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June 27, 2016

Need Affordable Home Accessibility? Let’s ask Mark

Six simple suggestions on affordable home accessibility from blogger Mark E. Smith.

affordable home accessibility

Dear Mark,

Unfortunately, it’s been determined that my mother can no longer live alone and must use a wheelchair full time. My wife and are moving her into our home on very short notice, and don’t have a lot of means to make our home accessible. One, what are the top aspects and equipment we should look at to make our home accessible. Two, how can it be done very economically? Thanks for your help. –Jim

Jim,

I’m sorry to hear about your mother, and it’s touching that you and your wife are there in this time of need. These transitions aren’t easy for anyone. However, as you suggest, having the right level of accessibility in vital areas of your home can make activities of daily living safer and easier for everyone in your family. And, with so many affordable products, you don’t have to break the bank in doing so.

Access

affordable home accessibility

Portable ramps come in many sizes

I like to start at the front door. Typically, if a home has three steps or less at the entry, a portable ramp  is a very economical access solution. Portable ramps commonly come in lengths from 2’ to 8’ (the higher the porch or entry, the longer the ramp needed), and are easily moved or permanently installed. The non-skid coatings and side lips on portable ramps likewise increase safety. Portable ramps also give you flexibility to take the ramp to a relative’s house or wherever access is needed. Lastly, portable ramps are extremely affordable, so they serve as a great immediate, inexpensive access solution.

Bath Safety Products

The bathroom can possess among the most difficulties for those with strength, balance, and coordination issues, so ensuring safety is vital. Whether you have a bathtub or a shower, a transfer bench is a must. A transfer bench – most of which are height adjustable – allows one to transfer from a wheelchair to a stable, seated surface in a tub or shower. Most transfer benches include a backrest and grab bar for even more safety. When not needed by other family members, the transfer bench is easily removed and set aside. Again, transfer benches are extremely inexpensive.

home accessibility

Transfer Bench

 

Also, while considering bathing, look at installing a hand-held shower nozzle – it’s a very easy, inexpensive do-it-yourself project that increases safety and independence.

The commode is another area of utmost safety and independence needs. If one can transfer to a standard toilet seat, a toilet safety frame (arm-height grab bars that are on each side of the toilet), is a great solution. Additionally, if one needs a taller transfer surface, a raised toilet seat  is beneficial, placing the toilet seat at wheelchair height, with some including side grab bars, as well. Both alternatives clamp or bolt onto the commode, at very little cost for added safety.

From the bathtub to the commode, additional grab bars can prove vital when strategically placed. While, traditional bolt-on, wall-mounted grab bars prove the ultimate in strength, several other non-permanent grab bar solutions can prove equally effective. For the bathtub, clamp-on grab bars attach to the outer edge, adding a handhold for entering and exiting. For shower interiors or on the wall next to the commode, suction cup grab bars are an immediate solution with no mechanical installation required.

affordable home accessibility

Suction Cup Grab Bar

Convenient, Affordable Home Accessibility

When we think of home accessibility for a loved one, it can seem like a daunting, costly endeavor. However, as noted here, if one’s needs are for fundamental home access and safety, a few strategic products can create an accessible, safer home that fosters independence, for less money than one may expect.

 

 

June 21, 2016

Scooters you’ll love-the ZooMe Flex and the King Cobra PGV

Today’s Product Spotlight is a little different…we’ve got two great new scooters here at Spinlife that are about as different as night and day (David and Goliath might be a better comparison)…the new ZooMe Flex, and the awesome King Cobra PGV.

Writing about two products in the same article is a bit tricky, but here goes…the new ZooMe Flex, and the awesome King Cobra PGV.

The truth is, both of these products make perfect sense- even together. If you are faced with mobility issues, you have probably realized that there is no single solution to your desire to go about the business of living independently.

Many people compromise, and decide to use one small to mid-sized scooter to suit most of their needs most of the time. Going for the happy medium just means that you live within the performance limitations of the scooter that you choose.

Spinlife is excited to present two brand new scooters from Drive Medical, representing  both ends of the performance spectrum.

The ZooMe Flex 4 wheel Folding Travel Scooter is perfect for travel, shopping, and ultra-convenient to transport without needing to use a lift. The ZooMe Flex uses ultra-lightweight lithium batteries, and will travel up to 13 miles on a charge. It has an easy to steer Delta style tiller that adjusts for a good fit, and anti tip wheels on the back for safety. Just fold it up, load it and go! The entire scooter weighs in at just 53.6 lbs without the 5 lb battery pack, and is rated to carry up to 275 lbs.

Zoome Folding Scooter

ZooMe Flex Scooter folded for transport

ZooMe Flex Scooter

ZooMe Flex Scooter

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June 17, 2016

The Truest Meaning of Father’s Day

On this Father’s Day,  I think back 19 years. I had all of the trepidation of an expectant father, plus some.

What lessons would I teach my child? Would I be able to provide my child everything needed and deserved? And, would I be able to physically care for my child given the fact that I had severe cerebral palsy, using a power wheelchair? I was 27 and doing well in life, but are fathers ever really prepared for our first child, not knowing what to truly expect, especially with physical disability in the equation?

However, as the most fortunate of fathers have known, such trepidation and question are resolved in an instant. Moments after my daughter, Emily’s, birth, she was placed in my arms, my being the first to hold her. As my somewhat contorted arms cradled her on my lap in my wheelchair, Emily looked me straight in the eyes with the most reassuring look I’ve ever seen.

Sure, I know that newborns technically can’t see. However, the power of that first glance and my coinciding tears washed away any trepidation I had, albeit fatherly, disability-related or otherwise. That first lock of our eyes told me that Emily and I were in this life together, unconditionally. There was no room for trepidation, just love and understanding.

In the following weeks and months, that unique father-daughter bond proved itself in truly inexplicable ways. It’s as if Emily understood my situation. As with most babies, she fussed and squirmed whenever her mother or anyone changed her. Yet, when I lay her on the bed to change her – wheelchair height! – she was all smiles and still, allowing me to change her with one hand. Continue Reading

June 7, 2016

Pre-configured wheelchairs make ordering easy…or “Why buy a Bundle”?

Pre-configured wheelchairs are a fairly new concept in the world of wheels. Whether we are wheelchair users or providers of the equipment, the traditional approach taken is to configure the wheelchair to the user, and then configuring the seating (cushions, backrest) separately. Many times from two or even three different vendors.

Breezy Elegance Platinum has all the bells and whistles

Breezy Elegance Platinum has all the bells and whistles

So, maybe we should ask “Why buy a Bundle”?

Of course, when dealing with numerous manufacturers to compile a complete configuration, missteps do occur. Perhaps shipping timetables don’t coincide, or some small seemingly insignificant feature is overlooked. Things happen.

I guess it is a sign of the times, and it may actually  be a change for the better. A pre-configured wheelchair. After all, we are accustomed to “bundled pricing’ for just about everything these days!

Look at your Cable service- you may have TV, internet, and your home alarm system on the same monthly bill. Likewise your cell phone. You may have your cell phone, data plan and even your home phone service bundled together.

Bundling saves money, and adds convenience. Bundling also ensures that one feature is designed to work with the next feature seamlessly. So we can really think of a pre-configured wheelchair the same way. It’s a bundled package designed in such a way that all the pieces and parts work together, and ship together as one single package. Sounds like a great idea to me!

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June 2, 2016

Adaptive Sports: Get Out There!

At one time, wheelchair sports were about… well… wheelchairs. However, today, while you may require specialized equipment, adaptive sports are more about inclusion than wheelchairs.

Nowadays, while formal wheelchair-based sports competition remain, the recreational market is where most of us enjoy adaptive sports, whether it’s a hand-cycle to ride with our children or a tennis chair to hit the court with our spouse.  So, let’s look at what’s hot, from a pick-up B-ball game in the park to road racing.

Court Sports

Adaptive Sports, Court wheelchair

Hammer by Colours

Playing tennis while using a wheelchair is a fantastic sport – and workout. Whether you play against another wheeler or an able-bodied opponent, tennis is a remarkably equalizing sport. In fact, tennis is so adaptable to those using wheelchairs, there’s only one rule change: wheelers are allowed two bounces of the ball before the return. Other than the “two-bounce” rule, tennis is game-on for all on the court. What’s also great about tennis is that to start, you don’t need to invest in a court chair – simply grab a racket and ball, roll out onto a local court and see how you like it. Interestingly, among some of the top wheelchair tennis pros over the years have been those using power chairs, so tennis is open to a vast range of disabilities.

 

Basketball is another great pick-up game, whether shooting hoops with your kids in the drive way, joining a game in the park with friends from the neighborhood, or participating in an all-wheelchair league.  Grab a ball, find a hoop, and see if you’re the next “Chair Jordan!”

When it comes to getting more serious about playing tennis, basketball, or both, you have several wheelchair options. If only one sport is your passion, invest in a tennis- or basketball-specific chair. With a wheelchair designed for your sport, it will up your game and your fun. However, if you find you enjoy multiple court sports, invest in an “all-court” chair – it’s one chair designed to go from sport to sport remarkably well.

Adaptive Sports Handcycle, wheelchair cycle

Top End Excelerator XLT

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