Monthly Archives

May 2016

May 26, 2016

Great Accessible Getaways

Thinking about great accessible getaways? Travel season is here, and for those of us who use mobility products, choosing a travel destination isn’t just about where we wish to go, but… alas… how accessible is it?

Ideal destinations for travelers using mobility products have three vital traits: overall accessible architecture, readily-available accessible transportation, and… of course… great attractions. However, finding all three is tricky, so let’s look at a short list that may narrow down the process, with a varied selection of tastes in mind.

 

Las VegasGreat Accessible Getaways

Sin City is also Wheel City, ranking arguably as among the most accessible vacation destinations. From never having to wait for an accessible cab – they’re everywhere! – to an entirely accessible architectural infrastructure to the best accessible hotel rooms, Vegas knows mobility. A misnomer is that Las Vegas is for gambling and other indulgent activities. However, the Las Vegas Strip over the past decade has evolved into a bit of a family affair, full of shopping, restaurants, and amusement rides. With themed hotels, stage shows galore, and attractions for all ages, Las Vegas truly is a family destination. Gambler or not, if you’re looking for fun times, you’ll be on a roll in Vegas.

 

Vancouver, B.C. Great Accessible Getaway

Just over the Washington state border, Vancouver, British Columbia, is among the most beautiful and wheelchair accessible cities you’ll ever visit. Whether you’re looking for scenic coastal beauty or metropolitan flair, Vancouver, B.C., is a stunning city. There’s the Vancouver Aquarium, Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Science World – great attractions.  Then, nature abounds with both accessible coastal and wilderness parks. And, let us not overlook that Vancouver, B.C., has among the world’s finest cuisine, from seafood to virtually every ethnic delight imaginable.

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May 24, 2016

Gel Wheelchair Cushions and their benefits

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are a great option to improve your comfort and more!

As you probably know, if you spend longer than an hour or two in a wheelchair you should definitely be seated on a cushion of some sort to relieve pressure, and make you more comfortable. A cushion is a necessity, not a luxury!

JAY Union Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Jay Union Gel Wheelchair Cushion

Gel Wheelchair Cushions are intended to help relieve pressure on your ischia’s (sit- bones) coccyx (tail bone) and the back of the thighs. Relieving pressure in those areas is so important for two reasons:

Gel Wheelchair Cushions

Comfort Company M2

First, because pressure related skin break-down occurs from the inside out. The ischia’s and the coccyx are pressing against your muscles and tissue as you sit for prolonged periods. That pressure results in soreness and redness to begin with, and will progress to actual pressure sores if it’s not taken care of. Nobody wants that to happen, so take measures to relive the pressure using a Gel Wheelchair Cushion as prevention of pressure sores.

Next, Gel Wheelchair Cushions can help you with your posture. A common complaint among wheelchair users relates to back pain, leg pain and muscle strain after sitting up in a wheelchair for too long. A Gel Wheelchair Cushion can offer positioning benefits if you choose one with contoured construction, intended to help you sit straight and square in your chair. Some gel wheelchair cushions also offer advanced positioning options such as foam wedges or build-ups to allow you to tailor the contours to your own body shape. Continue Reading

May 19, 2016

A Tribute to the Men and Women of the U.S. Armed Forces

US Armed Forces

First observed in 1950, Armed Forces Day is held annually on the third weekend in May, this year being May 21, 2016. Armed Forces Day honors the dedicated men and woman currently serving in the five branches of the U.S. military.

Air Force Master Sgt., Israel Del Toro, is one of those enlisted in the military. However, his story isn’t a typical one. Del Toro was on deployment in Afghanistan when, on Dec. 4, 2005, an IED explosion severely burned more than 80 percent of his body.

“We crossed this creek and I feel this intense heat blast on my left side,” Del Toro told ESPN.

“People talk about your life flashing in front of you … for me, everything started just coming in waves,” said Del Toro, then a father to a 2-year-old son. “And when I got out of the truck I was on fire from head to toe. I collapsed ‘cause the flames overtook me.”

“I’m thinking I’m gonna die here,” he said.

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May 16, 2016

Product Spotlight: Liko power patient lifts by Hill-Rom

Power Patient Lifts can quite literally ease the strain of patient care in the home, yet you’d be surprised at how many caregivers don’t even know this product is readily available for homecare.

My experience in homecare began abruptly in 1987 when my completely healthy Father suffered a massive stroke from which he never recovered. To make matters worse, it affected his right side, and speech center. Both were completely gone, so while he survived the stroke itself, the long term effects were devastating. He was 70 years old and would never walk or speak again. My Mother, ever the devoted wife, was adamant that we would keep him home and care for him ourselves.

Power Patient Lift

Viking Patient Lift

Mom sold their house and had one built close to mine that would accommodate his needs and make it easier for me to help them. It was a ranch, had ramps, a roll in shower, hard surface flooring throughout to make it easier to get all the rolling stock around. I struggle to think of mobility equipment we did not have for Dad. Wheelchairs, lift chairs, commodes, rehab shower chairs, hospital beds, an hydraulic patient lift, you name it. Everything worked together pretty well, except that clunky hydraulic patient lift. I suspect that back in the day it was the only kind you could get.

It had a sling with loud clanking chains attached, and getting it under my 225 lb Dad was a challenge. If you did finally accomplish that, you had to go back around the other side of the lift and crank a handle back and forth to ratchet poor Dad up in the air one crank at a time. It was scary for him and scary for us. Even today Hydraulic lifts are the only type that Medicare pays for, and even then they rent them by the month. Unless you have two caregivers at all times, I don’t recommend them. Continue Reading

May 12, 2016

Thinking of Adding Power to your Ultralight Wheelchair? Let’s ask Mark

 

Dear SpinLife,

I’m a manual wheelchair user of 30 years (I bought my last rigid ultralight through you). I’ve been diagnosed with shoulder issues and need to reduce my pushing. I don’t need a power chair, but I am looking to get a new ultralight chair and I’m thinking a powered kit for it might be best. What do I need to know about adding power to an ultralight wheelchair before moving forward? Thanks, Lewis

Lewis,

Unfortunately, you’re not alone in your need to take strain off of your shoulders. While ultralight wheelchairs and related components such as wheels are very ergonomic now, they weren’t in the past, and so many long-time wheelers are in your situation. Fortunately, between increased ergonomics and “power assist” systems, you can remain very active in an ultralight manual wheelchair despite your shoulder strain.

When we speak of “power assist,” we’re referring to any motor-based system that’s added to a manual wheelchair to assist with propulsion. There are three technologies in the power-assist category: a power base controlled via joystick, power-assist push wheels, or a power-assist 5th wheel. Let’s look at these technologies available when adding power to an ultralight wheelchair :

 

Power-Assist Push Wheels 

adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Xtender Power Assist Wheels

Power Assist push wheels

Power-assist push wheels are typically self-contained with a hub motor and battery. They replace your standard wheels. Via sensors, when you give them a push, each wheel’s motor kicks in, giving your every push a boost. The advantage of power-assist push wheels is that they keep your manual wheelchair very stock and familiar in its operation – you’re just getting a boost with each push.

 

 

 

Power-Assist 5th Wheel

Adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Smart Drive MX2 Power Assist 5th Wheel

A power-assist 5th wheel is a small, all-in-one pack that quick-release mounts under your wheelchair. It contains a motor, battery and drive wheel. When you push your standard wheels, it triggers the 5th wheel to drive – your wheelchair then seems to glide on its own. Because the 5th wheel is so compact, it’s arguably the easiest power-assist system to transport.

 

 

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