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September 22, 2016

The Best (Unexpected) Fall Foliage Destinations

Fall Foliage

Have you ever noticed that those who have moved away from seasonal climates almost universally express missing one specific aspect: fall foliage, nature’s annual kaleidoscope.

Indeed, fall foliage in many of these United States is a spectacular site.

It most often begins in mid-September with a dash of color, a brushed yellow or rust leaf among the green. And, as the days pass, the temperatures cool, and as we head into pumpkin season and October, the trees change, leaf-by-leaf. Soon, once green hillsides are multi-colored canvases. Even the vision of a lone copper-colored leaf drifting down a stream is mesmerizing. So, where are among the best places to see such sites this fall, ones that are accessible by vehicle or mobility product?

Holmes County, Ohio

The iconic buckeye trees, along with maples and oaks, line the heart of Central Ohio’s Amish Country. Country roads lead to bend after bend of breathtaking bright red and yellow foliage, and the occasional horse-drawn carriage adds to the storybook charm.

Sonoma County, CaliforniaSonoma Valley fall foliage

When most think Sonoma, they think wine and vineyards. However, in October, Sonoma County, along Arnold Drive, continuing along the Russian River, is ablaze with maples and oaks.

 

 

Northern New Mexico

Most know of New Mexico’s deserts and rocky vistas, but the northern part of the state meets the base of the Rocky Mountains. In particular, there’s an 83-mile drive, called the Enchanted Circle, that runs from Taos to Red River. The drive is a mystical blanket of cottonwoods and aspen that shimmer gold in late September and October.

Skytop, PennsylvaniaFall Foliage Indian Ladder Falls

Located in the Poconos, Skytop Lodge and its surrounding wilderness is a beautiful fall resort getaway. In particular, the Indian Ladder Falls Trail is an approximately one-mile packed gravel trail, with slight grades, that’s accessible. The trail winds its way across a ridge in the Poconos, lined by stunning fall foliage, culminating at a spectacular waterfall. For day trips, there’s a public parking lot at the trail’s entrance. Skytop’s Indian Ladder Falls Trail is a wonderful way to get into the heart of fall foliage in the world-renowned Poconos, with full accessibility.

Brooklyn, New York

Fall foliage Central Park midtown skyline over lake in Manhattan New York City

Central Park Autumn and midtown skyline over lake in Manhattan New York City

 

Central Park in New York City is unquestionably a stunning, accessible fall foliage destination. However, a better kept secret is the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, 52 acres of paved pathways. Especially gorgeous are the reflective waters of the Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden. Look for peak foliage in mid to late October.

Bar Harbor, Maine

Fall foliage

Fall colors on the slopes of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park
coastal Maine

Of course, the Northeast and New England region abounds with the ultimate fall foliage.

Nevertheless, Bar Harbor, Maine, is a fabulous fall destination. Since the 1800s, fall foliage lovers have flocked to Bar Harbor, where from Acadia National Park to whale watching, it’s a nature lovers final destination. Best seen in mid October, the fall foliage adorning the historic mansions and hotels is postcard perfect.

Your Own BackyardFall foliage

Whether a day trip or weekend getaway, immersing oneself in fall foliage can prove soothing for the soul. Yet, let us not overlook our own backyards or tree-lined streets, where the kaleidoscope of colors reminds us not just of nature’s fall beauty, but our own – all radiant.

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

September 6, 2016

Employment Among the Disabled: Challenges and Progress

Employment and disabilities

Employment rates among the disabled community are a topic of much discussion.

When it comes to employment, socio-economics and those with disabilities, we often hear grim statistics. For example, 28.1% of those with disabilities live below the poverty line compared to 11.6% of the general population.

However, such statistics, while unfortunately true, don’t reflect other, brighter socio-economic dynamics of the lives of those with disabilities. Employment rates are one of them.

It’s often touted that those with disabilities have an astronomically high unemployment rate of around 70%. Yet, when we look at the actual statistics, the realities are both revealing and encouraging.

Cornell University performed a landmark study that gathered employment statistics on those with disabilities. In 2014, 34.6% of those with disabilities between the ages of 18 and 64 were employed. Further, an additional 9.2% of those with disabilities were actively seeking jobs. That data puts those with disabilities in the workforce at a remarkable 43.8%. That’s astonishingly better than the 70% unemployment rate that’s often inaccurately touted.

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September 2, 2016

Interacting with Grandchildren – The Gift of Time Together

Attention: Grandchildren: Grandparents Day is 9/11/16.

Hey, even though I’m not a grandmother, I sure look forward to the day I am!

From what I hear, being a grandparent is a lot easier and better than being the parent. I’ll take that, thank you.

It’s not just the spoiling aspect that makes grandparenting special, but the freedom to love the family member without the same set of expectations we had with our own kids. We can listen and not pass the same judgment on their plans.  We are not knitted up thinking they should be something specific when they grow up, just because it reflects well on us.

Also, I think of grandparents as the quintessential people to show children low-tech, high touch, interaction, which our society definitely needs.

It was my own grandma that led to my career with people over 65.   I loved being one of four kids and going to see her by myself as I was growing up.  She doted on me all weekend.  ME!  Thank you, Grandma!  She’d ask, “What do you want for lunch, Dearie?”  “Do you want to go shop for a new shirt?”  I remember she had these gingerbread windmill cookies in her jar that was never empty.  By contrast, my own mom hid chocolate in her sock drawer, to stop us kids from finding it.  Anyway, I put two and two together and decided “old people” were the best!

If you’re uncertain how to interact with grandchildren, especially nowadays with technology being their favorite thing, here are a few, unique ideas:

Go outside together. 

This simple activity is gold because nature is the antidote to technology and we want young people to be outside more.  So go for a walk, explore, and connect. You might capitalize on the fact that your pace is a bit slower than the rush that others of us seem to be in.  How lovely not to rush, to not push for the next thing on the itinerary?  Kids need this.  We all do.

Odyssey Scooter from Drive Medical

 

Talk to your grandkids about items you used and saw in your lifetime that have disappeared now.

My mom shared this idea with me years ago.  She got to thinking about all the things she grew up with that were no longer a part of modern day, and made of list to share with my daughter.  I thought my then 13-year-old would balk or roll her eyes.  Instead, they sat on the couch together and laughed and chatted for over an hour.  My mom talked about paper drapes and carbon paper and bus tokens and my daughter listened with complete attention.  I kept an ear out and learned about things I didn’t know, also, and got to wondering what would be gone in my lifetime.  Maybe a corded telephone and a vinyl record will be completely gone when my grandchild comes along.

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August 30, 2016

To Drive or not to Drive? Practical and important fundamentals

To drive or not to drive

Remember being 16 years old, just learning to drive and getting your driver’s license?

The feeling of freedom that came with that little card was immeasurable.  But as we enter our golden years, to drive or not to drive, is indeed the question.  I’m not certain Shakespeare would have phrased it that way, but when is it time to stop or limit driving time?  We all have a responsibility to others and ourselves not to endanger anyone by age-impaired driving and knowing when it’s time to hang up those keys.

Sadly, as we age, our bodies start to betray us.  What we could once do with relative ease and confidence slowly starts to fade, most of the time without our knowledge.  Several years ago I could see like a hawk and now all of a sudden, I need glasses and didn’t even realize my vision was slipping.  The same thing happens to the skills we need that are necessary for responsible, safe driving.

 “Check yourself before you wreck yourself.”  But how do you check yourself?

Look for signs of worsening driving habits such as driving at inappropriate speeds, either too fast or too slow.  Do you misinterpret road signs or traffic signals?  Do you get lost repeatedly even in familiar areas?  Do you fail to judge distances between vehicles correctly?  What about becoming angry or frustrated very easily?  If you answered yes to these questions, it may be time at the very least, to limit your driving time.

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