IL Newsletter, 30th April


Hello and welcome to the latest Independent Living newsletter.

Contents:

1. Naidex Online Preview
2. Dementia Friendly?
3. Another Day, Another CQC Foul-Up
4. The Dementia Demon and Diet
5. Bariatric Mobility Problems
6. Latest Updates, including letter to The Guardian


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1. Naidex Online Preview

I have very mixed feelings about "real world" exhibitions. On the one hand, they can provide a great opportunity to see a wide range of products and services from a number of different suppliers all in one go. But on the other, they can prove exhausting and stressful for visitors, and seriously expensive for exhibitors. Since appearing at an exhibition may be beyond the budget of many businesses (particularly new ones, which might have some really innovative products), there is no guarantee for visitors that making so much effort is going to get you the latest developments anyway!



Whether or not you buy into the exhibition-thing, Independent Living has done some of the hard work for you, and produced an online preview of new and interesting products to be seen at Naidex from 1st to 3rd May. If you go, or are there already, it may help you plan your route. If the NEC Birmingham is not on your schedule, you can spend time visiting our feature in a more relaxed way:



Naidex Exhibitor Review



If something under 4100 healthcare professionals make the rounds of the NEC this year, as they did last time, four times as many visits will be made to the Independent Living website by healthcare professionals in an average week, based on analysis of enquiries received at head office.




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2. Dementia Friendly?


Dementia seems to be the topic of the moment. From a "Cinderella" condition which went largely unremarked (except, of course, by those whose lives it devastates, either as a sufferer or carer) it has made the leap into the forefront of awareness for politicians and the media, as they wake up to the frightening impact that dementia will have on society as more and more of us succumb to it. It is probably the condition that is more feared than any other, particularly as we grow older and face the occasional senior moment (which might, we fear, presage something much worse than the normal age-related cognitive decline).



The government, as governments do, has set up a Group, to signal its awareness. This is the Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group – not a name to really fill one with a sense of dynamic purpose, but you can sort of see what they're trying to do. The fact is that there won't be a town, village, city or rural outpost that isn't home to some people with dementia, and it is in all our interests to try and make daily life more dementia-friendly if that helps the one in three of us who will develop the condition to live more independently for as long as possible.



Local authorities are beginning to realise that paying for long-term residential/nursing care of those with conditions that prevent them managing in their own homes will exhaust their budgets, and may lead to them having to close down facilities such as libraries and leisure centres. There is a definite whiff of panic now, as the powers that be contemplate a future in the grip of an epidemic that is so costly in both human and financial terms. Anyway, the Champion Group held their first meeting recently, and one of the items on the agenda was devices to help people with dementia manage their lives. These include ingenious ideas such as air sprays that trigger appetite, reminding us to eat at regular intervals, and wearable fall alarms to summon assistance, whether we realise we need it or not. Dementia dogs seem a great addition to the current repertoire of assistance dogs who help people with other impairments, such as blindness.



Led by the Department of Health and Alzheimer's Society, with representatives from carers groups and major companies, such as Tesco, Lloyds Banking Group, BT and E-On, the project has an immediate goal of setting up 20 dementia-friendly towns and cities across the country, to act as an example to other areas.



There isn't (yet!) a dedicated dementia area on the Independent Living website, but there are helpful products to be found in various sections, such as Telecare, Fall Prevention, Nurse Call and Resources for Carers.



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3. Another Day, Another CQC Foul-Up

Anyone who saw or read accounts of the recent Panorama programme, which exposed the horrible ill-treatment experienced by a woman with Alzheimer's in a care home judged to be excellent by the CQC (Care Quality Commission), will give thanks for loving daughters determined enough to secretly film what went on unseen by outsiders, and no doubt also keep fingers crossed to escape that fate. You may also feel inclined to sign the petition to improve inspections of adult care homes:



http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/33108



It seems a case of "another day, another foul-up by the CQC", and it must by now be clear to everyone that we need to find a better way of making sure that anyone who finds themselves dependent and vulnerable to abuse is protected by a decent inspection regime. We can't all count on having caring friends or relatives to look after our interests, and nor should we have to. A society is, as they say, to be judged by the treatment handed out to the weakest: I'm sure we would all be ashamed to be members of a community of which Ash Court Care Home was an accurate reflection.


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4. The Dementia Demon and Diet

Last word on dementia (for this issue, at least!) goes to the important role played by nutrition. Mary Farmer's latest nutrition blogspot on Independent Living is dedicated to food, eating and dementia, including some fascinating insights from the latest research into nourishing the brain of dementia patients, and lots of practical ideas about how to encourage them to eat.



You can read more here


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5. Bariatric Mobility Problems

Another subject for which there seems an unending fascination, if television schedules are anything to go by, is obesity, and those individuals at the extreme of overweight - or bariatric. A new feature in the bariatric area of Independent Living looks at the mobility problems consequent to being grossly obese, and some of the practical solutions. A great contribution from Terry Lifts, describing how a vertical, through-floor lift can help regain access to all areas of the home.



Our bariatric section includes everything from mobility aids to safe manual handling, bathrooms and care furniture, such as beds and rise and recliner chairs.



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6. Latest Updates, including letter to The Guardian

Regular readers will know how concerned we all are at Independent Living, about the impact that the many and varied welfare reforms are having on the lives of people with disabilities and family carers. I was very glad, therefore, to join the signatories of a letter to The Guardian newspaper, co-ordinated by Rosemary O'Neill of Carer Watch, calling on the government to publish a cumulative equality impact assessment upon disabled people of many current reforms, including Employment and Support Allowance with its associated work capability assessments, the reduction of social care expenditure at local authority level, the replacement of Disability Living Allowance by Personal Independence Payment, the closure of the Independent Living Fund and the cap on housing benefit.



Inclusion OT services have been working with high profile clients such as Selfridge's, to make sure that their flagship store is accessible to all. Matthew Box's organisation has also been chosen by the City of London to undertake all their reablement and mobility assessment services, including assessing individuals for eligibility for a freedom (disabled travel) pass. Good to see an example of these assessments being carried out by people with the right sort of training and understanding of mobility issues.



That's it for this time. I hope you've found our latest newsletter interesting. Don't forget you can access all the news as soon as it is uploaded in our News Centre

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Until next time, all good wishes,

Frances

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