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 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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