11 September 2019
Socially prescribed portable SitnStand leads fight against elderly and disabled loneliness
If loneliness and social prescribing is a hot topic currently, it’s probably for a good reason. With an ageing population, around 3.6 million* elderly people living alone and a care system under extreme strain, then products that allow individuals to access groups, friends and improve well-being can have huge benefits.
Social prescribing connects individuals in primary care with support from within the community. It provides GPs and healthcare professionals with methods to help people look after themselves more effectively and enjoy a more positive, engaging lifestyle. It focuses on meeting an individual’s needs by looking at the full picture i.e. acknowledging that an individual’s health is influenced by many determinants. As the Healthy London Partnership states: “People are living longer and as they get older, developing long term health conditions. Their health is affected by a wide range of factors including employment, housing, debt, social isolation and culture. These factors are not amenable to traditional health interventions.
Social prescribing encourages people to access support from local, non-clinical services such as voluntary and community-focussed organisations. Engaging with social activities and community interaction can help reduce inactivity, poor mental health and social isolation and according to The Kings Fund, there is increasing evidence that social prescribing can lead to positive health and well-being outcomes. “Studies have pointed to improvements in areas such as quality of life and emotional wellbeing, mental and general wellbeing, and levels of depression and anxiety.”
A holistic approach to health therefore can enable people to lead more fulfilling and socially active lives. This is not only found via referral to community schemes but also through assistive living products and adaptations, often recommended by Occupational Therapists, that can make daily living in the home or workplace easier and safer, whilst increasing accessibility and inclusion to the external environment.
Innovative and pioneering products, such as the SitnStand, a battery-powered, portable, rising seat, can enable individuals to maintain or retain active and inclusive lifestyles. The SitnStand provides safe and controlled sit-to-stand transfers and its key USP is its portability - meaning it can be placed on any chair, anywhere – at local social groups, community centres, family homes, restaurants and hotels.
The SitnStand is a product that exemplifies the social prescribing ethos – supporting individuals with inclusive community engagement and non-medical intervention. As Kate Sheehan, Occupational Therapist and Director of The OT Service comments: “Due to its portability, it opens up a whole world of activities that clients want to do in their home, community and whilst travelling, therefore promoting health and wellbeing.”
When living with restricted mobility or a health condition, the process of sitting and standing in a controlled and safe manner can be a challenge. Many people rely on the manual assistance of relatives, friends and carers to get in and out of a chair. This compromises freedom in many respects both at home and when travelling – resulting in a loss of inclusion, confidence and self-esteem. Loneliness and mental health issues continue to escalate amongst elderly and disabled people hence the need for independent mobility. By choosing the SitnStand greater social engagement and reduced loneliness is possible without the need for manual assistance when sitting or standing.
*According to Age UK.