Showcasing the new Hippocampe beach wheelchair donated by East Coast Accessibility Experts, so people with disabilities can now enjoy our beach, thanks to Bryanne and Shalla for taking time out to provide this little story.
Bringing our customers and their stories to you, take the time to view our video. You will be glad you have, and you will be inspired to contact East Coast Accessibility Experts to support you and yours to find easy, affordable solutions for living at home and in your community.
It is not often our Works Supervisor, David Reid has the chance to meet with industry colleagues and play golf. With 10 years professional service with East Coast Accessibility Experts we figured he deserved a day in the sun, golf club in hand, and good mates sharing the day.
Board Members, Team and Tradies gathered to surprise CEO, Shalla Thomas for a 20 years celebration of service. A special present had been commissioned for Shalla, a beautiful piece of pottery handmade by Ann Streckfuss
What a wonderful turnout we had to celebrate providing service in Coffs Harbour and outlying areas for over 30 years. Thank you to Elder Uncle Trevor Wilson for Welcome to Country, message from the heart. Thank you to Gumbaingyirr Dancers for a wonderful performance, you moved our guests, they were in awe of your beautiful presentation. Thank you to our Chairperson, Terry Wilson. Thank you Andrew Fraser, MP for always being part of our special moments. Thank you to our wonderful Carers, Desma and Karolyn. Thank you to Colleen Friel, Occupational Therapist for her wonderful information on staying safe in the home. Thank you to our CEO, Shalla Thomas for facilitating the event.
To all our guests we thank you for being part of our special success story for 2018.
Where: East Coast Accessibility Experts, Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour
We are excited to be able to announce, we are hosting the Coffs Coast Accessibility Expo this coming October! We are expecting a large turnout of community members, carers, and allied health professionals across the Mid North Coast. We are currently taking applications for stall holders – it is your opportunity to showcase your service and products to potential clients.
Inclusive Living (Australian distributor of Granberg Height Adjustable Electric Lifting Systems) will present this workshop to provide awareness, education and practical solutions to individuals and organisations on how the use of height adjustable electric lifting system can help to create more accessible, adaptable and functional living and working environments.
These products make is easier, safer and more convenient for everyone to perform everyday tasks or activities, whilst promoting participation and independence to meet the changing needs of individuals and facilities.
Who Should Attend:
Professionals involved with minor or major building modifications including:
Occupational Therapists, service providers, architects, builders, designers, organisations or individuals involved with community facilities for disabilities and rehabilitation, government departments, associations or other professionals prescribing/recommending modifications for home, education, workplace and community environments.
Area of Use:
Healthcare – hospitals, rehabilitation, disabilities – individual or group/supported homes, aged care – homes or facilities, retirement living – home or multi-site facilities, education facilities, workplace – including return to work or new employment opportunities, hospitality and community environments.
To be held at: Coffs Harbour Home Mods Unit 12/Lot 5 Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour Admission FREE-Registration ESSENTIAL LIMITED places available
At East Coast Accessibility Experts our clients have often asked if we know anyone who is selling a certain type of equipment or mobility aid they could buy or even where they could sell one they no longer use. We decided to create a group on Facebook for buying/giving away, selling, swapping, and information mobility aids and equipment for the Coffs Coast.
Northern Home Modification Services from Tweed Heads in the North to Gloucester in the South meet to train, network and orientation for new workers in the industry 3 times per year in Coffs Harbour.
Future directions for over 65/50 service model was discussed with services identifying current issues with My Aged Care service provider portal and solutions to overcome and work with, ensuring best outcome for clients.
On the 23rd August we will be hosting a Kitchen Workshop for all allied health staff and community organisations wanting to know more about how we can change a kitchen to suit an individual. This presentation will be presented by Sandi Lightfoot-Collins from Home Modifications Australia.
Date: 23rd August 2016
Time: 10am – 2pm
Place: East Coast Accessibility Experts, Unit 12 Lot 5 Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour
Lunch provided, please send through dietary requirements with booking.
Language – challenge the use of trans, homo and bi phobic language
Ask people what their language is and use this language
Visuals in diversity ie brochures, website, training
Dwayne Cranfield, National Ethnic Disability Alliance
Culture language and engagement, priority is engagement.
Self identification – Total 3.6m in Aust identify with disabilities sever/profound under 65 1.1m
CALD do not know how to buy into NDIS
Damien Griffis, First Peoples Disability Network
National Disability Indigenous Action Plan
High level disability at least 50%; does not include mental health
Challenge HM and ATSI – language of disability in ATSI, Lake Mungo oldest site accepted part of human experience, don’t use labels, local ATSI providing support. Value the way ATSI do their modifications, culturally appropriate, universal housing, communal space.
LGA responsibility for community access.
NDIS seen as future funder of home modification
Barriers to services by ATSI, CALD, LGBTI groups for many reasons
ATSI whole of community response to some allied health supports unti specialists come
Reena Masrani, MOD.A
Low level of awreness, ie not just a modification, a ramp will provide dignity and freedom
Campaign on safety and security in the home – Peoples experience of home
Concerns around cost – culture, safety, function and cost care, cost saving approx. $5,500 per annum
Engage effectively with all groups in your community – Investment in advocacy
Come along and join us in celebrating all people Young at Heart. A lovely event being presented by the Boambee East Community Centre Inc at the newly opened Sawtell Cinema. You must book early as seats will go quickly!
Gardening can be a great source of enjoyment and offer a feeling of wellbeing as your garden grows and prospers. Gardening is especially beneficial for the aged, people with disabilities and children. Whatever your capabilities with a little planning you can enjoy your garden in safety.
Did you know that spending time in your garden can improve your physical and mental health? Here are some ideas for safe activities in the garden:
* Sit and rest in the sun or shade
* Take a stroll
* Grow herbs, fruit and vegetables
* Grow flowers and shrubs
* Create an outdoor area that offers privacy from traffic and passers-by
* Bird watching
* Entertain friends and family
* Enjoy your morning or afternoon tea
* Read the newspaper or a book
Benefits of Spending Time in your Garden
Exercise: Whether you are just taking a stroll, planting, weeding or picking fruit. Gardening can have a positive impact on your health.
> Improve mobility, coordination, strength and flexibility
> Enhance motor skills, hand and eye coordination
> Positive influence on your mental health
> Reduce your risk to diseases such as Osteoporosis.
Relaxation: Sitting or walking through a garden is a guaranteed mood lifter. Enjoy the sunshine in your own private little park. Spending a little time in the outdoors each day can reduce stress levels.
Fresh Food: There is a great sense of achievement when you provide food for you and your family. Growing herbs, vegetables or fruit can be a rewarding, cost effective and enjoyable past time. There are lots of options for growing your own food; pots, garden beds, trellis and walls. Choose what suits you and your garden best.
Enjoyment: Spending time in the outdoors will lift your mood and help with your physical and mental health. The simple pleasure of sitting in your garden is reason enough to consider adapting your garden to suit you.
Tips for Safe Gardening
To reduce the risk of strain or injury it is important to think about your health and mobility in the garden. By following the simple advice given you can enjoy time in the garden safely.
Skin – Thin or fragile skin is easily scraped, bruised or broken
Solution: Wear gloves at all times and protective clothing when needed. Treat scrapes and insect bites straight away. Always wear a hat and sunscreen when working in the garden.
Vision – People with low visibility or persons with a visual impairment
Solution: Keep pathways clear, put equipment away when not in use. Consider plants with different textures. Use texture and bright colours on pathways, stairs, landings and entrances.
Mental Abilities – Thinking and memory problems affected by dementia and similar conditions
Solution: Keep gates closed, install automatic closing hinge to prevent gate being left open.
Body Temperature – Dehydration can be a danger for seniors.
Solution: Stay hydrated by drinking lots of fluids. Gardening in the morning or late afternoon, avoid the heat in the middle of the day.
Skeletal – Osteoporosis and arthritis can present a challenge by restricting movement and flexibility.
Solution: Ensure the ground is even and not slippery, design the garden for easy access to plants reducing the need to bend or stretch.
Look at adding gripping aids to tools for stronger and safer grip. Arm support cuffs are available at some hardware stores and are helpful for those with weak hands and wrist.
When buying new tools for gardening, try them in your hand, test for height, weight and movability. Different brands and styles may be better for different individuals.
For a cheaper alternative you can use foam or tubing to extend the grip on your existing tools or make the grip softer and a more suitable size.
How to Make Gardening Easier
Plant gardens vertically to assist with maintenance and harvesting, for example walls and Trellis.
Raising beds to a height that is reachable from a chair or wheelchair can make it easier for harvesting, weeding and planting. Ensure that you consider the width as well to aid access to all areas.
Hang Pots at the appropriate height to suit you or place them in easy to reach locations. Hanging pots are ideal for herbs and small flowering plants that not only look nice but can add fragrance to your garden.
Ground pots are ideal for planting herbs, small fruit, palms and other plants. They also reduce the need of bending over or stooping to attend to your garden.
Place small pots on items at an appropriate height such as benches or windowsills. This will help with harvesting and maintenance.
Movable garden beds
Movable garden beds can be made from anything with wheels such as an old wheelbarrow. Now you have a garden that can be moved anywhere for maintenance.
Shade, Chairs and Benches
Always choose a shady area to garden. Provide yourself with a stable chair and work area at an accessible height to assist in maintenance and harvest. If you don’t have a shady area think about purchasing an umbrella for your garden. Benches can be attractive and provide a place to sit and can double up as a work bench for working on smaller plants.
Make sure there is a tap nearby or consider putting in a drip system to make watering easier. Install timers for watering where possible. Arrange plants together that have similar water requirements to make watering easier.
Terracing your garden is expensive to set up but has long term advantages. By lessening the severity of a steep incline it allows easy access for maintenance. Terraces reduce storm water run which can be harmful to the environment.
With a little planning and foresight you can enjoy the benefits of your own garden all year round. Talk to your local nursery about plants that would suit you and your garden. The Lawn and Garden Maintenance team at East Coast Accessibility Experts can help plan and design your garden for safety and easy access. Contact us today.
Sustainable gardening is one of those terms we hear but only have a vague understanding about. That’s because sustainable gardening is a vague concept, it’s a blend of a whole range of practises. In a nutshell it means anything you do to improve your garden while supporting the environment. Sustainable gardening reduces the strain on the environment but can also reduce the strain on your back pocket.
Choosing the correct plants is one of the most important aspects of making your garden sustainable. Native plants are best suited to the environment. Local plants are similar to native plants as they are grown from local genetic stock and have adapted to the climate and soil. Before you purchase plants have a think about how they will look and behave in your garden. Will they provide shade, privacy, smell or look nice. Will they grow tall, drop leaves, become hard to maintain. Talk to your local nursery about what native or local plants they have and how they will work in your garden. Some of the benefits of using native or local plants in your garden:
• They are acclimatised to the temperature and environment so have a higher survival rate. • Reduce the cost of maintenance and upkeep as they need less watering and fertilising • Reduce the amount of weeds • They flower at different times of the year, so that your garden continues to have colour and will change throughout the seasons. • Can attract and provide a natural habitat for local wildlife
Growing your own food Growing plants that provide food is a large part of sustainable gardening. Whatever the size of your garden there is a way to grow herbs, fruit or vegetables. Providing you and your family with healthy nutritious food is a good way to save money and promote healthy eating.
There are many options for planting edible plants that allow easy access for maintenance and harvesting. Raised garden beds, pots and trellis can be used in any garden and provide an easy way for you to grow your own food. Add a bench or chair to your garden so you have somewhere to relax and a comfortable place to tend your garden.
Designing your Garden By designing your garden first you can reduce maintenance and save time and money on watering and fertilising. Placing plants with similar watering needs together works well in reducing watering costs. Planting a break wall of plants to absorb water and nutrient run off reduces erosion and maximises watering and fertilising. Using mulch and shrubs reduces erosion and soil loss from water run-off.
Tips for Sustainable Ground Cover Constant mowing and watering costs money and takes time. By choosing a good ground cover you can lower maintenance and cut down on your water consumption. Using a native grass such as Wallaby or Kangaroo reduces the amount of fertilising and watering needed. If the lawn takes up a lot of area consider putting in some native groundcovers such as shrubs and mulch. These can look great and are easier to maintain.
When mowing the lawn cut the grass long as it will encourage deeper roots which in turn protects the grass from drought or heat. However in areas of high activity it is best to cut it shorter to prevent you from tripping or falling.
Mow lawn when it is dry and leave clippings on the grass. Lawn cuttings contain nutrients and are a form of mulch. Never dump grass clippings in the bush as that introduces foreign seeds into a natural environment.
Reducing Water Use Placing plants with similar watering needs together is a great way of reducing water usage. Place water loving plants in shady, moist areas. Use mulch and ground cover to contain water and keep the soil moist.
Drip water systems are a good way of watering plants and helps reduce water wastage. Long slow watering is better and timers can be used for watering at the optimum times of the day. Watering in the early morning or late evening reduces evaporation and saves water.
Rainwater is the best source of water, if possible a water tank is a great option for you and your garden. Town water contains salts and chemicals which can be harmful to the graden overtime.
Recent studies have shown that using bore water can be detrimental to the environment. Taking water from existing bores can take water from natural habitats like wetlands and forests that rely on these water sources.
Storm Water Run Off Storm water run-off can be extremely detrimental to the environment. Storm water gathers rubbish, top soil, fertiliser and pesticides, then deposits it all into natural water systems such as creeks and rivers. Redirecting the water to your garden can save money on watering and reduce the loss of top soil from your garden. Raised garden beds, shrubs, mulch and trees can help reduce storm water run-off and enhance your garden.
Pesticides and Fertilisers Pesticides and Fertilisers are filled with chemicals and are dangerous for the environment. You can reduce the need of them by using native or local plants. For a more natural type of fertiliser you can make your own compost. Collecting household waste such as garden clippings, food scraps, tissues, paper towels, hair and dust reduces the amount of garbage going into landfill. All of these can then be used in a compost system to fertilise your lawn and garden. There are several options for composting; Kitchen compost bin, compost heap or a worm farm. It depends on the size of your garden and amount of waste as to what type would suit you. Some of the benefits of using compost include:
• It is full of beneficial nutrients • Improves drainage in heavy soil • Absorbs and contains water, reducing the amount of watering required • Helps water and air circulation in the soil • Holds nutrients in the soil • Maintains the temperature of the soil • Reduces waste going into landfill
The Danger of Weeds? Weeds are any plant that grow wild and pose a threat to cultivated plants. Weeds take nutrients, water and sunlight from other plants and become invasive. When weed seeds are distributed to creeks and water ways they pollute them and can smother native plants harming the natural environment. Keeping weeds to a minimum and removing them before planting new plants can greatly improve the health of your garden.
These are just a few ideas to get you started on creating a sustainable garden. Talk to the Lawn Mowing and Garden Maintenance team at East Coast Accessibility Experts, they can offer advice and help get you started. Your local nursery can help with local and native plants and with sustainable gardening ideas.
Did you know that 30% of people over 65 fall at least once a year? Once you have had a fall you are twice as likely to fall again within 12 months. Fall injuries can have a serious impact on your quality of life and independence. Falls often cause life changing injuries to weakened bones and muscles. Some of the more severe but common injuries are lacerations, hip and head injuries.
So how do you know if you are a potential falls risk, and what can you do to prevent falling?
The number 1 contributor to falls risk is age. There are other factors that are just as influential and vary from individual to individual.
This may seem obvious, but it is worth noting that people with cataracts are at a higher risk than normal to have a fall. Changing your glasses prescription also increases risk of falling.
Medications often make us feel tired, drowsy or just plain disorientated. Medications to treat central nervous system complaints such as anxiety and insomnia can affect your mobility and balance.
Eating healthy nutritious food promotes muscle health and keeps our body working better for longer. There is a strong evidence that shows that those who eat healthy are fitter, stronger and less likely to fall.
Sore, tired or aching feet make it difficult to move or exercise. Foot problems can also be a symptom of other more serious problems and should always be assessed by a professional. Wearing loose shoes or wearing socks without shoes can increase you risk of falling or tripping.
Muscle weakness effects posture and negates our sense of balance and affects coordination.
Stroke victims, sufferers of Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and any of the many neurological conditions are at a higher risk of falling. These conditions affect balance, control and movement which all impact your mobility.
Previous injuries, impaired walking pattern, balance problems all add to reduce mobility. Being aware of your mobility limitations can help lower your falls risk.
Fear of Falling
Fear of falling can inhibit an individual’s confidence in performing daily tasks. Fear also prevents people from exercising which could improve mobility, balance and confidence.
Things you can do to reduce your risk
Muscle strengthening and exercise will improve your strength and mobility lowering your falls risk. Talk to a health professional who can devise a specific exercise routine for you. Tai Chi is a gentle exercise which strengthens muscles, improves balance and has been proven to reduce falls risk. Eating healthy and living an active life will improve your quality of life and decrease your risk of falling.
If you think you are a potential falls risk you can ask for a falls risk assessment from a health professional such as an Occupational Therapist. After assessment they can advise on suitable modifications such as grab rails, non-slip floor coverings and mobility aids. Modifications and mobility aids will improve your lifestyle and give you confidence around your home.
The first step in creating a safe garden is to assess the areas in your garden with high activity. It is important to ensure that these areas are safe and accessible. Key areas include; front gate, mailbox, front door, tool shed, garage or carport. Access ways should be wide enough to accommodate 2 people walking side by side. Allow room for walkers, wheelchairs or wheelie bins especially if the path has turns. Think about drainage from storm water run-off from so that paths and access ways stay dry and safe.
Gates: Are they rusty, difficult to open? Do they have tricky handles, uneven surface or have overgrowth around it?
Trip hazards: Are there hoses and tools lying around? Uneven paths, loose pavers, and roots coming up through the ground?
Paths and Steps: Are they uneven, is the sloping too steep, do the pathways collect water and become slippery? Are there old pavers that have come loose? Is there moss making the surface slippery?
Paths should be even and non-slip. Check if there is a risk of leaves, fruit or berries falling on it which will make it slippery. Construct paths so that minimal run-off runs across the path or access way. Choose a colour that doesn’t blend in with the surroundings. It also helps if you use a different colour on trims to highlight the edge of paths and access ways. The ideal path surface would vary from person to person and garden to garden. Some of the recommended path surfaces include:
Rubberised surfaces (soft fall)
Most gardens will have some steps, and it is important that these are not a hazard or safety risk. In older gardens or gardens with a lot of ground growth steps can become overgrown making it difficult to see and navigate. Most steps are positioned in entrance ways. As we are often carrying items it is essential that these steps are easily seen and sturdy. Edging can become broken or brittle with over use and lack of maintenance.
When building steps make sure that the each step is the same in dimension for uniformity and ease of use. Risers and treads should be big enough to step comfortably, not too high and should stay consistent. Edges and trims should be distinct, using a different colour is a good idea. Steps should also be slip resistant and have proper lighting for use of all times of the day and night.
Landings are used in busy areas such as front gates or the top and bottom of steps. At these places we are often holding keys, groceries, the mail and so on which can restrict our movement and visibility. Hence it is important that a landing allows enough room for movement, the opening of a gate or door. As per steps they should be slip resistant and well lit.
Gardens and path edging can deteriorate causing sharp and dangerous edges. These can be easily fixed by replacing or rearranging the materials so that they are safe. If edging is beyond repair it is best to replace with new material that is safe.
With a little bit of planning and modification your garden can be a safe place to relax and unwind. At first the list of modifications can seem daunting and solutions confusing. Talk to the friendly and experienced Lawn and Garden Maintenance team at East Coast Accessibility Experts. They can help sort through the many options and offer you advice and information. Once a plan has been agreed on they will work with you to achieve a safe and enjoyable garden to suit your needs.
Phone:02 6651 2143
Address: Unit 12 Lot 5 Druitt Court Coffs Harbour, NSW 2450