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‘Independent living’ centre opens in Aberdeen


A new centre designed to help people live more independent lives at home will throw open its doors to the public next week.

L-R Kathryn Pealing, Senior Occupational Therapist at Hillylands with Councillor Len Ironside, Convenor, Social Care, Wellbeing and safety Committee,Deborah Wright, Bon Accord Care service manager & Sandra Ross, MD of Bon Accord care The Hillylands Independent Living Centre is one of just a handful of such centres in Scotland, in which occupational therapy professionals, along with special equipment and furniture, have been brought together under one roof.

The new £200,000 project, launched by Bon Accord Care Ltd in partnership with Aberdeen City Council, has seen the complete refurbishment of the former education centre building at the Croft Road/Hillylands Road junction in Mastrick to create the centre.

Hillylands will provide showroom space for everyday equipment which can help people go about their daily lives more easily to stay safe and independent in the home – and the centre has a team of staff on hand who can provide advice on occupational therapy services and on the most appropriate equipment to meet people's needs.

Hillylands is open to the public from 9am–5pm, Mondays–Fridays, and also offers appointments for occupational therapy assessments, including taking referrals from GPs. Anyone can pop along, whether they are older or disabled themselves or if they are a friend or family member who is keen to find out information on what is available.

The centre is kitted out with a full-scale kitchen to allow people to try out everything from special utensils to adapted fittings to make living with a disability easier – and also has specialist bathroom and bedroom areas to allow people to make informed choices on the aids and furniture that would best suit them and their lifestyle. Hillylands is not a shop but can offer on-the-spot advice and guidance on what to buy, from among the 20,000 products on the market designed to assist older and disabled people Kitchen.

A special public open day will be held on Wednesday 04 June, from 10am–4pm, to allow folk to come along and meet the staff, to view and try out the equipment, and sample the comprehensive information library.

Aberdeen City Council Social Care, Wellbeing and Safety convener Councillor Len Ironside CBE said: "Hillylands will provide a vital service for the many thousands of people in Aberdeen who are getting on in years or who have a disability or illness which has an impact on how they go about their daily lives, and who could benefit from the huge range of equipment which could make life a little easier.

"Part of what the centre will be doing will be early intervention too – matching folk to equipment which can help their posture or ease their condition, which could slow conditions from worsening and becoming quite debilitating or acute.

"There are only a few such centres in the whole of Scotland and I am very proud that we now have one in Aberdeen, where the professionals can help to identify the right equipment, indicate how much it should cost, and can look into grants or other sources of funding for purchasing it. And not only that, they can also provide occupational therapy assessments on-site too."