One of the most difficult things about seeing your loved one grow older is watching his or her mental and physical abilities decline. Old age is inevitable and many people are prepared to care for seniors as they age, but that doesn’t make it any easier when your loved one suddenly can’t remember details the way they did before or can’t participate in the same physical activities they used to love. If you are starting to notice a decline in your loved one’s abilities, the most important thing is to communicate, so that both of you are prepared for what will happen in the future and understand how best to work through it.
Make sure that when you start the conversation, both of you are in a comfortable place, preferably somewhere that they feel at home. Throughout the discussion, make sure to reference how you feel, and ask how they feel. Try framing sentences around your inner feelings and concerns: “I’m worried about you because…” or “I care about you a lot, which is why I’m telling you this…” are phrases that work well. This helps show the other person that you are coming from a place of care and ultimately reinforces the idea that you will work through these problems together, no matter what.
With that said, don’t shy away from the tough parts of the conversation. Talking about subjects such as financial and legal problems may be difficult, but it is important to discuss how you are going to be able to handle your loved one’s ability to drive, deal with bank statements, or fill out medical paperwork. In many cases, the other person is used to independence and does not want to give it up; while this is understandable, you should do your best to repeat that you care about them and want them to be healthy and happy, which is why it is necessary for you to intervene in these matters.
This applies to other issues such as the possibility of hiring a caretaker or installing special equipment in your loved one’s home in order to better accommodate their personal needs. Honesty is key: emphasize the idea that although it is difficult, these changes are necessary, because without them, he or she will not be able to live a safe and comfortable life. Ultimately, show them that you are there in their best interest, and that although they are going through a difficult transition, they will deal with it with your help.
01 Mar / 2017
If you’ve written off exercise for one reason or another, don’t give up and decide that exercise just isn’t right for you. Instead, you should look at other, innovative options out there. One of the newest and most exciting trends in exercise right now is adaptive dancing. Never heard of it? Simply put, adaptive dancing is defined as dancing that is designed for individuals with different abilities. In other words, it’s dancing for the rest of us. It’s a fun, creative way for everyone to not only enjoy their exercise time, but to get the benefits of a more healthy and active lifestyle. If you have a physical or mental disability, it’s okay: adaptive dancing was created specifically with you in mind. What do I mean? Well, here’s what you should know:
Adaptive Dancing is For Everyone, Regardless of Dancing Ability
Unless you’re one of the few that started dancing at an early age and continued ever since, you probably stopped thinking about being a “real” dancer right around your tenth birthday. That’s okay. Adaptive dancing’s purpose is to get you to move and enjoy it while it’s happening. It doesn’t matter if you can’t dance–you start at your own ability level and work from there. As long as you’re having fun, your talent doesn’t matter!
Adaptive Dancing is For Everyone, Regardless of Age
Since differentiation is a cornerstone of adaptive dancing, then it should be no surprised that it’s open to all ages. Children, seniors, and everyone in between can benefit from healthy motion, and that’s what adaptive dancing is all about.
Adaptive Dancing is For Everyone, Regardless of Physical Ability
In a program with a lot of great things going for it, it’s hard to say “this is the best part,” but, this part might be. Because the program can be adapted in an endless number of ways to meet a dancer’s needs, there’s no reason think that anyone would not be able to participate or benefit from a program like this!
If you are intrigued by adaptive dancing and want to know more, a quick Google search can probably put you in touch with one or more programs in your area.
15 Feb / 2017
For many people, their home is an expression of themselves. People will put hours and hours of work into decorating their house so that it looks exactly as they want it, because they feel that it reflects their personality for themselves as well as for visitors to see. As a result, when it comes to installing a stair or chair lift, people are often skeptical of the idea because they think they’ll mar the decorating scheme of their home. After all, lifts are rather large contraptions that take up a good amount of space around your staircase, which makes it difficult to deny that they will be noticed by whoever visits – as well as clearly visible to your own eyes. However, having a lift installed and maintaining the decorating scheme of your home are not mutually exclusive. It’s possible to integrate your lift into the design that you’ve established elsewhere. Here are a few tips for decorating around your stair or chair lift.
1. Think about color
The first thing that will stand out to anyone about your stairlift is its color, which can often contrast starkly with that of the walls or the staircase itself. As a result, try to either pick your lift color around what is already in your home, or decorate your home to match the color of the lift. This can be difficult if the lift is bright white, but in cases like this, you can use complementary colors such as a medium shade of blue or a deep burgundy shade of red. That way, your lift stands out for its color, but in a way that looks coordinated rather than clashing.
2. Decorate to distract
In the area where you will have the lift, try a busier design to take attention away from the lift itself. This could mean hanging portraits along the wall next to the staircase, adding potted plants on alternating steps, or otherwise including a number of different elements to distract wandering eyes.
3. Show it off
This may seem counterintuitive, but sometimes the best way to design around your stairlift is to make it part of your decoration – and, in fact, to make it the centerpiece. For example, a stairlift that is shown clearly curving around a staircase through plain wooden stairs and glass side barriers will be more appealing than one that is half-hidden but still pretty obvious.
07 Feb / 2017
Earlier, we discussed pricing, options, and other information about installing an elevator in your home. Today, we’re going to look at an option that appeals to many people because, in part, is a more economical choice: installing a chairlift.
What Is A Chairlift?
A chairlift is pretty much exactly what it sounds like: it is a motorized chair installed on a special rail system. Like an elevator, it is designed to help move its occupant safely, quickly, and conveniently up or down a floor in a building. Unlike an elevator, though, which requires a special area to be built to house the elevator cab as well as other modifications, a chairlift is a relatively easy installation because it is designed to smoothly travel up or down a flight of stairs. This means that the chairlift installation is a much easier process than an elevator, and even better: it tends to be much cheaper as well.
What Are The Types Of Chairlifts?
Generally speaking, there are two types of chairlifts (also known as stair lifts, or stair chairs) to choose from, and the choice depends on what type of staircase you already have in your home. Straight chairlifts are installed on a straight staircase that simply goes up and down in a straight line. Curved chairlifts are installed on a curved staircase. Because curved staircases are generally unique in their design, a curved chairlift usually requires a little bit of customization, which can affect the overall price.
Installation And Price
Typically, a straight chairlift is a straightforward process (no pun intended). As most chairlifts are already constructed before you purchase them, there is very little time between buying one and its installation. Permits will be required, and are a separate charge.
As many staircases, even straight ones, can be a little different when it comes to things like angle of descent, etc., it does take a little bit of adjusting to make sure the rail system is installed properly. In addition, details such as stair material can influence the difficulty of the installation, and, therefore, the price. If the stairs have unusually long steps, platforms, or are situated far from an electrical source, those factors can also have an impact on the bottom line.
Curved lifts are a little trickier. In this case, the railing system often needs to be custom-made to fit the particular needs of your staircase. This can also affect the price. Other things that can alter the price include the quality of the chair itself, the motor you wish to install (which will have an impact on the final speed of the chair), and any other customization you wish.
In the end, though, installing a chairlift is a relatively easy and cheap process that can help restore mobility and independence. If you are interested in learning more about the process and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact us today!
For people with certain disabilities, those suffering from conditions such as arthritis, or those who use wheelchairs, one part of a house presents an insurmountable obstacle: stairs. If your home has multiple levels and it is starting to become difficult or impossible to make it up the stairs, it is time to look for other solutions.
Many people, when they encounter this situation, have to restructure their lives to ensure that they can spend all their time on the lower level, often because they don’t know that there is another option. Others understand that there are steps you can take to alleviate the struggle of getting up the stairs, but think that it’s too expensive and give up on the idea. However, if you want to change the way that you move around your home, at least one option is definitely on the table: installing an elevator. Though many people get scared off by the seemingly high cost and the large nature of the project, in reality it can definitely be affordable for people of different incomes and backgrounds, and can be accomplished in a relatively short period of time.
So what can a home elevator do for you?
For starters, it can help people who are in wheelchairs move around their house by providing a moving platform that can get you up from a first to a second or even a third level, or down to the basement. Whether you have had an injury, an accident or are experiencing the effects of old age, an elevator can help alleviate the pain of getting up the stairs and can make you feel comfortable in your own home again. Furthermore, elevators actually increase the value of a home once they are installed – so you can actually reap the benefits of greater property values as a result of your investment.
What are your choices?
If you want to install an elevator in your home, you have a choice between a hydraulic and pneumatic elevator. The first option is generally larger and more expensive, but is also quieter and generally more popular. Hydraulic elevators are driven by a physical elevator arm that lifts people and objects up and down, and these elevators often have room for multiple passengers. Pneumatic elevators, meanwhile, are smaller and less expensive, and though they are less well-known they are slowly growing in popularity. They also have a glass exterior, which helps the home look more modern.
On average, installing an elevator requires an investment of around $20,000, which includes the cost of the elevator cab and mechanism itself as well as installation and maintenance.
17 Jan / 2017
We recognize the sacrifice those who serve in the military do for us, but we often do not think of the sacrifice of the military caregiver. When a loved one returns home injured or chronically ill, it changes the family forever. The military caregiver is not what most people think of in the traditional sense of the word. In fact, most do not even think of themselves as caregivers; they are simply wives, husbands, mothers, fathers, sisters or brothers. The injury to the service member not only changes him or her; it also changes the dynamic of the entire home. Those who care for wounded veterans face challenges that they never expected.
Military caregivers never planned on being in this position nor have they been trained to fill it. This can often cause a bumpy start to their role as caregivers as they adjust to this new dynamic and all that it entails. Often times, the possible length of the care is overwhelming, as many will be in this position for the rest of their lives.
Complex Medical Tasks
Much of the role of caregiver revolves around simple household tasks like cooking, cleaning, laundry, helping the veteran dress and use the bathroom and other everyday things that everyone knows how to perform. However, there will also be a whole new set of everyday tasks that may include complex medical issues. Although the caregiver has no training in the field, he or she will be fully responsible for medicine dispensing and dosage, physical therapy tasks, helping with stress and PTSD and other aspects of caring for the injured person that require special knowledge.
Loss of Income
Even when the injured person is not the breadwinner of the family, there will still be a financial impact to the family. On average, a military caregiver will miss at least one day of work per week caring for the loved one. Twenty-eight percent of military caregivers are forced to quit work altogether, and 11 percent take early retirement.
On Other Hand, There Are Rewards To Caregiving
These are far from the only challenges faced by military caregivers, and the actual list is too long to imagine. However, caring for a loved one is also one of the most rewarding things a person can do. In fact, one study shows that 94 percent of military caregivers say they are proud of the support they provide, and that they believe the veteran would not be where they are today if not for their care. It also shows that 78 percent say they have gained valuable new knowledge and skills in taking over as caregiver, and that they find the experience rewarding.
06 Jan / 2017
Stairlifts are a useful tool to help individuals who have difficulty walking up and down stairs or who use a wheelchair. A stairlift, also known as a wheelchair lift, stair glide or chairlift, is a collapsible chair attached to a mechanical device that lifts a person up a set of stairs and back down them. If a person has a disability that may become progressively debilitating such as arthritis or COPD, their occupational therapist (OT) or physician may suggest they get a lift. However, it’s not always easy for individuals to use assistive technology. Here are four statements illustrating why people avoid getting a stairlift:
1. “I’m not ready for this change.”
There is a lot of emotion involved when changes to one’s independence occur. The loss of mobility can have a profound effect on a person’s mental health. It’s important to care for your emotional health and speak with your doctor or a counselor to help you to process the changes in your life.
2. “I don’t want to make structural changes.”
You may be concerned that there will be damage or changes to the structure of your home, but the installation is very discreet. The chair is attached to the lift, and the lift is installed with support brackets and screws.
3. “I don’t have enough room.”
Some customers are worried that the lift won’t give enough room for someone else to use the stairs without using the lift. Another concern is that the stair will block the landing. Stairlifts are designed, chosen, and installed to prevent such a situation. Many stairlifts today have folding foot rests and seats so they take up a minimal amount of space when not in use.
4. “I can’t afford it.”
The cost of a stairlift can vary but can cost up to several thousand dollars. Caregivers may be concerned about costs affecting their aging parents. Customers may have concerns because of a fixed budget. Unfortunately, lifts are not covered by Medicare, but there are other opportunities to fund the cost. Veterans may be eligible for coverage through the Veteran’s Administration (VA) or federal grants. You can apply for local, state or Federal grant funds to make home improvements. Medicaid may cover the cost. You may also be able to negotiate with the dealer to purchase a used lift or to set up a payment plan to help.
A stairlift is an excellent solution to help seniors or persons with disabilities to live safely in their homes. Don’t wait to get the assistive technology you need to help you to maintain your independence.
Want to know more? Download the free e-book, “Stair Lifts: 14 Things You Must Know Before You Buy.”
03 Jan / 2017
The new year is a perfect time to try and make some life changes. If you’re like many others, you’ve considered trying to live a healthier lifestyle. Eating better, changing some habits–these are all great starts. But one thing’s for sure: the best way to make this positive change is to begin an exercise program. But, what if you’re one of the almost 50 million Americans who suffer from some sort of disability? You might think that this setback makes it impossible for you to start exercising. Well, if that’s true, you need to think again.
Chances are you’ve never heard of Mark Inglis. Or Phillipe Croizon. In fact, most people will probably never hear of these individuals. And yet, for those people who go through life with some sort of disability, these men’s names (and many like them) should be names they are very familiar with. Why? Because these men never let their disabilities stop them from achieving their dreams, and both went on to accomplish spectacular feats. Mark Inglis, a double amputee, climbed Mt. Everest in 2006. And Phillipe Croizon, who lost all of his limbs in an accident many years ago, successfully swam the English Channel in 2010. Stories like these–and these two only scratch the surface–just go to show you that, regardless of the obstacles you might face in life, you can accomplish anything if you put your mind to it.
Of course, living with a disability does present some obstacles, and depending on your specific situation, the things you want to accomplish might change. Regardless of what you decide to work on, here are a couple of things to keep in mind:
- Consult a Doctor or Physical Therapist First. This is always good advice, but just make sure your healthcare professional is aware of your new exercise program, and gives you the greenlight to begin. They might even have a program in mind that you should start.
- Look For a Disability Exercise Group, or Start One. Chances are, you’re not the only one in your area with a disability who’s looking to get healthy. By joining a group, you can find the support and help that naturally comes from joining, coupled with knowledgeable people who are able to help you get the most from your unique situation.
- Don’t Strain Yourself. This is another good piece of advice for everyone, but one that resonates even more when a disability is involved: don’t overdo it, especially when you are just starting out. This is a common mistake, and one that can lead to further problems in the future.
So, as you begin a new year, think about what you want to change in your life. And whatever you do, don’t think that having a disability somehow disqualifies you from living the life you wish to have. Remember Mark Inglis, Phillipe Croizon, and the millions of others who have made the decision to not let their disabilities slow them down, and then make the same choice.
19 Dec / 2016
Whether as youths, adults, or seniors, people with disabilities or special needs find it difficult to engage in many activities that would otherwise allow them to interact with other people. It can be easy to feel left out because you don’t think you can participate in the same things non-disabled people “typically’ do for fun. But at the same time, it’s important to recognize that many of the things holding you back from socializing are mental, and can be overcome. If you have a disability and want to know how to socialize better, here are a few tips:
1. Understand your limitations, but don’t let them hold you back.
If you have a physical disability, you may not be able to necessarily participate in sports the same way as others, or go hiking or dancing without having to make special preparations. But at the same time, don’t let that hold you back from the things you can do – like finding another way to play your favorite sport, or meeting new people at an activity that doesn’t require a lot of physical activity.
2. Build your socializing experience around activities.
The best way to build relationships with people is around shared interests, and this stands true for those with disabilities as well as those without. If you want to socialize, try doing something you love, whether that be volunteering, taking a cooking class, or touring a museum. That way you can talk to people who are interested in the same thing you’re doing, and have a conversation starter if you’re unsure where to begin.
3. Answer questions if people genuinely have them.
If people that you talk to are curious about your disability, take time to answer their questions, as long as they are being respectful about it and show a genuine interest in understanding you and your perspective. This will help facilitate easier and more natural conversation that you can both be comfortable with.
4. Look for special mixers in your area.
If your area has mixers specially for people with disabilities, consider going to one. You may be surprised at who you meet there, and you don’t need to feel like you disability is your identifying marker, either – have a conversation with someone without thinking about how you are different.
10 Dec / 2016
If you’re looking for a way to make your bathroom safer for yourself or a loved one, a shower grab bar may be just what you need. This bar can be affixed to your shower wall in order to prevent slips and falls, providing an extra level of security when taking that first step onto a wet surface. If you are unsure about how to properly install a grab bar, however, don’t let this hold you back – this article will describe the process and help you make sure it goes as smoothly as possible.
1. Anchor your grab bar to studs.
In order to make sure that the grab bar is correctly affixed, you’ll need to start out by looking for studs, which are vertical framing members found in typical wood-framed walls. Using a stud sensor, mark the location of each stud lightly with a pencil, then probe gently with a nail to find where the edges are and mark those as well. If you have a tile shower, you’ll need to do this above the edge of the tile. Using a level, extend these marks down to where you will be positioning the grab bar, and place masking tape along the sides to indicate this.
Hold the bar that you will be installing over the masking tape and mark the places you will be drilling holes; you’ll probably need three screw holes for each mounting flange, though only two of them will most likely fit on the stud. Then, you’re ready to drill using a ⅛ in. glass-and-tile bit, starting with the mark at the center of the stud. If your drill goes through solid wood, you’ll know you’re on the right track and can keep going.
2. Fasten the grab bar.
You are now ready to proceed with actually installing the bar! A plastic anchor can make up for the screw hole that does not fit on the stud. Then, caulk each mounting flange for extra security when drilling. Finally, firmly fasten the grab bar into the holes you drilled previously with stainless steel screws.
3. Test it out.
Before you’re ready to call it a day, make sure to pull on the grab bar and check that it is secure. Don’t hold back, as you’ll want to make sure that the bar will stay in the wall even with the strongest pressure exerted on it (for example, from someone falling). If it holds up, you can congratulate yourself on a job well done!