All Posts By

Gary Colella

March 14, 2016

Would an Air Cushion Be Good For Me?

Air cushions come in many styles and designs, and there are several manufacturers that make them.

 

Vicair air cushionsAir cushions are designed to support the body’s sitting surface entirely on air.

They are basically “balloons” of various sizes filled with air and the whole system is closed, so air floatation cushions typically will not bottom out the way gel cushions can, if they are adjusted properly. Adjuster air cushions without cover

The primary reason people choose air cushions is to help prevent or manage pressure sores, to relieve pressure or pain in the sitting area and for general overall comfort while in a seated position.

Some air cushions use interconnected air cells, some are all individually filled and sealed. They may have many rows of cells, some are one single air cell. Most are adjustable with a pump, or use a valve to release air to get to optimum setting.

Pressure is balanced by air shifting in or out to the surrounding balloons, spreading pressure evenly against your skin – constantly adjusting to your body movement. The air cells conform to help skin integrity the entire time you are sitting on the cushion.

The air cells allow you to be immersed into the cushion for maximum pressure relief, while decreasing friction and shear.

Air cushions are relatively lightweight, and are waterproof, so you can use them anywhere. Air cushions are primarily used in wheelchairs, but they are quite often used while driving. Lots of truck drivers who spend long periods sitting find the air cushion invaluable! They can be used in a boat, bathtub or on an office chair, since lightweight air cushions are easily transferred.

Air flotation absorbs the every day impact caused by riding over bumps.

Air cushions come in many forms. There are hybrid air/foam cushions that are foam in the front and air in the critical sitting area in the rear of the cushion for maximum pressure redistribution around the pelvis. The idea of a hybrid is the foam in the front provides stability for the legs and a firm stable place to use for doing transfers or re-positioning. Similar to the hybrid, some cushions use a foam base, with an air insert; this is great for those seeking more pelvic stability and positioning support, while still using the air cells in the critical pelvic area for maximum skin protection, pressure relief and comfort.

Continue Reading

March 2, 2016

Love your home, hate those steps?

A Stair lift is a wonderful solution for people with mobility issues who have trouble with steps. Stair lifts are designed to carry you up and down the stairs in a safe seated position, giving easy access to the second story or basement level of your home.

A stair lift can help keep your independence and more importantly allow you to stay in your home if  stairs become an obstacle. It is good to plan ahead and get a stair lift in place before getting up and down the stairs gets too difficult. Many serious injuries are caused each year by people falling down the steps, when a stair lift may have prevented the accident. The cost of a stair lift is far less expensive than moving or having a serious injury!

Stairlift L400_Lifestyle_10_20151029

Vantage Stairlift

The basic types of stair lifts that are sold today are:

straight or curved  / indoor or outdoor  / standard duty or  heavy duty  / battery powered or AC powered

Lets review each type individually. A straight stair lift is one that travels in a straight line up a flight of stairs uninterrupted by landings, bends or curves, and typically costs between $2000 and $5,000. Straight stair lifts can be installed by the home-owner or a contractor, but it is recommended that a professional stair lift contractor do the install, and some states require permits or licensed installers.

Curved stair lifts are much more elaborate and will go around corners, bends across landings and changes in direction. Curved lifts are also much more expensive typically running between $10,000 and $15,000 or more depending on the complexity of the installation. Curved stair lifts are complicated and precise installations and would have to be measured and installed by a professional.

Outdoor stair lifts can be straight or curved. Outdoor stair lifts are weatherproof and can be installed in any environment.

Heavy duty stair lifts can have weight capacities of up to 500 lbs, and heavy duty stair lifts are typically only for straight stairs only. The heavy duty models come with wider seats and heavier duty components.

You also have the option of choosing between an electric (AC) and a battery powered (DC) stair lift. Battery powered units charge automatically when they are not in use. They are quieter and smoother than electric lifts, and will work even if there’s a power failure in the home.

Stairlift Lifestyle_042_20151029

Harmar Straight Stair Lift

Stair lifts mount to the stairs, not to the wall, so they are very sturdy and can be installed in or outside almost any home or building, on wooden or cement stairs. Most stair lifts available today have folding seats, armrests and footplates that fold up out of the way to allow more room in the staircase and swivel seats that make getting on and off the lift easier. They also come with standard safety features like seatbelts, braking systems and footrest sensors that will stop the stairlift if there is an obstruction on the steps like clothing, a small pet, or if your foot would happen to slip off the footrest, the footrest safety would stop the lift. Push-button or rocker-switch controls are located on the armrest for easy operation, and “call / send” remote controls allow you to call or send the unit to the other end of the stairs.

Check out our selection of Stair lifts today!