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New disability products and gadgets, usually ones that have just been launched at UK shows such as the Mobility Roadshow, Naidex or Kidz exhibitions. Often from entrepreneurs and designers who have personal experience of disability.

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Liverpool Mi Smarthouse

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

Mi Smarthouse Kitchen Area

At the Museum of Liverpool there’s a small, unassuming exhibition which looks like the recreation of a normal house. When you get inside you realise it has been setup with every possible gadget and gizmo to support independence. The Mi Smarthouse is a project put together by More Independent (Mi).

More Independent is a Government-funded initiative that is being piloted across four UK regions. As there website says the scheme exists to:

  • enable you to take charge of your health, wellbeing and lifestyle
  • use technology to allow you to feel safer and live more independently in your own home
  • give peace of mind to yourself and your family
  • reduce the amount of time you have to spend on appointments, by supporting you to manage better at home

The Mi Smarthouse at the museum is kitted out with a wide range of equipment covering all the key areas of the home. Here we’re taking a look at some of the gadgets they’ve highlighted and used in their perfect, accessible home.

General

These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

Fall Detector

A fall detector can be worn around your neck and it connected to a system which will alert your carer if you do fall even if they’re not on the premises.

Large Buttons Picture Telephone

Phone keypads can be hard to use and it can also be difficult to remember phone numbers. This phone has spaces for photographs of those people you call regularly as well as large, clear numbers for when you need to dial out.

Home Safety Alert

The Mi Smarthouse has a bonus caller panic button installed by the front door, giving the residents the chance to press the button if anyone arrives at the door who they’re not comfortable with. Similar home safety alarm system can be found elsewhere too.

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

Supra KeySafe

The Supra KeySafe is the UK’s first police approved key safe and is the perfect place to store your emergency keys. You choose a combination number and you can share this number only with somebody you trust implicitly.

Carbon Monoxide Sensor

Carbon monoxide can kill. It’s odourless and can’t be seen so the only way to sense it before it is too late is with a dedicated carbon monoxide sensor. Sensors can be easily installed and can save your life.

Fingerprint Lock

A fingerprint lock is a great option if you struggle with keys. You can add the details of your carer and friends as authorised ‘pad-pressers’ so they can get in and out with ease when necessary too.

Kitchen

We’ve talked regularly about the importance of gadgets to make access to the kitchen easier. It’s potentially a dangerous environment so anything to make it less so is a good invention in our book. In the Mi Smarthouse they demonstrated a range of kitchen-specific gadgets.

Talking Microwave

The controls on a microwave oven can be difficult if you have difficulties with your vision or dexterity. A Talking Microwave Oven can help guide you to the buttons you need and it will also tell you when the door is open or closed and let you know whether the food needs stirring or left to stand.

Induction Hob

An induction hob only cooks the pot upon it. There is next to no danger of being burned by it and they’re becoming a common installation in supported living environments to aid independence. This type of hob is also energy efficient and reaches top temperatures in record time. In the Mi House the hob was fitted but they can also be bought as separate electric units .

One cup Kettle

one-cup_kettleWe’ve talked before about how useful the one cup kettle can be. Never worry about spilling boiling water as the kettle will dispense the exact amount you need with the simple pressing of a button.

Entertainment and Living Area

Many of these items listed below could be used all around the house but are most useful when you’re relaxing in front of the TV or lounging on the sofa.

Big Switch and Remote

Big Switch Remote

Big Switch Remote

A Remote Control Big Switch can be positioned wherever you need it to avoid bending to switch off items which have plug sockets uncomfortably out of reach. The big switch can be used with any electrical appliance in the home.

Voice Recorder Switches

If speech has always been or is becoming difficult then these small voice recorder switches can be used to record key phrases. They can have messages such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go home’ ready recorded for when you’re home or out and about when speech has become difficult.

Chair Occupancy Alert

This item is extremely useful if you have an outside care team supporting you as it allows them to monitor the time spent out of your chair. If it seems exceptionally long they may phone you or come around the check everything is OK.

Big Jack Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

Big Jack Multi-Controller

The Big Jack can replace all your smaller, fiddly remotes and switches. It can be programmes for a whole range of jobs and can be used to change channels on the TV, switch off lights and even use the telephone.

Personal Care

The personal care element of the home is the most private. Both the bedroom and bathroom are places where you want to maintain as much independence as possible and some of these gadgets are designed to guarantee this as well as ensure you can get the help you need, when you need it.

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Epilepsy Sensor

Living with any form of epilepsy or convulsions can be extremely frightening – especially if you’re alone when one occurs. This epilepsy sensor will alert an outdoor care team if a seizure is taking place, allowing them to provide the right support ASAP.

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Enuresis Sensor

Designed to fit comfortable under the top sheet, an enuresis sensor will alert your carer to the fight signs of dampness whilst in bed – ensuring you’re not left uncomfortable for a long period of time. We have looked at these aids previously for helping children but they can be equally useful later in life.

Flood Detector

A flood detector will guarantee you never forget about another bath. It’s very easy to forget the bath is running but with the installation of a simple detector, it will be safe and you can avoid the risks of damage to your home and the even higher risk of slipping.

The Mi Smarthouse in Liverpool is one of the first examples of how all this technology can come together and successfully be used to help people remain in their own homes independently. You can take a virtual tour of the Smarthouse here. We recently visited the £D printing exhibition at the London Science Museum and will cover the potential benefits in a future post.

Promove Slings – Peace of Mind while Travelling

Promove Slings – Peace of Mind while Wheelchair Travelling

promovelogo

To jump to prices – click here

Promove Slings don’t need a hoist! They have handles so that you can be lifted by a couple of willing people. The perfect solution for wheelchair users in many different environments to ensure a safe and easy transfer, especially when travelling. The product is the brainchild of Dr Huw Thomas, a wheelchair user who got tired of being manhandled when travelling by aeroplane and he developed the Promove Sling as the answer. Huw has since won the Sir Stelios Disabled Entrepreneur of the Year Award in 2011 which has helped Huw reach more people with his liberating invention.

Dr Huw pictured winning the Disabled Entrepreneur of the year award with Stelios and joint winner Rob from ActiveHands.

Dr Huw pictured winning the Disabled Entrepreneur of the year award with Stelios and joint winner Rob from ActiveHands.

Why use a hoist and sling?

As any wheelchair user knows, an awkward lift by untrained people can cause pulled muscles and aches and pains for weeks. In the worst cases, a fall from your chair and even broken bones. Transferring with a sling is much safer and comfortable for everybody. The difficulty comes when the hoist is broken, has run out of charge or you are somewhere where they simply don’t have one. Most people have experienced hospital appointments, holidays or travel abroad where they have wished that a hoist was available. Portable hoists are becoming smaller, but they are still bulky and heavy. The Promove sling is a portable and affordable option.

Carry a Manual Sling with you

Promove Slings provide a back up plan and an option when you are away from home. They can be carried at all times to ensure, even if an emergency occurs, a safe and easy transfer.  These specially designed manual slings have been on the market for five years but have recently been made available through Amazon making them even more accessible to more wheelchair users across the UK and Europe. Designed to ensure dignity is maintained, the more people who can access Promove Slings the better.

Promove Sling Video

 

Where’s the Need?

Promove Sling in Action

Promove Sling in Action

Promove Slings are a much needed product due to the fact that the only way to move a disabled person where a hoist isn’t present is by picking them up under the arms and trying to move them as carefully as possible. This of course can be extremely embarrassing for the individual and there is the risk of injury, especially if the individual lifting has no training or experience as is often the case. If the wheelchair user or even the facility being used has a Promove Sling available then the transfer from the wheelchair can be carried out safely without embarrassment for any part involved.

Product Range

Promove has a range of different slings for different people to ensure all age groups are covered and transferring with a sling is possible for all individuals who need support.

Adult Slings

Adult Promove Sling

Adult Promove Sling

Promove offer two separate adult slings. Each sling is designed so the wheelchair user can be transferred with the support of 2-4 handles lifting them safely. The Standard Adult Manual Handling Sling is a simply designed sling which is highly portable and is designed to simply be placed under the seated individual ready for transfer. The sling provides support for the whole body including shoulders and legs and padded handles also provide extra comfort for the handlers. The adult sling is designed to hold people up to 45 stone and the second adult sling has an additional head support.

Children’s Slings

Child Size 1 Promove Sling

Child Size 1 Promove Sling

Promove also have a range of emergency slings for children. Keeping children comfortable and calm whilst being transferred can be essential in avoiding real upset and therefore a Promove sling should be used wherever possible. Promove has two sizes of slings for children. The child 1 size sling is suitable for children aged from 3 up to 10 years old and the the child size 2 sling is suitable for children aged from 8 to 14. There are also children’s slings with head support available. The feature are the same as the adult model with comfortable space to sit as well as reinforced handles for the comfort of the handler.

All Promove slings are 100% British designs and are extremely lightweight and machine-washable and provide a safe and comfortable means of transport to and from a wheelchair where a hoist isn’t available. There are many different environments and sectors where Promove slings are invaluable.

Benefits of Promove Slings

There are many benefits to Promove Slings over being lifted manually. The key ones include:

  • Being transferred without being uncomfortably manhandled
  • Friends and family can move you without risk of injury
  • Assurance that you can be evacuated safely in an emergency
  • Easy to carry in its own carry bag or stored in your rucksack
  • Multiple sizes mean they are accessible to all who need them
  • They provide an intermediate step for children getting used to hoisting

Who is using Promove Slings?

Individuals

Promove Slings are a lifetime investment and affordable and can be bought by individuals who want the peace of mind of knowing they’ve always get access to a means of evacuation and transfer if necessary. It means friends and family can move wheelchair users without risk of injury. Even if your carer is usually able to lift you or you are able to transfer yourself, they are a great standby for peace of mind.

Emergency Services

Fire and Rescue and the Ambulance service use Promove Slings for lifting disabled people in challenging environments. They can also be used where people have been injured and need to be moved. Promove can be quickly placed below an individual who is confined with minimal displacement (avoiding further skeletal damage if it has taken place). Promove Slings provide an efficient and safe solution in emergency situations.

Education

Schools and colleges can provide more for their disabled pupils by using Promove slings to transfer them to and from their wheelchairs. They can be used to wheelchair users can get involved in more activities as well as in emergency situations. It’s the perfect solution in schools where installing a tracking hoist isn’t possible.

Airports

As was the creator’s initial problem airport transfers when travelling can be extremely stressful. UK Airport service providers use Promove Slings to move passengers from their wheelchair into an aisle chair and then on into their aircraft seat. This safe and easy process removes the undignified lifting which may previously have occurred. Promove Slings comply with airline Health and Safety requirements and minimise the risk of travellers claiming against the airline or airport. We wish that all airline had them but sadly in our exprerience it is better to have your own!

Children might also benefit from a flight chair, for more tips for flying with a disabled child visit here http://sensoryplaytray.com/flying-disabled-child/

Care Sector

With all the worries and concerns surrounding the healthcare and caring industries at the moment – doing things properly according to guidelines really matters. Corporate and private carers of people in specialised homes for the older or disabled people should use Promove slings for all manual-handling of service users where independent movement isn’t possible and a hoist is unavailable. Hoists can breakdown or be allowed to run out of battery charge. It makes sense for every organisation to have a sling for these occasions.

Take back the control and reduce the worry of travel

Promove slings can really make a difference to the lives of wheelchair users especially when travelling. The scope to fly and travel without worrying about transferring to and from your wheelchair is extremely liberating and Promove Slings make this possible.

We (Duncan and Clare Edwards) have had a promove sling for two years and always take it with us on holidays and overnight stays. It has been a great standby and has been a godsend on several occasions.

For prices click here

If you have used a manual sling or have ever had problems with a broken hoist or an airline lift or anything related to this post, please leave a comment below

Ingenious Ideas: Strawberi – The Smart Straw Holder

Ingenious Ideas: Strawberis


After discussing both the DUO and the Bridgit recently, both products from the Such and Such Design Company, we thought we’d also include their Strawberi into our directory. All three products were introduced at the New Product Showcase at Naidex National 2012 in May and all three have major benefits for a range of different users. For now, let’s take a closer look at the Strawberi – smart straw holder.

Drink Hands Free

The Strawberi smart straw holder attaches your drinking straw safely to the side of your drinking vessel, allowing you to enjoy your drink without having to worry about spills or splashes. In fact, you can drink completely hands free. It’s perfect for anybody who perhaps lives with tremors or unexpected muscle spasms as you don’t need to steady your glass or cup with your hand. What’s more, for young children (aged three and over) who often decide that they’ll only drink from a straw, it removes some of the mess and stress from cleaning up all those spilt drinks as they struggle to keep the straw in the correct position.


Also, if you ever get annoyed with straws being popped out of your fizzy drinks because of all the bubbles, you need no longer worry. Strawberi is simple clip which holds the straw securely so you can enjoy your favourite fizzy drink. A very simple idea which you can reuse and are on sale in packs of five or ten. Once you’ve started using one, the whole family will want to get involved and as a dishwasher safe product it’s extremely easy to use and reuse again and again.

There are a multitude of accessible drinking products on the market all designed to ensure there is something out there to suit your specific needs and whilst other products may be more appealing to some users, we’re sure the Strawberi will be the perfect for others and they’re also great value. To buy, click in the box below: