Oct 28, 2013
Liverpool Mi Smarthouse
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.
These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
We’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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Jun 19, 2012
This simple little invention is something that may a big difference to people who use crutches and walking aids. People using crutches often need a crutch holder. How exactly can you comfortably, easily and without too much trouble hold crutches or walking sticks when they’re not in use?
Meet Bridgit – The Clever and Attractive Crutch Clip
Bridgit Connecting Two Crutches
Bridgit Securing A Walking Stick to A Chair
Bridgit is a clever little device which solves the problem. Simple and straightforward, Bridgit connects together two crutches or sticks in a stable X shape so they can rested securely against any convenient surface, such as a nearby wall or table. No longer do you have to worry about causing a hazard by lying your sticks on the floor or knocking them accidentally into other people. Also, as an extremely versatile product, Bridgit can even be used with single crutches or stick to hook them securely over backs of chairs or onto hand rails so they’re out of the way but still accessible when you need them. The unnecessary stress of bending and stretching to retrieve your aids can be completely removed.
Suitable for all walking sticks and crutches between 18 and 25mm, you could even use Bridgit with the funky and fashionable foldable sticks we’ve featured previously. The Bridgit Clutch Clip is both affordable and solves a problem. If you’re looking for a safe and easy way to keep your crutches/sticks accessible and within reach but not in anybody else’s way, this is it.
Made of a durable plastic they are lightweight and easy to clip on, as well as being strong and of good quality. Designed by the same team: Such and Such Design, who created the Duo double handed cup holder and the the Strawberi Straw Holder. The prototypes of the Bridgit Crutch Holder were shown to the public at Naidex 2011 and the Mobility Roadshow last year to test public opinion and improve the design.
Grab a Crutch Holder today!
Launched at this year’s Naidex National Convention in May, Bridgit Crutch Holder is a brand new product that is fast gaining fans. If you’re interested in purchasing your own Bridgit, click the box below:
Bridgit was also mentioned in a review of products from Such and Such design on the Disability Horizons site:
The full article is here http://disabilityhorizons.com/2012/11/disability-products-really-useful-things-from-such-and-such-design/
UPDATE FOR 2013
If you are looking for a new crutch or walking stick and are wondering about what are the most stylish options, check out our new post about Cool Walking Sticks.
The simplicity and ease of use of the Bridgit Walking Stick and Crutch holder makes it one of the most popular mobility aids on the market. We’ve found an excellent review that really pinpoints the usefulness of the Bridgit and how it has helped the reviewer:
“So Very Useful” review written by Patricia Farr – Rated Five Stars (February 2013)
The cane holder is such a small, insignificant item – but oh so very useful. Instead of sitting in my wheelchair hanging on to my crutch awkwardly and sometimes dropping it, it is now held securely and I have both hands free.
Bridgit Walking Stick and Crutch Holder at Equ4L.com
The Bridgit Crutch and Walking Stick holder is now available to purchase online at Equ4L.com – Equipped 4 Life. Equ4L.com is a new, boutique-style online store featuring some of the most stylish, functional and inclusive mobility aids on the market.
To purchase the Bridgit Stick Holder or to have a browse of Equ4L.com, please click the button below:
Apr 19, 2012
Mattress Protectors: Brolly Sheets
Brolly Sheets are breathable and absorbent
Many of us need to use bedroom aids of one type or another. If you need to use mattress protection, you might have resigned yourself – reluctantly – to the noise, stickiness, and sweatiness of a PVC or vinyl mattress protector under you or your child.
Brolly Sheet mattress protectors, which are new to the UK but already very popular in Australia, New Zealand and the USA, could be the low-tech lifesaver you’ve been looking for. The unique top surface is comfortable 100% natural cotton, and the sheets come in five different colours, so there’s bound to be one to suit the decor. Or why not match it to your child’s football team colours?
Brolly Sheet mattress protectors have tuck-in gingham wings to hold them securely in place over a fitted sheet. Being highly absorbent, they are a big improvement on traditional mattress protection. They hold up to 2 litres of fluid without risk of leaking, and have no PVC or vinyl to cause irritation or allergic reactions. The backing is quiet and a ‘non-sweaty’ waterproof polyurethane laminate.
Once your Brolly Sheet is wet, it’s so simple to change it without having to strip the entire bed. The sheets are machine washable and can be tumble or line dried.
Lightweight and easily portable, Brolly Sheet mattress protectors are ideal for travelling. They come in a range of sizes from single bed to king size. The cost of one Brolly Sheet is equivalent to only a few weeks’ worth of disposable mattress pads or night nappies.
Watch this video of Diane, the NZ creator of Brolly Sheets, explain them:
Reviewers love Brolly Sheet mattress protectors. One woman says she can’t speak highly enough of them, and will be getting another when she starts to toilet train her little boy. Another previously used a square protector without wings, which always moved. The Brolly Sheet stays still, it’s easy to change when necessary, and washes and tumble dries with no problems.
If you need to use mattress protectors and are fed up with sweaty, noisy sheets, Brolly Sheets are both functional and fashionable – a must-have!
At Living with Disability we have obtained some Brolly sheets at a special introductory price. We only have white single sheets and white single quilted mattress protectors, but, while stocks last, these are at an Amazon beating price!
Brolly Sheet White Single Quilted Mattress Protector including 2nd class Postage £18.95
Brolly Sheet White Waterproof Single Sheet Protector including 2nd Class postage £22.95
Buy with confidence, we are the same company that makes the award winning lapdesk travel bag Trabasack. Call 0800 567 7812 or email duncan (AT) trabasack.co.uk with any questions. Or use twitter @trabasack or @lwdisability. Alternatively the full range is available at Amazon, please click below.