Helping in style

A customised kitchen

A customised kitchen - Credit: Archant

New developments in items for the home to assist independent living offer a benchmark in style, as Naomi Tolley discovers

Stylish bathrooms

Stylish bathrooms - Credit: Archant

Moving to a care home can be a daunting and costly experience for the elderly with many preferring to live independently.

RGC independent living products - a pull down basket

RGC independent living products - a pull down basket - Credit: Archant

It’s a quandary which has led a Dartmouth-based building business, RGC, to create a new range of innovative products, meaning more and more elderly or disabled people can be mobile at home.

The range of Independent Living products features adapted showers, shower enclosures and wet rooms, plus a number of products to help make mobility easier.

Their kitchen solutions include pull out or pull down baskets for easy access, adjustable units, side opening appliances and front control hobs, all of which can be built into their bespoke kitchens.

“There is a full choice of worktop and door style options to ensure enhanced independence and individual lifestyles are easily maintained,” says Richard Griffin, owner and manager of 13-year-old RGC.

In the bathroom, their products have been designed and manufactured to boost accessibility, including showers and enclosures, wet rooms, trays and seats as well as grab rails, chairs, stools, fold down rails, toilet plinths, bath boards and bath seats.

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“Bathrooms and wet-rooms from RGC can be adapted to meet individual needs and provide a fully functional space for the whole family. Level access can be incorporated and most items are available in white or blue to aid the visually impaired,” says Richard.

“There is no need to compromise on style and comfort. Beautiful wall and floor tiling as well as underfloor heating options and well planned lighting will complete the room. We are very excited about the installation of the new displays and being a specialist local independent company means we can still keep prices down and maintain a personal approach to all our customers,” Richard says.

RGC have recently been endorsed by Torbay and Southern Devon Healthcare Trust as an approved bathing equipment supplier. Their surveying teams provide free, no obligation quotations and a complete installation service with project management from start to finish.

Go near green for a healthier outlook:

Living in or near a green area could lead to significant and sustained improvements in mental health, reveals a new study based on research gathered in Devon.

For those considering moving to a care home or a post-retirement relocation, it may help to know that moving to a greener area not only improves people’s mental health, but that the effect continues long after moving, according to the study published in the journal of Environmental Science and Technology.

Analysing data that followed people over a five-year period, the findings add to evidence which suggests increasing green spaces - such as parks and gardens - could deliver substantial benefits to public health.

The research is one of the first studies to consider the effects of green space over time and has used data from the British Household Panel Survey, a repository of information gathered from questionnaires filled in by households across Great Britain.

Using data from more than 1,000 participants, the research team at the University of Exeter Medical School focused on two groups of people: those who moved to greener urban areas, and those who relocated to less green urban areas.

They found that, on average, movers to greener areas experienced an immediate improvement in mental health that was sustained for at least three-years after they moved. The study also showed that people relocating to a more built up area suffered a drop in mental health. This fall occurred before they moved; returning to normal once the move was complete.

The authors adjusted their data to remove effects from other factors likely to affect mental health over time – as well as factors related to personality.

Lead researcher, Dr Ian Alcock, says: “We’ve shown that individuals who move to greener areas have significant and long-lasting improvements in mental health.”

In 2012 the World Health Organisation cited depression as the leading cause of disability worldwide, and this study builds on research that has found natural environments could act as vital resources to improve health and wellbeing.

24-hour helpline:

A free, 24-hour friendship phone service has been launched to help the elderly combat loneliness.

The Silver Line, founded by television personality Esther Rantzen CBE, will act as both a helpline for elderly people seeking confidential advice and protection from neglect and abuse, as well as providing a friendship service, with trained volunteers providing regular friendship calls.

A survey conducted by The Silver Line found that 87 per cent of older people say talking on the phone would help combat loneliness, yet 25 per cent say they rarely do so.

According to the Department of Health, loneliness is potentially as dangerous to human health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

Founder Esther Rantzen, says: “It is tragic that older people are so undervalued and isolated. We hope all older people will turn to The Silver Line when they need information, friendship or protection. By showing we value them and care about them, we will restore their feelings of confidence and self-worth.”

Help with choices:

Choosing a care home can be a difficult decision.

Making sure it offers everything you need as well as providing a happy environment are top priorities.

To help make the process easier, Age UK, the charity offering help and advice for the elderly, have compiled useful guides for those looking for a care home themselves or with support from their local council.

“Everyone has different ideas about what they want from where they live. What is especially important to consider is what is important to you,” reads the guide, Helping you to Choose the Right Care Home.

The comprehensive list of questions it asks people to consider range from: Where is the home? To what is the turnover of staff?

The guide is available alongside their Finding the Right Care Home brochure. For further information, call 0800 1696565.

Excercise classes:

AGE UK Devon, who provide information, help and advice for the elderly, are welcoming new members to an exercise class in Seaton.

The Body Moves class has been helping to improve the health and wellbeing of local people for more than 50 years and now has space for more participants. It offers gentle exercise in a friendly atmosphere with the chance to have a cup of tea with new-found friends.

There’s no need to book, just go along to Seaton Methodist Hall on Tuesdays from 11am. The first class is free and thereafter costs £3.50 a session. Classes run in term time only.

This article was first published in the March issue of Devon Life. To get the magazine delivered every month to your home, subscribe at or call 08448484217