How can pets help those with mobility problems?

How can pets help those with mobility problems?

Puppy

As a nation of animal lovers, our pets mean the world to us. From cuddles on the sofa to perking us up when we’re having a bad day, they do a lot to keep us happy. But pets can also provide practical help and support in a number of other ways. This is particularly true when it comes to helping those with mobility problems.

From visual and hearing impairments to chronic health conditions and other disabilities, pets can be on hand to help in a crisis or just with general daily duties. For people living with mobility problems, pets can be more than just a family member, they can be a life-changer too.

Day to day tasks
There are certain types of pets, such as assistance dogs – also known as service dogs – who are specifically trained to help lend a paw to people with mobility problems.

In addition to offering a general sense of protection, the type of training they undertake includes teaching them how to help their owner out with day to day tasks that can prove especially difficult. These include:

  • Picking up and carrying items
  • Helping their owner to remove clothing
  • Opening and closing doors and draws
  • Ringing a doorbell or knocking on the door
  • Turning light switches on and off
  • Assisting those who are wheelchair-bound by helping to pull them along
  • Assisting a person with both their gait and balance while walking along

Assistance dogs can carry out a whole host of practical jobs for people who require it, as well as helping to provide independence and boosting confidence when it’s needed the most. They’re quite easy to spot whilst out and about as the dogs usually wear a special vest with a handle attachment to assist the owner with their physical activities.

Due to their calm temperaments, intelligence, and accommodating nature, there are certain breeds who are considered more helpful for this type of assistance, such as Labradors, Golden Retrievers and German Shepherd. But that’s not to say other breeds cannot be trained for this purpose.

Assistance with medical conditions
Most people are aware of pets, such as guide dogs who can help those with visual impairments as well as dogs who are able to assist people with hearing impairments. But there are also other animals that possess skills to help those with life-threatening medical conditions.

These can include the ability to assist people with severe allergic responses as well as being able to sniff out a diabetic’s drop in blood sugar and make the person aware before they face any imminent danger.

While cats aren’t currently recognised as service animals, they can help to provide emotional support to those suffering from disabilities and other related issues. And due to their intelligent nature, Capuchin monkeys are also able to help people who suffer from severe impairments to their mobility, such as those living with multiple sclerosis.

For people with health conditions such as epilepsy, a seizure response dog can offer great assistance. These dogs are “trained to provide a 100% reliable warning up to 50 minutes prior to an oncoming seizure. They give time for their owner to find a place of safety and privacy as they have their seizure.”

5 New Hobbies to Try in 2020

5 New Hobbies to Try in 2020

Coloured pencils

What’s that saying – New Year, New You? Whilst a complete life overhaul at this stage may not be necessary, you can certainly pick up some new hobbies for the New Year and find activities to make the most out of your free time. This means finally get round to doing those things you’ve always talked about doing and reaching those exciting goals.

When filled with enjoyable hobbies, later life and retirement can be one of the most fulfilling periods of your lives. So it’s time to shake off those worries and dip a toe into the unknown world of 2020. It is a new decade after all.

Volunteer your time to help some furry friends
Giving up your free time to help those less fortunate can be a hugely rewarding experience. And choosing to spend it with those of the furry variety can make it all the more fulfilling.

Depending on whether you’re a cat, dog, rabbit, bird (or just all animals in general) person, there are animal shelters all around with varying roles on offer for those willing to part with their time. What’s more, making friends with your four-legged counterparts can provide a whole wealth of benefits.

To find local animal shelters, start with the UK Pet Directory and see if they are looking for volunteers in your area.

Create something colourful
At first glance, watercolouring may seem a little overwhelming in the hobby ranks but it’s an exciting one to try if you’re hoping to find your artistic flair. Better yet, picking up a brush and learning to watercolour can be a liberating experience because there’s no way to control where your brush is going to go. Giving you the opportunity to create something uniquely yours.

With the digital world seemingly closing in around us, it can be challenging to find a new hobby to try that doesn’t involve logging on and searching the web. This is what makes putting brush to paper that much more rewarding. You can find beginners supplies at any good art supply shop.

Create new friendships at a community group
Later life and retirement can be one of the most enjoyable times in your life but it can also be lonely. That’s where community groups can help. Whatever your interest, there is something for all.

Enjoy the great outdoors? Immerse yourself in walking tours. For something more relaxed, you can make bonds at knitting lunch clubs. You can even jump on board a day trip and meet like-minded people. Bonus? This act of getting out and making those all-important social connections can help you to live longer.

With a focus on meeting new people and socialising, take your pick from local groups and social clubs to dedicated community projects.

Challenge your brain with a puzzle game
Keeping an eye on your physical health is one thing but a great way to ensure your mental health is ticking along nicely is to indulge in a classic game. Whether you’re a maths wizard or an expert within the world of words, there are plenty to choose from, such as:

  • Sudoku
  • Crosswords
  • Solitaire

No matter if you’re looking for something to do on your routine bus journey or trying to find ways to while away the time in your local coffee shop, there’s no shortage of places to find these types of games.

Embrace meditation
Does your idea of a hobby involve taking some time out for yourself? For an activity that encourages you to slow down, meditation could be a perfect fit.

It can be difficult to fully get into to start with. But once you allow yourself the time to let go of busy thoughts and give in to the quiet, you’ll reap the benefits. Try starting your day off with a spot of morning meditation or find a quiet place in the evening to unwind and reflect on your thoughts from the day. Try Headspace.com for beginners’ tips.

There are lots of benefits to trying out a new hobby. From switching off from the world around you to socialising or learning a new skill, there’s no time like the present to get out there, put on your dancing, hiking or meditative shoes and pick up a new hobby for 2020.

Why We Should All Take a Digital Detox in 2020

Turning off a laptop

If you’ve noticed your eyeballs are glued to your phone for an increasing amount of time these days, you’re not alone. In a globally connected world, all through the power of technology, it’s all too easy to get sucked into our digital devices. And there’s a lot of noise about there about why this can be detrimental to our health. But what’s the truth behind this, and how can we work towards a healthy balance in a digital age?

Useful, yet addictive!
Let’s be honest, there are more than a few good reasons for plugging into our devices these days. They can help with everything from getting recipes, to directions, to streaming our favourite TV shows. Even if you’re sat on a train to London! The advice to simply put your phone or tablet in a drawer and never look at it again wouldn’t take us far.

But there are ways of managing your usage. From a health point of view, the question could be, why bother? Is it really such a bad thing to hammer your devices? Studies have shown that loneliness is a growing problem in our society. And what is a phone compared to actual human interaction? Around one in five people in the UK feel lonely as a result of isolation. The trouble with things like phones and tablets is that rather than bring people together, it can create a perfect excuse for staying locked indoors, away from the world.

Taking a break from tech
So how can you break away from the hold tech has over us? It all comes down to gently nudging bad habits out of the picture. For example, have you been guilty of zoning out of a conversation to look at a message as it pops up on your phone? Or taking photos of a place or event, rather than allowing yourself to fully experience it?

All of these things are common. But the good news is that with a few tweaks, and some self-awareness, they’re easy to remedy too.  Here are just a few ways you can oust tech from the limelight, and usher in a simpler, fuller way of living.

Digital detox inspiration

  • Engage in good old-fashion games – things like Sudoku, crosswords, and solitaire can help you engage your brain with activities off-screen. And if you live alone, or simply want a solo activity, these things all require just one player. And no screen!
  • Limit your screen time – it’s simple. All you need to do for this one is set some boundaries. You might benefit from keeping your phone elsewhere in the evenings. Or banning the use of your phone to read those articles in bed before you nod off. Perhaps meal times are sacred and should become phone-free to encourage conversation.
  • Put pen to paper – rather than making notes on your phone (yes, we’ve all been guilty of this at one time or another), keep a pen and paper handy. When you want to write your thoughts, feelings or even a shopping list, resort back to the old-fashioned way of jotting things down.
  • Take up a hobby – flower arranging, knitting, baking, or origami. It really doesn’t matter what floats your boat here, as long as you’re enjoying your activity. Invest time in non-screen related hobbies like this and see just how fulfilled you feel.
  • Take a breath – meditation is becoming more and more recognised as a way of distressing and taking some time for yourself. Meditation might feel like a big leap, so start with something accessible like mindfulness. Or, a gentle form of meditative exercise like yoga.

The fun part of taking time away from digital devices is that there’s no right way to do it. Treat it as a challenge unique to you and find what you love to spend time doing. It’s all about being healthy, investing in yourself, and feeling better in 2020.

7 Interior Podcasts You Need to Listen to Now

7 Interior Podcasts You Need to Listen to Now

Headphones

Redesigning your space is a great way to breathe new energy and zest into your everyday life. As we get older our needs also change and so our home should adapt to our new lifestyle. Wondering how you can make your space more accessible? There are many simple and easy ways you can freshen up your space whilst future-proofing it for your daily needs. But where do you look for inspiration? We’ve found 7 interior podcasts to help you develop your creativity and make your homework for you.

But why are podcasts the right choice to discover new interior design and decor ideas? And where can you find them? We answer these questions and more, helping you navigate the world of podcasts. You certainly don’t need to be a techy person to figure them out. All you need is a computer, smartphone or tablet and a good internet connection, and you’ll be on your way to listening to your future favourites in no time.

What are podcasts?
Podcasts are a lot like radio talk shows. You can listen to them on-the-go, whilst out shopping, on the bus, in the car or even cleaning the house. They have become a popular tool for learning and personal growth, and because you can pause them, you can listen to them whenever you like.

The simplest way to listen to a podcast is by visiting websites like audible.co.uk. If you have an iPhone you can use the Apple Store app that comes with your phone, simply search your apps for ‘Podcasts’. If you have an Android phone you can search in the Google Play store for ‘Google Podcasts’.

So what are the 7 interior podcasts you need to listen to right now?

Style Matters
Style Matters has been running since 2014 and hosts a bevvy of design experts with handy tips and inspiring ideas of how you can make your home perfectly aligned with who you are. Co-hosted by design enthusiasts Zandra Zuraw and Karen June Grant, this podcast was created to help you “experience true delight and a feeling of grace, every day, in every room.” Cleverly categorised by topic, choose from ‘Develop Your Style’ to ‘How To Be A Minimalist’ and more.

Unofficial Fixer Upper Podcast
The Unofficial Fixer Upper Podcast is a fun and witty commentary on Gary and Kathy Leland’s favourite TV design shows. Sharing their thoughts on shows like ‘Fixer Upper’, ‘House Hunters’ and ‘Listed Sisters’, as soon as they air, you can expect, fun, laughter and thoughtful conversation.

Good Company
Perfect for anyone who wants to develop their own creativity, Good Company explores the ups and downs of the design process. Providing inspiration, motivation and practical advice, you can expect an interesting mix of design tips and insight into the lives of designers. Hosted by Grace Bonney, the show has a great roster of talented guests from Justina Blakeney to Genevieve Gorder.

Decorating Tip and Tricks
Inspiring you to create a beautiful home, Decorating Tip and Tricks is all about providing you with practical and useful decorating advice. Hosted by Anita Joyce and Kelly Wilkniss, you can expect lots of laughs and easy to follow tips. Episodes include, ‘Things You Should Not Keep’, helping rid your home of things that don’t serve you, to ‘Wallpaper, We’ve Got You Covered’, which explores the new products that make wallpapering easier.

Big Design Small Budget
Making luxury more affordable, Big Design Small Budget provides you with fresh tips from decorator Betsy Helmuth. Betsy has designed over 1,000 spaces and shares her tried and tested methods for designing your home on a budget. With a step-by-step approach, you’ll discover practical tips and design secrets from choosing your colour palette to selecting accessories like a stylist.

The Great Indoors
The Great Indoors is the best podcast to listen to for advice on the latest trends and hottest tips. TV presenter and designer Sophie Robinson and best-selling author and Journalist Kate Watson-Smyth discuss how to make your house a home, whilst unveiling the leading trends in interior design. Each episode includes contributions from an abundance of special guests, expect great conversations and useful advice.

Inside Design
Inside Design is a lively podcast with all the dos and don’ts of interior designing, including the best products to buy for your home. Hosted by nationally published interior designers, Joann Kandrac and Kelly Kole, expect a wealth of knowledge shared in a fun and humorous fashion. From discussions about the best white paint colours to choose, to the latest bathroom trends you’ll gain a lot of wisdom from this podcast. For more bathroom tiling trends read our latest article.

Interior Style Hunter
Finally, we thought we’d leave you with a little bonus. Hosted by Grant Pierrus, Interior Style Hunter has been created by the award-winning London based luxury interior design blog. Grant believes that everyone should have access to good design, and shares easy to follow design rules and principles you can use to make your space better.

So, that’s a look at some of the best interior podcasts you can listen to now to help you develop your creativity and make your home work for you. For more inspiration read our article on Bathroom Style Ideas

Don’t Move, Improve! Make your home accessible for the future

Don’t Move, Improve! Make your home accessible for the future

You might think that in order to have a more accessible living space you need to move. But with home prices spiking all over the country and all the hassle and stress that comes with buying and selling a home, is it really worth it? What’s more, is there a more cost-effective solution for improving your home environment?

Over the past few years, the number of UK homeowners opting to improve their home rather than moving has increased over 5 times. The survey, conducted by Hiscox, reveals that this equates to about 15% of homeowners now.

When it comes to moving, prices have been steadily increasing over recent times. The Finance and Leasing Association found that mortgages for ‘second-steppers’ have gone up 24% year-on-year. Lloyds Bank also found the discrepancy between movers selling their current property and purchasing a new one to be as high as £140 000. These leaps in pricing have sparked the trend to ‘improve, not move’. This is when homeowners seek to stay put and simply spend on renovating or improving their current property. Depending on what you’re looking to do, this could only cost a few thousand or tens of thousands (as opposed to a 6-figure investment).

With Brexit and an uncertain property market looming ahead, there’s a very strong case for staying put and modifying your current home. This is particularly true if you’re looking to get improved mobility out of it. In this respect, there are many affordable changes you can make.

Here are some tips and suggestions for modifying your existing home for better mobility.

Do your research
When setting up a home for mobility and care, it’s worth doing a bit of research into the matter. Get in touch with a local agency like Age Concern or charity such as Age UK or Independent Age or speak to a civic, faith-based or another community group.

Get expert advice
Get an occupational therapist or ageing care manager to provide an assessment of your home. They’ll then recommend what modifications of changes you should make that will make it safer and easier to live in.

Keep connected
If you’re caring for an ageing parent, staying in touch with them on a regular basis means you can help them stay on top of making improvements. Health and wellness needs can change rapidly at an older age. By encouraging your older loved one(s) to communicate with you via phone or video chat, you’ll be able to get a better sense of what they might need.

Around the home
When it comes to making home improvements related to specific activities, here are some cost-effective things you could purchase or easily install:

Getting out of bed and dressed – If you find bending challenging, there are a few items that can help you get in and out of bed and get dressed more swiftly.

Fitted raisers can be added to beds or armchairs, adjustable beds are also great for taking you from a lying down to sitting position. Grabbers can also help you pick items that are out of reach.

Preparing food – There are a plethora of brilliant tools you can buy to make spending time in the kitchen more enjoyable and pleasant.

From double-handled cups and high-rimmed plates to trolleys and perching stools to support you in a standing position, there’s a solution for almost every challenge. Spike boards and kettle tippers can help you navigate things like pouring hot water and cutting more safely. It doesn’t cost much to purchase some of these items to make preparing food and drink less taxing.

Using the bathroom – For bathrooms there are a number of simple yet affordable solutions that will really make life easier. You should definitely consider installing grab rails, which could be lifesaving when it comes to sudden falls or slips. Equally, high-pan toilets and shower seats are very helpful for mobility issues. Here’s a handy guide which offers more tips for making your bathroom accessible.

Using the stairs – As we age, stairs can become increasingly challenging and make the everyday life we are used to, very difficult. Installing an additional bannister or a stairlift can make moving from one floor to another much easier.

Answering the door – When it comes to staying safe at home, installing a system that lets you view and speak to guests is a great idea. Door-entry intercoms and video entry phones all allow you to check up on who’s actually there from a comfortable pace before opening your door.

For more tips, check out these 5 pieces of equipment for making home life easier.

Home Care or Care Home – What’s Better?

Home Care or Care Home – What’s Better?

Elderly man at Sunset

Both home care and care homes are services that nurture our needs for many of us later in life. As a common and often necessary assistance, these are facilities that have and will touch almost all of our lives. But with cost, distance and unsolicited change attached, how do we make the right decision?

They carry similar meaning and the same words, but actually, their characteristics make them very different. Home care denotes a care service whereby a professional carer visits an individual in the comfort of their home. The carer often provides services that the individual can no longer do themselves, such as a food shop, cleaning and reminders to take medication. As the carer isn’t around 24/7, it gives the individual a glimmer of independence and the satisfaction of staying in their beloved home.

Care homes are a full-time facility, often residential or nursing homes, that provide accommodation and assistance to support those who need it. Staff at these residencies are always on hand to offer care when required. As care homes are often busier, with other elderly people, there are more opportunities to socialise and meet new people.

Choosing one isn’t a straightforward ordeal. Let’s break it down further and compare the real benefits both have to offer.

Benefits of Home Care

• You don’t have to part ways with your home comforts. it allows you to stay in your home, with all its sentimental value, for a lot longer.

• It encourages less reliance upon family members whilst still giving individuals the independence and freedom to spend their days how they wish.

• Remaining in the same home makes it easier for friends and family to visit. Dropping over for a cup of tea when you live near is easy, but if you move to a care home, the luxury of proximity isn’t always guaranteed.

• With just one individual to care for, there’s more one-on-one and personalised care. The carer gives their full attention without distractions, which can be the case at a busy care home.

• The care can work around you and your needs. The provided care is often flexible to match as much or as little assistance as you require.

• As a service that comes to you, it’s in fact the more affordable option. The hourly rates typically cost a lot less than committing to a care home.

However, is it a long-term plan? Carers won’t be there all the time, and as we get older this can become a necessary trait.

Benefits of A Care Home

• A private residency with staff always on-hand, there’s the added reassurance of safety. It’s an added peace of mind for family members who might worry about individuals who live alone.

• Loneliness is a prevailing issue amongst elderly people. Care homes are a solution to combat the problem, with opportunities to socialise and meet new people.

• Whatever and whenever you need care, there is someone available to provide assistance. Most care homes have nurses and staff through the night as well as the day.

• There are no extra costs to worry you. All of your bills and room upkeep is taken care of, keeping the environment clean and warm without any hassle.

• Around-the-clock care includes nourishing meals. Nutritional requirements are met, and the pressure is taken off the individual to meet these needs.

Where Else to Look for Advice?

Before you make your choice, it’s a good idea to read as much information as possible. Charities, like Age UK, and the NHS have great tips to help. From advice on financing and finding the right one in your location, there’s no doubt there’s a lot to consider.

Elderly care is an ideal solution for a better way of life in older age. There are plenty of other ways to improve your lifestyle in retirement, so why not discover more for yourself here.

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