IL Newsletter, 21st October


Hello and welcome to the latest newsletter from Independent Living.

Contents:

1. Doorstep selling - advice from OFT
2. NHS and poor care for elderly patients - again
3. If you have a disability...
4. Latest on lifts
5. New technology helps with hearing impairment
6. October events and updates

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1. Doorstep selling - advice from OFT

Regular readers may remember that I have written in the past about unscrupulous companies using high-pressure tactics to sell mobility aids to people in their homes. One of the things we are careful to do at Independent Living is to make as sure as we can that the businesses we allow to showcase their products on the site operate to high standards. You can read more here , and add your own experiences.



The Office Of Fair Trading (OFT) has been investigating the market, and their report has now been published. They found unfair sales techniques targeting vulnerable consumers, and have launched a national awareness campaign, providing useful tips to help everyone protect themselves from falling victim to doorstep sales people.



As always, most of the advice is commonsense, when you think about it: if you feel pressure to buy (for example, with the promise of a time-limited special offer that has to be taken up straightaway), say no; doublecheck the facts, and shop around to compare prices and features; get a second opinion from someone you trust. We get a number of emails each week from people asking for our views on a particular product or company. Generally speaking, if you spend more than £35 with a doorstep sales person, you have seven days in which to change your mind. There is a telephone number you can call for advice, Consumer Direct on 08454 040506.



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2. NHS and poor care for elderly patients - again

Since the last newsletter, yet another report has come out, identifying unacceptable treatment of older patients in some NHS hospitals.



I have written about it in our forum, and I just find it too depressing for words, that inspections - this time, unannounced visits made by the CQC (Care Quality Commission) - are still finding just the same lack of care and consideration for frail and vulnerable individuals as the last time, and the time before, and the time before that.



Perhaps Joan Bakewell was right with her suggestion that nursing staff spend some time playing the role of dependent patients, to enable them to find some empathy. Somehow, we have to find a way to put the "care" back into the caring professions, rather than letting the technology (which can make a wonderful contribution to healthcare, of course) dominate.



Do, please, add your own thoughts in the forum, and we are always gathering personal accounts of treatment both good and bad, to pass on to the relevant bodies.




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3. If you have a disability...

... how considerate do you find people? I wrote in my blog this week about civility, and how much consideration people give to others. Recent research and personal experience seem to suggest that good manners are alive and well in Britain. This runs counter to the received wisdom, as conveyed by such reliable arbiters as taxi drivers and tabloid editors, but what do you think?


You can read the account here, including a very positive experience of care and concern from complete strangers. Since I wrote the blog, comments have been mixed: and sadly, although some readers have had equally positive experiences, not everybody who might be expected to receive extra consideration from others has done so.




I hope you will add your own experiences, and if you identify the area of the country, then we can see which are the most considerate areas. So far, Scotland is ahead on points - good samaritans in Edinburgh and Aberdeen; one black mark for London!



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4. Latest on lifts

Ambulant people who have problems with stairs have a great solution in the form of a stairlift: but did you know that there are also stairlifts for wheelchair users?


Terry Lifts' S7 Xpress wheelchair stairlift for straight staircases fixes to the wall, or can be supported on stanchion posts. It has powered ramp and barrier arm, so that it can be operated safely and independently by a wheelchair user, and when it is not in use, the platform is folded and parked against the wall, so it doesn't block the staircase. You can read more about it on Terry Lifts showcase page


For information about all sorts of stairlift options, for curved and straight staircases, indoors and out, visit the IL stairlifts section



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5. New technology helps with hearing impairment

One in six of the population has some degree of hearing loss, but fortunately, technology has made great strides in this area, with clever new products coming to the market all the time. TV Sound is one of the newest; a wireless system which enables individuals to listen to television, MP3 players, etc at a volume which suits them, without the rest of the family having to suffer over-loud entertainment. You can read more about Lifemax's stylish solution here



There is extensive information on products to help with hearing impairment in our Hearing and Vision section.




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6. October events and updates

We are in the middle of Back Care Awareness Week, so this may be a good moment to give your back some extra care. You can find out about setting up your working environment to protect your back here. We also have a postural management area on Independent Living, where you can find plenty of information which, although primarily aimed at people with complex needs, also has interest for others. To keep your back working well, remember it is designed to bend backwards, forwards, to the left, to the right, and to twist to the left and right. If it is possible for you, try to work through this full range of moves every day. Only one direction at a time, though!

Tomorrow (22nd October) is the Hardest Hit Day of Action, with marches and rallies in London, Edinburgh and around the country. You can get the latest information by visiting the Hardest Hit website or Facebook page.

30th November is the closing date for Constables free prize draw to win a wheelchair accessible car, so make sure you don't miss your chance, if you or someone in your household could benefit.

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With all good wishes,

Frances

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