Stretching and exercise are great ways to relieve pressure issues that come with prolonged sitting. Here are a couple of easy stretches that can be done, every day and without drawing undue attention to the exercise. Each technique can be done independently or with assistance; depending on your strength and balance. Be sure you are in a wheelchair of adequate weight when doing these stretches- for safety’s sake
Leaning forward and from side to side: Leaning from side to side relieves pressure over one buttock at a time. Lock your wheels, hold onto the other armrest and lean your body to the opposite side, taking the weight off one buttock at a time. Repeat with the opposite side. Lean forward with both hands to relieve pressure from your bottom. You don’t need to feel “obvious” when doing this- we all shift around and change positions continuously. Think of the forward lean as just some time “fixing” your shoe laces, feet or the hem of your pants to achieve your pressure relief
Crossing your legs: These techniques are easy to do and are less obvious in public places to relieve pressure. You can cross one leg over the other and lean back to one side, holding your knee in position while lifting weight off of one buttock. Or, you can cross your leg by putting on ankle over the other knee and lean forward lifting weight off your bottom.
Being aware of relieving pressure and shifting your weight often is important for wheelchair users! Prolonged periods of sitting are difficult for the human body to accept, so any method you are able to utilize is going to be a positive thing. Whether leaning against tables, crossing your legs or leaning forward, periodic stretches and will help you stay healthy.
Looking for the ultimate gift?As we head into the holiday season, many wonder what to get the parent or grandparent who has it all.
If your family is like many of ours, we have aging relatives who could benefit from a mobility device – whether that’s a lift chair, scooter or portable power chair – but have been reluctant to pursue one on his or her own. Why not, then, consider giving your loved one the ultimate gift: the gift of mobility.
We surprised a grandfather in our family with the gift of mobility last year, and it’s turned out to be quite the gift. Like many as he aged, he saw slowing down as part of the process. He slowly spent more and more time in the house rather than outdoors doing what he loved. As family members, we brought up the topic of scooters in recent years, but he was resistant, not realizing the expanded mobility it would bring back to his life. As a result, on Christmas last year, we rolled in a red travel scooter with a red bow. To our joy, he took to it immediately, touched that we’d gotten him a true gift. See, as he drove the scooter up and down the block for the first time, he shared with us all of his thoughts of what he could do with his enhanced mobility.
And, his scooter has proved the ultimate gift. Over the past year he’s not just out-n-about more, but he went on a cruise and took his grandchildren to Disneyland. The scooter has been a gift to his wife and family, as well, in those ways.
This holiday season, as you think of what to get you loved one who has it all, think about what mobility needs he or she may have. After all, sometimes the gift of mobility is the ultimate gift.
“What walks on four legs in the morning, two legs in the afternoon, and three legs in the evening?”
According to Greek Mythology, this is the classic riddle delivered by the Sphinx. According to the myth, if any person who was asked this riddle could not answer, they were thrown down against the rocks and killed by the Sphinx. When this riddle was posed to Oedipus Rex, he considered his words carefully and declared the answer in one word; Man.
His reasoning was as a baby, a human goes about on all fours (“four legs in the morning” – morning being childhood). Then he learns to walk, which he does well into adulthood (“two legs in the afternoon” – afternoon being adulthood). Finally, advanced age requires him to use a cane to support himself (“three legs in the evening” – evening being old age).
It is the evening I wish to discuss in this post.
It is so important to avoid falls. Statistically 1 in 4 aging adults will be injured in a fall this year. Falls prevention is such a hot topic that the federal government NCOA has devoted a whole program strictly centered on fall prevention.
As we age, our once strong bodies sometimes need additional support to continue to be active. Using canes, walkers or crutches becomes commonplace as balance or coordination skills become affected. Making certain our home environments are adapted to our new skill level is important. Here are 5 easy to accomplish tips to ensure your environment helps you avoid falls.
- First thing to remember is to remove unnecessary clutter in your home. Removing unnecessary clutter from walkways will help prevent unwanted tripping over objects that you meant to throw away years ago. Yes we all have them! Clear the pathways of stacks of books and magazines, extra furniture and scatter rugs.
- Next thing is to install grab bars in and around your bathing areas. Nothing feels quite like a hot bath after a long day, so ensure you can traverse these wet, slick areas by installing grab bars everywhere you may need a handhold. Apply non-slip appliques in the bottom of your tub for extra traction, or use a rubberized bath mat with suction cups.
- Make certain you can see objects around you properly to avoid falls. Knowing where things are supposed to be in your home is not enough. Be certain you have the proper lighting in your home to see clearly so obstacles won’t become obstacles to you! Add nightlights that come on automatically as night falls- so you won’t!
- Have dual handrails installed on stairs- not just on one side, but on both. While climbing stairs we can become fatigued more quickly than walking
on a level plane. Dual handrails will help to steady your gait and provide additional support for the body. Avoid falls as you avoid carrying things up and down the stairs as much as you possibly can. Countless falls happen every year as people negotiate the stairs with hands full.
- Finally, review your medications side effects. If a medicine tells you plainly on the bottle, “May cause dizziness”, avoid physical activity for a couple of hours after you take that medication. Instead, pick up a book or read your favorite blog to enhance your mind! Always use your walker or cane if you do find that your medication is causing dizziness issues, and do speak to your doctor about any side effects you are experiencing. Your doctor certainly doesn’t want to increase your fall risk either!
What happened to Oedipus? Once he answered the riddle of the Sphinx he was free to pass and enjoy life. All of us here at SpinLife wish the same for you, and hope that using these 5 simple tips will prevent a fall that could do serious damage to your “Oedipus Rex!”
When it comes to freedom, many find it on the open road, behind the wheel of one’s favorite car.
Physical disability doesn’t change that, where from adaptive operation to transporting a mobility product, hitting the open road is wonderfully possible – with the right enabled driving equipment, that is.
Lets talk about enabled driving.
You may have heard the term, ”hand controls.” However, a more apt term is, ”vehicle controls,” where a vast array of enabled driving technologies allow vehicle operation among a wide range of physical needs. For example, pedal extensions allow those of a short stature to drive, moving the pedals closer. Hand controls allow those without the use of their legs to drive using their arms, where a lever system allows pedal operation. And, electronic controls can go as far as eliminating use of the pedals and steering wheel altogether, replacing it with a joystick-type control for those with very limited upper-body use and strength. Of course, there are a lot of variations in-between, where adaptive solutions are seemingly limitless.
When it comes time to get around town – big city or small – when using a mobility product, it’s often the ”getting around” part that’s difficult for those who don’t drive. After all, if you use a wheelchair or scooter, calling a cab isn’t that simple. So, from old standbys to cutting-edge transit, what are the current accessible transportation options available?
Fixed-Route Public Transit
Although not the hippest mode of transportation, fixed-route public buses and trains still provide reliable accessible transportation. Since the 1980s, and ultimately the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), all are required to be accessible. This means buses have lifts (or ramps) and trains and their stations are accessible. What’s more, routine riders with disabilities and seniors can get discount cards, making public transit phenomenally affordable. Yes, public transit has historically had service issues, such as a bus with a broken lift or a train station with an out-of-order elevator. However, overall in today’s age, public transit proves a remarkably reliable and affordable way to get around town.
Began in the 1970s in larger cities and solidified by the ADA, paratransit is federally-mandated transportation for those with disabilities nationwide. Typically run at the county level, paratransit are the smaller, accessible vans you’ll see in addition to fixed-route buses. Paratransit is an on-demand service that provides door-to-door service (though some services may limit the types of occasions and times they’re used – for example, medical appointments, but not social engagements). Most, however, are a very flexible and extremely convenient way to get around town. To use paratransit, you must register, then rides cost on average $2.50 per one-way trip. Some paratransits require 24-hour notice to book a ride, while others are on call. Each paratransit system is a little different in policies, so check with your local paratransit for its protocols.