Happy New Year!
all friends and customers!
Please look out
for our new online store coming next year!
Happy New Year!
all friends and customers!
Please look out
for our new online store coming next year!
Its encouraging that people are now coming to say they are taking notice of the stall and that we're doing good work. One person came and ask if we were a charity - no we 're not..
A lady dropped off some stuff that she s not longer in need of - some shampoo 'Ready Bath shampoo caps' with some hoist slings and seat cover for wheelchair cushion.
Another lady, Mrs C, was so grateful that we researched tab pulls and neck and shoulder heat pads and got them for her that she wants us to visit her residential home to meet the other residents.
Yet another lady asked us to help her find a back scratcher for her husband. Not everyone of thesse products are strictly mobility aids - they are just to help in everyday life. And not all products are impairment specific - non disabled people also find them useful like Dyceum non slip mats and surfaces. (watch the video ) My brother has a mat on his car dashboard to stop keys etc from falling off and the electric tin opener, for example, is handy for everybody on the kitchen.
And sometimes you do not realise the potential of these products, I had not associated using non slip mats on my bookcase to stop books from sliding. That has proved to be so useful for me that I am using the roll I bought for the stall for personal use at home.
Some time back I asked Steven Sumpter aka latentexistence to try out the Tabtime Super 8 pill reminder since he writes about the pills he has to take each day in his tweets. He seems like someone who could really tell me if its a useful aid. I prefer to be able to recommend things I sell that has been tried by real users. Stephen is kind enough to write the review below -
I have been using this pill tray for a few weeks courtesy of Eleanor Independent Living Aids. The concept is simple but incredibly useful – it combines a pill tray and alarm clock in one.
The Super 8 is a blue rectangular box made of two halves folded together in a clamshell format a bit like an older folding mobile phone. From the outside there isn’t much to see apart from a battery compartment on one edge and a red LED light on the front. The Tabtime is easy to open: the right edge has tabs with cutaway parts to allow easy opening with less-than functional fingers and the magnet which holds secures the Tabtime has just enough force to keep it shut but opens easily with minimal pressure.
The Tabtime opens to reveal a pill tray on the right with eight compartments and a large clock on the left. The pill compartments are again easy to open, with a tab protruding from the edge of the lid which can be lifted easily. For the most part the lids are secure, although I did find some becoming loose when opening the opposite compartment. This isn’t a problem when the device is closed as the compartments are kept shut by the folding of the two halves. I found the compartments are about the same size as my seven-day pill tray with enough room to hold quite a few tablets, or four of my huge Metformin tablets.
Turning to the clock then, it has a nice large display which shows the the current time, and it has several buttons for setting the timers and a volume switch with options for Hi and Lo. Personally I have the volume always set to high as I have found that the low setting is not audible from the next room, or when the Tabtime is kept in a bag while outside. The high volume setting is loud enough most of the time but could do with being a little bit louder.
The Tabtime very usefully has a timer for every pill tray, eight in all. Used in this manner it is possible to have an alarm go off at the same time every day for each set of pills. On opening the Tabtime up after an alarm has sounded the screen shows a number along the top edge to indicate which alarm sounded and which compartment to take pills from.
If like me you don’t always take pills at specific times, painkillers, for example, there is also a countdown timer which I keep set to four hours. After taking my painkillers I can bring up the countdown timer on the screen – an action which unfortunately requires nine presses of the Mode button to cycle through the eight alarms – and press the Minute button to start the countdown to my next dose. Used in this way it does not give the benefit of indicating which pills to take, but that isn’t a problem if working through the compartments in numerical order. The red light on the front of the Tabtime is very useful since it starts to flash when an alarm sounds and it will keep flashing until the Tabtime is opened, even if the alarm sound stops. That makes it easy for me to know when I can take painkillers by looking for the red light even if I miss the alarm.
Of course eight compartments isn’t enough to replace my seven day pill tray. I tend to use my larger tray as usual, but keep painkillers in the Tabtime where I can make use of the alarm. When I go out I can fit my painkillers and all the other pills that I need for a day in the Tabtime and keep it in my bag.
The Tabtime isn’t perfect. It could do with a louder alarm, and perhaps an extra button to access the countdown timer in a less tedious way but it is very useful as a reminder while at home and for carrying pills when I am out. It serves its purpose very well and if you have to take a lot of pills then I can thoroughly recommend that you get one.
You can obtain a Tabtime Super 8 from Eleanor Independent Living Aids for £20 including postage.
Source: Stephen's blog
There is also a video from Tabtime - and its not just for people with Parkinsons!
Today is the first day of Chinese New year - the year of the Dragon. Last few days I ve been busy sorting out other business although I've been at the stall.
It was also time for doing tax returns!
It is exciting and scary times for disabled people with proposed changes to benefits and the Welfare Reform Bill - as a disabled woman selling independent living products, I cannot but be involved and absorbed n the debates. I was also interviewed on the local radio as to what would the changes to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) to the proposed Personal Independence Payment.(PIP) impact on me. The changes would have a direct impact on my status as a self employed entrepreneur - without support I would find it difficult to maintain a working life. So I am a campaigner for disability rights!
Independent living does not mean able to do eveything on your own but having the support to have the choice and control over your life. And this is why I chose to deal with independent living products or life enhancing products as somebody else calls them. If I cannot pick things off the floor because I cannot reach, a grabber helps me do that. My wheelchair transports me to work because I cannot walk. My DLA helps me obtain that wheelchair. It is also my passport to other services such as concessionary bus and train fares and being able to pay for adapting my environment to my impairment. Life is so much more expensive when you re a disabled person.
But any independent living product is always at a premium price and there are not always the consumer choices out there. One reason why I am in this business is to guarantee a modicum of reasonable prices for my customers. But I am still learning how best to do this.
Profit is not always the main priority but as a Chinese there should always be a profit motive in business. But it was Paul from the Best of Coventry who came and gave me some advice on display and sale ideas :-) So today we re going to re do the display at the stall.
So the year of the Dragon, may it bring everyone the fiery energy of a dragon, good fortune and prosperity wherever you are!
I had an appointment with wheelchair services to check that my wheelchair cushion was right for me. I have a curvature of the spine which means that I do not sit straight which in turn gives me backache. Claire, I think that was her name, she gave me a piece of something to lift me up on that side.
We also had a chat about my wheelchair and the problems with it. Good to have her advice. I brought leaflets about the market stall with me and left them at the reception along with the other information leaflets and started off with neighbouring The Opal Assessment and Demonstration Centre.
The Opal Centre is where disabled people, older people and carers are supposed to try before they buy -equipment. There are occupation therapists at hand. A drop in centre. "With therapists in-house, advice is readily available on the most suitable equipment and home adaptation to help individual needs and provide much needed independence."
Perfect except for the location. Widdrington Road is not easy to get to and disabled people want a location in the city centre. However I managed to talk to one of the OTs who was happy to show me around and we discussed the possibility of working together to provide some guidance to people at the market. And she said they would tell people about the Eleanor stall because they are not able to sell equipment at the Opal Centre.
I told her about some of the popular items such as the electric can opener and also the trabasack. I am going to bring her a sample so that they can demonstrate to visitors there.
I have not really paid much attention to Christmas since the kids grew up but being at the market reminds me that people do extra shopping for gifts during this season. And I can smell the freshly cut pine from the stalls that sells the fresh Christmas decoration. And those chritmas jingles all day long.
I got a few items for people who want to put them in as christmas stocking fillers for adults! Something to remind you to take the pills.
some more black foldable walking sticks and some fun curling shoelaces for people who have problems tying up shoelaces - like me.
Heres a picture of one on my Converse shoe -
and of course, the one thing I've been looking for some time now, a cupholder on the chair-
Wishing everybody happy last few shopping days countdown to Christmas! And below is the schedule for what's happening at Coventry Market!
Saturday 17th December 2011
Mother Christmas makes a rare appearance at the spectacular Coventry Market Grotto.
Sunday 18th December 2011
Coventry Market goes festive to the max when Father Christmas arrives and stays until Christmas Eve, the Grotto will be officially opened by Touch FM’s Brody Swain and Councillor Linda Bigham.
The Coventry Market Santa’s Grotto is FREE and children who visit Santa will be given a Free present, and the parents receive a Free mince pie. There’s also a chance to buy that precious photo with Santa on the day.
On the same day Coventry Legend Hazel O’Connor will be singing, and selling her Charity CD on behalf of Myton Hospice.
Not to be missed is the restyled Merry-GLOW-Round, with a 2000 lights, adding even more magic to the spectacular Grotto area.
The festivities on the day also include a Choir, Air Swimmers, Face Painting, Super Prize Draw, Hillz FM, The BBC and fund raising for the Myton Hospice and Harry Moseley charities.
Coventry Market will have extended opening times during the run up to Christmas including:
Sunday 18th December – 10.00am until 4.00pm
A selection of Market stalls are available to rent for the Christmas period
For further details call: 024 7622 4927
For Email Enquiries – Click Here!
Christmas Opening times:
Monday 19th December 2011: 08.00 - 17.00
Tuesday 20th December 2011: 08.00 - 17.00
Wednesday 21st December 2011: 08.00 - 17.00
Thursday 22nd December 2011: 08.00 - 16.00
Friday 23rd December 2011: 07.00 - 17.30
Saturday 24th December 2011: 07.00 - 16.00
Sunday 25th December 2011
Monday 26th December 2011
Tuesday 27th December 2011
Some days just get tangled up without warning and today was one of those days where deliveries went awry and products needed to be sent back and a bank appoinment got cancelled...
It did not help that I was barely awake having been sleeping badly for the past two nights. But by midday the day got better. Frieda even got some Christmas decorations up - more bling bling - I kept my inclinations under restraint and decided that we just want to highlight that independent living products make great Christmas presents. A lady came to order a grabber for her mother in law and another came to check up the leopard print crutch, she says she will be nice to her husband so that he will get it for her for christmas!
Something else arrived for us to test which we thought would make a good Christmas present is the Buckingham Easy Grab.
It is light and portable which makes it perfect for popping in a bag and taking it with you for that weekend away or a stay with relatives and friends.
The Easygrab will provide you with a "steadying hand" in the bath and shower room where additional hand support is required. Of course - it can also be used in a multitude of other settings and environments.
It is not meant to hold your whole weight but for that "steady hand" for people who might just need that bit of support.
Something which I had to take with a steep learnng curve is locating suppliers. I met a local Mobility aids supplier and we had a good chat. And he was offering collaboration and we were doing well until he spoilt it at the end - in a bit where he probably thought he could relax - he asked me "what is your problem?"
That did it for me - until that point, we were talking as equal entrepreneurs but just because of my impairment he felt he could ask me that. I responded by saying 'money problems but everybody has those' or something like that. But I was fuming. How could somebody who made his living from selling to disabled people not have any sense of disability equality?
Quite a few times I get young people coming to browse, their response is often that they are looking for something for their mum or nan.
And often enough I get the older generation coming to have a look too. I have been sitting at the stall trying to gauge what people need and gradually I think that whatever I myseld find useful others do so too.
Then it is a case of research to find who does the best deal because the catalogue supplier I use does not always give the best prices.At the beginning I struggled with buying stock - well there are aways cheaper deals online but the good people who goes to the market often tell me they do not use the internet. I am beginning to feel like my training at the public library in Austin is serving me in good stead.
There is the enquiry process. Much like the mum who comes to help their child to do the school assignment to the library,
"we have to do an essay on the weather -can you show us the books on weather?"
"uhm what particular aspects of the weather? climate change? how to tell the weather? geographical aspects of weather and climate?"
Here it is "I am looking for something for my nan/aunt/mum" and the nicest compliment I got was from a man who works in a care home- we couldnt get the product he wanted (it didnt exist as far as we knew because it was to help squeeze a paricular type of toothpaste bought in Japan). He thanked me for the trouble I took to listen to him explain the problem.
Anyway Donna told me that one of the most helpful gadgets she has in her kitchen which she finds indispensable is a one touch can opener and I have to have some in the stall! So now they have arrived. And I am tempted to keep one for myself!
Yes. Christmas stocking! not the sort you hang out for kids at the bottom of the bed but ordering stock for the stall for Christmas shoppers.
And I have help from Donna who is joining the team as a volunteer every Wednesday - when she can get there. I must say it is good to have company although 2 wheelchairs in the confined space of the stall is tricky.
The stuff she thinks I should order for the stall is different from mine - for example she says I ought to have big playing cards and card holders so we are getting some.
Some items are just ridiculously expensive - who would pay more than £10 for a back scratcher? I looked it up for a lady who came to ask - she said she wouldn't pay more than £5. So often we take it for granted that we can go online and do research for the cheapest deal - what I like about being at the market is doing research for those in the digital divide who do /can not have access to the internet. It satisfies the wannabe librarian in me - that I can go to different suppliers! the ones that can give me the best price so that I can do the same for customers. That really makes my day.
I do wonder if I have it in me to be the real entrepreneur. A customer came today to look for a urinal bottle. My order has not arrived yet but he said he really needed one so I told him where to get one at Boots in town. If people have needs they need to go - we re here to help :-) just hope he remembers and comes back to buy other stuff!
Julia kindly allowed me to take her photo with 'seat stick'. We found a quiet spot outside Euston where I snapped some photos. Julia and I have been on campaign demos together and I asked her to give me an idea how she used her seat stick and if she could recommend it.
The seatstick is helpful on outings where I think I may need to be static for a while, as I cannot stand for long. It is very compact to carry, and lightweight. It comes in a neat bag and can fit into your own bag, to unfold when required, although you can also use it as a walking stick. It's not comfortable for very long sits (for me at least) but it's useful when I'm in queue, say, or waiting at a bus stop without a seat. Also it's good for events (including protests!) where everyone is standing around. Because you're propped up by your legs you're more or less still at stand-up height, which can be useful for chatting. It's also good if, like me, you have trouble keeping your knees bent for any length of time - because on the seatstick your legs are more or less straight.
My only gripe with it is that the height of the stick isn't adjustable, and it's a bit too long to be entirely comfortable as a walking stick in my case.
But overall a useful buy.
A good guide to choosing the right walking equipment is from the Disabled Living Foundation - here is their fact sheet for that.
We are stocking this at the market stall. I am learning step by step which are good products and then the hunt is on for a good supplier which offer the best prices. A slow process but worth it I reckon.