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Tips for maintaining your independence

30th January 2015

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

One of the most distressing aspects of aging for many is a deteriorating level of independence. As the most basic human right it seems inconceivable that everyone should face a reduced amount of independence as they grow older.

From reduced mobility through to having to learn how to use new technologies to get the help that you might need, these facts of aging can sadly take an older person’s independence away from them. Thankfully, with new technology comes new ways of restoring said independence and public services are constantly evolving to better cater for our aging population.

Here we list everything from curved stairlifts to IT help that can help everyone enjoy the right to independence in their own home.

Services

Local and public services are a great way of maintaining independence as many help older people combat a reduced level of mobility as well as helping you to get out and meet people, and even provide access to a hot home-cooked meal.

It is so easy to apply for an older person’s bus pass and this offers completely free off-peak travel on local buses anywhere in England.  To find out if you are eligible calculate your State Pension age and apply online.

Similarly, once you reach a certain age, you are entitled to a Senior Railcard. Costing just £30 for the year, the card can save you a great deal of money if you a regular train traveller as those above the age of 60 holding a Senior Railcard are entitled to a third off of Standard and First Class, Anytime, Off Peak and Advance rail fares.

Similar public services include local Dial a Ride schemes and Shopmobility. Dial a Ride works in many local communities offering door-to-door transport options for those with restricted mobility who may struggle to get about outside their home. Similarly, Shopmobility is a scheme that helps older people maintain their freedom by lending manual wheelchairs, powered wheelchairs and powered scooters to members of the public with limited mobility so that they can shop in their local area. To find public services such as Dial a Ride and Shopmobility in your area click here.

Not all public services like these are operated by the government or a charity or trust; some, such as Barclays Digital Eagles, are operated and maintained by commercial services. Barclays recently introduced their Digital Eagles scheme that helps people build their internet skills including email, online banking and video calls. Holding free and friendly Tea and Teach sessions across the UK, they help individuals build their confidence in using the internet for both communication and finance. If there is not a Tea and Teach session near you they have plenty of easy-to-use guides available to download to better explain relevant internet topics.

Reduced mobility doesn’t just prevent you from getting about, but it can also make daily tasks even more difficult. Simple tasks that younger people may take for granted, such as cooking, can be incredibly difficult and, at times, painful or dangerous for older people living by themselves. To help guarantee older people a regular hot home cooked meal the Casserole Club was set up; see if there is one in your area or refer someone you think may benefit from their initiative with Casserole Club refer a diner. You can read more about the Casserole Club scheme in this recent article.

Technology

Many of us might struggle to get through the day without technology such as a computer or our mobile phone, but for many older people across the country, such technology may be overly complicated or deteriorating hearing or sight might make them difficult to use. Thankfully, manufacturers have developed a solution to both technologies that is older-user-friendly and effective.

OwnFone is the fantastic phone solution that is both simple and affordable. With a simple interface it goes further than the typical big button mobile phone and allows the user to connect to the most important people in their life without the fuss of a regular mobile. Choose the number of buttons you wish to have, whether you would rather have a name or photo as the button, and an affordable phone plan to suit you, and off you go!

Similarly there is a great solution to simplifying the internet. All too often, all of the features and possibilities of the internet are not necessary, particularly for a silver surfer who only wants to use the internet for connecting with people and other such actions. Breezie is great service that offers simplified versions of everyday services and applications, making the internet a more user-friendly environment.

Home adaptations for mobility

One of the most primary ways of maintaining your independence as you get older is to use and install home adaptations for mobility as and when you need them. Just because your mobility isn’t what it once was, doesn’t mean that you have to settle for a reduced level of independence.

From stairlifts to walk in showers and baths, home adaptations for mobility offer a safe and convenient way of overcoming obstacles put in the way by reduced mobility. With so many options now available there is a mobility aid to suit every taste, level of mobility and home.

Image Credit: ajari, Chris Sampson, philhearing (flickr.com)

This content was written by Emily Bray. Please feel free to visit my Google + profile to read more stories.