Need a wheelchair? Which one is right for you?

In 1783, John Dawson of Bath England, invented a product which came to be known as  the “Bath wheelchair”, named after the town of Bath. Dawson designed a chair with two large wheels and one small one and his design outsold all other wheelchairs in the world in the 19th century.

Recently, the use of wheelchairs has increased 83% between 1980 and 1994, with more than 2.2 million Americans 15 years and older using wheelchairs. The number of people with mobility impairment is expected to continue to increase as more people live longer with disabilites.

There are many types of wheelchairs, and all very useful according to your needs or lifestyle. Manual wheelchairs are the type that require people tp move them, there are three types of manual wheelchairs: namely self propelled, attendant propelled, and powered.  A transport chair is distinct design that is often used when someone needs to be pushed in a chair for a short period of time. For example, if you’re taking your aged Grandmother out to lunch. The transport chair is typically lighter than a standard wheelchair. Most common uses for a transport chair are when you have a doctor’s appointment, going to the mall, or not able to walk long distances and having someone there to assist you.

All wheelchairs include foot and leg rests, sometimes offering elevating leg rests and either full-length or desk-length arms. Seat width options are 16″, 18″, or 20″. Seat widths come in sizes according to the hieght and weight of the patient, if needing larger than the standard sizes it would be considered as a  specialty order. 

The electric powered wheelchair was invented by George Klein who worked for The National Research Council of Canada, to assist injured veterens after World War II. Today powered wheelchairs come in diferent types, just like a manual, according to  your needs or lifestyle. The benefits of power mobilty, including improved self esteem, decreased pain and increased activty levels. There are two types of drive mechanism are used on electric wheelchairs: indirect drive and direct drive. Indirect drive systems (pulley and drive belts) are used on conventional electric wheelchairs, where as direct systems (gear boxes) are used on power-base wheelchairs. The vast majority of contemporary electric wheelchairs are used  on power-base wheelchairs. Most powerchairs are powered by two 12 volt batteries that are rechargable with electricity.  

 

 

 

What is the meaning of “National Wear Red Day” ?

​In 2003, the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute embarked on National Wear Red Day for women. This is a massive national awareness day for heart disease and strokes in women. The first Friday of Febuary has been designated to encourage men and women to wear red as a symbol of their support of women’s heart health.

This coming National Wear Red day, Febuary 3, 2017 will mark 15 years of observance of the fact that heart disease is the #1 killer of women, and to raise awarness of woman’s health. Heart disease and strokes cause one in three deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.

With the awareness of Wear Red Day there have been tremendous strides.They include:

  • Nearly 90% of women have made at least one healthy behavior change.
  • More than one-third of women have lost weight, with 50% of women having increased their exercise.
  • Six out of Ten women have changed their diet.
  • Today, nearly 300 fewer women die from heart disease and stroke each year.
  • Premature death in women has decreased by more than 30% over the past 10 years.

A heart-healthy lifestyle can lower the risk of heart diseas. You can make life styles changes by:

  • Heart-healthy eating
  • Aiming for a healthy weight
  • Managing stress
  • More physical activity
  • Quit smoking

Many celebrities, profit and nonprofit groups come together each year to bring awarness for those who have been affected by heart disease and to educate more men and women.

If you are interested in more information please visit American Heart Association at www.honor.americanheart.org or The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute www.nhlbi.nih.gov 

 

How to make your home more accessible with a stairlift.

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Stairs can be dangerous and difficult to navigate, but a disability or mobility problem should not confine anyone to one floor of a home. A stairlift gives you back safe and secure access to your entire home again. Whether you’re concerned about a dangerous fall on your stairs or simply need a little extra help getting up and down, you’re just like millions of other aging Americans today. 

Stairlifts come in many shapes and sizes and can accommodate almost any type of stairway. From a single flight of straight stairs, to multi-leveled, curved stairways with s​​​everal landings, even spiral staicases.

curved stairlift
Master-Page-straight
straight lift
curvy pic
2014-03-05 13.57.57
 

Standard features on most models include a folding swivel seat, folding armrests and footrest, and easy-to-use buttons attached to the seat. In addition they include portable remotes which are typically located at the top and the bottom of the stairs for easy retrieval, and a seatbelt.  

A highly trained stairlift enginer will come and assess your home and give you a quote. We will then confirm a date for installation. ​Stairlifts are not permanent. Stairlifts are installed onto the stair treads of your steps, so there is no structural modification needed. They can be easily removed if you are moving or selling your home. In most cases, a stairlift can be removed in less than an hour with little evidence it was ever there!

If you do not want to purchase a stairlift, check with your local medical equipment provider to see if they if  have rentals available. Rentals are a great option if you have a short-term need. Unfortunately, stairlifts are not covered under any insurance.

If you are pondering whether this would be a good option for you or a loved one, here is  a great brochure that can help you choose the right lift.

Stairlifts operate on two 12 volt batteries, so you will never have to worry about not being able to use the lift in a power outage.

 Here’s a link to a YouTube video with some of the more common stairlift features described in detail. 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Prepare for bad weather

As we start to get more settled into to the winter routine, we should try to get ready for whatever may come our way. According to NOAA the 2016-17 winter may bring colder-than-average temperatures to the East early on, but this winter may end up warmer than average. A weak La Niña www.publicaffairs.noaa.gov  is expected to develop ,  which would result in colder temperature in the East and warmer temperatures in the West, which flips the pattern over the last several months. Although this is the outlook for our winter we should always prepare ourselves with a “Storm Kit”. Here are some tips on how to prepare your house or the house of one of your elderly loved ones.

  • MAKE A LIST of all your emergency numbers and  contacts. It’s always a good idea to write down all the local emergency numbers. Each state has a web site where you could find those numbers listed. For the state of New Hampshire you can visit the Divison of Emergency Services and Communication at www.nh.gov
  • GATHER CANDLES, MATCHES, AND FLASHLIGHTS in case the power goes off, you do not want to be sitting in the dark. It’s highly recommended to keep a set of these items in the “Storm Kit” and another set on a shelf or in a common area where it could be easily accessed. If you or a loved one is in a wheelchair or not able to reach high places, these items should be placed in an area where they could be reached.
  • CHARGE YOUR CELL PHONE.  If you do not have a landline make sure that you charge your cell phone to have access to the storm information or being able to make contact with other people such as, loved ones or emgency personnell. It is also a good idea to charge any electric power chairs or medical devices that you may need to use.
  • HAVE AN AM/PM RADIO to stay in tuned with the storm coverage. It is best to have a batteried operated radio in case the electric goes out.
  • STOCK UP ON BATTERIES for all the electronic devices or flashlights. Keep in mind that batteries do expire and you will need to check the expiration dates often.
  • KEEP NON-PERISHABLE FOOD AND WATER on hand. It is reccommended to keep in stock one gallon of water per person per day and 3 days worth of non-perishable foods.If you have to take medications throughout the day you may want to plan for more water. Also if you pack canned foods, make sure that you have a can opener.
  • HAVE AN EVACUATION AND MEET UP PLAN. Have maps and a safe location where you can go to incase the home is no longer safe. Share this location with another person, so they know where to look if needed. If you or a loved one is home bond it is a good idea to have a designated nieghbor or family member drop by to check in on you.
  • MEDICATION LIST and medications in an easy accessed area. With having the list if you were to get seperated from your medications this with show what you are taking and a doctor could call in another script those medications.
  • 1ST AIDE KITS should include all sizes of banages, burn aides, warmers, emergency blankets, and a dust mask to help with the dust if needed.
  • EXTRA CLOTHING AND BLANKETS for staying  dry and  warm.
  • PETS, if you have pets it is recommended to follow these same guide lines for them.  Also include a list of all your pets immunizations and medications, if any.  They will be scared and nervous so make sure you pack items that they are familiar with, such as a favorite toy.

The Federal www.Ready.gov  website is packed with informationon on what is needed for “Storm Kits”. All kits should be planned according to the needs of the individual.

 

How To Prevent Falls at Home: The Ins and Outs of Being Safe

Have you ever heard the saying, “We are not as young as we used to be?”  As we get older we forget to do simple everyday tasks to ensure our own safety. Falls happen at home for many reasons. Our goal as a DME provider is to help you prevent falls at home.

There are several things that are known to add to your risk for falling. These include: 

  • Poor vision or hearing
  • History of falls
  • Use of aids, such as canes
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medications
  • Being over 65 years old
  • Conditions of the home, such as slippery floors, loose rugs, cords on the floor 

According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention) www.cdc.gov , millions of elderly people fall each year. Over 800,000 patients are hospitalized because of a fall injury, most often because of a head injury or a hip fracture. Resulting direct medical costs for fall injuries are $31 billion annually. That’s a lot of money, for something that we could help prevent. 

Here are some helpful things that you can do that will help lower your risk for falls at home. 

Bathroom

  • Use a raised toilet seat and safety frame for ease in getting up and down from toilet
  • Set temperature at 120 degrees or less (prevent burns and falls trying to avoid burns)
  • Consider a hand-held shower head, shower chair and handrails in the tub
  • Place a non-skid adhesive strips in the tub
  • Use liquid soap or soap on a rope to prevent dropping soap 

 Other 

  • Store items used often at waist level
  • Select furniture with armrests for support in getting up and down
  • Keep phone within easy reach 

Lighting

Replace dim, burned out or glaring lights with bright, soft white light bulbs

  • Use a night light
  • Make sure light are easy to turn on and off
  • Keep a flashlight available

Clear Hallways and Stairs 

  • Remove clutter, especially from hallways and stairwells
  • Use handrails while taking the stairs
  • Place non-skid treads or bright reflective tape to mark the edge of the stairs 

Floors

Remove scatter/throw rugs

  • Place non-skid treads or double-sided tape under area rugs
  • Keep floors free from clutter
  • Wipe up spills immediately
  • Make sure floors are not slippery ​​ 

If you have fallen, please contact or make an appointment immediately with your doctor to be evaluated. Your doctor might suggest that an occupational therapist, physical therapist, or nurse visit your home. These health care providers can assess your home’s safety and advise you about making changes to prevent falls.