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Independent Living Journal cover...


Independent LivingVolume 25 No 1

  published in March 2009

Featured Articles

Mature Motoring (assessment for older drivers)

Driving is a means of accessing the community, maintaining social contact and accessing everyday needs such as goods and services. Driving may be a means of getting to and from work, including voluntary work and may also be an essential part of an individual's work role.

The self-sufficiency and freedom that driving provides is commonly taken for granted and many people perceive it as a right rather than a privilege. Because of the changes associated with ageing older people may fi nd themselves unable to manage driving or are forced to cease driving. Driving cessation can have a negative impact upon quality of life, independence and safety. Stutts & Wilkins (2003) supported this, claiming that older people who were no longer driving reported decreased satisfaction with life, loss of independence and personal identity and increased levels of depression.

What's Cooking (kitchen solutions)

The kitchen's physical design and layout may present a number of access issues for someone in a wheelchair or for someone with limited dexterity due to severe back problems or arthritis. Before modifying the kitchen to accommodate the individual's needs, factors such as preferences in style, the cost and the functional requirements of the kitchen should be considered. It is also important to determine the number of persons sharing the kitchen space.

If a kitchen is shared between a wheelchair user and an ambulant spouse, the differences in their functional abilities can influence design for accessibility. There are practical guidelines that can help design accessible kitchens. Universal design advocates a barrier free living space for people with varying degrees of disability. It embraces design ideas for homes and other dwellings to accommodate all ages and abilities.

Falls Prevention (education and advice)

Falls are common among older people, and frequently the reason for loss of confidence in moving around the home or the community.

Falls are also a cause for admission to hospital or having to move to a hostel or nursing home.

Although the likelihood of a fall increases with age, many falls can be prevented with adequate education and advice. Accessing a vehicle in a wheelchair requires either the purchase of a suitably modified vehicle with a ramp or platform lift entry, or a second-hand vehicle that is suitable for modification.

A User-friendly Public Domain? (progress report)

What is the public domain? And, when does it become user-friendly? Any area or facility that the public are entitled to use is called the public domain. However, there are few incidences where the public domain is fully user-friendly.

We may all face similar physical and cognitive barriers at some time in our own daily lives. Yet, for the most part, the barriers are not of our own making, they are created by those who design, furnish and maintain the public domain.

With current world-wide emphasis on trends in healthy living, healthy cities, social connectedness and falls prevention, the challenge for the designers is to re-create a domain that allows people of all ages and abilities to continue their preferred lifestyle without having to negotiate hazards or unnecessary inconveniences.

Calling Card (home phone solutions)

People find it difficult to use home phones for many reasons. However, there are many phones and accessories that can make using the phone easier.

To find the right phone or accessory, firstly work out what is making it difficult to use a standard phone. Factors to consider like:

- Difficulty hearing the phone ring
- Difficulty hearing a phone conversation
- Difficulty getting to the phone when it rings
- Difficulty dialling a phone number
- Difficulty speaking

A chart of twelve phones from five manufacturers, listing comparative features; are included in this article.

Looking and Feeling Good (home grooming guide)

Grooming allows us to express our personality and individuality. Grooming can also be important for self-esteem and confidence. The way a young woman in her twenties chooses to groom herself differs from that of a seventy year old man.

Cultural, social, fi nancial and religious factors also play a part in the types and styles of grooming a person may choose to habitually perform. Our ability to sustain our chosen grooming practices may become difficult due to changes in physical or perceptual abilities. This can become extremely frustrating.

Simple tasks that previously were carried out daily, quickly and with minimal thought become a challenge and may not be completed adequately or undertaken at all. The result being that the individual's grooming needs and standards are not met, adversely affecting self esteem and confidence, which may in turn impact on that individual's ability to participate in their regular activities.