenPlacement (www.openplacement.com) is disrupting the $4.5 billion patient care transition industry by replacing antiquated materials and manual research with an easy to use web application.
- Sabi (www.sabi.com) creates products that improve day-to-day life by rethinking the most commonly used products and tools to elevate the everyday moments in life with superior functionality and design.
- Tapestry (www.tapestry.net) is a beautifully simple tablet & web app, which helps older adults connect to the people they love, the services they need and the communities in which they live.
- True Link (www.truelinkfinancial.com) protects seniors’ money by offering a caregiver-managed debit card account with personalized spending controls and extra protection from fraud and scams.
It is interesting to see that already up and coming companies such as Sabi and Lively are taking part in this project which suggests that it has real depth and potential.
Stephen Johnston and his team at Aging 2.0 have also amassed an impressive list of sponsors and supporters which include Home Instead Senior Care, Institute on Aging, AgeTech West, Cambia Health, Clear Care Online, Stanford Center on Longevity and Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati.
This is a really exciting development for this market and we look forward to watching this first GENerator cohort succeed. Hopefully the next cohort will include some UK businesses. The likes of Ode and Casserole Club might be a good place to start.
Posted: October 7th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Grandparents, Inclusive design | Comments Off
At The Future Perfect Company we have lots of Christmas gift ideas for mums, dads and grandparents which are not just age-friendly but innovative and attractive too.
£10 and under
Check out our selection of kitchen tools from the OXO Good Grips range . This range was originally designed with arthritis in mind and all the tools are very comfortable and easy to use.
Make light work of peeling all those vegetables this Christmas with The King of Peelers. This OXO Good Grips potato peeler is simply the best peeler you will ever try!
For the golfer in your life, the Bionic Golf Glove is the only golf glove to be designed by an orthopaedic hand surgeon. Promising longer distance and greater accuracy these gloves are made of top-grade cabretta leather to make them feel like a second skin.
Our Move It or Lose It! exercise DVD (with free exercise band) on the other hand has been really popular with people who are less mobile but still want to keep active.
Keen gardeners will love this practical Gardening Journal which is the perfect place to make notes as the seasons change and record future plans with its colourful loose-leaf section and storage pockets.
OXO Good Grips tools are designed to give maxmimum strength for minimum effort and have lots of extra features like comfortable handles. OXO Good Grip’s pruners have a hardened, steel cutting blade with non-stick coating, and soft, comfortable, non-slip grips to maximize cutting strength and power.
Or how about one of our colourful handmade double handled mugs now in three different designs?
Or for those keen on researching family history, this lovely Family Tree file comes complete with keepsake box.
Our gorgeous Typhoon shopping trolleys are sure to cut a dash on any high street. Let this smart shopping trolley take the strain with its fully insulated cooler bag and, two spacious side pockets for additional storage and a drawstring and Velcro fastening to keep items safely tucked away.
Or how about the versatile Trabasack, part bag, part table? So much smarter than the average laptray. Perfect for picnic lunches or using the iPad, crafting or even eating breakfast in bed.
As featured in Design Week and brimming with character, our best selling handmade doublehandled teapot, has a helpful second handle by the spout, making it easier to pour.
Treat someone special with our ever popular Healthy Back Bags in gorgeous soft leather. Style with comfort, these bags manage to combine practicality with elegance, whilst taking the strain off your back.
Any Christmas gift list would not be complete with an Alex Table Lamp with dimmer. See life more clearly with the ultimate in reading comfort. Perfect for reading the Sunday papers.
And if you are after a bargain, be sure to check out our Bag a Bargain section!
Posted: September 24th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Grandparents, Health, Product reviews | Comments Off
We are always keen to get feedback on our products and we recently received this from a care assistant who had shared our book, Pictures to Share – in the garden with one of his clients who has dementia.
“I used the book with one of my clients in the day room. I wanted to try something else as often social time is just people watching old reruns of Dads Army on the telly and I wanted to do something more meaningful. It was not just the pictures in the book but also the words, especially the Kipling poem which resonated with my client – she lit up. The book linked her right back to the felt experience of the country people she used to know. Something passed between us that was much more meaningful – not stereotypical. There seemed to be an after effect also. I concluded the social time with a 15 minute walk around the garden and my client seemed more fluent because she had had access through the material to talking about the life she had had before the memory issues arose. It also had an impact on our relationship – we were more connected and more equal – less carer and cared for”
For more details about Pictures to Share and our other dementia products, visit www.thefutureperfectcompany.com
Posted: September 24th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Retirement | No Comments »
I have come across a couple of projects recently which aim to use food to connect people.
Casserole Club started life as part of the Design Council’s Independence Matters programme and has since gone from strength to strength.
Casserole Club is a project that connects people who “like to cook and are happy to share an extra portion of a delicious home cooked meal, with older neighbours living close by who could really benefit from a hot cooked meal”.
Like a local, community-led take-away, Casserole Club members serve up tasty, home-cooked food to their neighbours, getting more people eating and cooking fresh meals while strengthening local neighbourhood relationships. The service is flexible - there is no requirement to share meals regularly and meals do not have to be eaten together. Casserole explains : “What happens when you go round to deliver a meal is totally up to you and your Diner. You may just deliver food and have a chat at the door, they might ask you in. Do whatever feels right for you. Some cooks and diners may want to get to know each other a little better first, others may well be up for a cuppa and a chat!”
The new kid on the block and still fund raising is NANA, a comfort food and craft café staffed by older women. NANA describe their ethos as follows : “We hate the thought that just because you retire, you’re expected to sit at home waiting for Deal or No Deal to start. Although there are activities provided for over 65′s, they don’t suit everyone, especially those who still feel like they’re 40 and are keen to get stuck in to something that benefits their community.
So on the one hand, you have incredibly talented, passionate and enthusiastic older ladies stuck in doors, looking for something to do. On the other, you have a whole community of people, looking for tasty food at a reasonable price. So why not bring these two groups together?
We want to make a space where everyone is welcome – regardless of age, income or whether you have a screaming child on your arm. NANA sits at the heart of the community, serving up all the nostalgic treats from your childhood. Think dippy eggs and soldiers, homemade soup, ‘proper’ sandwiches and freshly baked cakes”.
Both projects are deceptively simple, easy to engage with and equally charming. To be successful Casserole and NANA need to be embraced by the communities in which they operate and both seem to be on track for doing just that.
For more details about Casserole Club, visit http://www.casseroleclub.com/ and to find out more about NANA go to http://www.wearenana.com/
Posted: September 9th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: About retirement - Howard Croft, Grandparents, Product reviews | No Comments »
In the past couple of years we have seen a steady stream of movies portraying later life and in particular different models of retirement living.
Robot & Frank
On the one hand, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel followed a group of British pensioners opting to spend their retirement in a run down hotel in India rather than moving in with family or downsizing to an assisted living facility.
In Quartet, another comedy drama, a group of retired musicians live together in an altogether more upmarket country house.
And most recently, Robot and Frank, looks forward to the “near future” when the children of a retired cat burglar buy their father a humanoid robot as an alternative to putting him in a retirement home.
So, here we have three models of retirement, two communal and one living independently at home. Which one would you opt for, given the choice?
The Marigold Hotel is most akin to a typical “old people’s home” in that the residents are a disparate group thrown together by age and circumstance rather than shared interests albeit in in an unusual location. In the film, the residents gradually coalesce into a group and become empowered in their new environment whether to end a loveless marriage or take over the hotel’s accounts.
The residents of Beacham House in Quartet are on the face of it a more confident and feisty bunch brought together by a love of their art. However, the home has fallen on tough times and the residents need to come together to raise funds to ensure its survival. Again, like Marigold Hotel the group pulls together, this time to organise a successful fundraising concert.
In both cases, the residents are empowered to take control of the homes in which they live, somewhat at odds with the usual promise of today’s retirement homes of needing to “spend less time on everyday chores and responsibilities” and not a little worrying for those wanting a quiet life. And both are based on a model of living communally - which will not suit everybody.
In Robot and Frank, Frank is supported to live independently by a very sophisticated robot which is programmed to monitor his health and well being in such a way as replicates a caring human relationship. After some initial resistance, Frank thrives within this quasi-friendship until driven by his own self interest, he opts to erase the robot’s memory and consequently their relationship.
And in all cases it is the quality of the relationships between the resident, the staff and residents, and even Frank and his robot, which has the most impact on the quality of life of the aging protoganists. Even in the squabbles and politicking between the Marigold Hotel and Beacham House residents, there is the sense of life still being lived and enjoyed. Whilst there is a hotel to be saved, a residential home to be funded or a heist to be organised, life has purpose and meaning. And that is as important in older age as at any other life stage.
Posted: June 12th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health | Comments Off
To mark Carers Week this week, Attends got in touch to let us know what products are now available to help manage the often debilitating affects of incontinence which can strike at any stage of life.
Incontinence can affect both men and women, especially those at a more senior time of life. Not only can incontinence cause irritation and hygiene problems it can also affect your day to day life. IF you let it! Fortunately, there are a number of products available to help limit the effects incontinence has on your lifestyle.
Modern products mean you can still go for a walk, play golf, play tennis, catch up with friends…Of course, we always recommend getting in touch with your doctor as soon as you notice any bladder or bowel weakness as they will be able to offer treatment and advice and explain why this could be happening. Although these products are incredibly helpful and can really improve quality of life, there is no substitute for correct medical attention.
There are many companies who offer a great selection of incontinence products such as Attends, Tena and Lil. The following are products from Attends which can make a huge difference to the life of someone suffering from the effects of incontinence
1. Moisturiser- Often skin irritation is a side effect of incontinence . Moisturiser can help prevent against any rashes and dry skin, meaning you can get about without excessive discomfort.
2. Disposable underwear- With cotton like outer materials and efficient inner layers, disposable underwear can absorb almost twenty times its own weight… so you can enjoy that coffee after all!
3. Absorbent pads- These have the same effect as disposable underwear but are designed for a lighter flow. Allowing you to wear that dress you wanted to!
4. Incontinence Slips – These are sometimes known as adult nappies and are designed to manage heavy or severe incontinence and are available in different sizes to ensure you can get a secure fit.
5. Spray- Opposed to using a perfume or deodorant, why not use a non-irritating product. Perfect for when you’re out and about.
6. Wipes- Also incredibly handy when you’re out and about. Allowing you to be clean and fresh, so you can enjoy your day.
7. Disposable bags- Disposable bags are a must, similar to the ones you find at swimming pools for wet swimwear.
8. Skin cleanser- A good skin cleanser is important;. You should look for a specialised moisturising cleanser which is formulated to clean without scrubbing.
9. Pad & Underwear combination- Some companies offer a combination of both a disposable pad liner and a washable brief. Providing that extra bit of insurance.
It can take time to find the right products for you and some trial and error may be needed before you find what you are most comfortable with. To help you find the right product Attends have created this useful Product Selection Guide which is worth having a look at.
Posted: May 20th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Inclusive design | No Comments »
ThyssenKrupp Encasa contacted us to tell us about their accessibility products which include stairlifts, platform lifts and home elevators. Two of the biggest gripes we hear about stairlifts in general is lack of transparency on pricing and ugly design. Here ThyssenKrupp Encasa explain how they approach both cost and design.
Pricing in the stairlift industry is somewhat of an unknown as the product is not part of everyday life for the majority of the UK population. It carries the stigma of a medical product which symbolises a lack of independence and old age. Ultimately it is a purchase out of need and not aspiration.
However times are changing. We are seeing a shift in the stairlift market for many different reasons. The ageing population is living longer which is causing their everyday life to become a challenge, especially mobility. One of the biggest challenges people face is tackling the stairs, a daily task which is taken for granted by many. Within the UK there is a Government Facilities Grant scheme (DFG) supported through local authority social services which is designed to help people who may not be in a position to finance adaption’s to enhance their mobility. Given the recent times and Government austerity measures, the amount of funding is being reduced with signs indicating less funding will be available as the years progress. This will cause a major shift within the stairlift market as more and more people will have to finance the purchase themselves. This drives the need for prices to become more transparent with design, functionality and value for money becoming a major factor in making the right choice of product and supplier.
At ThyssenKrupp Encasa we design all of our stairlift products with our clients in mind. We recognise people invest significant time, money and love in their homes and the phrase ‘home is where your heart is’ rings true throughout our business when dealing with customers. It is our aim to help people stay in their own homes, avoid re-housing or permanent downstairs living by providing stylish, innovative, practical stairlift solutions. Our curved stairlift, the Flow 2 is arguably the best stairlift on the market. It holds patented technology and design with its unique ASL technology allowing people to change direction whilst travelling, this eliminates small narrow stairs where typically a stairlift would not fit. Each lift is bespoke to individual stairs and therefore offers a taylor made solution that meets the needs of the customer, and not a standard off the shelf product.
ThyssenKrupp Encasa encourages price transparency and when asked by customers we always provide guide prices which are realistic and not misleading to give customers false hope to accept a home visit. It is difficult to provide a set price for stairlifts as there are many different variables to take into account. Is it a straight or curved stairlift? Does it require a powered swivel or hinge track? All of these variables can only be answered by visiting the customer’s home to assess the stairs and surrounding areas but also to measure the client to ensure the lift will fit and transport the users safely up and down the stairs. Not only that, there is also a duty of care to other people who live or access the property to ensure their safety is not jeopardised as a result of installing a stairlift. All ThyssenKrupp Encasa surveyors are trained to identify all aspects of installing a stairlift and will only recommend a solution if it is right for the customer. We treat all of our customers as if they are a family member, therefore we ensure quality at all times.
In saying this, it is fair to assume that a new straight stairlift fully fitted should cost in the region of £1,200 for a basic model Depending on the options this figure could increase to around £1,600. For a new curved stairlift you should expect to pay in the region of £4,300 for a basic model, increasing up to £5,000+ for more complex and complicated requirements.
Posted: April 26th, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Life Stories, Retirement | No Comments »
Peter Thornton talks to Dermatuff user, Flo Lees
Formerly chairman of Thorntons, Peter Thornton was inspired by his own experiences to develop an innovative new skin protection product, Dermatuff which helps prevent skin tears. In the third of his guest posts, Peter recalls how he had the idea for Dermatuff and a particular sticky moment along the way.
I worked for 35 years in the family business, Thorntons, the confectioners. During that career I was really lucky because I could usually see the answers to problems without too much difficulty. Of course the ideas had to be refined as they came to me as I said in my last blog but generally the answers to almost anything would occur if I just let the problem lie in my mind. That business was a marvellous environment for innovation, it was very stable, in my day always made a good profit, always had lots of cash in the bank, made great products that one could be very proud of and had a social working environment which was second to none.
Having plenty of money around meant that mistakes could be made without it having a dramatic effect on the business, the start-up entrepreneur rarely has that benefit. Actually this is probably a very good thing because having plenty of cash around is a good background to getting things wrong. If you are very short of money then you have to think of every possible way to do what you want to do for no money or hardly any money. You also have to be wary as to what you do because a mistake can finish you off completely.
When I lived in Wensley near Matlock in Derbyshire I became quite familiar with the local Minor Injury Unit. My most memorable visit there had been one day when I was alone in our home some time after I had left Thorntons. I was wandering around the house when I noticed that my wife had left a box of Thornton’s toffee on top of the piano. Being always an addict I could not resist taking a piece. As I wear plates in my mouth holding various teeth which have been removed, I must be very careful when eating toffee. On this occasion the toffee stuck to my bottom plate which was immediately loosened by the chewing motion, pushing a wire hook which was on one end of the plate well into the inside of my cheek.
This was rather like a fish hook and could not be removed by any pulling strategy that I tried. I therefore decided that I would have to go to the Minor Injury Unit where I proceeded in my car with the bottom plate hanging out of my mouth and firmly hooked into my cheek on the inside.
Of course I had to give my details to the reception staff who were quite amused to see the state that I was in. They asked my name – Peter Thornton, what had caused this incident – I struggled to explain that I had been eating a piece of Thornton’s toffee whereupon broad smiles spread across their faces particularly when they realised that the business had been my career background.
Not long after that I had to go to the Minor Injury Unit again. I had a vintage Aston Martin which was parked in a large garage that I had. I was walking past it one day and inadvertently my leg knocked quite gently against the rear bumper. Imagine my surprise when I look down at my trousers and realised that they were completely soaked in blood. Rolling up my trouser leg I saw what appeared to be a horrific injury; a large flap of skin was hanging from my leg with blood pouring out of the wound.
They sewed it up for me and then I had to keep returning for re-dressing once per week for several weeks. This was the first of many incidents of this nature. Eventually I went to see my GP and said “what can I do about this?” “Nothing,” he said, “you’ll just have to be more careful”. “Isn’t there something that I can wear? Pills that I can take or something that I can rub in?”. To which he replied in the negative and told me that I had got thinning skin as a result of taking cortisone for many years.
This seemed to be a serious affliction; I began to lose my confidence and to be extremely wary about where I was and what I was doing. The trouble about that state of mind is that it seems to make one even more vulnerable.
At that stage it had not occurred to me that I might be able to find a solution to the problem, I had to suffer several more accidents before I put this problem firmly in my mind as needing a solution.
For more information about DERMATUff, visit www.Dermatuff.com.
Posted: April 22nd, 2013 | Author: admin | Filed under: Care, Grandparents, Health, Life Stories | No Comments »
Peter Thornton talks to Dermatuff user, Flo Lees
Formerly chairman of Thorntons, Peter Thornton was inspired by his own experiences to develop an innovative new skin protection product, Dermatuff which helps prevent skin tears. In the second of his guest posts (read the first one here) Peter considers the role of intuition, emotion and charm in becoming an entrepreneur.
Being highly intuitive is the first essential for an entrepreneur. In the last couple of years I have become convinced of the effectiveness of the empirical system of personality definition known as MBTI – Myers Briggs Type Indicator. Try it online for nothing, it’ll tell you how intuitive you are and what your other characteristics are.
The system has four preference pairs: Extrovert/Introvert, Intuition/Sensing, Thinking/Feeling and Judging/Perception. Abbreviated to: E/I, N/S, T/F, J/P. My profile is E(65%),N(88%),T(90%),J(64%). The ideal profile for an entrepreneur is said to be: E,N,T,P. Not quite perfect apparently and yes, I do think too much.
I think it’s really important for every individual to understand their own personality and I have been attempting to understand mine since I was a very young man. The trouble is that nobody ever tells you, at least not truthfully so, or on an informed basis. It was eventually MBTI that made my rational personality features clear to me. You get a comparison with the system; you know how you compare with other people.
Intuition is the most extraordinary gift, my theory is that somehow the brain amasses a huge database of information and when you put a problem into the brain it automatically retrieves appropriate information and produces a solution.
Not that all intuitive solutions are always correct, they quite often are not and have to be examined consciously. It is also sometimes the case that the intuitive solution is not so, it is just an emotional reaction to an emotional situation.
The emotional reaction has to be particularly carefully guarded against; I believe that most intuitive people, creative people, are also quite emotional people, if you suspect that the solution is an emotional one then leave it for a few days before doing anything about it. The emotional state gradually dies away so that it is usually gone within a couple of days.
British people have been much more open in the last 10 years or so about revealing their own emotional behaviour. I have been very open in my book ‘Thorntons, My Life in the Family Business’ about mine. It used to be that personal emotionality was totally hidden and suppressed; we tried to give an outward impression that all was calm and untroubled. This was a very bad thing because suppressed emotion has dangerous side effects on our health and well-being and impairs rational judgement. I have been very watchful of my own emotional behaviour since I started Dermatuff Ltd.
Just as our rational characteristics vary as measured by MBTI so do our emotional characteristics. Some people are extraordinarily stable and remain in the same balanced mood all the time. Other people including myself incline naturally towards bipolarism to a greater or lesser degree. I believe that this is due 50% to nature and 50% to nurture. The important thing as with our rational characteristics is to know ourselves and to know how to control these characteristics.
I am very fortunate to have learnt how to control bipolarism in my case: ‘cut off the peaks’ – never get too excited or depressed then things come much better into balance. It needs constant effort though because it is not natural behaviour. Decisions taken when on an emotional high or on an emotional low can have very dangerous consequences.
I was talking to a friend of mine recently who told me that her sister had been extraordinarily successful in business. I asked her what characteristic it was that made her so successful. She replied “well it’s not really that she is brilliantly intelligent or well educated, she is just extremely charming, I think that it is charm that matters more than anything don’t you?”
So remember ‘cut-off the peaks’, make the best of your extroversion and be charming, keep a quiet mind and don’t think too much so that your intuition can work and keep the balance between judging and perception.
To find out more about Dermatuff, visit www.dermatuff.com