Friday, July 20, 2018

Benefits of a Companion Animal

The Importance of Companion Animals 

Most people have spent their lives around animals. They can be marvelous companions and have incredible personalities, and we’re sure you’re aware of how helpful a pet can be if you have ever had an animal as a companion. These little companions are always excited when you are and always seem to know when you are feeling down. They can also be a lot of fun when you decide to go hiking or take a walk. We can only imagine what it must feel like to visit the doctor and have him or her prescribe a companion animal. This happens often for the elderly, as sometimes the doctor feels a furry friend is the perfect solution to certain conditions. Having your own furry companion has psychological benefits like increased activity and decreased anxiety and can have an extremely positive impact on your overall health. An emotional support animal has many wonderful benefits. 

The Impact on Physical Health 

Activity is necessary no matter your age. A dog can encourage you to leave your home more often and move around. A recently published survey regarding elderly persons with companion animals showed 71 percent of participants said that when they are not feeling well physically, they feel better because of their pets. Another study, which focused on survivors of a recent heart incident, revealed the survival rates for coronary disease are higher due to animal companionship. The individuals with pets had a mortality rate a third lower than the people without an animal for companionship. The study stated heart disease takes the lives of one million people every year. This means a service animal for the elderly has the potential to save 30,000 lives every year. 

Studies have also shown that individuals living with an animal have lower cholesterol, triglycerides and blood pressure than those living without. After questioning 100 patients with Medicare, researchers found that those with an animal friend used less medicine, went to the doctor 21 percent less and recovered from illnesses and surgery faster than people without a special pet. That’s HUGE savings over a lifetime! Individuals in new nursing homes in Texas, Missouri, and New York saw their medication costs decrease from $3.80 daily to $1.80 each day because the facilities made animals an important part of the living environment. This means money and lives are saved by pets all the time, and a pet could save your life as well. 

The Impact on Mental Health 

From what we have seen, the emotional and mental benefits of having a pet may be even more obvious than the physical. One of the main psychological benefits a service animal provides is helping to eliminate loneliness. When a person lives with a companion animal, he or she never has to spend time alone. A study was conducted and determined that seniors with a pet have far fewer symptoms from psychological and physical diseases and require less medication than people living alone. 

Pets have been proven to reduce depression, as this often occurs due to loneliness. Numerous senior pet owners have stated that without the companionship of a pet such as an emotional support dog, their lives were exceptionally lonely and barren. Even the few downsides to pet ownership do not come close to the many benefits. A psychologist in New York who regularly brings her dog, a beautiful golden retriever named Sadie, to the office states she’s seen Sadie help her patients with their emotional state and memory recall. 

The Most Important Aspects of Adopting an Animal for the Elderly 

There are important considerations involved when adopting a pet for yourself, an elderly relative or a friend. The first should be the mobility of the proposed owner. It is important to know if the person can be active and leave his or her home or if there are limits to daily activities. A dog may be the perfect companion for some, while others will enjoy snuggling with a cat in bed or on the sofa. Another important concern is the age of the potential pet. Many people slow down as they age, so a senior cat or dog could be the perfect companion. There are programs focused on helping families or individuals find the right senior animal to adopt. Regardless of age, every pet owner should take the time to establish a contingency plan in case their pet requires care. One of the best recommendations we’ve heard is for the individual to keep a card on their person, in their home and in their vehicle with specific information regarding the pet. This includes the name, description, medications it might need, where the pet enjoys hiding, emergency contact information and information for the vet. 

Dog Companions 

Dogs make marvelous companions and offer relief for numerous health concerns faced by seniors. Whether you’re living on your own or in an assisted facility, and whether you’re facing physical or mental challenges, your living conditions can potentially lead to loneliness and exile. Dogs are charming, affectionate, eager and playful, and they adapt easily. The relationship between a senior and his or her dog is special. A companion dog will provide necessary companionship, love and friendship and can even be trained to complete tasks to assist the owner. 

Cat Companions 

We have always found cats to be helpful creatures. They are excellent companions for seniors with limited mobility. They are independent, people oriented and entertaining to watch, and they enjoy playing. Both male and female cats tend to be affectionate and provide a lot of adoration. They also have a lot of curiosity regarding their surroundings and love climbing onto their person’s lap to receive both affection and time. 

Bird Companions 

We adore little birds like canaries and zebra finches; they’re both colorful and sweet. They also make excellent companions for seniors living on their own who want a little more noise in the house. Their chirps are soothing and pleasing to listen to. We can imagine relaxing on the sofa and watching them play in their cages. Birds provide seniors with the ability to teach, talk to and nurture little friends. 

Fish Companions 

Fish, with their beautiful colors and smooth swimming motions, help seniors relax. Fish are an excellent pet to help relieve stress, which is accomplished just by watching them swim around an aquarium or a fishbowl. This is why so many hospitals and offices make certain they provide an aquarium in their waiting rooms. The fish are simply soothing. 

There are always considerations to address when bringing a new animal into a home. Examples include keeping the food bowl for the animal within easy reach and reliable transportation to the vet for anyone who does not drive. A companion animal offers incredible benefits regardless of which stage of life you’re in. When a senior has a sweet animal as a companion, he or she is generally both healthier and happier. Animals are amazingly capable of providing all the love, companionship and attention anyone could ever want. We like to think we help our animals as much as they help us. We think the question here is who exactly is rescuing who?

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

5 Summer Safety Tips for the Elderly

Summertime is finally here! Putting the happy times and sunshine aside- you know what that means? It means that the extreme heat weather and sun can pose a risk to your health, especially to elders. There are many different ways that summer heat can negatively affect our bodies and cause it to have reactions such as dizziness, headaches, fainting, dehydration and much more.

Here are 5 summer safety tips to help you enjoy summer to the fullest:

Stay hydrated. 

With the soaring heat temperatures, our bodies naturally tend to lose more fluid through sweat and perspiration. This means that we have to keep our bodies hydrated even more than the usual and not wait until we are feeling thirsty to drink from a water bottle. We should be hydrating our body constantly. 

Drinking the amount of water your body needs throughout the day as well as eating foods that carry a lot of water, such as strawberries and watermelon, are great ways to keep yourself hydrated. If you have a headache, dry mouth or start to feel constipated then these are good indicators that you probably need to step up your hydration game. 

Another good way to measure your hydration level is by monitoring the color of your urine - pale urine usually indicates a good level of hydration whereas darker urine typically means that your body needs more fluids.

Protect your skin. 

You can get your daily dose of Vitamin D and be safe about it too. Experts state that sunbathing and tanning can have a lot of benefits if it’s done moderately and safely. Too much exposure to the sunlight can not only put one at risk for cancer but also cause premature aging of the skin.  

Applying  sunscreen is an excellent way to protect your skin against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. When it comes to using sunscreen lotion versus spray, experts tend to recommend the former. Even though both might contain the same ingredients, lotions tend to be slightly more hydrating and reduce the chance of streaks. According to OSHA, using an SPF (sun protection factor) of at least 15 blocks will block away 93% of UV rays. Also, keep in mind that you have to apply sun protector lotion at least 15-30 min prior to your outing. 

Wear the right clothing.

Tackle the summer heat safely by wearing the appropriate clothing and accessories. When choosing what tops to wear, experts suggest to wear clothing that is tightly-woven in order to block out as much light as possible. A good way to test this out is by sliding your hand behind the fabric and if you are able to see your hand through it then this means that the attire probably offers little to no protection. 

A very cliche yet must-have accessory for the summer is a pair of sunglasses. The sun’s UV rays can not only affect the skin but also your eyes. If you are going to wear sunglasses, make sure they contain protection for both UVA and UVB rays. 

Another great accessory to carry with you at all times is a hat. Instead of using a regular baseball cap, go for a wide-brim hat in order to provide more protection and care for your neck, ears, eyes, forehead, nose and scalp. 

Apply bug spray. 

“There’s a bug spray out there for everyone,” said dermatologist Marie Leger, M.D. Nothing is more inviting to mosquitos, insects and bugs than the summer time. Enjoy spending time outdoors this summer without having to worry about mosquitoes preying on you by applying bug spray or lotion. 

According to experts, most spray repellents tend to work better than lotion repellents because they can last longer and be easier to apply. In addition, with a single spray, you can probably protect yourself as well as the surrounding area around you. If you don’t like the chemicals that a generic brand of insect repellent might carry, there are always natural options you can try such as lemon eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil and more.

Be cautious about outdoor time.

Spending time outdoors during the summer is almost unavoidable. However, there are definitely times during the day that you could avoid being outside. Experts recommend to avoid spending time outdoors during the sun’s peak hours, which are between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. standard time or 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. daylight savings time. Planning activities in the early morning or late afternoon can help reduce exposure to the sun’s UV light by almost 60%. A good way to determine if the sun’s UV light is going to be intense is by monitoring your local and daily UV index forecasts. 

We would love to hear from you! Please let us know in the comments below if you have other tips about how to stay safe from the scorching heat during the summer time.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

6 Instagrammers with Disabilities You Should Be Following

Sure - there are plenty of times when using social media, particularly Instagram, can be emotionally bad for you. Spending too much time browsing at perfected and manufactured Instagram accounts can definitely hurt anybody’s ego. However, there are also times when social media can help you work through a negative or painful situation in life - at the very least to distract you from whatever problems you are facing in life or give you that little extra kick of inspiration that you need to pull through the week.

With that said, here are 6 Instagrammers with disabilities you should be following:

The Wheelchair Explorer -

If you’ve been wanderlusting or simply needing a bit of inspiration for your next travel then @thewheelchairexplorer is the perfect account to check out! The creator of this account definitely takes you on a journey with him via every single post.

Gem Turner -

Nothing will inspire you more than glancing over at @gem_turner. They say positivity is contagious and we can definitely attest to that with her content! Her positive approach to daily living will make your heart smile. 

Max Gretschmann -

For all the fitness and outdoor enthusiasts out there, @maxgretschmann is just the account for you! Glancing at his content will definitely make you want to get out of your apartment and go for an adventure. He really proves that anything is possible when you set your mind to it. 

Leonie - 

@arollinggirlsworld is definitely the profile you want to check out to get your daily dose of wanderlust. If you’re like us and never not thinking about pretty places then this account will surely give you life.

Sophie Bradbury-Cox -

Perfect for that daily dose of inspiration, @fashionbellee displays content from everyday lifestyle and living to food to fashion and more. This happy and vibrant content is sure to bring a smile to your face on any day. 

From Sarah Alex - 

Get your fix of inspiration for all things pretty from @fromsarahlex! Her account definitely proves that nothing is truly ordinary and that every moment can be transformed into art.

Hopefully these Instagram accounts gave you as much life as they gave us. Glancing at positive and heart-warming Instagram accounts like these are sure to transform any bad day into a better one. We would love to hear from you! Please let us know in the comments below if you have any Instagram accounts that truly inspire and motivate you. 

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Product Spotlight: Merits Yoga Folding Scooter

Do you consider yourself an active person? Do you find yourself needing mobility assistance whenever you make day trips like going to the mall or grocery store? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then you might like what we’re about to say next. Meet our Merits Yoga Folding Scooter S542, the ultimate lightweight travel scooter! Being one of our most affordable and easy-to-carry mobility scooters, it is the perfect option for people that carry an active lifestyle and enjoy being outdoors.

Merits Yoga Folding Scooter S542 - - mobility scooter
This yoga scooter has a unique folding design for easy transport and storage, in just three easy steps it can be completely folded and rolled around in its own wheels. The reason why it is super easy to transport and carry around is because it is made from strong yet lightweight alloy aluminum frame. Another feature we love about this lightweight travel scooter is that it’s powered by a lithium-Ion battery and has a driving range of 11-12 miles, able to cruise along at speeds up to 4 mph. Don’t let the simplicity of this mobility scooter fool you- while it is a simple and foldable scooter, it also includes flip-back armrests, twin front wheels with spring suspension and a convenient 4-amp off-board battery charger.

If you’re going to be traveling around the world, the Merits Yoga Folding Scooter can be carried inside a carry on case! Perhaps now you understand why it is one of our favorite portable mobility scooters. If you’ve used it before and want to mention why you love it or want to know more about it, please leave us a comment below. We would love to hear from  you!

Monday, March 19, 2018

5 Tips for Traveling with Disabilities

The sun is up! With spring being only a couple of days away, finally the cold and long winter days are about to be over. That also means that traveling season is about to take its peak. If you are planning to travel, foreign or domestic, then you probably know how hectic preparing for your trip can be - especially if you have a disability.

Here are 5 tips for traveling with disabilities that will make your life better:

Do your research. Before booking your plane ticket or accommodations for your trip, make sure you spend some time researching about your destination and where you will be spending most of the time. For example, find out if your hotel or lodging provides special needs equipment, such as wheelchairs, mobility scooters, crutches, etc. If you are traveling abroad, then make sure you research information about the foreign country’s policy on medication, service animals, and more. It might also be a good idea to locate and map out hospitals and doctors nearest to where you will be.

Plan Ahead. After conducting sufficient research, make sure you buy all the necessary items and plan for your trip accordingly. For example, if you use an electric scooter and are traveling out of the country, then make sure you pack the appropriate travel adapters for all of your plugs. If you are taking your own medical equipment, plan the logistics of how you will be carrying it to your destination way ahead of time so that you can enjoy your trip to the fullest. If you know that you are going to be engaging in a lot of tourist activities, make sure to plan your day accordingly (including train routes or subway stations) and determine if they are wheelchair or scooter friendly.

Have a second plan. It’s better to be safe than sorry! Don’t worry about packing too much when it comes to caring for your medical needs. If you can, make sure you pack an extra travel adapter or important tools for your wheelchair. In addition to that, always have a second plan in mind and travel with someone you trust and that will be able to know how to help you if something does go wrong.

Make use of resources. There are a lot of resources when it comes to finding information regarding traveling tips and particular destination information. Before you leave, make sure you visit the department of state’s traveling site to check your destination travel information and determine if there are any special notices or bans to several countries. Watching the news and learning about your destination’s current events and weather conditions prior to your trip is also a good idea. In addition to using official media outlets, you might also want to check out blog sites, mobile apps, transportation databases, hotlines, and other types of platforms to make sure you stay well informed all around.

Pack good. Every good traveler knows that traveling lightly is the best way to go. If you have a disability and are required to travel with medical equipment, organizing your items might help you travel a little lighter and determine which things you actually need to take with you on your trip. Making a list of only the items that you need can go along away in making sure that you pack only the necessary items.

Above all else, remember to have fun! We hope these five tips for traveling with disabilities are useful to you. We want to hear from you, let us know how you prepare for traveling in the comments below:

Monday, February 12, 2018

Best Date Ideas for Wheelchair Users

Is L-O-V-E really all that you can give on the most romantic day of the year? How about surprising that special someone with the most incredible date ever! As a wheelchair user, we know that it can be frustrating planning dates as not every place is comfortable or accessible for wheelchair users. Plus, if your date is not a wheelchair user, it can be even more challenging finding an activity that will be enjoyable yet comfortable for the both of you.

Here below we have listed the best date ideas for wheelchair users so that you can have the perfect Valentine’s Day with that special someone:

Coffee & Stroll. Picking up coffee and pastries from your favorite local spot and enjoying them over a beautiful day stroll- (or better yet, wheelchair roll) through a nice park could make a great date for Valentine’s Day! Not only will it give you the space and opportunity to actually learn more about your date but also help with a little bit of exercise!

Love a la Michelangelo. Invite your date to your city’s top art museum and admire some of the greatest art pieces in the world. Museum visits tend to be pretty long and this can be the perfect way to elongate the time spent with your date. Plus, a lot of times museums will feature special exhibits and shows that you won’t want to miss!

Vegas, Baby! Book a trip to the entertainment capital of the world- Las Vegas! Surprising your significant other with a trip to Vegas and spending time at different casinos could make one of the best Valentine’s date ever. Most casinos carry a wide variety of entertainment, from gambling to live music concerts to shows, therefore having a casino date night could be a lot of fun and comfortable for the both of you.

Kayak. If you’re an outdoors person and nature lover then kayaking could be one of the best date ideas for Valentine’s Day! Not only will it give you a chance to show off your skills but it could also be very romantic as you paddle on through beautiful scenery- maybe even take a bottle of wine with you!

Comedy club. There’s no better way to break the ice (especially if it is a first date) than with laughter! Booking seats at your nearest comedy club for you and your date on Valentine’s Day could be extremely fun and accessible place for wheelchair users (plus you will be able to determine whether they have a sense of humor or not).

Movies. While going to the movies might be a bit of a cliche, it can also be a very intimate experience. Envision watching a great film, while eating popcorn and sitting closely next to the person you like. Two tickets, please! Also, most theaters now have leather seats, making it one of the most comfortable, accessible and fun date ideas (especially for wheelchair users).

We hope that you find inspiration from our list above and that you have the best date this Valentine’s Day! Please let us know in the comments below if you have any other recommendations for great date spots for wheelchair users, we’d love to hear from you.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Here's What You Should Clean on Your Wheelchair

If you’re a wheelchair owner, then you know that from time to time, wheelchairs can get dirty- really dirty. When this happens, it’s incredibly easy for filth and bacteria to build up, which can then damage your medical device or cause smelly odors. This is why it’s important to regularly clean your wheelchair. The frequency to which you clean your wheelchair entirely depends on how often you use it. However, we recommend doing it every other day or so. Often times, just wiping down the seat might be helpful in preventing excessive buildup of dust or dirt.

In addition, you should also be closely monitoring your wheelchair for spills. Normally,
most spills on wheelchairs can be cleaned easily. However, not every spill is the same,
and some liquids can cause odors if they aren’t cleaned properly. For example, milk can
leave a nasty spill if you don’t clean it correctly. A good way to avoid spills from
happening in the first place, is by pushing your wheelchair under the table when you’re
eating or drinking.

Here below, we have listed wheelchair areas that accumulate the most dirt and that you
should definitely be cleaning:

Wheelchair Wheels

If you use your wheelchair outdoors, there’s no doubt that it’s going to get dirty. However, even if you use it indoors, it can still get dirty simply from regular use. Fortunately, your easy cleaning solution is going to be: bicycle tire cleaner. You can also purchase wheel covers for your wheelchair to use indoors. If your budget allows, we suggest you buy two wheelchairs- one for indoors and another one for outdoors. Also, wiping down your wheelchair's  wheels before going indoors may help prevent you from tracking dirt in your home. 

Wheelchair Cushion

If you use your wheelchair a lot, you’re going to notice your cushion getting stained,
filthy or smelly. Odors can easily build up from sweat and spills if the cushions aren’t
cleaned on a daily basis. An easy way to clean your wheelchair cushion is by pouring
vinegar and baking soda into a cleaning towel and wiping the surface of the cushion
with it. Try to avoid cleaning your wheelchair cushion with bleach because it can stain it.
We suggest cleaning your wheelchair’s cushion at the end of your day or when you’re
about to go to bed so that it can dry properly and be used the next day. We would also
suggest making an investment in waterproof cushions to absorb moisture and spills!

Brakes and Locks

Another easy place for dirt and debri to get stuck on is on your brakes and locks, which
can prevent them from working properly. If you have a wheelchair, the last thing you
want is to have problems with your brakes and locks! This is why we recommend
cleaning your wheelchair’s brakes and locks regularly. A good way to clean these is with
a basic cleaning solution, such as a multi-purpose cleaner that can be applied on all
types of surfaces. Please note that it’s important to check for this in order to avoid your
tires from staying sticky.

Lastly, another way to keep your wheelchair in great working condition is by checking
for any loose parts that might need replacement.We hope you find these tips helpful in keeping your wheelchair shining and performing at its optimum! It’s crucial that your wheelchair gets cleaned on a regular basis. When left untouched, your wheelchair can deteriorate and even lead to a potential injury.

We would love to hear from you! Please let us know in the comments below if you have
any other tips you would like to share with us.