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Care home bedroom with elderly lady and care worker - What makes a safe home for the elderly?

It can be very difficult to imagine what it is like to be old; especially if you are very young and in good health. But imagine you could put on a pair of glasses with ‘elderly vision’. Suddenly, you might find, the world is transformed; that there are challenges and hazards everywhere. Difficulties that, ordinarily, would never have crossed your mind.
Switching on to ‘elderly vision’ is what we must all do if we are to work to make a place safe and elderly-friendly. It involves imagination and creativity to fill the shoes of someone debilitated with age, but it is essential to do so. 
This article is your elderly vision. Read on, and together we will travel through a mundane house, identify its dangers, and discover what can be done to make it elderly-friendly. 

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Interior landscaping in a care home - plants and chandelier

Inject new life into rooms with interior landscaping: a cost effective way to refresh decor and increase physical and mental health

The benefits of keeping plants indoors have now been proven so many times that it is beyond any doubt houseplants bring very real, tangible advantages to anyone who has them around. And nowhere is this more evident than in a care environment. From hospitals and nursing homes to care homes for young and old alike, the addition of plants indoors will have an immediate impact on the physical and mental health of both residents and their careers. A a quick reminder, five of the most tested benefits are:

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Sensory rooms - glowing lights

Most care professionals are well aware of the benefits of sensory rooms – they are spaces which offer a calming, soothing environment or can trigger reactions and promote interactions, particularly important among residents with dementia.

They can be used for individual sessions or with a group of residents, and family members can even join in with activities too. But there have been too many instances where time and money has been spent on decorating, furnishing and equipping rooms which, usually after a flurry of activity for the first few months of opening, then lie largely unused.

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A resident & care home nurse in a bright lighting in a care environment

New, revolutionary lighting - ‘Circadian Plus’ by amBX will transform your care home by providing elite benefits. Research has proven that circadian lighting, which supports human’s natural 24-hour rhythm is beneficial for improved sleep patterns, mood and general wellbeing. Therefore, helping to reduce resident’s agitation levels, encouraging a better sleep pattern and allowing them to feel more in tune with natural daylight; in turn this can lead to a whole host of mental and physical health benefits. In addition to this, if employees are happier at work, have improved sleep patterns and most importantly feel that their employer cares about their wellbeing then it is going to have a positive impact on retention levels.

Also, the installation of this revolutionary system can set you apart from the competition, improving standards, reputation and therefore ratings.

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MMC - Agile Ageing Alliance's vision of Neighbourhoods of the Future, with tower blocks and outdoor communal areas

Agile Ageing Alliance is a joining of innovators from across the building and housing sectors, as well as health, care, design & technology and finance advisors who have come together to produce a new way of retirement living. Neighbourhoods of the Future is a vision which modern methods of construction (MMC) can make a reality, providing much-needed affordable homes for the elderly as well as younger people. Here, Ian Spero – founder of Agile Ageing Alliance – answers editor Victoria Galligan's questions on how MMC can help to solve the housing crisis.

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James Thomas, left, discusses care home services with a client

James Thomas, QFP, Commercial Manager at d&t business planning, discusses the need for careful planning when extending care home services.

The expansion of care home services requires the mitigation of risk through analysis and proper planning both to protect the business and those it cares for long term.

Extending an existing facility by nature often requires significant investment and therefore, commercial backing.  Securing appropriate funding will be a key part of the successful expansion of services. Here, a balance needs to be struck between the need for borrowing and the income likely to be generated from providing care services.

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Refurbished kitchen

Mobile Kitchens Ltd specialises in the hire or sale of temporary catering facilities and foodservice equipment.

Ideal for events or to provide temporary catering facilities during your kitchen refurbishment, our versatile units and equipment offer an efficient and economic solution to the caterers’ needs.

Production Kitchens, Preparation Kitchens, Ware-washing Units, Dry Store Units, Cold Rooms and Restaurant Units are available as individual units in their own right or they can be linked together on site to form a complete complex.

Alternatively, we can offer modular, open-plan facilities, usually for larger, longer-term hires.

We offer a free design service, and project management from concept through to delivery and installation on site, plus full technical support throughout the hire period.

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Koubou Interiors

Koubou Interiors is an award-winning Interior Architecture and Design company specialising in Healthcare and Commercial design.

Koubou Interiors is a BIID (British Institute of Interior Design) Registered Practice and it’s Managing Director Gilly Craft, is the current President having previously been the Institute’s CPD Director.

The company has worked on a variety of projects in both the NHS and Private sectors including hospitals, surgeries etc. We also work with clients and their families who want to stay in their own homes but can only do so by adaptation to their living space.

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Pendock’s LST radiator guards in a bedroom

Richard Braid, managing director at Pendock, explains how low surface temperature (LST) radiator guards can help care homes manage the risk of burns from radiators. 

Many of the radiators fitted in UK care homes will be operating at temperatures that can pose a burn risk. Care home residents can come into prolonged contact with radiators, for example if they fall and are unable to move or call for help. In addition, some people can’t recognise or react to hot surfaces, either because their sensitivity to temperature is impaired, or their mental state prevents them from doing so. It’s therefore essential for care home managers to control the risks. 

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2 New Contract Upholsteries from Skopos

Alongside their new print, Mau Loa, Skopos have launched 2 new flexible upholstery ranges into the contract market.  Contrasting plains, Bonita and Cuba each offer something different for statement furniture. Where durability is keen and style cannot be compromised, these collections bring colour and energy into a scheme. Providing a sophisticated luxury finish Bonita is a soft, matt cotton-look velvet in a palette of bright jewel colours and neutrals. 

Cuba in contrast, a textured plain, giving a natural linen-look feel in trend-led tones, offers a simple, straightforward solution. Priced keenly for use across a variety of contract projects, the collections previewed at the Care Show in October and Sleep & Eat in November, demonstrating the flexibility of both products for use alone or with other designs. Both collections meet the requirements for care interiors and with a waterproof layer as standard, antimicrobial properties and a soil resist finish.  The collections achieve 40,000+ Martindale rubs and meet the flame retardancy standards required for contract furniture.

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Russell Pillar of Spearhead Healthcare on caring for carers

Russell Pillar, director of care interiors at Spearhead Healthcare, advises how the right equipment and training makes a huge difference – to staff, residents and families…

All of us are aware that the care sector is burgeoning as our elderly population continues to rise. In fact, the Office for National Statistics has predicted a 36% growth in people aged 85+ between 2015 and 2025, up to 2million, and this is expected to lead to even higher demand for care home services.

Providing this care is of course reliant on carers, which means attracting and retaining staff is crucial to the sector. However, here there is a growing challenge, with some 110,000 vacancies in England’s adult social care sector at any given time and a 30.7% average annual staff turnover, according to Skills for Care. 

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Four Acres care home interior

Runwood Homes Senior Living has invested £6 million to rebuild former Warwickshire County Council owned care home, Four Acres, turning it into a modernised and expanded version of the former residential care setting, completed to a favourably high specification and now open to new admissions. 

This state of the art care home, close to the town of Redditch in Warwickshire, has been specially developed to cater for older people, including those living with dementia, creating a spacious and homely assisted living facility perfectly suited to accommodate seniors seeking an luxurious residential offering - a top Warwickshire care home. The home benefits from a concierge service, multiple lounges, desirable dining areas, courtyard garden, hairdressing and beauty spa, sociable café and kitchenettes to encourage independent living. 

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 Theraposture Rotoflex bed

 96-year-old Tom Neil is a famous Royal Air Force fighter pilot and ‘Ace’ of the Second World War who is benefitting from better sleep and more comfort thanks to a powered profiling and rotational bed.

 Tom is a highly respected veteran of WW2 and completed 141 combat missions for the RAF during the Battle of Britain.  He is the last surviving ‘Ace’ from this historic engagement and has published several books recalling his experiences flying Hurricanes and Spitfires between 1938-1964.  Tom has multiple awards for bravery, held the position of Chairman of the Fighter Pilots Association and was a key figure in the 75th anniversary commemoration of the Battle of Britain. 

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Alpine HC's Hybrid Mattress video

This revolutionary non-powered mattress combines air and foam so that its users benefit from the comfort of a static mattress whilst profiting from the advanced pressure relief that an alternating pressure mattress provides.

The Reposa® Synergy by Alpine HC possesses a cutting-edge technology that uses nature to redistribute the pressure applied on the mattress.  Exposed valves naturally inhale and exhale air when pressure is exerted on the inset air-foam cells, evenly distributing pressure across the user’s skin. 

Using multiple specialist foams, the Synergy mattress greatly enhances user comfort. A rigid foam frame surrounds the air-foam cells, providing a sturdy structure and support for the user when transferring into and out of the bed. A two inch super-soft foam topper provides exceptional comfort and added pressure relief.

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