Month: July 2020

Cazbarr dressed in leather jeggings and jade sparkly top

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely?

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can’t dress nicely? I take a look at high street clothing and adaptive clothing to see how easy it is to dress nicely as a disabled person who is also a wheelchair user.

Dressing Nicely

Finding clothes that sit right AND look nice on a person who is always in a sitting position is not an easy task. When I go out, I want to look my best. It makes me feel happy and I feel much more confident.

I enjoy coordinating my clothes, shoes and make-up. I have different styles of clothing depending on the situation I am going out for. Rock chic look for karaoke nights down the pub, jacket & trousers for when I meet with shop managers and casual for meeting up with friends.

Being Disabled: Should It Mean I Can't dress nicely?  Woman sitting on the floor posing for a fashion shot

Fashion, unfortunately, is not geared for people in wheelchairs or disabled people in general. For example, models are 90% of the time in a standing position when being photographed for magazines/websites etc. If they do happen to be in a sitting position, it’s not a natural sitting position a wheelchair user would be sitting in.

Heels of any height is a no-no for me, as transferring in/out of my chair becomes impossible, I have to stick with flat shoes (ballerina type) which can leave a lot to be desired when it comes to style/design.

I have seen some lovely dresses hanging on the rail in clothes shops but as soon as I try it on, (oh, don’t get me started on dressing/fitting rooms in these shops) it is dreadful. It all bunches up on my lap, making the dress look far too long for me and looking like it could do with a good iron. So I now know it is pretty worthless even looking at dresses when out clothes shopping.

It has taken me many years to know what will suit me as a wheelchair user. Not only because I sit down all day but because of my body shape too. It’s still not an exact science but the majority of the time I can pick up an item, look at it and know if it’s for me. Well, I say that but I still have to fit them on as sizing greatly differs from shop to shop.

High Street v Adaptive Clothing for Disabled People

Adaptive clothing, I have to admit, is not something I ever think about. I suppose this may have something to do with the fact it’s not widely advertised, therefore, when doing a clothing search online, I can honestly say, I have never seen anything to do with adaptive clothing appear in my results. I have to tell my search engine I am searching for “Adaptive Clothing” before anything will appear.

Like everything else that is sold to make “disabled people’s lives better/easier”, it can come at a very high price:

Red linen wrap skirt with velcro fastening.

This is a wrap-around red skirt, it has two pockets and is fastened with a velcro strip on the waistband. I see a couple of issues with this skirt:

  1. How strong is the velcro? Will it come undone with manoeuvring, transferring out of my chair?
  2. Anyone half decent with a needle could attach a piece of velcro themselves.
  3. HOW MUCH?? £52.50…….You are having a laugh!!

There is no way, under any circumstances would I pay £52 for a skirt, no way!!

Red wrap skirt with tie fastening

By comparison, this skirt is also a wrap-around style…..Cost? £9.00 (was £12.99). Even at full price, it’s much more affordable. At the full price, you are making a saving of £39.51, not something to be snubbed at.

The item description says: “Calf-length skirt in a softly draping viscose weave. High waist with concealed press-studs and ties at one side, a wrapover front and asymmetric hem. Unlined”. A little needlework and a piece of velcro could be put in place of press stud.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Pair of floral jersey pull on trousers

Ok, how is this item any different to a pair of leggings??? They say ” Fully elasticated waistband for ease of dressing”. Errm, so are all the trousers I possess that I have bought from high street retailers! Again, how are these “Adaptive”?? And you want £40 quid……No!

At the end of the day, you can wheel into any high street clothing retailer and find an identical designed item for a much cheaper price!

So, by comparison, these next two items are what I would agree are in fact “Adaptive” pieces of clothing:

Black and grey coloured tie dye leggings

These leggings may not be floral but no different from the pair above: “Made from a stretch jersey fabric for comfortable wear, they feature an elasticated waistband and finish with a tie dye print”.

The price of these are again much more affordable: £14.99

I know which pair I would purchase.

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive navy jacket made for wheelchair users

Now this is what I would believe to be an adaptive jacket, they say:

“This very comfortable Wheelchair Jacket has been specifically designed for wheelchair users. The front of the jacket has a shorter cut to prevent it bunching up and to keep it looking stylish at all times. Similarly, the arms of the jacket are reinforced on the insides for extra strength and durability, ensuring that the Wheelchair Jacket is strong enough to cope with all the usual scuffs and abrasions that occur when self-propelling without any loss of performance”.

So the problem I mentioned about dresses bunching up at the front has been catered for and I know how sleeves can get damaged very quickly while self-propelling in a manual wheelchair.

Look at that, a reasonable price too: £16.48 Just goes to show, adaptive does not have to mean expensive!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Adaptive polo shirt in light blue

This is a polo shirt that the wearer can put on like a back to front jacket. Or at least that’s what I think they mean.

The description says: “Full back overlap with snaps at shoulders. This adaptive polo shirt for men completely opens up, allowing the individuals arms to be slid into the garment sleeves without ever having to raise/lower their arms or struggle with small neck openings. The back overlap is then folded over and domed/snapped into place”. 

I’m extremely disappointed that this company shows no images of how the “Adaptive” part works. Just looks like an ordinary polo shirt as it stands.

Domed/snapped?? Not sure what that means. But at the price of £76.92, I really couldn’t care less as again this is just legalised robbery!!

Black decorative line with swirl in the center
Red suede ankle boot with fleece lining and lace fastening.

I have saved the most expensive for last…..Cosyfeet pair of boots: A website: Adaptaware, directs you to Cosyfeet when looking on their site for footwear.

As I mentioned before, my feet are odd sized and shaped, therefore I normally need to buy 2 pairs of shoes to accommodate this. But bugger if I would purchase 2 pairs of these.

Ironically, if they were more reasonably priced, I would have bought a pair, I like the style of them. Unfortunately, at the wonderful price of £112.00 – £93.33 without VAT I would not even consider purchasing a pair.

Would this be classed as a VAT relief disability aid? Hmm not sure myself!

  • 100% waterproof to keep feet dry in all weathers
  • Breathable and with climate control to keep feet comfy and fresh
  • Windproof to keep feet warm and comfy
  • Water-resistant lace adjusts to fit a range of swelling
  • Roomier than it looks due to hidden-depth design
  • Seam-free toe area is ideal for problem toes
  • Lightweight sole is durable, shock-absorbing and cleated for good grip
  • Deep collar offers additional stability around the ankle
  • Comfort footbed is removable for extra depth – ideal for orthotics

The description is still leaving me with the question of how are these “adaptive”? Hang on…….Seam-free toe area? Is it just me, or does it look like the seam goes right over the toe area?. Climate control?? Are you for real? Where’s the temp knob? Hidden depth design…..Oh, this must be like the “luggage” in Terry Pratchett books.

Conclusion

It would seem that some items described as “Adaptive” are truly adaptive and would benefit many disabled people but…As with all aspects of life, it would also seem that some companies are trying to “cash in” on the £259 Billion spending power of disabled people by advertising some of their products as “Adaptive” when clearly it is no more adaptive than I am Lady Ga Ga!!

The prices of the majority of these products are purely legalised robbery! Do these adaptive clothing really cost this much to make? I doubt it very much. Disabled people have much more to pay out for in comparison to ableds, yet still, companies who advertise to help make disabled’s lives easier, do this by fleecing us! In turn, making our financial lives much harder to impossible!!

Some of these products can be bought from many high street shops and with a little alteration, can be “Adaptive”. Yes, I’m aware not all people can do this (physically) I for one. The question is, would it be cheaper to purchase high street product and pay someone to make alterations, or purchase the “Adaptive” product??

As a disabled person, of course, I would love my daily life to be easier but I’m just not willing to pay the kind of prices that are being asked from some, of these adaptive clothing. Shoes are my nemesis, I have one foot that swells up much more than the other. Depending on style/sizing, I have to buy two pairs of shoes so I can have one of the shoes in the next size up needed for me to wear them. Boots? Well, I’ve given up trying to find a nice pair of those for wintertime. I really like the boots above but will not pay that price.

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Prices/information correct at the time this blog went live. (I have no affiliation with any third parties I may have linked to.)

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Our.com logo next to Our bingo logo

Our Bingo: A Place To Be Bullied

Our Bingo: A Place To Be Bullied – Our.com is a games platform where you can play many different games, including bingo. The trouble is, bullying is rife and Our have done nothing to prevent this from continuing.

Why Play Bingo

I play bingo via Facebook from a company called Our.com. The game concept is rather good in the respect that it is very much like the real thing…..1 line, followed by 2 lines, followed by a full house. I don’t want to go into in’s and out’s of the game as this is not a blog to showcase this game but to showcase the bullying but unfortunately, I will have to describe part of the game to be able to give you some reference as to what I am going to talk about.

I play most evening with my elderly Mum, (every evening through the lockdown) as she is being targeted by the same players and bullied. We go on Skype so I can keep her mind occupied while playing. Now I know what you are thinking, why does she play if she is subjected to this kind of behaviour? I totally understand what you are saying and if it was me, I would find somewhere else.

But here is the problem. My Mum is 70 and nervous about technology, so afraid of trying anything new. (Believe me, I have tried). We have played this game for many years now and she is comfortable in the knowledge that she knows how to play/use this game. Her days are unfortunately empty of things to do, so to keep her mind occupied, she plays this game. As she says, it’s the only little pleasure that she has. More importantly, though, why should anyone be made feel to leave an online game because of bullies????

In-Game Bullying

Over the past year (roughly), the game has deteriorated to the point that there are no more decent jackpots to play for (except, funnily enough, the most expensive room). When mum and I first started playing this site, years ago, the site had many many different great jackpots in all the rooms and at times you were jumping from room to room buying cards and never remembering where you were playing. It was extremely fun to play, even if you didn’t win.

In-game coin purchases though, have always been very expensive for what you get, so, this has never changed. Your win rate is near to none and admittedly, the same players do seem to win the majority of the big jackpots and these players always seem to have millions of coins. (My mum believes that they are geared to win as the devs know these players will never need to “buy” coins, so let the others lose in the hope they will “buy”). Indeed a good theory and also, if true, a great recipe to encourage players to get bitter at other players. I have also noticed that there are a few players that fit the bill of being “bot” players but obviously, no proof. (I researched and looked into starting my own bingo site, so I know about these things).

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fuk you mother****** – I hope you get coronavirus – why don’t you just die

I can understand why players get upset…..Same winners, bot players, purchasing coins after coins and never winning. Winning and losing it all in one night…..I get it! But……There have been many, many derogatory, nasty comments that have shocked me and I’m not easily shocked!. I’m appalled that someone could actually call another player these awful names. Some have actually said they want X player to die! Or hope they get Covid19. There have been players that have used the game name Coronavirus and such like and their profiles say they are from China.

There are many other comments that thankfully not all can read as many players come from all over the world, so different languages are spoken in the chat. (Google translate is my best friend when playing). Many comments are about same winners, the game being a fix, ghost players etc. but this is the kind of behaviour Our seem to completely ignore as I myself, have complained many times regarding bullying etc. Still, nothing has been done. Actually, many of us have complained to Our but all complaints seem to fall on deaf ears.

In my opinion, the simplest solution would be to have a facility that enables you to close your chat if you want to. Something I have suggested to them. This would solve 99% of the problems. At present, the chat box is always visible while playing, so you can see all comments being made. The only way to hide the chat box is if you have sent a friend request to another player and, they accept. This then enables you to open a private chat with them. So when I play at the same time as my mum, mum can open a PM chat with me which in turn hides the main chat. There is a block facility but this doesn’t work.

Police Matter

When you are being targeted by the same players repeatedly, daily, who make comments such as (oh, by the way, all comments I show are just aimed at my mum and now me as I try to stick up for her and the more politer ones): “this millionaire is in all the rooms”, “watch out always the same”, “gaybasssh”, fuk you mother******…..every time you have a win, (Big or small, once or more) than it becomes cyberbullying and harassment. Therefore, I am now keeping a diary of all the comments made to my mum and myself, so I may report it to the police.

Before you think am I making matters worse, my mum has never retaliated, she just sits and takes it, partly because she can’t type and would take her week to write a sentence. I have never retaliated either but now I just inform whoever is making the comment that their comment has been copied and will be forwarded onto the police investigating cyberbullying on the site. That does seem to keep them quiet for the rest of the evening.

The Game

Hopefully, this will help give some context to what I have been saying.

The game gives you 1000 coins a day for free to play with. You have several different rooms to play in, that cost a different amount of coins per card purchase. These rooms allow a capacity of up to 100 players at any one time:

  • 50 rooms – Cost 50 coins per card purchased (24 max)
  • 100 rooms – Cost 100 coins per card purchased (24 max)
  • 200 rooms – Cost 200 coins per card purchased (24 max)
  • 1000 rooms – Cost 1000 coins per card purchased (24 max)

You have a Jackpot ball that starts off at ball 30, every consecutive game, this number goes up one number. The idea is to call bingo (full house) within that number to win the jackpot. Great concept!

The trouble is, the site devs seem to only now be concentrating on the 1000 room. So it is almost impossible to play without purchasing coins. 24 cards at 1000 coins per card are much more than what the site gives you to play with. You would have to save your free coins for 24 days to be able to play one game. Crazy right! So, if there is nowhere to play but the 1000 room and you have let’s say 5000 coins, your options are: Buy 5 out of 24 cards against possibly 99 other players, don’t play, or purchase more coins. Purchasing coins would for most, seem the logical solution (I know, outside of not playing at all). But, wait until you see the cost of purchasing these coins:

Price list for purchasing coins on Our.com website - Our Bingo:  A Place To Be Bullied

(Prices correct at 19/7/20 – On PC device). What you may not realise while playing, is the fact these prices change, depending on the device you are using. There is no consistency across devices. I have played on my tablet and found the prices to be much higher than on my PC (my usual device). They also vary depending on whether you are playing via Facebook, or the website itself!

All of these factors, I believe (purposeful or not) can encourage players to get frustrated, fed up and in turn, take it out on other players. Of course, there are just some really nasty people in the world that get a kick out of bullying others.

Conclusion

My mum, a 70-year-old lady, set in her ways, scared of using anything new on the computer, very little to occupy her day loves playing this little game called Our bingo for many years. She gets bullied and harassed if she has won, big or small.

  • Should she now be “forced” to look elsewhere?
  • Our.com should not be allowed to neglect its responsibility to protect its players?
  • Cyberbullying can never be accepted as everyday life online?

I believe the answer to all of the above should be a resounding NO!!

If you want me to blog about a specific subject, or just say hi, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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White circle of petals next to the word Motability on a blue background

Disabled People: Brand New Car Every Three Years!

Disabled people: Brand New Car Every Three Years! The biggest misconception is that disabled people get a brand new car for free. Not true! The Motability Scheme helps disabled people in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance by exchanging this allowance to lease a new affordable car, Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle, scooter or powered wheelchair.

Motability

In a nutshell, anyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility allowance (such as the Enhanced Rate of the Mobility Component of Personal Independence Payment or the Higher Rate Mobility Component of Disability Living Allowance) can use their mobility allowance to lease a car, scooter, powered wheelchair or Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle from Motability. The lease is normally for three years and five years for a WAV (Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle).

Motability’s standard lease takes care of running costs such as insurance for up to three named drivers (this doesn’t have to be you), servicing, maintenance, breakdown cover and tyre and windscreen repair and replacement. All you need to do is add fuel and go.

Misconception

I’ve had it said to me many many times that it must be so good getting a brand new car every couple of years for free! Yeah, I suppose it would be great but this is just not the case. The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

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The look on those people’s faces when I explain that’s not the case and I actually pay for my car on a monthly basis is a cross between shock and disbelief.

I give up the higher rate of my mobility component so I may have a car to allow me my independence, rather than having to depend on other people to get my medication, shopping etc. When my son was school age, I was able to take him and pick him up from school. This was paramount to me as he was being bullied at school and suffered terrible anxiety.

Ford Tourneo WAV - Disabled people:  Brand New Car Every Three Years!
Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

I became a full-time wheelchair user many years ago, not being able to put my own electric wheelchair in our car and drive off somewhere, means I can longer go out on my own. Therefore I am now in the process of applying for WAV (I will write about my experience, once I have received my car).

Further Information

For a full breakdown of who is eligible, how to apply and more help, check out Motability’s website.

If you want me to blog about a specific subject, or just to say hi, please don’t hesitate to Contact Me.

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