Naidex 2018 – Europe’s largest and most established event for the disability sector – took place at Birmingham’s NEC last week. It welcomed guests including actor Warwick Davies and beauty vlogger Kat (see video), not to mention a whole host of expert speakers on everything from social media to spinal cord injuries.
Our editor Victoria Galligan went along to meet exhibitors, are here are some of her highlights:
• Kaz, founder of PositiveAboutMS, spoke about running social media groups, advertising and the affective of online marketing. His group aims to promote awareness of multiple sclerosis and reduce the negative stigma which is so often portrayed in the media about people with MS. See positiveaboutms.com or find the group on Facebook.
• Watching the SANO stairclimber take a wheelchair backwards up four stairs was truly remarkable – for people who have steps out onto the street or are unable to fit a ramp, this piece of tech is ideal. The SANO reps told me some supermarkets have invested in stairclimbers as part of their emergency evacuation plans. See more here: http://www.sano-uk.com
• A huge tablet which can be wheeled on a stand from room to room offers care home residents a tool from which to watch TV, play games and interact with family members via Skype and social media. Inspired Interaction showed me the engaging tablet – available up to 32” screen – which is proving a hit in nursing homes. See inspired-interaction.com.
• I met Corien and Laura from wheelAIR - Staels Design – who feature in our latest magazine. Their wheelchair cooling system is truly amazing, allowing users to keep cool when exercising in particular – which can be problematic for sports players. See our article on wheelAIR here.
• After we backed the #ChangingPlaces campaign, it was great to chat to Tom told about Radar Key and how the £2.50 key opens locked public loos. Their app identifies #changingplaces as well as accessible loos, and can even tell you what time the next bus is to get there. Free plaques are available for loos, too, so you can show everyone that you are a changing place was they enter your loo. See www.radarkey.org and www.loo.org for more.
• Centrobed showed me how their turning bed works. It can be set at intervals to ensure the patient moves regularly – helping with breathing, coughing, bedsore and reducing the impact of heavy lifting on carers. Meanwhile, their children’s extendable bed grows with the child and comes in a Star Wars theme! See centrobed for more.
• Sensara showed us how their monitoring technology can report to carers/relatives when patterns of behaviour change. They can even keep track using a GPS device, which can be used to speak to elderly people and find them if they get lost. Their product promotes independent living and gives carers piece of mind, as well as helping dementia sufferers to stay connected whilst in their own home. See sensara for more.
• Beth from LifeBio.com told me about how her product builds up a person’s life story, which is turned into a remembrance book after they have passed. A great idea for relatives of for yourself, if you fancy a project!
• Platinum Health & Beauty make beautifully fresh designer products – including waterproof sheets – which feel like cotton. Their floral and wildlife patterns are featured on a range of products – a practical but pretty alternative to incontinence products which have a real countryside cottage feel. See platinumhealthandbeauty.com.
Gary Hall, event director, said after the event, “What a show it’s been! Even we couldn’t have predicted the sheer volume of visitors, the response to each and every inspirational speaker and the calibre of exhibitors that filled the hall this year.
“Thank you to every person who participated, attended and supported the event. We are proud to say that Naidex is pushing towards a more inclusive future, with your help.”
All in all, Naidex 2018 was informative, inclusive and eye-opening for people with mobility issues, nurses, carers and everyone involved in the mobility industry. The exciting developments showed how far products have come, and offered a glimpse into the future of development – making the world a more inclusive place. Roll on Naidex 2019 (which, by the way, will be held on 26 & 27 March at the NEC!).
Photo credits: Paul Teclaff Photography