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Learn and Grow

August 18, 2016

Baby Boomers revisited: The truth about Zoomers

Senior couple having a coffee in a bar. taking selfie with smart phone

 

If you are one of the baby boomers – or have a loved one who is – you are not alone, that’s for sure.

Post WWII, 77.3 million Baby boomers, as coined by the New York Post back in the day, were born between 1946 and 1964. In 2016, that places the baby boomer generation between the ages of 52 and 70. Historically, in previous generations, this meant slowing down and retiring. However, for this generation, retiring may not mean slowing down, but simply changing directions! Yes, Boomers are the new Zoomers.

As sociologists have researched, the trait that makes Baby Boomers different than previous generations is that they’ve maintained an indomitable spirit of growth. This traces back to their coming of age in the 1960s, where personal growth became a cultural norm. That same spirit remains with them today, regardless of their age.

From civil rights to physical fitness, Baby Boomers continue to push the envelope, embracing change and growth.

In 2016, when we look at the demographics of which age groups are traveling the most, adopting technology at lightning-fast rates, and are pursuing late-in-life courtships in growing numbers, Boomers and Zoomers top the charts. You might say, you’re more likely to find Boomers texting on their smart phone than having a conversation on a porch swing.

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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!

 

August 4, 2016

Accessibility and America’s National Parks: Top 5 Picks

Half dome reflection in yosemite national park is accessible

As the U.S. National Park Service celebrates its 100th anniversary, there’s never been a better time for those who use mobility products to visit and enjoy our national parks.

Even more, now in the 26th year of the ADA, access to our national parks is more prevalent than ever. From the stunning granite-lined valley of Yosemite National Park to the poignant history of the Statue of Liberty, our national parks provide breathtaking access for all. And, importantly, don’t forget your Access Pass!

No matter if you choose one of these terrific national parks or any other of the 58 national parks, don’t forget to check in at the Visitors Center and fill out the simple form to receive a National Park Access Pass. The Access Pass allows anyone with a permanent disability to receive free admission to any of the national parks.

 

So, what are our top five picks? Well, that’s a tough one, as there’s so many stunning national parks from coast to coast. However, here are five that particularly rise above others when it comes to placing those with mobility needs in the middle of our nation’s best.

 

Yosemite National Park

Based in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, Yosemite was the inspiration of naturalist John Muir, a significant figure in the founding of our national parks. Among the absolute most stunning accessible nature paths and destinations in the country is Yosemite’s Mirror Lake. In the shadow of Half Dome, Mirror Lake is a seasonal lake on Tenaya Creek, A one‐mile road leads to the lake and is easy to access due to its paved surface. At its culmination is a breathtaking mountain lake scattered with granite boulders.

 

Mammoth Cave National Park

An extraordinary national treasure based in Kentucky, Mammoth Cave National Park is the world’s longest known cave system at over 400 miles. Although Mammoth Cave has been off limits to mobility users for over a decade, this summer (2016) has ushered in all new accessibility, allowing a mind-blowing view of the cave for all. What’s more, Mammoth Cave features a beautiful, accessible boardwalk to the Sand Cave opening, which offers a fantastic view of the surrounding nature.Mammoth cave is an accessible national parks

 

Yellowstone National Park

Spanning 3,500 square miles between Montana and Idaho, Yellowstone is best known for its geysers. For those using mobility products, there’s an extraordinary ADA 1.5-mile path leading to the Morning Glory Hot Springs. The Hot Springs are named after the Morning Glory flower, both of which feature stunning colors. It’s among nature’s rarest sights.

Yellowstone National Parks is wheelchair accessible

Yellowstone National Park

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August 2, 2016

Product Spotlight: The All New Go-Chair

Choosing between a scooter and a power wheelchair can be a difficult decision for some people that are in need of power mobility.

In my years as a product specialist I’ve heard so many people say that they don’t want a power wheelchair because they don’t want to look sick!  If you think scooters look sporty, but powerchairs look medical, just have a look at the all new Go-Chair by Pride Mobility. A member of the Go-Go series of power mobility products, the new Go-Chair is sporty as can be!

Life brings changes and challenges.  Don’t let “what someone else thinks” dictate what will work for you and make your quality of life better. I say you should get what will be comfortable, convenient and meets your needs.

A power wheelchair will pull right up to a desk or table. There is no need to transfer to another chair for dinner or surfing the web.  Do you live in a small place where it would be difficult to maneuver a scooter?  Power wheelchairs, especially the portable ones, turn in a very small space and go get through most doors without difficulty. Do you have trouble with balance? It is easier to sit down on a power wheelchair seat than to get on and off of a scooter platform.

New Go Chair by Pride

Are you convinced yet? Take a look at the ALL NEW GO CHAIR from Pride Mobility.   This portable chair is easy to take with you to the mall, the park or the zoo!  It disassembles into 6 pieces.  The heaviest piece is only 36 lbs!  That rivals most travel scooters on the market.

 

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July 29, 2016

How to choose between a 3 or 4-wheel scooter? Ask Mark!

Victory 4 wheel scooter

 How to choose between a 3 or 4-wheel scooter? Let’s ask Mark….

I’m currently shopping for a scooter and I see that many models come in either 3 or 4-wheel versions. Can you explain the difference and why I might choose one over the other? Thank you in advance. – Gerry

Gerry, your question is the most common consumer question in the scooter market. As you suggest, it is difficult to decide between 3- or 4-wheel options, especially when it’s the same model, simply available in either configuration. So, let’s look at why the two configurations are offered and the benefits of each.

Firstly, it’s important to note that both 3- and 4-wheel scooters go through the same safety testing process. Therefore, no matter which configuration you choose they are thoroughly tested from a safety standpoint. Each style, however has its strengths.

Let’s start with the benefits of a 3-wheel scooter. Three-wheel scooters feature two wheels in the rear and one in the front, like a tricycle. Because 3-wheel scooters feature a narrow front end with a single front wheel, they offer optimal maneuverability. Put simply, they turn in smaller spaces. Furthermore, because of the compact front end, 3-wheel scooters are easier to transport. They take up less space and are a little lighter than 4-wheel scooters.

The downside of a three wheel scooter is stability. If you are traveling at speed, and cut the front wheel sharply to the right or left, centrifugal force will turn you right over. Likewise, when travelling up or down a steep incline or hill, you must use real caution to keep from turning a three wheel scooter over. You have to use good scooter driving skills at all times.

Some three wheel scooters offer extended foot boards, such as the Golden Literider 3-Wheel, allowing you to stretch your legs out straight on both sides of the tiller for comfort.

Golden LiteRider Three Wheel

Golden LiteRider Three Wheel

 

4-wheel scooters offer a larger overall footprint, which can enhance outdoor performance. 4-wheel scooters feature two wheels on the rear and two on the front, similar to a car. Due to the wide front end, 4-wheel scooters offer wider foot room. Often 4-wheel scooters allow two leg positions – your legs straight down or your legs stretch forward a bit resting against the wheel-wells.. When it comes to taller users the extra foot room of a 4-wheel scooter can be beneficial, but you are resting your feet up on the front fenders as you travel. Some people find that position uncomfortable over time.

Great Outdoor Performance

Afikim C-4 Great Outdoor Performance

Buzzaround 3-Wheel Travel Scooter by Golden

Golden Buzzaround 3-Wheel Travel Scooter for great maneuverability

Once you understand the benefits of each scooter configuration, you may still be wondering how to choose which is best for you? There are three primary considerations: comfort, maneuverability, and portability. If you are seeking optimal maneuverability and transportability, a 3-wheel scooter such as the Golden Buzzaround 3-Wheel may best meet your needs. If you’re a taller individual wishing to use the scooter outdoors, and have means to transport it via a lift, a 4-wheel scooter may suit you best. Check out the outdoor performance of the new Afiscooter C-4 for great outdoor features.

 

When it comes to selecting a scooter, the primary features and performance capabilities are of course vital considerations. Understanding which scooter to choose – 3- or 4-wheel – is ultimately your decision to make. Fortunately, by using the aforementioned pros of each, you can decide which is best for your life style. Most importantly, though, no matter if 3- or 4-wheel works best for you, your mobility will be optimized. Enjoy!

 

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