Month: February 2019

Window opening solution – Remap Scotland

This effects so many people I’ve copied it in full via Independent Living


As Remap panels can attest, problems with window opening and closing are quite widespread. Often awkwardly placed, or requiring considerable strength and/or dexterity, windows that can’t be adjusted by the householder have an impact on quality-of-life and independence. Here is one low-tech solution which could have wider applications.

Window opening solution required

The Glasgow panel was asked to help a woman in her 70s with very limited mobility.

Suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, she was slowly losing confidence due to the limited range of movement she could achieve. The client lives alone in small flat, and has carers attending.

She normally does her own housework to the greatest extent she is able to manage. Her house is spotlessly clean and well cared for.

She has a problem, which is important to her, in that she encounters difficulty opening and closing windows. This is particularly so with her kitchen window (shown above), as it involves reaching across the sink.

She has tried using a step, but is afraid this may slide on the kitchen floor.

She has been provided with a “handreacher”, but this does not give the necessary grip on the window handle. The window is opened by turning the handle from a vertical to a horizontal position and then pulling to open. Closing the window is the reverse of this procedure.

First steps planning and measuring

Project manager and chairman of the Remap Glasgow and Renfrewshire panel, John Convery, started by talking to the client and checking a few dimensions whilst she was standing relaxed at her kitchen sink.

This helped him determine the “extension” she would need to reach the window handle comfortably.

A simple study of the window handle itself indicated that a tubular shape of particular dimensions could be made to slip easily over it.

Then consideration was given to both the extension and the leverage the client would need, to enable her to overcome the resistance of the window handle, bearing in mind her very limited arm / hand strength.

And lastly, he had to think about the possible overall weight of the device. It would need to be very light, whilst retaining enough strength and rigidity to turn the handle without distorting.

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Towards an ingenious – and cheap – solution

Window opening solution with plumbing pipeInitial consideration was given to fabricating the extension arm from mild steel tubing. However, this would have been too heavy, as well as requiring the use of welding.

Aluminium was also considered, as it would probably be sufficiently light in weight – but it would also be more complicated regarding the welding process.

The final choice was 32 mm plastic pipe, as normally fitted below the average household kitchen sink, together with the fitting designed to screw into the bottom of the sink.

The pipe is sold as a pre-bent L-shaped item and is designed to fit directly into the sink fitting in a manner which was considered to be sufficiently strong to cope with the window opening stresses.

No welding and no adhesives were required.

The finished article is light enough for the client to handle with confidence and is very easy to keep clean and simple to store.

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Satisfaction all-round

The client can now open and close her windows with confidence. She likes the overall “feel” of the tool and has no qualms about using it. The efficient leverage of the design means that she only needs to apply a little force to make it work.

She was also very happy that the final outcome was not the heavy metallic object she was expecting!

The overall cost of materials was slightly under £7.00, purchased as a package from a well-known DIY store.

No painting, cutting or finishing work was required.

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Could this solution be adapted to deal with other window opening referrals?

The basic problem being addressed in this referral (window opening) is fairly common and, whilst it is accepted that design of handles and opening methods may vary, it is possible that variations of this tool could solve a large percentage of the referrals.

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Further reading and resources

You can read more about the work of Remap Scotland here


You want products?!

One of the main reasons people visit Independent Living is to look for products and services to help with mobility and daily living.

They have just introduced a Product List as part of the main site navigation, which makes it even easier to find specific products, or those from a particular supplier.

Animal Assisted Therapy

A good piece here from Independent Living

“Neurological Disorders

For people who have suffered strokes or live with the degenerative effects of Alzheimer’s disease, motor functions can be greatly diminished.

When this happens, frustration and depression become more pronounced, sometimes giving these individuals little will to live.

To keep this from happening, more and more healthcare facilities are using animal assisted therapy to help patients and residents with these conditions.

In these situations, studies have shown patients undergoing animal-assisted therapy have shown higher levels of improvements in gross motor function than patients not involved in animal assisted therapy.

As a result, patients have been able to regain skills needed to perform many everyday functions, improving their lives in countless ways.”

Vital tech – assistive technology for visually impaired people

Vital tech – assistive technology for visually impaired people:

A new website called Vital Tech (, has been designed by a team of blind and partially sighted people to offer impartial and straightforward guidance through the world of assistive and inclusive tech for blind and partially sighted people in the UK.

Vital Tech provides an overview of useful tech for a variety of home activities, from household chores and organising to staying in touch and relaxing. The Vital Tech team would love to hear from you, particularly if there’s a product or service you’re using which others could benefit from knowing about.

You can contact the team by emailing

Access to Music

Our members are keen on using music as part of their rehabilitation and we are fortunate in the county to have some amazing support like

This is an important survey

Make Some Noise Poster


How accessible is music making for disabled people, and in particular disabled children? The current National Plan for Music Education aims for “equality of opportunity for all pupils, regardless of race; gender; where they live; their levels of musical talent; parental income; whether they have special educational needs or disabilities; and whether they are looked after children.”

How well are these objectives currently being met, and what can we do together to make music more accessible for all?

Conducted by Creative United, in partnership with OHMIDrake MusicOpenUp Music and Youth Music, this major research project aims to capture a detailed picture of the experiences of disabled people regarding music making. The findings will be made publicly available on the Creative United website and shared with educators, funders, and policymakers across the UK to inform the planning of future projects and investment.

Help shape the future of accessible music making. 

Music Makers

Do you sing, write music, or play an instrument? Are you the parent or carer of a young music maker? Perhaps you or your child want to play but haven’t had the chance? Every child has a right to a musical education. Everyone should have the opportunity to make music.


Music Educators

Are you involved in music education? Do you teach or facilitate music making, or manage and fund musical learning opportunities for children or adults? Music educators are the ones delivering accessible music making in practice.


Music Retailers

Do you sell musical instruments or equipment? Are you running a high street music shop or music retail website? Music shops are a vital part of the future of accessible music making.


Next meeting 14th February

Here comes the Agenda for the next Neuro Alliance meeting on Thursday 14th February 2019 at 10.30 am – 1 pm

Unit 5/ Hobson Court/Gillan Way/Penrith 40 Business Park, Penrith CA11 9GQ

We are delighted to welcome Ramona Duguid Director of Integration at North Cumbria Integrated Health and Care System who will give us an update and presentation on integration across North Cumbria

This will be followed by Kath Wood Welbeing Regional Contracts Manager  who will give a presentation on Independent Living Service

Other items include Barrow Café Neuro, Changing Places toilets – Update on Carlisle Sands Centre, and another reminder about the National Neurological Alliance – Patient survey.  The survey has been available from 17 October via or

If you haven’t completed the survey already, please do, it is vitally important

Next Meeting Thursday 14th March at  A Chance for Life Penrith