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July 21, 2016

Long-Distance Caregiving, a new American reality

For those of us not yet at retirement age, many of us face an increasingly-common family dynamic: long distance caregiving.

Statistically, as caregivers, not only are we not alone, but long distance caregiving is becoming more common every day. Currently, 19 million Americans are over the age of 75, and by 2020, that number climbs to 23 million. Furthermore, 66% of those who reach 65 have at least one chronic condition, and 20% have 5 or more chronic conditions.

With these realities, caregiving is part of more and more of our lives. However, here’s a secondary situation facing many: how can we provide caregiving from a distance? After all, aspects like careers or economics can prevent loved ones from moving close together.

Fortunately, ingenuity and technology are making caregiving possible from across town or across the country. Let’s look at ways we can effectively care for our loved ones over distance.

long distance caregiving

Caring for loved ones long distance is a new American reality

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July 20, 2016

Bringing the patient home: 5 things you should know following a hospital stay

SpinLife.com : Bringing home the patient

Bringing home the patient – 5 simple steps to take following a hospital stay.

I recently helped my mother bring my father home from the hospital after quintuple bypass surgery. This transition was an eye-opening experience. I realized how emotionally draining and stressful it can be for everyone involved. When it is time for the patient to come home, everyone is relieved. At the same time, though, they may be wondering…what happens next?

Whether the hospital stay is a long or short one, there are some basic steps I’ve learned that you and your family can take to make sure the transition is as stress-free as possible.

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July 14, 2016

How to Improve the Comfort of Your Ultralight Wheelchair

This reader wonders how to improve the comfort of your ultralight? Let’s ask Mark.

I have an ultralight wheelchair that I love. It fits perfectly and it meets all of my needs. My only wish is that it could be a little more comfortable. When I say comfortable, I don’t mean “medically,” but just from a normal comfort viewpoint. How do you improve the comfort of your ultralight?

Thanks in advance.

Donald

Adding comfort to your ultralight

TiLite Aero Z Series 2

Donald,

Indeed, when it comes to using an ultralight wheelchair, as you note, there really are two aspects to “comfort.” One is medical comfort, such as a pressure management cushion that prevents pressure sores, and the other is everyday comfort, such as aspects like posture and shock absorption.

In the realm of everyday comfort, there are two primary goals: one is to create a seated environment where you are just that, comfortable. Secondly, the goal with everyday comfort is to reduce fatigue on the body. Both of these obviously make using your ultralight wheelchair far more “comfortable,” and thereby functional.

Let’s look at three ways that you can optimize everyday comfort:

 

 

Add comfort to your ultralight wheelchair

Jay Union Cushion

Comfort In Your Cushion

While seat cushions have medical benefits, such as pressure management, they also play a vital role in everyday comfort. A thicker, softer cushion provides more shock absorption from lumps and bumps as you propel than a thinner, harder cushion. Additionally, a cushion can provide a contoured surface that helps with positioning and balance, reducing fatigue. In this way, looking at a seat cushion not just from a medical perspective but also from an everyday comfort perspective can help improve the comfort of your ultralight wheelchair.

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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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July 7, 2016

True Equal Access Means Full Social Inclusion

As we near the 26th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a question remains; just how inclusive have we truly become as a country towards those with disabilities? The answer is a complex one.

On the one hand, we’ve come remarkably far toward equal rights and acceptance of those with disabilities, from employment to transportation. However, if we are to be candid, we still have a long way to go when it comes to full social inclusion of those with disabilities.

Full Social Inclusion

Interestingly, as a country, the major barriers that remain toward full social inclusion are, in large part, physical. The fact is, while the ADA seeks to ensure architectural access for those who use power and manual wheelchairs, as well as scooters, access remains a barrier in both large and small cities alike. From county courthouses to mom-and-pop businesses, as little as a single step still prevents many who use mobility products from accessing businesses and services vital to full inclusion. From entering a county building to obtain a marriage license, to eating at a local restaurant, many public and private businesses still deny those with mobility needs equal access. The question then becomes, if we are to achieve full social inclusion of those who rely on mobility products, how can that occur without ensuring equal architectural access for all?

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