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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July 5, 2016

Changing seasons: When You Become the “Parent”

It’s an interesting, and sometimes wrenching, transition.

When you become the “parent” to your parents…

Anyone with an interest in reading this blog is old enough to know that one of the surest things in life is change. When I was 16 years old I was quite sure high school would never end.  It did.  In my early 20s I started to wonder if I would ever find the husband I was looking for and have the family I desperately wanted.  Found him. Married him 32 years ago. We have two daughters and six grandchildren.

I grew up with great parents in a secure and loving home. We were not “well off” but we had what we needed.  My parents worked hard to provide for us.  When I was a little girl riding my bike and playing in the dirt, I never considered that life would ever be any different.become the "Parent"

I could always count on my Mom and Dad to be there for me. They were there to be strong and nurturing, loving and supportive.  My rocks….always.

In 1995 my father passed away from kidney cancer. He was only 66 years old.  This was the beginning of change in our lives.

Mom did quite well for several years. Some of the grandchildren lived with her off and on so she wasn’t alone a lot. Eventually though, the kids moved on and she began getting depressed. She wouldn’t get out and about much and I was worried about her being alone.  My husband and I convinced her to move in with us.

She lived with us for ten years. During that time we saw her go through many changes. The first few years she did a lot of cooking, her own laundry, and pretty much whatever she wanted to do.  She drove her own car to town when she wanted to go. It was an enjoyable time that I miss very much.

A few years later she started forgetting to turn the heat down when she was cooking. Or would walk away and forget she had something on the stove. We were afraid of her catching the kitchen on fire.  So she had to be restricted to using the microwave only.  Imagine restricting your own mother from anything!  Not fun at all.become the "Parent"

As time went on she became less stable on her feet.  She progressed from a cane to a walker to a power chair.  She could no longer get up by herself to go to the restroom.  She would call me from her cell phone and wake me at all hours to help her up. Sometimes she didn’t remember why she called.  Many times she fell when she did try to get up by herself.become the parent




The tide was turning quickly. I was now the caregiver, the safety police and become the parent to my parent!  It seems this is the natural cycle of life. But when you are in the middle of these changes it feels anything but natural.

Almost daily as I speak with customers here at SpinLife I hear the same kind of stories. There are many daughters and sons finding themselves in a new and scary place.  What is best for Mom or Dad?  Is she going to be mad at me if I get her this walker?  What will he think if I tell him he shouldn’t do that?  Can we take care of them at home?  Do we need help? And who can I go to for advice?

becoming th e parent to you parent


When I was a child, there was more than one time that my Mom or Dad grabbed me by the shoulder to stop me from walking out into the road without looking. They gave me cool baths when I ran a high fever. They made me study and learn how to take care of myself.  Not fun at the time but necessary and valuable lessons.  They did what they had to do to keep me safe, healthy and feeling loved.


That is what we all have to do as the cycle of life continues, and we become the “parent.” Do what you must even when it is difficult.  Only you can decide what that “must” is and it won’t be easy.  You may cry some tears when she doesn’t know your name.  Leaving her in a facility because you can no longer keep her safe yourself rips your heart out.  Sometimes love is hard.

My husband and I live two houses away from our oldest daughter and her family. We walked down there for dinner last week.  When it was time for us to go home, she and her husband walked us home!  Like we couldn’t find our way home two doors down! We aren’t even 60 yet!  They walked up our sloped driveway with us to make sure we were on flat ground in the garage.  My CHILD was making sure we were safe.  It has begun.  And I feel loved.

June 30, 2016

The Independence that Mobility Brings

When we celebrate Independence Day, we officially recognize our country’s liberation from Great Britain in 1776.

However, many – from those born with disabilities, to those with later-in-life injuries and conditions, to those who are aging – celebrate another, more personal type of independence day: The day they receive a new mobility product.

Mobility products for independence


Mobility products – albeit, a manual or power wheelchair, scooter, or even a lift chair – play remarkable roles in our lives. If we look at the history of mobility products, our understanding of them has profoundly, rightfully changed. Whereas decades ago, a wheelchair, for example, had a stigma attached, that’s no longer the case. Yes, societal changes have brought tremendous level of awareness, inclusion and acceptance surrounding disability and mobility products.


However, the real evolution has occurred with each of us who rely on mobility products. Every individual’s experience is different when it comes to making the transition to a mobility product – from a 4-year-old using a manual wheelchair to a 79-year-old using a scooter. Yet, the realization is the same: We go from knowing some form of confinement to a life of liberation through the use of a mobility product.


Happy July 4th from your friends at SpinLife!

Happy July 4th from your friends at SpinLife!


The desire for independence is universal, and the fact that mobility products contribute to our independence is profoundly life-changing.



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June 28, 2016

Spotlight on Reverie Adjustable Beds

Reverie Adjustable Beds

Reverie 7S Sleep System

Reverie adjustable beds provide a truly unique solution in the quest for a great night’s sleep!

Another night of tossing, turning, propping, trying to get comfortable to no avail? Maybe your mattress is too firm, too soft, whatever, you just can’t seem to get comfortable.  SpinLife is proud to offer the innovative line of Reverie Adjustable Beds 

Reverie is a leading American manufacturer of adjustable foundations and latex mattresses. Holding over 30 patents, Reverie is a leader in the sleep products industry. Their adjustable bed frames provide a strong base for support, and almost limitless adjustability.

Reverie Adjustable Beds

Inside the DreamCell Sleep System

Therapeutic wave massage aids circulation and provides deep relaxation. Their remote control systems offer Bluetooth technology, USB ports, and pre-programmed positioning. Reverie Adjustable beds feature attractively upholstered bed bases and can be used with many headboard and bed frame styles to blend perfectly with your decor.

When you look at Reverie’s “DreamCell™” mattress construction, you’ll see what really sets them apart! The DreamCells are made of soft, medium and firm natural latex cylinders.  They are breathable, hypoallergenic, anti-microbial, anti-bacterial, dust mite resistant and extremely durable. Reverie’s patented DreamCells provide the ideal support system, and a comfortable, healthy sleep environment. The natural latex topper and the mattress cover are constructed of natural, breathable, hypoallergenic materials.

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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


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.


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.