All Posts By

Lisa Rohlfing

September 20, 2016

Spotlight on the innovative WheelAble shower commode chair

WheelAble Travel Shower Commode Chair

The WheelAble travel shower commode chair is an innovative shower commode chair from Clarke Healthcare designed with your comfort and convenience in mind! While there are other shower commode chairs that fold, no other model folds as neatly and compactly. The WheelAble travel shower commode chair is specifically designed to allow you to take your vital showering equipment along with you on your travels.

wheelable shower commode chair

WheelAble folded

The WheelAble has some unique design features that make it more user friendly than many shower commode chairs. First, the overall width is only 19 inches, so you can get through bathroom doors with ease. It is built with an under-seat height of 18.5 inches, which allows it to slide over any commode. The whole structure is made of corrosion-proof molded plastic, with stainless steel fittings, so it’s easy to maintain, and rust free. The commode seat is padded, and the backrest is contoured for comfort. Armrests raise up and drop down flat for easy transfers.

 

 

Perhaps the neatest feature is the way it folds. Release the latches, and the backrest and seat fold forward and down, then the whole unit folds inward, like a wheelchair would, into a compact 26.13” X 8.97 “ X 21” space. We think that would be pretty handy for storage, don’t you? Folded and stowed, it will really save valuable bathroom space!

wheelable travel shower -commode chair

Folded and in the carrying case

 

If travel plans are in your future, the lightweight WheelAble is the perfect travelling companion.

It’s lightweight design weighs only 25.5 lbs. – making travelling a breeze. Order the optional custom carrying case and take it along on your next adventure! The case has casters on the bottom, so you can discreetly roll the WheelAble along like a rolling suitcase. For complete specifications and to see the product brochure visit the WheelAble at SpinLife.com

September 13, 2016

Looking for smooth riding travel scooters? Check out the Buzzaround XLS

Smooth riding travel scooter Buzzaround XLS

Travel  scooters have been around a while.

Their small size and easy to handle weight makes them practical help-mates for nearly anyone with mobility issues. Not only are they transportable, travel scooters are really quite sporty as well. No wonder they are so popular!

If there is ever a complaint about travel scooters, it usually relates to the “stiff” or “jarring” quality to the ride.

After all, they have solid frames, with no shock absorbers (designed to keep the weight down) and solid tires with no “bounce” (no worries about flat tires). The combination adds up to a very stiff ride indeed!

The good news is that Golden Technologies responded to that issue when they designed the new Buzzaround XLS travel scooters! Available in both three and four wheel models, I’d like to highlight some of the features for you.

smooth riding travel scooters

Buzzaround XLS 4-wheel travel scooter

Most standard travel scooters are +- 37” in length. The Buzzaround XLS scooters are longer, but still compact.  The Buzzaround XLS 4-wheel is 41.5 “ long, and the three wheel version is 42.5” long, so they feel roomier and less cramped. The padded seat swivels, folds forward for transport, and can be set as high as 23” from the ground, which is great for taller riders, or those folks who have trouble getting up off of a low seat. The seat is available in the standard 17” width, or it can be upgraded to a 20” width for extra room. A Delta Tiller is standard equipment on the Buzzaround XLS, which gives you a larger area to grip and makes driving possible with just one hand. This feature is especially helpful for anyone who may have issues with arthritis, neuropathy or carpal tunnel syndrome. The charging port is located up on the tiller- no need to crawl around on your knees searching for the plug!

Standard batteries are rated to travel up to 8 miles on a charge, and the top speed is 4 MPH. 3”of ground clearance makes for secure travel over somewhat uneven surfaces, like grassy lawns or smooth paths. There’s an LED headlamp to light your way after dark, and lots of optional accessories designed for your convenience.

Of course, the biggest feature is the suspension. Front and rear “Comfort-Spring” suspension is standard on the XLS. Each wheel is attached to the frame on springs, creating a shock-absorbing effect, much like the shock absorbers on your automobile.

This spring suspension smooths out the bumps of every day travel, like cracks in the sidewalk, thresholds at doorways, the ups and downs of everyday life!

This is not only helpful outdoors, however. The suspension also lessens the degree to which your body “rocks” back and forth when starting and stopping, even as you just move about in your home. Riders with back and neck issues will really appreciate the smoother ride-quality.

Check out the Buzzaround XLS for yourself by visiting our website at SpinLife.com

August 22, 2016

Knee Replacement fundamentals: an insiders perspective

Doctor examining patient before knee replacement

Facing Total Knee Replacement surgery? Just last year it was my turn to be the patient.

I have always been an active person. I enjoy the outdoors, swimming, working out at the gym. Together with my husband, I have travelled all over the country on a Harley-Davidson motorcycle. My right knee had deteriorated steadily for 25 years, to the point that it would no longer function. Because I was only 30 when it began to give me trouble, the Doctors advised me to postpone Total Knee Replacement surgery until I could no longer stand the pain. In 2015, I decided the time had come to get it fixed.

The next few months were interesting. After 15 years as a Medical Equipment Specialist, working with Physicians and their patients to supply the equipment they will need during their post-op rehabilitation, it was my turn at bat.  My name at the top of the prescription came as a bit of a shock. This was going to be my Total Knee Replacement.

I am thankful that I did have the background to know what to expect before and after surgery. After all, I had reviewed this with clients many times. All that information proved itself true, and I can summarize the best of the advice right here:

Before Total Knee Replacement

Do whatever you can to get in/stay in shape. The better physical condition you are in, the easier your recovery will be. I found the elliptical machine at the gym didn’t bother my knee too much, and it was good cardio. I did lots of upper-body work as well to help strengthen my arms and shoulders. If you need to lose weight, try to do so before the surgery as well.

Get the equipment you need before the operation. You will need these thing before your discharge, and I came home the next morning! Don’t think you will go shopping for them when you get out, have them ready. You will need the walker in the hospital, so bring it with you. Your individual physician may have his or her own preferred list, but at the very least, you will need the following:

A walker with wheels. I ordered one with a seat on it as well, so I could sit down if I needed to. That was a big help once I was able to go out to the store, etc.

Rolling Walker Rollator by Drive Medical

This walker and I became very good friends!

Several large Ice bags, or even better, purchase or rent a portable cold therapy machine. They reduce pain and inflammation and aid in a quicker recovery. And I used the portable cold therapy machine EVERY day for at least 3 months.

My doctor prescribed a CPM machine (Continuous passive motion) those units keep the knee joint moving continually so that the new joint remains mobile. That was rented for about 4 weeks only, and my insurance covered the rental fees.

Bath and Shower Seat with backrest

A shower seat, and hand held shower sprayer. Definitely. I felt dizzy for a while after surgery, so it’s a safety thing. Something about the steamy heat of a shower makes me a little woozy anyway, and you do not want to take any chance of falling!

A raised toilet seat. (If your toilet seat is high already you may not need this) The object is to make it easier for you to get up.


 Chrome hand held shower spray by Drive Medical Designs

 Folding Pedal Exerciser

 

 

 

 

After Total Knee Replacement

Take your pain meds as prescribed. Particularly at the beginning keep ahead of the pain and just take it. (I do not like taking pills of any kind either, but honestly, just take it) Take it before you do your Physical Therapy and you will be able to work harder. I took pain meds every day for 6 weeks.

You have to do your Physical Therapist even though it hurts like crazy. Push yourself. Then ice and rest. It gets easier, I promise.

Get back to your regular exercise routine as soon as you can. Stationary bikes are great for new knees.

Honestly, I felt better every day after surgery. I suffered a few setbacks over the months, mostly when I backed off of the stretching and exercises I was supposed to continue doing. It was one full year before I felt completely recovered, and now I am so glad it’s behind me and my surgery was a success.

Last month my family surprised me with a beach vacation on my birthday. I took long, pain-free walks every day on the beach. What a blessing that was, and I am so grateful for my new knee!

 

August 16, 2016

Diagnosis Dementia: Simple Survival Secrets for Caregivers

The dementia epidemic is worldwide

They refer to it as the Dementia Epidemic. As many as 5.2 million people in America are living with this disease.

Dementia is an umbrella term describing a variety conditions that develop when nerve cells in the brain die or no longer function normally. The damages to these nerve cells cause changes in one’s memory, behavior and ability to think clearly.

When your loved one has a diagnosis of dementia, it brings with it a whole different dimension in caregiving. It brings the dementia epidemic home. Today I’d like to share a few practical strategies to help cope with a multi-faceted issue I experienced first hand.  Emotional, social and psychological implications we’ll discuss in future installments.

My vibrant, independent Mother was slipping. It started subtly enough, with forgotten appointments, missing keys, expired milk in the fridge.

These things happen, right? Then, past-due notices on the bills. What bills? She didn’t remember any bills. Unexplained scratches and dents on her car and finally, friends calling to report she was seen driving down a one-way street…the wrong way. What next!?

A referral to a wonderful, kind neurologist confirmed her diagnosis: Dementia. Mom’s neurologist and I would become close partners in her care over the years. There were a few medications available at the time, and we tried them all without much success. Coping with- not curing- the disease was the only path available. Coping with as much grace as possible was our shared goal.

Diagnosis dementia

In the early stages, dealing with memory loss requires making adjustments to the patient’s environment. It’s not enough to encourage the patient to remember, you must help them remember. Do your best to set them up for success. Here are a few suggestions I found helpful:

A bold calendar in a prominent place, marking appointments and important dates on the calendar. I would call Mother every morning and have her look at the calendar, review what was on for that day to help keep her on track.

Purchase a pill container with days and times, and you or another responsible caregiver will need to fill it, then monitor that the patient is being compliant. Special programmable pill containers are available to prevent overdosing.

A basket placed by the front door gave her a place to put her mail each day (until I could go through it) and kept the bills from being discarded.

Along with the memory loss, Mothers’ balance and coordination were affected. We noticed that in order to steady herself she had to hold on to the furniture and walls as she moved about the house. After several falls resulted in trips to the ER, we purchased a rolling walker which she kept constantly by her side. That rollator gave her self-confidence a real boost, and allowed her to continue to be mobile for years to come.

rolling walkers help with balance and coordination

Mom wanted to stay in her own home at all costs. Fortunately, it was an accessible rancher that she had built for my Dad when he became wheelchair bound, so the accessibility assets were already in place. If that’s not the case for you, a safety audit will help you identify potentially dangerous hazards that may need to be addressed.

Bathroom safety is a big issue. Read our blog post Four easy steps to a safer bathroom for some great suggestions.

 

Even though I lived nearby, was my Mother safe alone? Sometimes she couldn’t remember basic things- like using the television remote, or dialing the phone. Sometimes she would invite complete strangers inside her home- just because they came to her door. This scared me to death! What would she do in an emergency? emergency dialing telephone system with emergency pendant

We had to insist, but eventually we added an emergency dialing phone system. It came with a pendant Mom could wear even in bed or while showering, just in case. It was set up to dial several personal numbers (the gal next door and me, of course) as well as 911 for fire and police. Knowing she had that phone and pendant gave us real peace of mind.

 

Dementia is a progressive disease, and learning to manage your loved one’s care will be a work in progress…stay tuned for further articles on coping with dementia, and God Bless!

 

July 12, 2016

Four easy steps to a safer bathroom

The statistics are true, one-third of all accidents take place inside the home, and most of those occur in the bathroom. Take these four easy steps to a safer bathroom.

Four ways to a safer bathroom

Popular Bath Safety Options

The combination of wet, soapy surfaces, lots of obstacles and reduced visibility all add up to an environment that is not very user-friendly at all! Let’s take the opportunity to discuss the four easy steps to a safer bathroom.

The typical bathroom has a cold, hard tile floor so the first thing we do is place lightweight scatter rugs all around the room to keep our feet warm and comfy.

The problem with this is that scatter rugs are a real trip hazard! Catch your foot on the edge of the rug and down you go, right on the hard tile floor. Take up those rugs, and make it a policy to wear slippers that have a grip-type sole in the bathroom. Use a bathmat only as you exit the tub or shower, and make sure it has a non-skid backing as well.

Soap makes everything slick, and if you are still using bar soap, consider the number of times that soap slips out of your hand while bathing. There you are, bending over double to try and regain control over that scoundrel! Eliminate that risk by switching to liquid soap, preferably in a pump-style bottle. Just pump some on your washcloth and make your bath a whole lot safer. Use a rubber bath mat with strong suction cup grips to help keep your footing in the tub or shower, too.

Four easy steps to a safer bathroom

Rubber bathmat with suction cups

Four Easy Steps to a Safer Bathroom

Grab Bar

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