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Grandparent? Ways to Support a Recent College Graduate

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago No comments

Seeing your grandson or granddaughter graduating with their qualifications is sure to be a proud moment. Now they’re an adult, seemingly independent, learning to navigate the world of work, bills and time balance all on their own. Or, at least, with a little background support from parents and grandparents.

No doubt you want to do as much as you can to help your grandchild through this next stage of their life. Here are just a few of the ways that you can help:

Save some money

The final years of education, and the decade that follows graduation, can be some of the most financially worrying years. Young adults don’t yet have the experience of budgeting and money management, but do have new bills and expenses to deal with. They also now have access to tempting sources of credit, which can be all too easy to get hold of.

Financial support will always be appreciated by your grandson or granddaughter, but what’s important is not to just give them the money. If they’re really struggling then you might want to cover their bills or order groceries on their behalf, but a better long-term solution is to save the money up in case of an emergency. Let them learn from their own mistakes as they try to keep control of their budget, but have a helpful financial gift to offer if it’s ever really needed. That same fund, if not used in an emergency, could be given to help with the purchase of a house when the time is right.

Hand over your life lessons

You’ll hear constantly that today’s young people are detached from those around them. In fact, many are more aware than ever of the connections between people and the experiences that different people have. Grandparents, increasingly, are seen as a source of information and wisdom. This isn’t in an “I wish I’d asked them more when I had the chance” way; it’s in a “How can I get this information from them?” way. It’s forward thinking – these young adults care about what the older generations have to say, but might not feel comfortable sitting down and asking you to impart your worldly wisdom.

You can give your grandson or granddaughter, as a recent college graduate, a gift that they’ll treasure forever. Take time to record or write down some of your memories and life experiences, some tips and advice, messages and ‘treats’ (such as a recording of you playing a musical instrument, or a reading of a poem that says something that you think is important). Share ideas about some of the best books to read, include a few recipes and add some photographs. A record of some of the things that you want to share about your life will be a much appreciated gift, as well as one that will be useful in your grandchild’s future.

Be someone to talk to

The most important thing that you can do is to offer your ear to your grandchild, letting them know that they can always turn to you for help, advice and support. As well as being financially turbulent, these years can come with a whole host of other challenges including navigating relationships, perhaps entering the world of parenthood and potentially dealing with workplace troubles.

Your grandchild will value a non-judgmental person to turn to, and with modern technologies such as Skype and social networking, it can be easier than ever for you to stay in touch and be available every day.

How Your Garden Can Be Your Sanctuary

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago

Managing a disability can sometimes make you feel like you need some ‘down time’. It can be hard to find somewhere quiet, peaceful and relaxing when you’re limited by poor accessibility, but have you stopped to think recently that you could be living seconds from your sanctuary?

Your garden can be your ‘little patch of heaven’ – colourful flowers, the gentle buzzing of a bee, the occasional fluttering of butterfly wings and many beautiful scents, coupled with a light breeze and the warmth of the sun can really soothe the mind. What’s more, your garden is an ever-changing space that brings something new each day – plants and trees change with the seasons, autumn brings crunchy leaves, you can enjoy the refreshing rain and you’ll see different types of wildlife at every time of the year. Gardens are sensory spaces, places to escape from the noise and chaos of the surrounding world, and you can design your garden to your own personal tastes and preferences.

How does your garden grow?

Some people enjoy a traditional garden with neat rows of flowers and expansive grassy spaces. Some people like water features, trickling streams and waterfalls. Some people like pebbles or paving. Your garden can look however you want, with sheltered spaces and open areas to suit your needs and requirements. What’s more, your garden can be designed to work with your disability rather than against it – solid level pathways for wheelchairs, strongly scented flowers to be enjoyed by those with visual impairments and perhaps a garden den enabling a child with a disability to enjoy some outdoor time with friends, can all be added to your own unique garden plan.

How else can a garden be a sanctuary for someone with a disability?

The maintenance of a garden can be just as therapeutic as spending time in it. Gardening is a popular hobby, and for very good reason. The sense of achievement that comes from successfully growing plants and flowers is one that not everyone gets to enjoy – some people simply aren’t green-fingered, or they find that they don’t have time, but if you have even an hour or two to spare each week then you can look after your garden yourself.

If you’re not able to get to ground level then consider planting flowers in raise plant pots on stands, or fixed to a wall. You can even grow your own herbs for cooking, or deliberately pick out plants to attract bees or butterflies. In addition, a bird table and bird bath can be appreciated additions to your garden along with, if you’re feeling more adventurous, a ‘bug hotel’ or a hedgehog house.

Garden aids such as kneeling mats, easy grip garden tools and a garden trolley make it possible for people with restricted mobility to enjoy many of the more intensive gardening activities that they might have considered to be out of their reach, which means that maintaining your garden can be an ‘interest’ for you and not something that someone else will do on your behalf. You’re likely to find that gardening can be great for stress relief – pruning plants, feeding the fish in the pond and mowing the lawn can all be enjoyable activities when you have time to focus on them and the right tools and supports.

Adapting a House for Wheelchair Users

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago

If a family member has recently become less mobile than they used to be, then accommodating their new needs will likely be your top priority. The home environment can be changed and altered to suit a wheelchair user, but it will require some planning and some of the money from your bank account.

What if I can’t afford to make adjustments?

Government grants are available to help to minimise the financial impact of adjusting a home for a wheelchair user – or, in fact, for any other disability or illness that will lead to adaptations being required. These grants can cover a variety of changes to the structure or layout of the home, from wider doorways to improved heating or lighting. Grants are provided in addition to any other disability benefits that are being claimed, subject to proof of eligibility and evidence of household income.

What else do I need to think about?

Certain adjustments – those that alter the structure or total area of the property – may require planning permission. This might mean that you need to hire architects and surveyors. Their fees can be covered by your grant, if you’ve applied for one. It’s important not to cut corners on this step, because you might otherwise receive fines for the changes that you’ve put in place.

What kind of changes can I make?

Every individual with have their own requirements, which may be identical to others with a similar condition but could be completely different. Only you and your family will know which changes are going to be of most benefit.

Grab rails in the bathroom, lowered toilets and walk-in showers are amongst the most popular adjustments for the majority of wheelchair users, whilst elevators and stair lifts allow upper floor access for those that can no longer climb stairs. You might decide that installing an elevator to provide upstairs access, and adjusting a pre-existing bathroom to accommodate a wheelchair, is too complicated and too costly. In that case, you instead have the option of modifying a downstairs room to convert it into a bedroom, and adding a ground floor bathroom that has been created specifically with a wheelchair user in mind. This is also an important safety consideration – sticking to the ground floor enables a wheelchair user to escape more quickly in the event of a fire or emergency, though an evacuation sledge is an option for people that still want their upper floor bedroom.

You’ll also need to think about how the property is going to be accessed. Wider doorways are usually an essential, both inside the property and to access it, but ramps may also be needed. These can be permanent constructions or temporary fold-out ramps that can also be taken out and about, and stored away when not in use.

Finally, think about changing heights of work surfaces, enabling a wheelchair user to continue to wash the dishes and prepare their meals. Other more condition-specific adaptations may be required, but these can be discussed as a family and with any relevant medical professionals. Also look online for support groups filled with users that might have their own hints, tips and personal recommendations based on experience.

How to Make Looking After the Home Easier for Your Aging Parent

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago

A home is a sanctuary – a safe haven and somewhere to feel comfortable. We would all love for our homes to be clean and tidy all of the time, but life can get in the way. Don’t we all wish that we could have a team of professional cleaners to take away some of the pressure?

Aging takes its toll on the body, and as a result it affects the home. Weaknesses and pains, even minor, can affect a person’s ability to keep on top of the cleaning and home maintenance.

Identifying the Warning Signs

Is your aging parent beginning to struggle? The first warning signs might be simple, like seeing the mail being ignored or the dishes piling up, but you should also look for more subtle indications like a build-up of dust or marks or stains that would indicate that clothes are being re-worn without going through the wash.

Helping Out

Reachers and grabbers are amongst the most valuable tools for an aging parent struggling to pick things up from the floor, but if your parent is struggling a lot then perhaps the best things that you can do is to install carefully placed grab rails that they can use to get around.

Identify where your parent is struggling the most, to find tools and pieces of equipment that will have the biggest impact. If the lawn is looking overgrown, can gardening aids like a garden kneeler help your parents to continue to look after their beloved shrubs and plants? Inside the home, can you make food preparation a little easier by purchasing a jar opener or buying cutlery with larger handles?

People age differently, and so what benefits one older person might be useless to another. Speak to your parents about their individual struggles, and what could most help them.

Knowing When Enough is Enough

As a parent ages, their child can become their best advocate. The mother that once fought for her son or daughter’s best interests might then depend on that same son or daughter to fight for hers, and to make the decisions that will have an impact on her life.

Caring isn’t about taking on all of the responsibility for yourself, and it isn’t just about providing the tools that will help an aging parent to stay independent for as long as possible – caring is also about knowing when the next stage of support will be required.

Keep watch for changing needs and abilities. The daily living aids that you purchased might have helped once, but over time they’ll no longer be enough. At this stage your parent might require more of your attention, or a home care provider that can visit when you’re unable to. A residential care home will likely be the next step, when they can no longer live independently.

You can make looking after the home easier by providing the right equipment and encouraging independence for as long as possible, but be an active advocate and be aware then your mother or father’s care needs change. You are their best voice, and because of that you should be aware of their limitations and yours.

​How to Help When Memories Fade

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago

It’s an unfortunate fact that growing old will take its toll on the mind. Even the sharpest minds can begin to struggle with details and memories, whilst some older people will struggle with conditions such as dementia which can have an even more significant impact.

To watch an older relative struggling with their memory can be upsetting for you, and the situation can be very scary and confusing for them. How, then, can you help?

Provide Regular Prompting

Memories will fade faster if they’re ignored and not used. You’ll know this from your own experience. You remember the key details – big dates and events from your life, like the birth of a child or a time that you won an award. What’s more, the brain remembers negative details far more often than it focuses on the positive, which is why it’s all too easy to think back to a time when you completely embarrassed yourself (long after everyone else has forgotten the occasion), yet so difficult to remember when you did something that really impressed people.

You might have experienced a time when you looked back at an old photograph, and a day that you’d completely forgotten becomes a clear memory once again. The things that you don’t remember are not necessarily completely gone, but are stored deep inside your mind if they’re not called upon.

The same thing happens when you age. You can help to bring back happy memories and to keep an elderly loved one connected with the real world and their friends and family, by having regular conversations about the past. Photographs work as an excellent trigger, and there are even flash cards available that mention a certain topic such as ‘beach’ or ‘flowers’. You don’t even need the cards, necessarily – just start a conversation by asking “Do you remember the last time you went to the beach?” and see where the conversation takes you!

Be Cautious

Bear in mind that people with dementia and some other age-related conditions cannot access those memories as though they’re in the past. To them, something that happened thirty years ago might be their present day. An 80 year old woman can be entirely convinced that she’s still 30 years old, and as a result modern technologies (which she can’t remember existing at the time) can be absolutely terrifying. She might not know that her husband died 10 years ago, because as far as she’s concerned they’ve just married, and she might forget that she has a child at all. Some conditions take people back into their memories, and sometimes this is the best place for them to be.

Be aware of an older person’s current state. Don’t call them a liar or tell them that they’re wrong. In some cases, as much as it hurts you, it can be helpful to leave an older person believing that they’re still 30. Be gentle however you broach a subject – some adult children find it easier to introduce themselves as family friends, than to confuse an aging parent by explaining that they’re a son or daughter.

Be Patient

Don’t get frustrated if an older person is struggling to recall a memory, or if they seem to be making things up. If you fill in any gaps for them, you’re reducing their need to use their own memories. If someone is pausing to think back to what happened, leave them to it and let them take their time.

Use Activities

As well as the aforementioned flash cards, brain training games and apps can help people to keep their minds active. Card games and jigsaws are also beneficial – anything that involves a bit of thought and concentration, without becoming too stressful!

You helped us raise £300 for Sport Relief!

By Andrew Atkinson 2 years ago

You helped us raise £300 for Sport Relief!

As most of our customers already know, at Mobility Smart we are dedicated to supporting charity work both in this country and overseas by supporting Sport Relief.

We are delighted that this year, our customers have successfully helped us to raise £300. This money goes 100% to Sport Relief charities on the ground. It means that the money helps vulnerable children and families to receive essential care and life-enhancing facilities in the UK and internationally.

Sport Relief 2016 Thank You

We would like to extend or gratitude and appreciation for all of our customers, who through their donations have enabled us to donate our largest amount to date this year.

So we will see what happens via Sport Relief news channels to see the many positive ways our customers’ donations have contributed to the work of the Sports Relief charities and look out for next year’s opportunity to donate.

It’s not too late to give to Sport Relief 2016, follow this link if you would like to make a donation:


Once again, thanks so much for donating. It is much appreciated.

How to Measure For a Walking Stick

By Andrew Atkinson 3 years ago

Studies have shown that more than 60% of walking stick users haven’t measured their stick or cane correctly. Using a walking stick that’s not the right height can leave you at risk of muscle pain, balance issues and an increased possibility of trips and falls.

Many people think that walking stick heights are determined by the overall height of the user, but that isn’t actually the case. People come in all shapes and sizes, with varying proportions, and what you really need to consider is the distance from your hand to the floor.

If you’ve had a previous walking stick professionally measured, then you know that it’s the right height. If it’s comfortable to use, you can simply measure your existing walking stick and buy a new one that’s exactly the same length.

If you’re new to buying a walking stick, or you’re currently using a cane or stick that hasn’t been correctly measured, then try one of the following methods. Always remember, when measuring for a walking stick, to wear your usual shoes.

If you’re measuring without a walking stick:

  • Stand up straight. Dangle your arm down beside your body, then lift your hand at the wrist so that your palm is parallel to the floor. Measure the distance from the floor to the palm of your hand.

If you’re measuring with a walking stick:

  • Stand up straight. Let your arms hang loosely by your sides. Ask someone else to turn the walking stick upside down. The end of the walking stick should be level with your wrist. Find a walking stick that reaches the correct point (the bump on your wrist) or, if you prefer, have one cut down to size by sawing off the end. Walking sticks typically come with a rubber cap (ferrule), which you should be able to remove and put back on once the stick is at the right height. If you prefer, you can purchase a height adjustable walking stick that can be set to the correct length.

If you’re using the correct walking stick, your shoulders should stay level and shouldn’t be forced into a hunched position. Your arm can bend slightly at the elbow. You shouldn’t have to stoop or lean over.

Buying from somewhere that offers a wide selection of walking sticks and canes will ensure that you don’t need to settle for anything that isn’t quite perfect. There are so many options including folding walking canes, walking sticks with seats and quad canes with a wider base for extra support. Once you’ve measured for a walking stick and you’re feeling sure about the length that you need, take some time to think about the extra features that you want. Browse for a while, find the best walking stick or cane to meet your needs, and buy your new walking stick with confidence.

View our range of walking sticks & canes here

How To Fit A Tyre / Tube

By Andrew Atkinson 3 years ago


  • Always work in a clean environment where possible.
  • Before fitting check that the tyre is the correct size for the rim and there are no obvious signs of damage or manufacturing defect.
  • If using a new inner tube (advisable) check that it is the correct size for the tyre you are fitting it to. If you are re using an existing inner tube carefully check that there is no visible damage from foreign bodies or fitting damage from previous use.
  • Check the rim carefully for signs of damage in particular those parts that will be in contact with the tube.
  • Carefully check that the tyre and inner tube are free of debris. If the wheel has spokes fitted check that the correct rim band is fitted and positioned to cover the heads of the spokes.
  • For a one piece rim fit one side of the tyre to the rim first then fit the inner tube into the tyre and partially inflate - this will avoid pinching the tube when fitting the other bead. Position the tyre and tube on the rim so that the bottom bead is located and the top bead sits on the rim. Using the correct fitting levers carefully ease the second bead onto the rim taking care not to pinch the inner tube between the tyre and rim. Extra care should be taken with the last portion of the tyre when prising onto the rim to avoid breaking the bead wire.
  • For a two piece rim place the tube inside the tyre and partially inflate before putting the two rim pieces together. When bolting the two halves together check carefully that the inner tube does not become trapped between the two halves.
  • When the tyre has been successfully fitted carefully check that it is fitted concentrically on the rim (there is generally a ring around the bead area to enable correct positioning).
  • During inflation check that the tyre remains in position and does not hang up on part of the rim. The valve area can sometimes be a problem on narrow tyres as the base of the valve can become trapped between the tyre bead and the rim; if this occurs carefully push the valve partially through the valve hole into the tyre and continue inflating.
  • Always inflate the tyre to the correct pressure (check the wheelchair/scooter handbook for the recommended tyre pressure) do not take the maximum pressure data on the sidewall of the tyre as the correct pressure this is merely a guide as to the maximum pressure it can be inflated to.
  • Check that the valve is not leaking.
  • Fit a proper valve cap that includes an internal seal as this is the primary air seal. Plastic dust caps should be avoided as they have no pressure sealing properties but are better than nothing.
  • Replace the wheel taking care to ensure that the wheels nuts are tight or the quick release axle is properly located.
  • Finally tyre pressures should be checked regularly to ensure correct and trouble free operation of the tyre.

How to use suction grab rails

By Andrew Atkinson 3 years ago

The number one reason for return of a suction product is the surface customers try to stick to isn’t smooth! Suction products WILL NOT STICK TO ANYTHING OTHER THAN A PERFECTLY SMOOTH SURFACE.

We can’t stress enough the word SMOOTH not nearly or quite smooth we mean perfectly smooth.

If you experience problems with a suction product please try sticking it to glass. (Test on a window, cooker door or even your car windscreen) You will more than likely find that it sticks fine thus eliminating the product.

Suction products returned as faulty which test fine will be subject to restocking fees.

Suction Grab Rail General Instructions

  • Suction grab rails are designed to assist your natural motion, as when getting in and out of a shower. They are not designed to hold or support your full body weight.
  • Suction grab rails can be used where permanent drilling and fixing is not possible.
  • Do not attach to moving surfaces.

Choosing a Location

  • Suction grab rails are designed for use only on smooth non-porous surfaces; tile, glass, porcelain, some plastics. Not for use on painted, papered, wood, embossed surfaces.
  • Check the condition of the support surface before positioning the rail.
  • Support surfaces should be sound and free from defects.
  • Do not mount the rail where it will be in direct sunlight.
  • Check the condition of the suction cups. Do not use if damaged, cracked or split.
  • Do not attempt to mount the Quick Rail on mosaic or embossed tiles.


  1. Thoroughly clean the surface with a solvent cleaner or alcohol wipe and allow to dry.
  2. Raise the suction levers; place the rail so that the suction cups lie firmly and completely on a smooth surface.
  3. Do not place over joints or grout lines.
  4. Push the rail towards the wall whist simultaneously pressing on one lever at one end, then the other. You should feel resistance as the suction cup tightens.
  5. Check secure attachment before each use.


  1. Lift each of the levers.
  2. If suction remains, gently lift one edge with a finger.
  3. Do not use a sharp instrument which may damage the suction cup.
  4. Clean the suction cups from time to time with a non-abrasive cleaner.

You can view our range of Suction Grab Rails by clicking here

How To Apply For A Mobility Scooter Tax Disc

By Andrew Atkinson 3 years ago

Hopefully the questions & answers below will help you decide if you need to register & TAX your Mobility Scooter with the DVLA

How to register a NEW class 3 Mobility Scooter - You need to complete a V55/4 form which can be ordered for FREE from the DVLA by clicking here . Or you can download one by clicking here You may also wish to download the DVLA guide INF210 to help with this process.

How to register a USED class 3 Mobility Scooter - You need to complete a V55/5 form which can be ordered for FREE from the DVLA by clicking here . Or you can download one by clicking here You may also wish to download the DVLA guide INF211 to help with this process.

Do I need to Register & TAX my Mobility Scooter? - Yes if you have a class 3 Mobility Scooter.

What is a class 3 scooter? - It is a scooter that is between 113.5 to 150kgs in weight and can travel faster than 4mph BUT no faster than 8mph. It MUST also be fitted with a switch to limit the maximum speed to 4mph so the scooter can be used on footpaths. Generally speaking class 3 scooters are large outdoor machines.

Do I need a number plate? - When you register with DVLA you will be given a registration number in the same way as registering a car. However unlike a car there is currently no legal requirement to display the number plate.

Do I have to display the TAX disc - No, From 1 October 2014, the paper tax disc will no longer need to be displayed on a vehicle.

How much will the TAX cost? - Road TAX for class 3 Mobility Scooters is currently FREE.

Should I have insurance? - Although it is not a legal requirement, it is strongly advised to have insurance. Suitable schemes are not too expensive and are available to cover your personal safety, other people’s safety and the value of the vehicle. Click here for more information on Mobility Insurance

Who should I call for more help - For further information please call the DVLA on 0300 790 6802