Accessible ways to look forward to spring
30th January 2018
This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.
The winter can have a negative impact on people’s mood and in some cases, it can manifest as Seasonal Affective Disorder. But even for those who do not suffer from SAD, winter is a less than uplifting time of year, and this is especially true for those with limited mobility and who rely on a mobility scooter or a stairlift. The best way to stay upbeat is to have something to look forward to and as spring is a time of rejuvenation?
What better way to prepare for spring than with a bit of new life? Whether the person has a garden or just a hanging basket, there is much joy to be had from planting a whole border or just a pot. Choosing bulbs that will soon cheer up a blank bit of earth is a great way to look forward to the coming season, and with a bit of careful choosing, you can ensure there is spring colour for many weeks.
Perrywood recommends planting bulbs in a lasagne formation for extended colour: “Planting a ‘Bulb Lasagne’ of spring flowering bulbs at this time of the year offers impact and colour, even the smallest of areas. By layering bulbs in containers that will flower at different times it is possible to create a display that will continue all spring long.”
“Most spring bulbs can be grown in a bulb lasagne, but for the display to work you need to ensure that you pick three types of bulb that look good together and will give a display of flowers that will last for several weeks. Try to choose bulbs that grow to different heights as this will create a more striking spring display.”
Visit a local garden
Whether looking for inspiration for bulb planting or just to get a little fresh air at this dreary time of year, when the dry days arrive, it is prime time to visit a local accessible garden. Finding a garden that still has interest at this time of year and caters to visitors with limited mobility can be tricky, but it is worth the effort.
Dalemain Manor is perfect for those living in the North West as it opens earlier in the season (in mid-February) and most of the grounds are wheelchair accessible. Delight in the early flowering bulbs, or for a true taste of the seasons to come, visit in March for their infamous Marmalade Awards and Festival. For the 13th year running the estate enjoys all things marmalades and attracts both competitors and visitors from across the country.
Get more mobile
Whether in response to a New Year’s resolution or for those looking for an opportunity to get out of the house, there are lots of ways to focus on getting more active and mobile for the coming spring. Following the blog Senior Exercise Central is a great way to feel inspired and is specially geared towards older adults. Logan Franklin is a down to earth communicator with programmes for novices.
For those looking to get out into the community, accessible swimming is a great low impact exercise that will get you out of the house and meeting new people. Nottingham City Council is investing in leisure centres across their area and especially in the availability of their accessible swimming. Colin Eley was happy to talk about the upcoming program:
“Within Victoria Leisure Centre and across other leisure centres in the area, we are committed to increasing the engagement of our long-term disabled community into exercise and sport, this includes piecing together a whole new programme for our accessible swimming sessions. The current sessions cover a range of experiences, with some sessions focused on fitness and others on relaxation, however, all of these are already accessible. All our leisure centres are accessible with level floors and other adaptations.”
“The new specific sessions will include an increased number of poolside helpers to welcome our visitors with limited mobility and assist them where necessary.”
Nottingham City Council has a commitment over the next two years to increase disabled footfalls within their sites and facilities and this is across the board, including gym classes and external projects such as localised walking groups.
Sort out winter clothing
Spring is a time for decluttering and an often overlooked area of the home is the wardrobe. Though it may not be the time to get rid of all the winter woollens just yet, it is the perfect time to begin sorting out what you will be keeping for next year and what needs replacing and what needs mending or special laundering (such as wool coats).
People need to understand their storage limitations when taking on this project, so they know how much clothing they can properly store. They also need to know what they already have and the best way to assess this is to bring all winter clothing items together. Once they have been categorised (donate, bin, keep, launder/mend) people can see how many items are left and if they need new storage solutions. One Good Thing has great tips for people to follow when they store their winter clothes:
“Wash (or dry clean) everything BEFORE you pack them away. Lingering oils from deodorants and perfumes can discolour your clothing over time, and no one likes pulling musty-smelling clothes out of storage.”
Once people have organised their winter wardrobe thoroughly, it is the perfect time to look at their summer clothes, decide what they no longer want to wear (whether due to style, fit or personal preference) and what they want to donate, it can all go to goodwill at the same time.
This also allows people to see gaps within their clothing, whether they need another pair of sandals for the summer or a new winter coat, this often isn’t clear until one has had a thorough tidy of both summer and winter wardrobes.