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June 14, 2016

Give Dad a Lift on Father’s Day! Ultimate gift ideas…

Now it’s your turn to give Dad a lift! Two ultimate gift ideas to make this his best Father’s Day ever.

Remember all those times he picked you up after practice? This Father’s Day return the favor and give him the gift of mobility!  At the top of my “ultimate gift ideas” list this year is the new Buzzaround EX Scooter from Golden Technologies, a Spinlife online exclusive. The Buzzaround Ex is lightweight, and convenient, small enough to take apart and transport in the trunk of a car, but powerful enough to go all day on a single battery charge!

travel scooter with big batteries Ultimate gift Ideas

Buzzaround EX 4 wheel

The secret? The Buzzaround Ex is equipped with U-1 batteries- like you would expect on a full-size scooter- but in a travel scooter body. The cleverly designed two-part battery box eliminates the heavy lifting, but still carries batteries that travel up to 18 miles on a charge.

Two-part Battery Box for easy lifting Ultimate gift Ideas

Two-part Battery Box for easy lifting

A full front and rear suspension makes for a smooth ride, and the 9” tires give the Buzzaround EX 4” of ground clearance – practical for use both inside and out. There are also many convenience features packed into this new model. A bright LED headlamp will light his way if he’s out after dark, and the charging port is up on the tiller- close to the key switch, so it’s handy for charging. This speedy scooter is sure to make Dad smile this Father’s Day!

And here is another ultimate gift Idea…

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June 10, 2016

Beach and Pool Accessibility… Everybody in the Water!

beach and pool accessibility

Summer is here! It’s time for fun in the sun, and as the weather gets hotter, what’s cooler than time in or near the water?

Beach and Pool accessibility is important. Indeed, whether for recreation or therapeutic value, water is a great equalizer for many with mobility impairments. After all, due to buoyancy, we not only weigh dramatically less in water, but because water encapsulates the body evenly, it eliminates such issues as pressure points for those who may use wheelchairs or are frequently seated.

And, therapeutic value aside, simply cooling off in or near the water is a great way to spend a summer day.

However, for those with mobility impairments, both getting to the water and in the water can be a challenge. So, let’s look at some of the water-related mobility technologies available to help beach and pool accessibility.

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June 1, 2016

How to Size a Ramp? Here’s a helpful guide.

size a ramp suitcase style

If you or a loved one uses a mobility aid every day, access over even a small threshold or step can present a challenge.

I’d like to offer some suggestions on how to correctly size a ramp, and discuss different options that are easy, affordable and available.

If you look at ADA guidelines on how to size a ramp, the regulations are based on what would be a comfortable slope for a person in a manual wheelchair to propel themselves up the ramp without assistance.  Under those assumptions the recommendation is 1 inch of rise for every foot of ramp length. That make for very long ramps, indeed! That is the slope that is acceptable for permanent ramps on commercial buildings.

For today’s discussion we’re going to concentrate on Pre-fabricated portable ramps. This is the type you would use to allow access for an individual using a chair or walker going up a curb or a couple of steps. If you are using a scooter, power wheelchair or if you will have the assistance of a caregiver to help you the rules on how to size a ramp are much more flexible.

If someone is pushing from behind, you can easily size a ramp at 2 inches of rise to one foot of ramp length. The calculation looks like this: to get up a 6 inch curb, your ramp would need to be 3 feet long. (measure the height of the step and multiply by .5 to get that slope)  That is an easy size for a portable ramp, and perfect to carry along with you in your car for access when there is no curb cut available. That style is called a suitcase ramp.

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May 26, 2016

Great Accessible Getaways

Thinking about great accessible getaways? Travel season is here, and for those of us who use mobility products, choosing a travel destination isn’t just about where we wish to go, but… alas… how accessible is it?

Ideal destinations for travelers using mobility products have three vital traits: overall accessible architecture, readily-available accessible transportation, and… of course… great attractions. However, finding all three is tricky, so let’s look at a short list that may narrow down the process, with a varied selection of tastes in mind.

 

Las VegasGreat Accessible Getaways

Sin City is also Wheel City, ranking arguably as among the most accessible vacation destinations. From never having to wait for an accessible cab – they’re everywhere! – to an entirely accessible architectural infrastructure to the best accessible hotel rooms, Vegas knows mobility. A misnomer is that Las Vegas is for gambling and other indulgent activities. However, the Las Vegas Strip over the past decade has evolved into a bit of a family affair, full of shopping, restaurants, and amusement rides. With themed hotels, stage shows galore, and attractions for all ages, Las Vegas truly is a family destination. Gambler or not, if you’re looking for fun times, you’ll be on a roll in Vegas.

 

Vancouver, B.C. Great Accessible Getaway

Just over the Washington state border, Vancouver, British Columbia, is among the most beautiful and wheelchair accessible cities you’ll ever visit. Whether you’re looking for scenic coastal beauty or metropolitan flair, Vancouver, B.C., is a stunning city. There’s the Vancouver Aquarium, Classical Chinese Garden, Vancouver Art Gallery, and Science World – great attractions.  Then, nature abounds with both accessible coastal and wilderness parks. And, let us not overlook that Vancouver, B.C., has among the world’s finest cuisine, from seafood to virtually every ethnic delight imaginable.

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May 12, 2016

Thinking of Adding Power to your Ultralight Wheelchair? Let’s ask Mark

 

Dear SpinLife,

I’m a manual wheelchair user of 30 years (I bought my last rigid ultralight through you). I’ve been diagnosed with shoulder issues and need to reduce my pushing. I don’t need a power chair, but I am looking to get a new ultralight chair and I’m thinking a powered kit for it might be best. What do I need to know about adding power to an ultralight wheelchair before moving forward? Thanks, Lewis

Lewis,

Unfortunately, you’re not alone in your need to take strain off of your shoulders. While ultralight wheelchairs and related components such as wheels are very ergonomic now, they weren’t in the past, and so many long-time wheelers are in your situation. Fortunately, between increased ergonomics and “power assist” systems, you can remain very active in an ultralight manual wheelchair despite your shoulder strain.

When we speak of “power assist,” we’re referring to any motor-based system that’s added to a manual wheelchair to assist with propulsion. There are three technologies in the power-assist category: a power base controlled via joystick, power-assist push wheels, or a power-assist 5th wheel. Let’s look at these technologies available when adding power to an ultralight wheelchair :

 

Power-Assist Push Wheels 

adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Xtender Power Assist Wheels

Power Assist push wheels

Power-assist push wheels are typically self-contained with a hub motor and battery. They replace your standard wheels. Via sensors, when you give them a push, each wheel’s motor kicks in, giving your every push a boost. The advantage of power-assist push wheels is that they keep your manual wheelchair very stock and familiar in its operation – you’re just getting a boost with each push.

 

 

 

Power-Assist 5th Wheel

Adding power to your ultralight wheelchair

Smart Drive MX2 Power Assist 5th Wheel

A power-assist 5th wheel is a small, all-in-one pack that quick-release mounts under your wheelchair. It contains a motor, battery and drive wheel. When you push your standard wheels, it triggers the 5th wheel to drive – your wheelchair then seems to glide on its own. Because the 5th wheel is so compact, it’s arguably the easiest power-assist system to transport.

 

 

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