Adapting living spaces for the elderly and dying

Our MD, Anava Baruch, was interviewed by Sunday Times writer Cally Law who was looking for experts in housing occupational therapy. We were very excited and honoured to be featured in the paper on Sunday for such an important and increasingly relevant issue. Because we specialise in the adaptation of living spaces for the less able, we were able to give Cally an insight into the difficulties families and their ageing relatives can face and how we, as experts in this area, can help with the adaptations and changes that need to made.

Adapting a house instead of moving

We recently visited a client who is making a decision about whether to move from their council property and area they know, to a larger property better suited to their needs. This may seem like an ideal situation but at Design for Independence we always consider the bigger picture. For many clients a move away from the area that they know can be stressful. They are potentially moving from family, neighbours and friends which can cause extreme anxiety.

We make sure we discuss all options with our clients to ensure that no hasty decisions are made, considering their needs, now and in the future.

Designing homes for people with Alzheimer’s

We were approached by an international architect asking for support with the design of block of flats. Our advice was vital as the flats were intended for clients with Alzheimer’s,  a condition that means sufferers find life in ‘normal’ homes extremely challenging. Our recommendations included:

Shower toilets

We recommend shower toilets to many of our clients. They are very useful for people who are unable to perform their own personal hygiene tasks due to weakness or absence of upper limbs. They are also great for people who are experiencing difficulty balance whilst seated on the toilet.

Shower toilets are a god send to people who suffer from digestive diseases and as a result suffer from inflammation of the colon, or for people who have had cancer and have had part of their colon removed. 

Designing bathrooms for people with dementia

When people are first diagnosed with dementia their symptoms may not seem too severe. However, as dementia progresses suffers can become confused about the location of rooms within their home. The impairment in visual perception that coincides with dementia and Alzheimer’s has an additional impact.

Riser recliner chairs – a helpful guide

Most people have seen a riser recliner – a chair which helps people get on and off when they are unable to do so independently. These chairs are usually the last resort  – people buy them after they have tried and failed to raise the seat of their chair by using cushions or chair raisers (boxes or metal frames which are attached to the legs of the chair to make them higher).

Before choosing a riser recliner there are a number of things you need to consider and some vital information that you need to know. 

Adapting your home for autism

Designing homes or adapting them for children and adults with Autism should not be taken lightly.

First identified more than 50 years ago, Autism Spectrum Disorder affects one percent of UK children and adults, which equates to approximately 600,000 people. Autism is a life-long developmental condition, characterised by the difficulty to process sensory stimulation, impairment in social interactions and communication skills. 

Property search advice after a serious injury

Many of our clients have been involved in catastrophic accidents or clinical negligence. They may suffer from brain injury, spinal cord injuries, loss of limbs, cognitive and visual impairments. Some require very extensive care packages to support them in the community. Following the admission of liability, clients are awarded money to ensure their accommodation is suitable for their needs. In many cases, clients need to find a new home for both themselves and their family.

Staying safe with Epilepsy

Staying safe when out and about

There are lots of different types of epilepsy, which means different people will be affected in different ways when they’re out and about.

All seizures start in the brain. Some of them are very minor. It’s important to be aware of all types of seizures – otherwise they may go unnoticed. If you are diagnosed with epilepsy, you will know the different signs and symptoms that relate to your epilepsy.

You may have warning signs that you are about to have a seizure, this means that you can get into a safe position before the seizure occurs. Whereas others don’t know they are about to have a seizure, which makes the situation a lot riskier and more difficult:

Occupational therapy advice on home safety

Access & Stairs

  • Two banister rails are better than one.
  • Ensure your hands aren’t full when you are using the stairs, hold on to the banister rails at all times.
  • If you need to get things from one floor to another use carrier bags or back packs when possible.
  • Plan ahead and try to minimise the use of the stairs. If you use certain items frequently, such as a hairbrush or reading glasses, have two of the same, one on each floor.
  • Avoid leaving objects on the stairs as you might trip on them.
  • If the bathroom is upstairs next to your bedroom, bathe/ shower before you go downstairs in the morning or just before you go to bed at night.
  • If you need to use the toilet very frequently and you have only one in your property, check with your GP if your medication can be adjusted in any way to reduce the frequency of use or consider using a commode.