Sheila is one of the main reasons we came up with this idea in the first place.
She's a very classy, trendy, proud lady and she was refusing to have adaptations fitted, even though she really needed them, and she was hiding her pendant alarm, even though she really needed it, because in her words,
"They're hideous, they make me feel old, they're embarrassing, and they don't go with my home or my outfits..."
She especially did not want the external grab rail, she was worried people would target her house because they knew someone ‘vulnerable' lived there.
Sheila, and from the research we conducted many others do this too, also reduced her food and drink intake to limit her trips to the bathroom, as that's one of the most likely places to fall. The reality is people would rather put their health at risk than get the current adaptations installed.
Unfortunately, Sheila's house is now filled with the very things she fought so hard to prevent.
Sheila was extremely ill over Christmas and ended up in hospital for a long period of time, but thankfully she is home now and doing much better. One of the conditions of her coming home was to get grab rails installed, and she had no choice in what she was given.
She came home to find the plastic, ugly grab rails outside her front door and in her bathroom, and as much as she was pleased to be home she was devastated that she had to compromise her standards and her dignity to do it.
She struggles a lot more to move around now, to go out as much as she would like, so spends a lot of time in her home and she wants it to feel like a home, not a hospital.
She wants a better option, and she deserves it.
This isn't unique to Sheila. Millions of people across the country are making dangerous decisions that damage their health, rather than using the current products available to them.
So, we thought the solution was simple, design better, give Sheila and the rapidly ageing population products they actually want, not just ones they need.
Why is it important to housing associations?There are millions of people just like Sheila living in our properties, and they don't want the stigmatised, clinical adaptations we are putting in their homes either. We have a responsibility as landlords not only to keep our tenants safe, but to provide them with excellent customer service, to support their health and wellbeing, and to ultimately give them a great place to live!
We're asking you to ditch the depressing plastic grab rails and invest in designs that give your tenants their dignity back!
By providing more attractive, dual-purpose adaptations, that are desirable rather than off-putting, we aim to get these installed in homes earlier, therefore preventing falls sooner and supporting people to live independently for longer. This has the potential to help sustain tenancies and succeed in keeping people out of residential care.