March 08, 2012 -- Able Newsflash No.312

Care News

Many councils in the last few weeks have distributed Winter Warmth packs to help vulnerable and older people keep warm in the cold weather.

The packs may vary but usually consist of gloves, socks, blanket, a hat, a flask, a room thermometer and a DVD with reference to chair based exercises to help keep blood circulating to maintain body temperature. Those councils that have sent these to homes in their locality have secured funding from the Department of Health.

Computer games which can be controlled by eye movements are being developed by researchers. The project at De Montfort University aims to allow severely-disabled youngsters to play computer games and to help disabled children navigate real-world environments.

Eye control "adds a whole new level of intelligence to games", says research leader Stephen Vickers. The use of eye tracking as a way of interacting with devices has been explored for a number of years, says Dr Vickers, but this project is developing a more accessible, low-cost system, which will bring games into the reach of disabled children who cannot operate a mouse or keyboard.

They will be able to "push" buttons and direct a character by looking at different points on the screen. In a spaceship game, he says players can fire a gun by staring at a button.
(Source: BBC)

Mobility Aids Sector - Can consumers access, assess and act on information?
(Excerpt from Mobility Aids, an OFT market study examining whether consumers in this sector are enabled to make informed purchasing decisions.)

The Report is 149 pages long and the following is from page 65:

"Although consumers are in the main satisfied with their purchasing experience, many do not shop around (for example by searching for alternative offers using the internet, telephone or by visiting other retailers), and a significant proportion of consumers base their purchasing decisions on limited information.

"As a result, and because prices vary significantly, consumers can end up paying very high prices and risk purchasing products that may be inappropriate to their needs.

"Since most consumers in this sector are first-time buyers, it is all the more important that they equip themselves with appropriate information in order to enable them better to identify products that represent good value and which suit their needs. However, our research has found that some consumers base their purchasing decisions on limited information.

"Moreover, we have found that a significant proportion of consumers do not shop around and can end up paying very high prices. Poor mobility, lack of access to the internet by some consumers and needing to make an immediate purchase (for example, where an urgent need arises) also, in part, account for lower levels of shopping around.

"In addition, there is a lack of price advertising on the internet and in marketing materials which inhibits consumers' ability to shop around in order to identify products that represent good value and to enable them to better assess what the average prices for mobility aids are.

"We have observed a significant variation in prices of identical products. For example, prices for the same brand and model of scooter can vary by over £1,000, and we have even seen price differences of £3,000."

In-House News

Prospective clients have been visited in Berkshire, Jersey and Norfolk.

MH training has taken place in Hertfordshire for carers of an individual client.

Monitoring visits have also taken place in the County.

Pop in visits took place in Jersey.

Two new trainee care managers have joined the staff: Julie Robinson and Chrissi Middleton.

Interesting Information / Statistics

Mobility scooters are currently restricted to 4mph on pavements and 8mph on the highway.

There are approximately 19.6 million units of general needs affordable housing in England of which 5.8 million accommodate pensioners.

Question of the Week
"I am a widow and finding it difficult to make ends meet. Neither I or my husband had private pensions and now on one state pension I have to be very careful. My husband was a farm worker for 50 years of his life, is there any related organisation that I can make contact with to see if they can help me with a problem I have."

Answer : You do not say what the problem is but you should make contact with the Royal Agricultural Benevolent Institution. This organisation provides assistance to retired or disabled farmers, farm managers / workers and their dependents in England and Wales.

You can write to; The Head of Welfare, Shaw House, 27 West Way, Oxford, OX2 0QH. If you would like to telephone them, the helpline number is 01865 724931

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