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Focus on Mobility (FOM)

Nowadays, due to press and other media attention, we all understand that it is important to maintain our physical mobility along with good diet and sufficient sleep. Loss of mobility can be gradual, e.g. through advancing years, or imposed, as through an accident or disability, and people may not realise for some time, that they are becoming less active. Often too, it is not realised that other losses follow from this – loss of sociability, independence, a full life, and good health. This is why it is so essential to focus on our mobility and to understand the gains that can be made by maintaining it:

* FOM can help people retain the personal freedoms they take, or once took, for granted. The loss of these freedoms can undermine confidence and a sense of self-worth essential to our well-being.

* FOM can give people the insights they need to achieve their goals – whether that is becoming less housebound, pursuing a favourite activity, increased independence about the house and garden, or becoming more socially active in their community.

* FOM leads to an enhanced quality of life which many people now demand and expect, and are determined to achieve. A happy and successful lifestyle is important at any age and there should be little or no need to compromise on this just because we are older or have a disability. Meeting personal goals and achievements is important at all levels of ability and stages of life. We can’t all become Olympic athletes, but we can take inspiration from their exploits, and think how we might improve our mobility and quality of life!

So get your skates on and call in to see the newly refurbished shop, Scotgate Mobility, (next to Scotgate car park in Stamford), to see how the people and products there can help you achieve your personal goals!

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Combatting Ageism in Stamford

Awareness of ageism trumps all solutions, according to the UN, but how important are mobility aids and social groups in combatting age discrimination?

Written by Alice Wibberley, Stamford High School (Y13)

Ageism can be defined as a negative stereotype, perception, or treatment of an older person – or anyone, due to their age. The most common and detrimental ageism is aimed at older people, and its impacts are wide and deep routed. The importance of locating solutions to this issue, which potentially affects 18% of our population, is therefore paramount, and just as important as tackling any other discrimination which prevails in the United Kingdom.

Although ageism can take the form of a negative comment or stereotype, one of the most debilitating issue is discrimination found in the environment surrounding us. Buildings without ramps, stairs without handrails, or even a heavy door can provide challenge for an older person, and many establishments, public and private, are simply not doing enough to prevent this discrimination. These problems are often solved, however, with the use of mobility aids. Problems associated with older age around the home can be alleviated with purchase of living aids, such as large buttoned telephones, days of the week clocks, or even something as simple as ergonomic crockery. Outside of the home, disabilities can be combated with hire or purchase of mobility scooters, wheelchairs, or simply a walking stick, but the problem comes with a national stigma surrounding mobility aids. Ageism can be self-inflicted – many older people see the use of aids as an acceptance of physical deterioration, disliking their design and often unfashionable styles. Design and innovation has helped massively to solve this – floral patterned walking sticks which can fold away into a handbag, and extra handle fittings to attach to a favourite mug have proved popular. A modern availability of fashionable and aesthetically pleasing living aids has dramatically reduced this stigma, in turn reducing the numbers of elderly people preventing themselves from enjoying the benefits of mobility aids.

Speaking to members of Stamford’s senior community at a UN Day of Older Persons event at Scotgate Mobility, I was not entirely unsurprised to find that the area had unusually low perceived levels of discrimination against older people. David England even hinted that as an avid mobility scooter-er, he had an advantage on Market day – whizzing through crowds to get the best bargains and avoiding car parking prices. ‘Scooters help people to get out’, he said, and it is true that for many seniors, isolation would prevail without mobility aid. David had spent over 50 years working in the nursing sector, looking after the elderly and mentally ill. He believes that things have massively improved and feels positive about the care system going forwards.

David also suggested that learning ways to get around problems is the best way to prevent discrimination – he advises an ambiguous ‘hello mate’, when a name escapes you, to prevent the appearance of forgetfulness. Dementia, which is generally attributed to the elderly population, impacts at least 42,000 people under the age of 65 in the United Kingdom alone – making up 5% of the total population afflicted with dementia. (alzheimers.org). The rigid link between old age and dementia is part of the problem – a national realisation that the ‘ailments of the old’ are not solely experienced by the over 65s will end embarrassment and the need for a ‘hello mate’ in place of admitting one’s forgetfulness (which people of all ages experience, after all).

Peter Hayes emphasised the importance of social groups in preventing loneliness and isolation which afflicts so many in their later years. 51% of all people over 75 in the UK live alone, and 3.9% of our older population name their television as their main company. (Age UK, 2014). Peter mentioned just a handful of the clubs and societies available for people in the local area (and globally), and told me that they were key in preventing loneliness and depression amongst old people. U3A and PROBUS are just two groups where older people can meet and become friends, participating in activities from history to gardening. It is this regular, social contact which has been found to have the greatest impact on preventing loneliness, as from it, new friendships are formed to replace those lost as one grows older.

Even though Stamford has the appearance of low levels of ageism (perhaps due to its large elderly population), the ageism that exists may instead just be accepted as a part of life by those who experience it. This is what groups such as the United Nations, age UK and Evergreen are working to change, and the first step of combatting ageism is universal awareness.

Alice Wibberley

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Temporary Access Ramps

Access ramps can really help in getting in and out of the house, over thresholds and up and down steps.

Ramps come in a bewildering range of sizes and options, but whether you want something to help you over a threshold, or something to get a scooter or wheelchair up and down steps, we can help you select the most suitable solution.

Call us on 01780 763276.  We can help you best if you can give us some information about your needs.

Type of ramp

Large threshold ramp
A threshold ramp can get you safely over a doorway
  • Threshold ramp – to rise up and over a door threshold. Easily positioned and repositioned.
  • Portable ramps – folding or roll-up ramps that can be left in place or taken with you when visiting friends and family.
  • Semi- permanent ramps – these are generally fixed in position and can be supplied in modular sections, with options for handrails.

Measurements

Channel ramp bag
Folding ramps can go in convenient carrying bags

To specify properly, you’ll need to let us know the measurements:

  • Height to be raised
  • If a doorway, the width of the opening
  • If a doorway, whether inward or outward opening
  • Available clear length from the doorway (if outward opening, this needs to be the distance clear from the door swing)

The maximum gradient generally accepted for wheelchair access is 1:12.

Roll up ramp
Roll up ramps can be made to any length and roll up for transport or storage

This means that to estimate the required length for a ramp, you multiply the rise x 12. For example, a small step, 100mm high requires a 1200mm long ramp.

If you prefer to use inch measurements, it’s even easier, because the rise in inches corresponds to the length in feet. Simple! A 6 inch rise, requires a 6 foot long ramp.

Loading capacity

Ramps can be built for any loading capacity, and longer ramps may need additional supports at intervals along the length, so it’s always worth talking to us about your exact requirements.

Contact us

ramp with handrail
Robust moulded ramps are available with or without handrails

Give us a call on 01780 763276, or pop into the shop and talk to us. We are always happy to help.

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Top tips for mobility batteries

  • Fully charge the batteries before first using them.
  • Never allow batteries to run completely flat.
  • If you use your mobility scooter or wheelchair every day, recharge the batteries every day.
  • If you use it weekly, when recharge when you have finished using it.
  • Every two months, let the batteries discharge until the battery gauge shows a low charge, then fully recharge them.
  • If you are storing your scooter for more than 6 weeks, fully charge the batteries and then disconnect them. Check and recharge the batteries monthly.

Most scooters and wheelchair batteries need several charge-discharge cycles to get to their full capacity. For more information, see our guidance note ‘How to get the longest life from your mobility batteries’

Batteries not holding charge?

  • Contact us for advice. Visit the shop or call us on 01780 763276. We’ll be glad to help.
  • Let us test your batteries and and the operation of your charger.
  • We can advise you on the best replacement batteries – with the alternatives for lowest price or best performance.
  • We supply and fit replacement batteries for all types of mobility scooter and powered wheelchairs.

We will take old batteries back for recycling. If you replace them yourself, please avoid environmental damage by making sure the old batteries are properly recycled.

 

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Big Button Amplified Phones

We have these simple to use amplified phones in stock – they have big buttons so that numbers are clearly visible and can be dialled accurately. They have a super loud ring, a large light flashes on front of phone when it rings and the reception volume can be adjusted up to 40dB.

See details of our hearing and vision product range here

A customer recently bought one for her father who lives in Manchester and she can now be sure that he can hear and answer the phone when she calls him. Peace of mind for everyone concerned – she was thrilled with it and came back into the shop especially to tell us.

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Top tips on choosing a mobility scooter

A mobility scooter is a great way to remain mobile and independent. Here are our top tips to help you get the model that really suits you.

1  Think about your usage

It all starts with you!  Do you want a handy shopper or an adventurous off-road machine?

If you want something to go short distances on pavements around town, a pavement scooter with a maximum speed of 4 mph may be suitable. To go on the roads as well as the pavement, a class 3 road-going scooter will be better. These have lights and indicators and may be able to up to to 8 mph for the road with a 4 mph setting for use on the pavement.

For adventurous off-road use, or going on tracks and unpaved paths, consider an off-road scooter that can double as an extremely comfortable road-going scooter.  These have good suspension and wheels that are big enough to deal with uneven ground. They can provide real fun and freedom.

2 Car and public transport

Getting some mobility scooters in and out of a car or onto public transport can be challenging. If this is important for you, look carefully at the options.

Folding travel scooters can be folded into a compact shape that can be wheeled like a suitcase. These are very neat to store and are also convenient for public transport, air travel or cruising. Some fold automatically at the touch of a button.

Small pavement scooters or ‘boot scooters’ can be separated into manageable parts to fit into a car boot. They generally split into five parts that are easier to lift than a folded travel scooter.

Larger pavement scooters are also made up of four or five sections that can be lifted into the boot of an estate car.

The larger road-going scooters need a big vehicle or a trailer to transport them. They are generally too heavy to lift so you will need either a ramp or a loading lift to get them into a vehicle.

3 Comfort

Bigger wheels, pneumatic tyres and good suspension make for the most comfortable ride and are almost essential for use on cobbled streets.  Also consider how much back support and seat padding you need. If you have back problems, make sure there is sufficient support in the seat and back.

4 Range

How far will you need to go on the scooter? The range of your scooter depends on the capacity and condition of your batteries as well as the load carried and the terrain. Scooter specifications indicate a range based on flat ground, an average load, and batteries that are fully charged and tip-top condition. The specifications are based on an idealised standard that is useful for comparison, but should not be relied upon for a specific journey.

5 Will it suit you?

Your mobility scooter should suit your size and weight, as well as your ability to manage the controls. All scooters have a maximum load rating.

  • Make sure the load rating is suitable for your weight
  • Check that the seat size and legroom are comfortable
  • Make sure you can easily reach and manage the controls
  • If you have problems with balance, a heavier four-wheel scooter would be better than a light-weight three-wheeler as they are more stable. Some models also help stability by slowing down automatically as they turn.

6 Practicality

Where will you store your mobility scooter when it’s not in use?

Scooters need to be kept under cover, preferably indoors, in a garage or in a dry shed with with power for keeping the batteries topped up. Travel scooters and pavement scooters can be folded or dismantled for storage indoors, whereas road-going scooters take up much more space when they aren’t in use and will need a garage or shed.

Scooters stored outside deteriorate much more rapidly than those kept in a dry garage or shed. We can recommend storage options and rain covers where required.