When it comes to mobility aids, the three most popular type of products are walkers, wheelchairs and rollators. If you are out and about and want the flexibility to walk and then sit and be pushed as needed then a 2 In 1 rollator comes with a seat, back support, brakes and converts easily from a wheelchair to a rollator and back again.
Why use a Rollator?
If you can walk a short distance but then need to sit down and be pushed, then a 2 in 1 Rollator is for you. People want to maintain their independence for as long as possible and the more you keep strengthening the muscles in your legs, the longer you maintain your mobility independence.
10 Things to consider when buying a 2 in 1 rollator
Wheel Size: when you are out and about chances are the terrain changes from concrete, tiles, grass, cobblestones or even dirt road. Large wheels make for more comfortable driving and you don’t want the wheels to get in the way. If you are doing activities around the rollator, for example, looking in the kitchen cupboard, getting dressed, you don’t want the wheels becoming a hazard.
Height Adjustment: a good rule to use is that the handles of the rollator should be level with the user’s wrist when the arms are hanging straight down. A small 2 in 1 Rollz Motion rollator by Topro is designed for users 4ft 11” to 6ft ⅞ (1.5m – 1.85m), while the regular is designed for users 5ft 3” to 6 3” (1.6m to 1.90m).
Weight Considerations: you can purchase a 2 in 1 rollator for different weight requirements. Keep in mind it is not just the weight being placed on the handles in the rollator position but the total weight when sitting down in the wheelchair position. A regular and small 2 in 1 Rollz Motion rollator by Topro, for example, have a maximum carrying load of 125kg but is designed for different user’s height (see above). Always check that the rollator is not wider than the doorway of your home.
Stability: a well designed 2 in 1 rollator like the Topro Rollz Motion are recognised for their stability. Each is checked in the test laboratory by experienced designers. Choose a rollator with ergonomic handgrips so you can walk tall steadily and supported.
Brakes: you want peace of mind when using a 2 in 1 rollator and most of them come with a braking system that is activated when you squeeze the brake handles. Look for a rollator that uses drum brakes for safe and controlled braking in various weather conditions. If you do not have the reflex to react when breaking, then look for a rollator with a reverse braking system such as the Topro uMotion
Shopping Bag: want to go shopping and still have the flexibility of a 2 in 1 rollator? Make sure it is water-resistant, has a firm and removable inner bag so you do not have to remove the whole bag every time. Tip: the Topro Rollz 2 in 1 rollator are designed to be stable even with a full shopping bag.
Design & Comfort: you want a rollator that does not scream disability or limited ability. We all have a sense of style and taste and your rollator should reflect this as well. Too many products for disabled and older people look like something from the 50s rather than a lifestyle choice. With Topro you can choose different colours (pebble white, dark purple, matt black and island blue) in a top of the line 2 in 1 rollators by award winning Dutch designer. Stand out from the crowd for the right reason.
Foldable and Convertible: If you drive a car or travel often, then a folding 2 in 1 rollator will be beneficial. The Topro Rollz Motion 2 in 1 rollator is foldable for compact transport or storage. What you want is one that is easy to fold, for example at the flick of your wrist.
Accessories: personalise your 2 in 1 rollator based on your needs and lifestyle. You want the flexibility to add accessories when they suit you and here are some of the most popular ones:
Footrests in different sizes
Cane Holder – slides over the handlebar for easy retrieval
Back Support – offers a short strap to lean again for a short rest
Shopping Hooks – to carry extra bags
Cup holder for easy fitting for a water bottle
Unique design cover for the Rollz Motion and Wheelchair package.
Warranty: Nothing shows belief more than a manufacturer backing up their products with a nice long warranty. Some rollators come with a 1-year warranty and others like the Topro Rollz Motion comes with 5 years on the frame and 2 years on other parts.
Our mission is to help disabled and older people find products that will enhance the quality of their lives. We are continually searching for well designed, innovative and reliable products from vendors (who pass our strict vetting process and are authorised resellers) that really care about their customers. If you have any suggestions on products you would like to see on Mysokoni, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
(How the hospital fixed her body and almost broke her mind)
My mother-in-law Helen (not her real name) who is 85 years old, active, sharp-minded, quick-witted and enjoys life and her family. She has travelled to different parts of the world but in her opinion, no place is as beautiful as the UK. Give her the chance to drive around the UK with her daughter and I, and you don’t have to ask twice. Helen lives in her own house, looks after herself and does what most of us do, cook, clean and all the other daily chores one does in a home. She does not need assistance, goes and does whatever she wants, whenever she wants, independently. This is the woman I know, but until recently a short stay in a Liverpool hospital almost changed that.
An Unfortunate Trip
In May 2019 Helen walked to the grocery store and on her way back, tripped, fell and broke her hip in two places. She underwent surgery and was recovering in hospital. My wife went up to Liverpool from Hampshire to spend time with her as did her daughter from Surrey and her son came from France. The surgery went well and her recovery was going well, but she was getting very anxious about staying in hospital longer than necessary. One visit was all I needed to understand her desperate need to leave.
They are people, not plants.
This was my first visit to a hospital ward with just older people and my immediate thought was ‘this place reeks of death”. It was just depressing to be there. A lack of stimulation, colour, energy and hope. There were 6 occupied beds and a tv on the wall at the end of the room, The tv was blaring BBC but no one was listening, after all, they cannot really watch it based on the location, it gets turned on in the morning and stays on for background noise until bedtime, kind of like putting music on to help your plants grow. There is really no place for personal items like family photos or personal mementoes that is easy to see while lying in bed passing the time away. Visiting time starts at noon, for some, they only see familiar faces when family members and friends get off work. For most of the time, there is nothing to do, nothing interesting to see, little engagement except for members of staff carrying out their duties and the only company they have is mind-numbing boredom.
Hospital making older people worse.
I met the daughter and husband of the woman in the bed next to and Helen and they explained that their loved one, was a vibrant woman, who rarely spent a week each month in the UK as she enjoyed travelling and exploring. She developed an infection 12 months before and was initially placed in a room where the other occupants had dementia and could not communicate with her. As a result, she stopped talking and feeding herself. Now after moving to this room and thanks to Helen who speaks to her each day, she is now communicating and trying to feed herself to their relief. She was almost killed by the same people caring for her by giving her regular pasta when above her bed in large letters it says, No Gluten. If not for her daughter walking at that very moment and pointing out that her mother is celiac, she might not have recovered in her fragile state.
Duty of Care
Hospitals are there to make people better, recover from illness and go home in a better state of health than when they entered. There is a duty of care to look after older people both physically and mentally and I would argue that mental health is just as important as physical health.
I was in the hospital for 4 days a few years ago for back surgery, the room was private and even with my own TV and crappy daytime television program, I was bored out of my mind in a day. Thanks to my laptop, access to movies and my favourite tv shows online, audio and virtual books and of course music I had enough distraction to keep my mind active.
Helen was in the hospital for four weeks and was crawling the wall to get home, I think deep down her fear was, she would never leave. She stayed in the hospital a week longer than necessary because the local council could not put the home care package together, sooner. It’s no wonder there are not enough hospital beds. A couple of days before she was to go home Helen was starting to get hysterical and just wanted to leave.
According to the General Medical Council’s website; ‘Older patients don’t want to be treated differently because of their age. They want to be treated as individuals, feel they are being listened to, have the opportunity to ask questions and have access to the information and support they need to make their own decisions’.
According to Helen, the nurse comes onto the ward around 6 am and puts the TV on. No one asks if they want it on or what channel they prefer. I’ve never been to a children’s ward, but I’d be surprised if it looks this bland and lacked any stimulation. So they are not being listened to and are being treated differently.
The bible say’s ‘For what shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?’ I say “For what does it profit a person if they should gain back their physical health but lose their mind’.
I don’t know if it’s money, lack of will, or simply that our society sees older people as having one foot in the grave, so what’s the point in making the effort to stimulate their minds. We hear that the cost to the NHS for treating dementia is increasing, but as in this case, if Helen had to spend more time recovering in this mind-numbing environment, I have no doubt, she would become another dementia statistic.
Helen is back home now, recovering nicely and fast. She can make her own tea or sandwich is on her way back to her old self. She praises the doctors and nurses, saying they were fantastic.
Clearly, they’ve don’t their job, I call on the government to do theirs.
Here we feature products that are ideal gifts for family, friends or neighbours especially as they improve quality of daily life, independence and can help preserve lifelong pastimes or socialising opportunities.
In brief these are more than a gift for gift’s sake or products designed for a particular task; these are living assistance that impacts someone’s ability to go about their daily routine.
Their usefulness is explained from a user’s point of view in a catchy rhyme by our friend A People Person Poet.
Help for Families
The following information has been produced by the Children’s Equipment Section of the British Healthcare Trades Association (BHTA) along with Newlife, the Charity for Disabled Children, to help you understand your legal rights to assistance with the cost of getting the equipment or adaptations your disabled child needs.
As a member of the BHTA, Mysokoni.co.uk would like to ensure this vital information for Families is accessible and available to anyone that requires it. Republished by kind permission and a downloadable pdf file of this information is included at the end.
The needs of disabled children are being proactively ignored and abandoned by local authorities. Specialist equipment essential to assist children in their everyday lives is not being provided even though it is mandatory in law.
This dereliction of duty of care by local authorities has reached such a scale that Newlife, the charity for disabled children, has just launched a damning report at the House of Commons highlighting this unlawful treatment of our most vulnerable children.
Please read this week’s Press Release from Newlife which we are publishing with permission to highlight and support their battle for justice.
URGENT ACTION NEEDED TO END EQUIPMENT CRISIS
Thousands of disabled children’s lives at risk
A disabled children’s charity will publish a damning report today exposing major and unlawful failings surrounding the provision of specialist equipment to some of the UK’s most vulnerable children.
Newlife the Charity for Disabled Children is urgently calling on the government to help those children whose lives are at risk because they don’t have the specialist equipment they need.
In its report, Equipment Crisis for Disabled Children, launched today at the House of Commons, the charity highlights why children are being deprived of specialist equipment like walking frames, specialist car seats and beds, and has published a practical four-point-plan to fix it.
“All children have the right to be safe and free from pain. They have a right to learn and a right to reach their potential regardless of diagnosis or disability,” explains Mrs Sheila Brown, OBE, Newlife CEO, and mum to two disabled children herself.
“But every single day severely disabled and terminally ill children are denied their fundamental rights because existing policies preclude them, or decisions are made based on frugality rather than health and necessity. The result is children are left to suffer in pain, their safety compromised, isolated from the world.” 83% of local authorities apply unlawful ‘blanket bans’ that restrict equipment
The use of blanket bans by local statutory services is widespread and challengeable in law. This is one of the points Newlife is calling for action on. Often used as a way to ration shrinking budgets, a blanket ban means local authorities refuse to provide a particular piece of equipment ‘under any circumstances’. Each authority has its own criteria for applying these bans for example; no wheelchair assessments for under threes and no walking frames for a child who will never walk independently. However, by far the most common is the blanket refusal to fund specialist, protective car seats for disabled children, irrespective of whether there is a medical need for one with 83% of local authorities applying such a ban. 89% of children MISSING from disability registers
Eight percent of children in the UK have a disability – just over 1.1 million children in all. The Children’s Act 1989 requires all local authorities in England ‘establish and maintain’ a register of children with a disability in their area. However, data exclusively obtained by Newlife shows less than 11% of children are included on local disability registers.
Sheila continues: “Knowing the true number of disabled children in need is crucial. If only 11% are visible to public authorities, it’s impossible to budget and plan resources and services effectively in order to meet the need. This also explains why local health and social care services are drastically failing to provide the care, support and equipment they need.”
Medical improvements mean children born with conditions or who develop disabilities because of illness or accidents are surviving but with very complex needs requiring intensive support and in most cases multiple pieces of specialist equipment. Despite demand for equipment reaching critical levels, a quarter of local statutory services cut spending during 2016/17
Sheila continues: “There’s lots of complex reasons why children are being failed. The law protects their rights to live safely, to have the opportunity to learn and to reach their potential, whatever that may be.
“This matters to every family, cancers, accidents, birth defects and infections. These risks are with us every day. No-one thinks it will happen to them. I didn’t, but that’s the reality.
“We believe that if the government ‘fixes’ the four big issues highlighted here, then hundreds of thousands of our children will benefit.”
CASE STUDY ONERemoving Barriers: ‘Not under any circumstances’
One of the biggest barriers preventing children from getting the specialist equipment they need is the widespread use of blanket bans by local statutory services – often used as a way to ration shrinking budgets. Refusing to provide a particular piece of equipment ‘under any circumstances’ is unlawful and one of the points Newlife is calling for action on.
Each authority has its own criteria for applying blanket bans; the most common of which is a widespread refusal to fund specialist, protective car seats for disabled children, irrespective of whether there is a clear medical need for one.
83% of local authorities ‘don’t do’ specialist car seats for disabled children
Three-year-old Malachi almost choked to death on his Mum’s lap in the back of a London cab while his brother and sisters watched on because his local authority wouldn’t provide him with a protective car seat – despite his life depending on it.
Malachi has extensive brain damage and can’t support his own head. If he’s not fully supported, mucus builds up in his throat which causes him to choke and vomit and sometimes stop breathing altogether. Every car journey was a nightmare and some days his mum, Sylvia, had no choice but to take Malachi on up to eight journeys a day, taking his two sisters and brother to school.
She said: “During one journey, he stopped breathing. He’d been sick and the thick secretions completely blocked his airway. I thought he was going to die.”
Too frightened to travel - the whole family became housebound
Sheila Brown, said: “A specialist car seat is not a luxury item. It tilts to stop children like Malachi who have compromised airways, from choking to death. They have side and head supports so when a child has a seizure they won’t bang their head, causing them even more pain and distress. But specialist car seats can cost up to £3500 which is far beyond many family budgets.
“The government needs to put an end to blanket bans and the ‘we don’t do’ mindset - Malachi is just one child who almost died because of it. Every local authority and health service must have an identified, transparent process for reviewing equipment requests.”
“If a child can’t walk, the NHS provide a wheelchair. If a child can’t feed properly they provide a feeding system. But if a child can’t use a standard car seat because their health and life is put at risk when they do – they need to provide an alternative.”
Sylvia Nyamaah- Malachi’s Mum
CASE STUDY TWO
Removing Barriers: Children in crisis can’t get specialist equipment quickly enough
Some situations require specialist equipment in an emergency – when a child’s condition and associated behaviours put their lives at risk of serious injury or death. Despite most local health and social care services having jointly commissioned integrated equipment stores to cater for the emergency needs of adults, no such public service exists to respond to the urgent, often life-threatening, needs of disabled or terminally ill children. As a country we’re failing some of the most vulnerable in our society.
For the past five years Newlife has been running the UK’s first and only Emergency Loan service, delivering specialist equipment to disabled children in crisis within 72 hours of request.
If it hadn’t been for this emergency service a family in Sheffield would still be at breaking point – no-one in the house has slept properly for years. Just getting to the end of each day is an achievement for Nikki and Simon Giles, who care for their three children, eight year old Isobel and seven-year-old twins Max and Freddie.
Max and Freddie both have ‘core’ autism and severe learning disabilities, while Isobel has ADHD and autism.
Over the last year Max’s condition has caused his behaviour to become more aggressive and agitated; breaking windows, injuring himself and those around him. His erratic behaviour grows worse at night; banging and trying to break the windows, crawling around trying to escape. If he does get out, he risks his life without realising. He has no concept of danger, once climbing onto the roof of their terraced house ready to jump.
The sheer noise and upset has a knock-on effect triggering both Freddie and Isobel’s anxieties.
Having a safe and secure place for Max to retreat to at night – and during the day – would have a huge impact on everyone’s life, but specialist beds of this type are not readily available to help children like Max and never in an emergency.
Three-fold increase in emergency requests for equipment from local health care professionals in the last five years.
Sheila Brown, said: “We’ve proven an emergency equipment service works, but more worryingly, that there’s a desperate need for this type of rapid response for specialist equipment for children. We must ensure that no child is in danger because they don’t have the right piece of equipment and are calling on government and local services to introduce local based emergency equipment services – it really is a matter of life and death for some children.”
“Every day is a battle to keep Max safe from himself and the other children safe from Max. My biggest fear is he’ll escape and drown in the lake over the road. We do everything we can to keep him safe but it’s just not enough – we live in constant fear.”
Nikki Giles, Max and Freddie’s Mum
Newlife is the UK’s leading charity provider of specialist disability equipment, spending £2.5 million a year providing equipment such as wheelchairs, specialist beds and car seats, walking and standing frames, and communication aids.Without Newlife thousands of disabled children, many of whom have reached crisis point would be living in pain, unsafe, unable to do the things that we all take for granted, and denied the opportunity to reach their potential.
Newlife Founder and Chief Executive Officer Sheila Brown, OBE, FRSM is a parent of disabled children and leading activist and speaker for the welfare and health of disabled children. Sheila was awarded an OBE by the Queen in 2002 for services to child health.
The second video of an interview with Esi Hardy, Managing Director of Celebrating Disability, explores the reality of things people say to her as a wheelchair user that they would not otherwise say.
Her business is a disability equality consultancy helping businesses and educational establishments.
In this video Esi enlightens us on the effects of language choice, societal attitudes and stereotypes that are still prevalent in the 21st century. She discusses the frequently used terminology, commonplace attitudes, misplaced assumptions and misconceptions that are her everyday reality.
Esi helps us understand the meaning and nuances with examples of her own personal experience which give context and illustrate her point clearly.
She articulates so well the fundamental principle that people are people, whatever perceived differences we may have of each other.
She evokes that simple mutual respect, person to person, is a sound basis for positive interaction between folk. A highly recommended watch full of learning points, positivity and inspiration.
What does ergonomic mean?
it means an item is designed and engineered to maximise comfort, efficiency, safety and is enhanced to produce a positive interaction with the human user.
An ergonomic chair is an excellent solution for managing posture and mobility because they are engineered to align a healthy posture and provide comfort for anybody that sits for long periods of time.
General use of ergonomic chairs is for office workers who need to maintain a healthy posture all day to avoid unnecessary back problems but as we will illustrate its use goes well beyond the workplace and into the home.
In this article, we aim to explain the “need to know” of Ergonomic Chairs and provide some useful tips and helpful information if you are looking to buy one for yourself, a family member, a friend or person in your care.
An ergonomic chair can be customised to suit the requirements and needs of any user making their use particularly important. Ergonomic chairs (in the case of Mercado Medic these are also medical devices for people living with disabilities) have changed the quality of life for people with mobility challenges by improving their independence, work and social opportunities.
Why use an ergonomic chair?
Allows a user to sit correctly and comfortably for long periods.
It protects the spine with positive posture management.
It optimises lumbar support preventing back stress.
It is adjustable to individual needs and can be customised no matter the physical challenges.
It is a stress-reducing workplace solution that increases productivity and is better for your overall health.
Its height adjustment means the user may not need to change their environments such as countertops and cupboards.
Ergonomic Chair vs. Ergonomic Mobility Chair
Ergonomic chairs as mentioned above are generally for people who sit for long periods of time (e.g. office desk) and get back strain. The ergonomic design of the chair reduces the strain and thus the pain when sitting for a long time.
An ergonomic mobility chair is a medical device that provides the same as an ergonomic chair but has added benefits for people who would be unable to do daily activities or tasks, at home or in the workplace due to limited mobility. The ergonomic mobility chair provides additional functionalities such as rising, tilting and moving about through narrow hallways and doorways easily. Therefore, an ergonomic mobility chair is a highly functional medically certified device used indoors by people with mobility challenges who may sit for long periods of time.
Do you sit down a lot? Are you sitting properly?
A common use is for back stress-related concerns and work-related occupational health issues. A well designed ergonomic chair is engineered to support the lumbar region during sitting and protecting the natural curve of your spine. Achieving this prevents exacerbating injuries or creating back stress.
Let’s look first at the general application and some useful points to bear in mind if you decide an ergonomic chair is for you or someone you know.
Important features to consider
The most important feature when sitting for prolonged periods is that your chair allows you to maintain the correct posture, as indicated in the diagram. To achieve this, you should consider the following elements of an ergonomic chair.
The Seat Height – For the office, the user should be able to rest their feet flat on the ground with their thighs in a horizontal position, and their forearms should be aligned comfortably with the height of the desk. A lever usually allows pneumatic seat height adjustment. A standard height range would be around 16” to 20” (41cm to 51cm) off the floor. Specialised mobility requirements can include redistribution of weight balance for amputees and paraplegics as well as additional, controllable seat heights for greater accessibility.
Depth and Width of Seat – this should accommodate any user so that their back is against the backrest while leaving 2” to 4” gap between the back of the knee and the seat edge. The tilt of the seat either backwards or forwards should also be adjustable. Standard widths would be between 17” and 20” (43cm-51cm). Tailor-made seats to manage any mobility challenges are available.
The Backrest – supports the natural curve of the spine, the lower back and encourages a good seated posture. Ideally, the backrest should be separate from the seat allowing for adjustment of the angle and height. However, if it is not separate, then the angle of inclination backwards or forwards should be adjustable with a position lock to avoid movement once adjusted to the user. A typical backrest should be 12” to 19” (31cm-42cm) wide. Tailor-made backrests to manage any mobility challenges are available.
The Lumbar support – this is an essential element of the ergonomic chair as it provides support to the natural inward curve of the lumbar region (lower back). Mobility models may incorporate this into the backrest design and can be referred to as managing “Trunk Stability”. Without correct lumbar support, a user will slouch and therefore “flatten” the natural curve of the spine, resulting in unnecessary pressure and stress on the lower spine structures which provoke avoidable health issues. Good lumbar support is adjusted in depth and height to ensure that it fits properly to the user’s inward curve of the lumbar region.
Seating materials – both the cushion and exterior material finish are important. Ideally a well-padded cushion, memory foam or ergonomically designed seat will prevent pressure points arising from prolonged use. Similarly, the external finish should be a breathable fabric that prevents “stickiness” or “overheating” from prolonged contact. Washable or waterproof options are useful options to consider.
Base and wheels/castors – the base is not only important for stability and support but provides suitable mobility for the environment of the user. An example is that many ergonomic chairs are used at home and manoeuvrability around the house in confined spaces require a robust design and narrow base versus the regular five wheeled larger wheelbase chairs. The type of flooring is also important in your choice of wheels. Similarly, a narrower wheelbase will not require office or home spaces to be adapted as would be necessary for larger base models or a standard wheelchair for example. These criteria apply to motorised mobility chairs and options are available.
Enhanced & adapted ergonomic chairs for specialised needs
There is an increasing demand for mobility chairs that meet the individual personalised requirements of disabled or ageing users.
A mobility chair is often a better solution than a wheelchair for home or office use as it provides greater freedom of mobility around spaces and allows for more work or leisure activities while still meeting the needs of users. The many functionalities available today mean people can continue working or enjoying pastimes that are difficult to achieve in a wheelchair.
Importantly a mobility chair offers a solution that can avoid costly building works, e.g. widen doorways or adjust kitchen counters, cookers and cupboards.
However, the important factor here is that individuals with special mobility needs get assessed by a professional who can then tailor-make a customised chair that matches exactly to their requirements.
Importantly a mobility chair offers a solution that can avoid costly building works to adapt doorways, kitchens etc.
Mike (not his real name) is an elderly retired gent who lived adjacent to his local pub. Before his mobility challenges, he would pop next door for a pint and a game of darts to socialise. With a standard wheelchair, it wasn’t the same as he couldn’t get through the doorway unassisted, was always low down getting a crick in his neck during conversations, couldn’t reach the bar and couldn’t play darts. It was a game changer once he received his ergonomic seating chair. The narrow gauge allowed him to leave his house unaided, the power assistance allowed him to take the short path to the pub effortlessly and with the variable height adjustment, he could sit at bar height, join in conversations and of course play darts again. Mercado Medic Customer
What is an assessment?
A personal visit by a professional who will take time to discuss and to understand the needs of the user including what they can and can’t do as well as taking weight, sizes and details of their condition so that each module of their chair corresponds to their needs. The result is a bespoke set of specifications for each person who can confident knowing that the product they receive is for them and their needs.
These needs vary extensively as Connor from Mercado Medic told us “the spectrum of disabilities such as amputees, people with paraplegia, age-related incapacities, progressive disorders and other health concerns are all considered when a full assessment is complete.”
Where can you buy an ergonomic chair
The better quality models are truly engineered by specialists who have invested in the design, materials and construction of their products. Therefore as with all specialist products, this means they are not the budget end of the market but the benefits far outway the investment. There are many such models available online through specialist marketplaces such as mysokoni.co.uk as well as other specialised retailers.
For general use as posture management for someone working most of the time sitting down, a fully self-adjustable standard model can be bought off-the-shelf from office furniture suppliers. However, for long-term use and personalised options, we recommend you look at products from Mercado Medic
Investing in an ergonomic chair to protect your posture and spinal health is a good idea. A specialist disability seating chair provides someone with mobility, autonomy, work opportunities, more independence, and social interactions. It promotes self-worth, empowerment, equality and changes daily life in so many positive ways.
Naidex 44 was the biggest and best yet, full of excited exhibitors keen to show off their wares and innovations as well as lots of curious consumers eager to see what’s new and available.
Some of the star attractions included a one-handed shoelace and an easy-to-install at home motion detection system for monitoring someone restricted to bed. Innovations abound and these were justifiably rewarded through the nominations and winners of the various awards organised by NAIDEX. We hope to bring you more details regarding these in the near future so watch this space.
The Mysokoni team had a busy couple of days meeting many people and the feedback on our project was extremely encouraging from fellow exhibitors and consumers alike.
The Mysokoni free-to-enter competition proved very popular on each day as did our lollipops! Two lucky winners selected their choice of product and here we can see Mr Mysokoni, Ray Vernon hosting one of the draws on day one. This was picked out by a Naidex Representative to ensure independence and transparency.
Team Mysokoni had a fabulous 2 days at NAIDEX 44, 2018 and we would like to take this opportunity to offer a massive “Thank You” to the wonderful organisers, friendly fellow exhibitors and of course the convivial, delightful consumers who attended and together they contributed to a hugely successful and rewarding NAIDEX 44 that was a privilege to share with them all.
As you can see here’s our stand ready and waiting for the doors to open.
Don’t hesitate to come as it’s completely free to enter the show and the mysokoni team will be delighted to meet you there.
What is Naidex?
Best described by themselves
“Naidex is Europe’s most established trade, professional and public event dedicated to the care, rehabilitation and lifestyle of people with a disability or impairment.”
This highly regarded and valued event returns in 2018 for an amazing 44th year and it is set to “propel the industry into the future of inclusion, accessibility, empowerment and efficiency”.
This 2 day event is free to attend and everybody is welcome.
It creates a unique opportunity that brings the entire Assisted Living and Disability sector together under one roof and includes “300 cutting-edge exhibitors, live demos, 1-2-1 advice, world-class CPD accredited seminars and unparalleled networking opportunities”.
Projects regarding Innovation, Design, Care homes, Healthcare, Local authority, Public facilities, Education, Office, Travel & transport and Home.
They also have sections on compliance, market intelligence, regulations and many others.
Click their logo above to access their website and see for yourself.
Similarly their publication is available by subscription and if you are interested in a preview click this latest cover for a browse through online as it is an excellent read.
Have you ever stood by a ticket counter at a railway station, maybe queued up at a bank or in a shop and spotted those blue signs by the till with the ear symbol and the letter T?
That’s the sign for a hearing loop, a piece of 80-year-old technology which is helping to transform the lives of the hard of hearing.
In a nutshell, a hearing loop connects to your hearing aid cutting out the background noise such as train announcements, machinery and chatter. They are simple gadgets which can transform people’s lives.
Hearing loops can be found in plenty of public places, as well as in the home. They provide a magnetic, wireless signal that is picked up by the hearing aid when it is set to the Telecoil setting.
There are roughly 10 million people in the UK who are living with hearing loss. About two million of those you hearing aids, and most could benefit from using a hearing loop which would reduce the strain of listening over a distance.
Hearing loops can change the quality of people’s lives. Interestingly, there has been recent research in America which has linked hearing loss to dementia because as people discover their hearing is deteriorating, unless they make an effort to do something about it, then you can lead a reclusive existence.
There is a growing movement through charities such as Hearing Link – which recently merged with Hearing Dogs for Deaf People – which has been actively campaigning for greater awareness and use of hearing loops across the UK.
They have set up groups in towns such as Swindon in Wiltshire with a twin attack on both hearing aid wearers and businesses. For businesses, it’s about encouraging them to have working hearing loops installed.
The Equality Act 2010 doesn’t make it compulsory for businesses to have hearing loops installed, but talks about making “a reasonable adjustment” to cater for the needs of a disabled user – not just hearing loss, but across a range of disabilities.
Because hearing loss is a hidden disability, and those who struggle with it tend not to make a fuss, but will walk away, many companies don’t realise how important it is to have a loop installed. In places such as banks, doctors surgeries and pharmacies, where there can no ambiguity over the message, loops are vital.
So for the Let’s Hear group in Swindon, they have been working actively with businesses to encourage them to have loops installed and working, and that the staff are aware of their use.
The other plan of attack is encouraging hearing aid users to make use of the loops, and where they are advertised by the those blue signs and not working, to make a fuss.
The Swindon group have a team of loop checkers who have made more than 500 checks across the town on the quality of hearing loops. The group has been running for a couple of years and they are beginning to notice a change in culture.
Other groups in the UK have carried out similar audits on public buildings and facilities, such as shops, banks, GP surgeries, hospitals, churches, courts and theatres
These days, there is no reason why everyone who uses a hearing loop shouldn’t have a great experience.
The ability to hear is an essential part of our lives which many people take for granted. The importance of good hearing and hearing loops cannot be underestimated.
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Imagine being able to control a computer, a phone, a TV, a wheelchair or other physical objects by the power of thought alone. Imagine no longer as Jedi-like thought operated interfaces are changing the possibilities and opportunities for all.
The application of this science for people with disability challenges or assisted living needs could greatly enhance their quality of daily life.
Around the world there are numerous research facilities perfecting interfaces that allows us to control technology or physical objects using only our minds. This may seem too Sci-fi to believe but it is possible and indeed some products are already available.
So how is this possible?
The science is based on the use of EEG technology and is also referred to as BCI or Brain-computer interfaces.
What is EEG?
Electroencephalography or EEG is used to evaluate the electrical activity in the brain. Brain cells communicate with each other through electrical impulses.
EEG tracks and records brain wave patterns.
This technology is already used as a medical diagnostic tool to analyse activity in the brain and helps neuroscientists study the brain and neurologists to detect areas of concern.
Small flat metal discs called electrodes are attached to the scalp with wires. The electrodes analyse the electrical impulses in the brain and send signals to a computer that records the results.
If you like to learn more about the science behind EEG please click this link for “An intro to EEG”
Medical research has already looked at developing this technology but often this has been done with invasive means using implants.
However, technological advances and years of research are now using this understanding to allow a wide range of non-invasive applications to be developed. Many will clearly have a positive impact on the accessibility and availability of products and services for anyone with reduced mobility or motor functions.
How does it work?
Most of the developments so far are working on the use of an intelligent lightweight headset that is fitted with a series of electrodes. As with medical EEG they detect the electrical impulses of the brain.
The clever part is that these can now be interpreted as thought patterns. The headset then transmits these via Bluetooth to control an enabled interface.
This opens up a huge variety of possibilities that would previously have been unavailable.
For instance a tetraplegic may now be able to operate a computer, phone or TV without assistance and therefore gain further independence.
Let’s look at some examples of this application currently available or in development.
The Mindwave mobile headset was developed by Neurosky and is already commercially available. It safely measures brain activity, interprets the signals and transmits this via Bluetooth to a wide variety of Apps. The device consists of a headset, an ear-clip, and a sensor arm. There are over 100 Apps that include education tools, games and wellness. This includes a meditation App as well as a specific pain management App called PainPal.
Neuromoov is a prototype wheelchair developed by engineers at the French establishment Esme Sudria. This uses the Mindwave headset to control and pilot a wheelchair. It also uses a feature of the headset that captures eye-blinks to choose the direction of travel. Although not yet commercially developed it is an encouraging step towards the potential application of this technology.
Neurable is a Virtual Reality (VR) company that has developed and commercialised a VR headset for an arcade style gaming experience and it is rated as the fastest BCI headset currently available.
An Australian-based company Emotiv have also developed an EEG headset that lets you control on-screen and physical objects using just your mind. Initially aimed at the gaming market when showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona it is another example of how EEG technology can improve accessibility for unable to manipulate controllers and joysticks. Their demonstration includes moving real model-sized racing cars along a track.
Facebook currently has over 60 engineers working on EEG applications that will allow the user to type messages by thought alone. Sometimes referred to as “silent speech” it could open up the use of social media to users unable to manipulate a mouse, keyboard or smartphone.
Similarly Microsoft has registered a patent for a brain-computer interface (BCI) that will allow users to control a computer or launch Apps.
The BBC has also collaborated with tech firm This Place to develop a cheap headset that can interface with an iPlayer app such that users can control their TV viewing. Initial internal trials have proved positive and further developments are awaited.
These early uses of EEG headsets and BCI technology are only the initial phase of their application to daily life.
This mind-controlled technology has been developed to push the envelope of what is possible but the positive implications and potential for those with health concerns, disability challenges, assisted living needs or feeling the effects of ageing are huge.
The power of thought is no longer intangible as it can be harnessed to make a real impact in our everyday physical life.