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.
East Coast Accessibility Experts recently had a luncheon to celebrate Seniors Festival 2019 We would like to thank everyone who attended with special thanks to Ruth Anne of Bliss Body who taught us how to stay active on our feet, Coffs Harbour Surf Club Restaurant & Bar & Bar for the delicious catering, Bec Pawsey from My Massage Coffs for sending Tennille Callegari for massaging our aches away and Nicole from Sweet Love Cake Couture for the delightful cookies.
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
Collaboration brings out the best results
Community Partners Booklet gives you that modification information all in one small space
Sharing with our Community Partners
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.
East Coast Accessibility Experts presents
Strength & Balance Classes
in association with Ruth Ann, Bliss Body
‘Keep moving, that’s the best thing you can do for your body & mind’
- Gentle exercise for all abilities
- Increase strength, flexibility & fitness
- Improve balance, concentration & memory
- Stimulate digestion
- Meet new people and make friends
When: Tuesdays 31/7/2018 – 25/9/2018|11am-12pm
Tuesday classes are full
Friday 3/8/2018 – 28/9/2018 |10am-11am
The Class on Friday 17/8/2018 has been Canceled
Where: East Coast Accessibility Experts
12/5 Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour
Eligibility Only $10 per term
Investment: East Coast Accessibility Experts sponsoring
community health and wellbeing, At $100
per term per participant
Bookings: Alison or Michelle, 6651 2143
East Coast Accessibility Experts presents
Strength & Balance Classes
in association with Ruth Anne
Gentle exercise for all abilities
Increase strength, flexibility & fitness
Improve balance, concentration & memory
Meet new people and make friend
When: Tuesdays in line with school terms
Where: East Coast Accessibility Experts
12/5 Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour
Cost: $10 per term
Bookings: Alison or Michelle, 6651 2143
(formerly Coffs Home Mods)
Let’s do more together by ’Celebrating our Community Elders’ this NSW Seniors Festival with East Coast Accessibility Experts at our Showroom at Unit 12, Lot 5 Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour NSW 2450 at
11.00am on Thursday, 12th April 2018
We invite seniors and members of the community to a day of activities including
❖ Positive Ageing Strategy Presentation & Discussion with Celia Wigzell, Community Planning and Engagement Specialist – Coffs Harbour City Council
❖ The Benefits of Moving your Body with Ruth Anne Triebner who runs our ‘Strength and Balance’ classes every Tuesday at our Showroom
❖ Create Beautiful Art with Marg Coutts, registered Art Therapist and Counsellor – by adding your happiest moment in one word to our ‘Tree of Life’ artwork
❖ Enjoy a light lunch with us and be stirred by the sounds of the bagpipes played by Geoff Rogers our favourite Handy Man
There’s always room in life for new experiences and they’re even better when shared with friends, family and others. So let’s do more together.
To register your interest for catering purposes or for more information please contact Michelle or Alison p. 6651 2143 e. firstname.lastname@example.org
East Coast Accessibility Experts would like to welcome the Board members for 2018
Ken Craig | Paul Sekfy | Kevin Goode | Stephanie Ring | Terry Wilson | Donna Kerr
Coffs Home Mods has changed its business name to East Coast Accessibility Experts.
Same team of experts, same quality workmanship, same client focussed service delivery.
When: 20th October, 10am – 2pm
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
Date: Tuesday 2nd August, 2016 Registration from: 9.15am Commence: 9.30am to 11.30am
RSVP by 29-7-2016: Inclusive Living – Kim Johnstone 0417 399 025 or 1300 304 330 email@example.com www.inclusiveliving.com.au
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.
Sales and Marketing Training by Sam from CornerPost Consulting
- Excellent training to assist in promotional potential for services.
- What is Unique?
- What products and services?
- What will the market pay? Quality, Value, guarantee, end result.
- Promotion and place.
- Competition Analysis.
- Marketing position and Marketing plans.
- all identified are busy to very busy, all services receiving many referrals through My Aged Care for maintenance and gardening.
- All services managing the reforms well, some NDIS ready, not all registering for NDIS.
- All services concerns around no hardship fund
- Over 65/50’s difficulty with $10,000 cap on complex modification
- Regional budget holders reports indicate a drop in over 65/50 complex modification applications
- Regional budget holders report allied health budgets expended and under 65/50 budgets expended
- Mid North Coast budget holder will see Gloucester, Manning and Great Lakes (for under 65/50’s only) roll over into NDIS from 1 July 2016.
Indicates there are funds from memberships available for training with all delegates identifying future training requests.
- Unit Cost spreadsheet to be circulated.
- Third Party Verification is currently being undertaken by most services over the next 2 – 3 months.
- Some services have appointments for Commonwealth Quality Review, others still awaiting notification of dates.
Person Centre Planning/Approaches Training:
How does modification fit within the individual goal framework?
How do we meet peoples expectations within a cost efficient framework?
Service Delivery much more about outcomes people want, achieving their dreams, new focus for services, system focus to person-centre focus.
Evidence base of meeting peoples goals, and how modification has done this.
Achieve outcomes of value and inclusion.
Client to be part of the design, bring person in, have them on the journey of change, person will have ownership of the modification.
Building relationships with people with disabilities, and home modification meeting dreams, and aspirations of freedom, independence and inclusion.
- Access Ramps Solutions
- Bulk buying potential, reducing cost of product to Home Modification Services.
- Ways to cut and trim
- Trade bags distributed.
MOD.A Conference Feedback:
Good Conference, good mix of states from across Australia, good mix of workshops and trade displays.
What do we do well?
Networking, relating to clients, consultation
Time Management, collective agenda, attendance
Yes, in particular workshops
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.
More information to come soon.
Modifying the Home – Building Inclusion Practice – 28th & 29th April, Canberra, Australia.
Notes from day two of the conference taken by our CEO – Shalla Thomas.
The Hon Shayne Neumann MP, Shadow Minister for Ageing
Helen Polly, Assistant Ageing Minister
Labour Priorities 2016; Budget Tuesday evening 3 May 2016; Aged Reforms 2012 a 10 year strategy: Living Longer, Living Better; Age friendly nation; 16% 65+
Must do better in ageing, too many falls and hospitalisation; safe easy to maintain homes; LGA adopt age friendly communities
Fix My Aged Care – Aged Care Roadmap requires more contribution from consumers
Home Modification essential to age friendly nation; only 7% in age care
Security and confidence in their homes
Universal Design into law
Best practice in access and inclusion planning cost offset is universal accessibility – if you build if people go there; Norwegian Govt gets it
DIVERSITY AND CONSUMER DICRECTED HOME MODIFICATION:
Silver Rainbow – training providers
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
DESIGNING FOR DIVERSITY:
Smell and touch
- Depth perception
Controls of hot and cold and airflow
Touch/texture and colour contrast
Lights LED, natural light, skylights, dimmers
Glow in the dark products
Avoid over stimulation
HOME MODIFICATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH DEMENTIA:
Dementia friendly community
Dementia friendly home app
46.8m worldwide with dementia
Focus on strengths
Alzheimers Disease International
10 guiding principles
AAWA Adapting the Home 2012
Maintain wellbeing and identity
Make use of wall space
Colour contrast and patterns
Disguise doors and exits
Identify the problem
PRESCRIBING HOME MODIFICATIONS FOR YOUNGER ONSET DEMENTIA – A CASE STUDY:
Very clear clinical reasoning for NDIA.
MOD.A National Home Modification Conference:
Modifying the Home – Building Inclusion Practice – 28th & 29th April, Canberra, Australia.
Notes from day one of the conference taken by our CEO – Shalla Thomas.
INTERNATIONAL AND AUSTRALIAN PERSPECTIVES, CHALLENGES AND APPROACHES:
Paul Smith, UK
The UK model of home handyperson services, funding from health.
Run by housing, Local Government, Charities and Private companies, available in 85% of districts, usually commissioned by Local Government.
Means tested for over 18 year olds, under 18 year olds $30,000 available to modify.
Modifications delay entry to residential care by at least 4 years, save a lot of money by keeping people safely at home.
550 million pounds by 2019/20 – challenge to spend it better; 40,000 grants annually.
Inclusion by Design: 15% of worlds population have disabilities, ageing population increasing, births decreasing.
Prepare home for a good life. Design disconnect.
Action is all in retrofit only 2% in new build. Collaboration.
Aboriginal housing: need two entrances, cultural reasons.
Point of sale information to avoid DIY disasters.
Follow up has not been integral part of industry
HOME MODIFICATIONS IN DISABILITY AND AGED CARE REFORM:
Karen Pickering, Aged Care Reforms
February 2017 Home Care Package will follow client
July 2018 Integration of Home Care Package and CHSP as a single care at home program.
User Rights Principles, May 2016 www.homecaretoday.org.au
Aged Care Roadmap
Dr Lloyd Walker, Assistive Technology National and International
3 Key pillars:
- Insurance approach
- Choice and Control
- Community and mainstream
Expectations lift and grow, support depends on what person chooses to achieve
NDIS AT Strategy:
Structual work or local authority permit considered complex modification
Home Modifications 1 – 6% of plans
Over $2m claimed, majority 35 year olds + for bathroom modifications, ramps, lifts/hoists, advice.
Change, opportunity, innovation- About meeting participant goals not the modification – solution focus, creative ways to get better outcomes
AT Innovation Hub, scoping study July, Design and Service innovation
Proven effective early intervention
Innovation around practice, products, price, quality and timeliness
Making homes liveable for the future
CONSUMER FOCUSED HOME MODIFICATIONS:
WA Assessment Framework
RAS 2012, 4 years ahead: increase in HM and AT based on wellness and re-ablement; 50% difficulties can be overcome by modification.
Consumer decision making: what, why and when
Single point of access and advice
Outcome: improved independence and quality of life
Speed of access/waitlists; retail/mainstreaming
Consumer focussed platform: Best practice Scoping Review; re-ablement interface
Fast track home mods to support re-ablement – Process and client journey
Toolkit: templates, decision making protocols guidelines
Consumer Capacity: competency framework; client expectations
The real value argument: reducing the cost of care, and provide freedom
BEST PRACTICE IN HOME MODIFICATION SERVICE DELIVERY:
Develop a sustainable service model, Maintain independence and wellbeing
Ongoing maintainence of equipment
Upskill RAS and advisory line – Person centred approach higher likelihood of uptake in modifications.
Earlier intervention can result in cheaper solutions or encourage self funded
Focus on physical function rather than medical diagnosis
OT standardised assessment tool for HM on function and environment, follow up essential – Use of non health professionals
Clear visuals of HM ie ipad
Consumer workshops – reasonable and necessary does not fit with consumer choice
HOME MODIFICATIONS/ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY – BUILDING INCLUSION, PRACTICE AND COST-EFFECTIVE DESIGN:
Height Adjustable Products, products that adapt to you
Swedish products since 1950’s/1970’s
Who benefits? Client and carer, room/facility
Design principles: goals and outcomes
NDIS OT $172.13 per hour
$11,915 for kitchen or 1 hour care each day over one year = $17,687.28, minimum savings in first year $5,772; savings over 10 years $176,873.
THE FUTURE OF THE HOME MODIFICATIONS INDUSTRY:
Jennifer Barron, Practical Work Solutions
Quality challenges – no quality system set exists currently to be accredited by (JAS-AU/NZ) in principal support NDIA and MAC.
Danny Gibson, Hunter Home Modifications
Operation NDIS trial zone 2013 (5 p’s from father)
Service flexibility of client demands; OT’s; contractual issues with NDIA;
New clients want bells and whistles – Maintain functional within the demands
CHSP builders only ones to do NDIS major modifications
Reasonable and Necessary OT’s must justify recommendations
Contracts over $5,000 NDIA do not sign contracts, build and project management acceptance of quote inferred contract in place
Door automation high demand
Regulated equity release in the home to pay for home modifications
HOUSING AFFORDABILITY AND MAKING HOUSING MORE ACCESSIBLE FOR PEOPLE WITH DISABILITY:
Housing affordability increasingly problematic.
98% population in capital cities, with highest concentration on coastlines.
Rental affordability even worse, no affordable rentals in cities, pushed into choices of too high rent or down to standard of accommodation, ie marginal housing options, shortfall 500,000 properties
Homelessness older women becoming more vulnerable $150m required to incentives to attract private sector, all built to universal design.
Mike Allen report 460,000 NDIS participants, 150,000 move into alternative housing over 10 years still shortfall 35,000 probably more like 50 – 80,000.
Standards based on principles of inclusion.
Housing Position Statement – Advocacy Document
- choice (principle driving factor)
Higher building design codes – enforceable
Better design; inclusionary zoning; transport corridors; shared equity; (WA)
National HM Program: promote retrofit as sexy and universally accepted
THE EFFECTS OF HOME MODIFICATIONS ON CARE-GIVING AND QUALITY OF LIFE:
Dr. Phillipa Carnemolla, Uni of NSW
4 year of PHD
The human experience of housing measures changes in wellbeing and home modifications
Health and social outcomes
157 HACC Home Mods clients
Average age 72 year old, 13% younger than 55; demand priority
- Bathroom Modification
- Access Modification
- Kitchen/Laundry Modification
Before modification 15.02 hours per week; after modification 8.70 hours per week average reduction of 42% per week.
63% reduction in assisted showering; 41% reduction in mobility assistance around the home; 47% reduction in support at toilet; reduce care needs 42%; increased wellbeing by 47%
Incentives for care providers to recommend home mods reduces their income.
Recommend to introduce housing screen, then housing first, visitability important.
Qld housing providers work well with community sector for best end result for client.
THE STATE OF THE NATION’S HOUSING – WHAT VICTORIAN INSPECTIONS ARE TELLING US:
Frank Ortolan, Archicentre, Vic
1998: bathroom and access issues.
Provide reports to individuals, 75000 reports provided free of charge, 60+ or have a disability and/or DVA card
Application to State Wide Equipment Program (SWEP) ($4400 only) free and fee for service
- Health and Safety
- Repair and Maintenance
- Energy and Water use
Archicentre standard step/ramp details – Dept Health and Human Service loan at reduced interest rate up to 15 years repayment
18 architects, 96% satisfaction rating
Trip and slip hazards highest fault in home, then electrical, roof, cracking and timber rot
Average cost of ramp range (2016) $4,953 – $6,189
Cut out baths not best outcome but they do them in certain circumstances
High conversion rate of reports to home modification
Dictate to master plans – legislation and state government masterplans
What makes a home for people?
‘When I do need any modifications or any changes, I’ll be ringing the home modifications crew for tradesmen, I won’t be going anywhere else. Mind you I’ll spread the word too’.
Allied health professional Colleen Friel talks about East Coast Accessibility Experts and how she works with our clients to help them stay in their own home.
Join us for gentle exercise classes to increase your muscle strength, flexibility & fitness, improve balance, concentration & memory and stimulate digestion.
All levels of fitness welcome, classes can be done from a chair.
WHEN: Tuesdays—11:30 till 12:30pm (starting 26th April) or Wednesdays—2pm till 3pm (starting 27th April)
COST: $10 for 10 weeks
WHERE: East Coast Accessibility Experts, Unit 12, Lot 5, Druitt Court, Coffs Harbour
To Book: 6651 2143 or firstname.lastname@example.org
(Please book in for either the Tuesday classes or the Wednesday classes)
Both classes run for 10 weeks.
Your Not for Profit community service providing easy and affordable solutions for your home.
Our clients discuss how their experience with Coffs Home Modification & Maintenance Service was during their bathroom modification.
Did you know 30% of people over 65 will fall at least once a year? Having a fall in your home can be quite scary but there are a few things you can do to prevent it.
Tips for you:
Assess your home or book an assessment with us to make sure your home is clear of hazards
Get your eyes checked once a year after you turn 65
Join an exercise class to improve your strength and balance
Have your emergency numbers handy, like next to your bed and in the bathroom.
Tips for your home and garden:
Outside & garden area:
Make sure you have appropriate handrails along stairways and ramps
Ensure access areas and pathways are free of obstacles
Check your decks, stairs and railings are always in good repair
Install grab rails at showers, baths and toilets
Remove your shower hob or bath and install an accessible shower
Have anti-slip solution painted on your bathroom tiles
Don’t store heavy items in high cupboards
Have electrical items checked by an electrician to make sure they are all in working order
Make sure all your heavily used items are easy to access
Around the house:
Keep stairways and passage ways clear
If you have rugs, secure them down to make sure they don’t move with you.
Ensure there is adequate lighting and easy switches
Make sure all the electrical cords are tucked away and not in access areas
If you’d like an Occupational Therapist or one of our builders to come out and complete an safety assessment on your (or someone you care about) home please give us a call today – 02 6651 2143
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!
Young at Heart – Short Films 2016
When: 4:30pm Sunday 3rd April 2016
Where: Sawtell Cinema, First Avenue
Bookings Essential: 6658 4655
Are you feeling unsteady at home? Are you a carer for someone with a disability? Has someone you care about had a recent fall?
We’d love you to join us for our open day, we will have information on My Aged Care, NDS, modifications, maintenance and other products.
There will be information packs, giveaways and opportunities to have all your questions answered.
When: Wednesday 16th March 2016
Time: 10:30am – 12pm
Where: East Coast Accessibility Experts, Unit 12, Lot 5, Druitt Court Coffs Harbour
Contact us: email@example.com or 6651 2143 for further information.
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.
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:
- Brushed concrete
- Textured Blocks
- House Bricks
- Natural Stone
- 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.