The loss of one (or more) of the human senses, or difficulties in communicating with the world around you, can severely hamper your quality of life. When it’s a constant struggle to communicate something that you need, you will cling to any assistance you can obtain, whether that’s a sign language interpreter or a text-to-speech pad. Overcoming such obstacles is now easier than ever, thanks to the introduction of so many practical apps to help people with difficulties such as impaired hearing or vision, developmental delays, dementia and paraplegia.
According to Action On Hearing Loss, there are over 900,000 people living in the UK who are severely or profoundly deaf, and for many isolation is just a normal part of everyday life. Raising awareness about the deaf community and culture has never been a more pressing issue. Medical reports predict that the number of people suffering from hearing loss will grow to 15.6 million by 2035; a figure that will no doubt continue to rise as the damaging effects of noise pollution from today’s digital devices begin to materialise. So, how do we prepare for the future and work towards creating a more inclusive society for the hard of hearing?
You can easily help someone who suffers from hearing loss during this year’s Deaf Awareness Week. In the UK one person in every six suffers some sort of hearing loss, causing exclusion from conversations and often society.
Helping someone understand the products and technology that are available is one very useful way of helping, and can lead to people being included in conversations, listen to the television or even talk on the phone with help of specialised equipment.
Monday 15-21st May 2015 is Deaf Awareness Week aims to improve understanding of the different types of deafness by highlighting the many different methods of communication used by deaf, deafened, deaf-blind and hard of hearing people.
Housing and care experts, who put technology at the forefront of helping people with disabilities live independently have been recognised with a major award.
Edinburgh-based Blackwood Homes and Care is renowned for its clever use of leading-edge technology to transform lives as part of its social housing and care services across Scotland.
Now it has claimed one of the biggest accolades in the social housing world, after collecting a UK Housing Award – the sector’s equivalent of the Oscars - at a glittering ceremony in London.
A teenager with quadriplegic cerebral palsy has had his dream bathroom fitted out with adjustable products from Pressalit Care.
Thomas Dixon, who lives with his mum and dad in Darlington, is delighted with the new bathroom – especially the lime green colour he selected for the shower chair and arm supports.
To allow Thomas the freedom to move around the house with the space and ease of access he requires, his parents bought a new bungalow, and for the last 18 months have been adapting it with three extensions to suit their needs.
Finding out you have hearing loss can be a shock, the signs can be subtle and it may just creep up on you. If your loved one has been diagnosed you may not know how to help them or where to turn to for support. The HearPeers Mentor Programme is a community of hearing implant users and their family members who are dedicated to supporting individuals who may be going through the same experience.
There are more than 11 million people in the UK with some form of hearing loss – that’s one in six and research shows it takes ten years on average for people to address their problem.
For Kent woman Rachel Fuller, life has just taken a turn for the better since she’s been reunited with long-standing family friends.
Rachel (29), who has learning difficulties and complex health needs, lives at a residential home in Strood run by Regard, the fourth largest private specialist care-provider in the UK.
Andy Jupp, who manages Kingsdown House, said: “Rachel is so happy that we’ve managed to support her to re-establish contact with her friends.
“It took some detective work by us to track the couple down. They were a big part of Rachel’s early life and it means a lot to her that they have started meeting up again.
A man who has spent most of his life adult life living in care services and hospitals across the country is now leading an independent life in the community in rural Lincolnshire.
Martin, who has a number of physical and mental health needs, is now being supported to live in his own self-contained one-bedroom bungalow on the outskirts of Holbeach.
The 36-year-old enjoys helping staff at Willoughby Lodge – run by care provider Regard – around the house and garden, baking and meeting up with friends.
A new website has been launched offering practical advice and support to people coping with disabilities and long-term health conditions who wish to remain living independently in their own homes.
Called www.independentforlonger.com, the website signposts individuals and families to information and personal real-life case studies on various Technology Enabled Care Services (TECs) which enable users to maintain their independence, support themselves in their own homes and to manage their own health conditions.
Tynetec, a brand of Legrand Assisted Living & Healthcare, is the company behind the platform which has also received endorsement from renowned TV Doctor Hilary Jones.
It once might have been that mobility scooters were considered to be the reserve of the elderly. In recent years, that’s all changing.
Now, mobility scooters are often picked as the transport option of choice for younger people with mobility difficulties, many of which are in their 50s, 40s, 30s and even 20s.
What’s making mobility scooters popular with younger people?
An increasing number of younger people are choosing to invest in mobility scooters instead of wheelchairs. New technologies mean that scooters can last longer on one battery charge than they might have done previously, and they’re also more fashionable and more practical.
New independent research by the University of Birmingham has confirmed the valuable role that activity monitoring technology can play in determining the most appropriate care for those with learning disabilities.
The research, which involved nine local authorities and 33 care providers in England, tested the use of Just Checking activity monitoring equipment to summarise how a person naturally behaves in their home, combined with advice about person-centred care planning.
Just Checking uses small wireless sensors placed around an individual’s home to build an objective picture of their daily living routine, without the use of cameras or microphones. It supports the principle of safeguarding against deprivation of liberty and complies with the Mental Capacity Act.
Two friends from Cornwall are celebrating leaving residential care to live in the community.
Jon Barnes and Sharon Murley both left Highdowns near Camborne – where they have lived for nine years and 10 years respectively – to move to a village near Redruth.
The pair now live at Meadow View, a new supported living service run by care provider Regard, and are already active members of the local community.
Jon, 32, and Sharon, 38, who both have Asperger’s, were supported to take their first steps towards independence by the care team at Highdowns.
Initially, the friends lived in the main house at Highdowns, which is also run by Regard, before eventually moving into self-contained cottages in the grounds of the 10 acre farm.
Running a social media contest to improve accessibility in our towns and cities
The London based social enterprise Mapping for Change is encouraging local businesses to improve access to their premises with a competition to win one of ten wheelchair ramps. Those one or two steps at the entrances of buildings should not be a barrier to those with limited mobility. Nor should they stop business owners from accessing an estimated £200bn of spending power from people in the UK with disabilities. A wheelchair ramp is a simple way to counter those steps, even on listed buildings or rented premises as it is completely portable.