Friday, September 22, 2017

Product Spotlight: Invacare 3-Position Deluxe Geri-Chair Recliner

Invacare Deluxe 3-position wheelchair recliner
If you require a wheelchair to get around, you understand the importance of independence and self-reliance. However, you also understand how uncomfortable a conventional wheelchair can be. Because wheelchairs have such a limited range of configurations for comfort, a sore back or stiff nick is an unfortunate yet all too common experience for users. No wheelchair should sacrifice your comfort and enjoyment for ease of mobility.
Enter Invacare with their new three-position recliner, The Deluxe Geri-Chair.


Benefits of the Invacare Deluxe Recliner
More than a simple wheelchair, this product has been specifically designed with the comfort and independence of the user in mind. The ergonomically designed soft seating supports your back and relieves the discomfort associated with sitting upright in a wheelchair for an extended period of time. Further, the three available configurations—sitting, elevated leg, and full recline—are easy to attain for the user without requiring any outside help. Gone are the days of having to ask a friend or loved one to assist you in getting comfortable in your chair.

Along with comfort, Invacare has also taken every step to ensure the safety of the user as well as the longevity of the device itself. Whether it is the fire retardant materials used to build the chair, the rust resistant metal, or the woven padding to reduce the chance of bottoming out, this chair is an investment in both your comfort and safety. Paired with a three year warranty for the chair and a one year warranty for the upholstery and gas cylinders, this is also sure to be an investment that will last for many years to come.

Unlike many conventional wheelchairs, the Invacare recliner is semi-customizable! This chair is available in three different colors—Blueridge, Jade, and Rosewood. Whether you prefer blues, greens or reds, Invacare provides a way for you to show off your personal style with your mobility device.

So whether you are looking to replace your day-to-day wheelchair or are simply looking for a more comfortable seated experience at home, Invacare is here to address your mobility needs. Because at the end of the day, we all know that it’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey, and if your wheelchair prevents you from fully enjoying the independence of that journey, then it isn’t really worth the trouble.

Have you used the Invacare Deluxe Geri-Chair Recliner? Tell us how you liked it in the comments!




Friday, August 25, 2017

5 Easy Summer Workouts for People with Limited Mobility


Living with the challenges of limited mobility, especially if you’re wheelchair bound for most of the day, can easily take a toll on your mental health. Your physical condition may have caused you to give up some of the activities or a certain lifestyle you once enjoyed, and you may therefore find yourself spending more and more time indoors. But don’t let your age, injury or disability hinder you from embracing every ounce of opportunity for happiness in your life!

Soaking up at least a little bit of sunshine each day can provide major mood-lifting benefits, since sunlight exposure boosts serotonin in the brain. So for the rest of this summer, try some of these 5 workouts for wheelchair users and people with limited mobility outdoors!

 1.  Aqua Jogging
Water exercises are highly recommended for those with limited mobility,because water’s buoyancy supports the body and its natural resistance offers a gentle workout without causing too much strain on your joints and muscles. One of the simpler water exercises is aqua jogging or pool walking; just walk back and forth in the shallow end of the pool to boost your cardio. Try walking faster over time or adding some light hand or foot weights to the workout to increase resistance and build strength.
If you’re having trouble standing in the pool, you can move closer to knee-deep water and walk or crawl with your hands. This should release more of the weight off your legs. For those with disabilities, you will want to spend some time practicing moving from the wheelchair to the pool, which is made easier with the use of a swimming pool lift

2.    Yoga 

Don’t be too quick to call us crazy on this one! Yoga doesn’t always have to involve jaw-dropping body contortions. It can relieve a lot of the stiffness and discomfort caused by limited mobility, while offering other benefits like improved flexibility, increased strength and improved mental wellness.

Quite a few yoga moves can actually be done without even leaving your wheelchair. Cat and cow pose will stretch your back and open up your chest; a side stretch is great for your obliques and lats; and forward bend stretches out your lower back, hips and hamstrings. You can check out these wheelchair yoga moves here. Take it a step further and move your practice outside to drink up some sunshine at the same time!

3.    Wheelchair Hiking

While avoiding rough and difficult trails is a given, hiking the great outdoors is 100% possible and encouraged even with limited mobility. Research and get more information from the State and Federal parks around you; most of them should be able to show you all the trails that are fully ADA-accessible and the type of terrain you can expect. Make sure to take a friend or go in a group for added safety and good conversation!

4.    Wheelchair Sports

If wheelchair bound exercises that require more than one person are more your speed, consider joining a wheelchair sports team in your local area. These days, almost every popular sport, including basketball, tennis and badminton, has been adapted with rules and regulations specifically fit for those with mobility issues. Adaptive sports not only help you stay physically fit in an interactive environment but also alleviate anxiety and depression, build self-esteem and gain new friendships.

If wheelchair bound exercises that require more than one person are more your speed, consider joining a wheelchair sports team in your local area. These days, almost every popular sport, including basketball, tennis and badminton, has been adapted with rules and regulations specifically fit for those with mobility issues. Adaptive sports not only help you stay physically fit in an interactive environment but also alleviate anxiety and depression, build self-esteem and gain new friendships.

5.    Travel 

This last one isn’t really a workout, but it’s a summer activity that can’t be ignored. Just because you’re confined to a wheelchair doesn’t mean you’re confined to limited experiences. Feed your adventurous soul and see the world! Yes, it will take more research and preparation for you than most, but it’s well worth it to cross even just a few things off your bucket list.

For more detailed posts about traveling with limited mobility, check out some of our previous blog posts: “Air Travel Tips for Wheelchair Users” and “6 Unforgettable Wheelchair-Accessible Destinations Around the World.”

Keep in mind that most of these activities are cardio related, but you can easily take resistance bands and dumbbells outdoors to increase your strength and resistance training while enjoying the sunshine! Don’t see any of your favorite wheelchair summer activities on our list? Share yours in the comments below!




Thursday, July 27, 2017

Product Spotlight: Top End Excelerator XLT Hand Cycle


Summer is undeniably one of the best times to spend your days outside. Unfortunately, many people with limited mobility find themselves cooped up in their homes as their friends and family unwind in the warm, sunny weather, uninhibited by a wheelchair or other medical support devices. Luckily for you, the Invacare Top End Excelerator XLT Hand Cycle gives you the ability to enjoy the great outdoors like never before!  Expertly designed with a 6061 T-6 oval tube aluminum frame, adjustable height, seat position and footrest crank system and top-grade safety straps, the Top End Excelerator XLT Hand Cycle is unlike any other model on the market.

Weighing only 35 pounds, this specially engineered wheelchair is perfect for those who like to explore. Whether you’re speeding down a lengthy trail or taking a relaxing stroll through a forest path, this wheelchair will allow you to experience all the wonders the natural world has in store without having to be encumbered by a rickety, troublesome wheelchair. Featuring thick 26” x 1” high-pressure clincher tires, the Top End Excelerator XLT cycle is extremely durable and is capable of withstanding a variety of outdoor terrains. From pebbly beaches to rocky roads, you are able to travel safely with ease wherever your travels may take you! 

The XLT wheelchair also includes a reverse activated drum and locking parking brake, which is mounted on the right side of the seat frame. This brake allows users to stop anywhere and enjoy the scenic views around them! This model also reaches speeds up to 20 mph and has an impressive turning radius, making maneuvering the cycle a much simpler task. The XLT hand cycle allows for 18’ for 360-degree turns and 12’ for 3-point turns. With such a wide range of mobility, going on thrilling adventures in a hand cycle has never been easier. Gone are the days of worrying whether or not your wheelchair will get in the way of your summertime adventures. Boasting innovative, top-of-the-line technologies, the Top End Excelerator hand cycle is perfect for those who enjoy the thrill of adventurous travel but still want to remain safe and secure while doing so.

Sit in a comfortable recumbent position as you ride alongside your friends and family, and experience the summer as it should be: by having fun in the sun! If you are looking for a great way to exercise, cross-train or simply have fun, the Top End Excelerator XLT is the hand cycle for you! 

Monday, June 26, 2017

6 Unforgettable Wheelchair-Accessible Destinations Around the World

Traveling the world opens doors to different cultures, new experiences, and most importantly—fun! We firmly believe that travel should be enjoyed by everyone—no matter what their age or level of mobility. This notion makes the access to accommodating travel information more vital than ever. As travel begins to become one of the world’s biggest industries, tour groups and other popular vacation destinations are becoming more conscious of those who suffer from limited mobility. Don’t let inaccessible travel destinations and attractions get you down. Instead, start packing your bags and consider heading to one of the wheelchair accessible destinations listed below! 

Playa del Carmen in Mexico / travelyucatan.com

1. Playa del Carmen, Mexico

Just an hour away from Cancun International Airport lays Playa Del Carmen, a beautiful ocean-side town that boasts relaxing beaches, beautiful vistas, and exceptional Mexican food! The town is full of accessible hotels and beaches, making it an ideal vacation spot for beach bums and adventure seeks alike! All major tourist destinations in Playa Del Carmen are conveniently located in walking distance of each other, which means you won’t have to worry about taking long hauls from the beach to your hotel room! Many resorts and businesses in this destination offer adaptive swimming equipment for wheelchair users. They can go snorkeling and check out all the indigenous sea life without missing out! The main attraction, however, is the wheelchair accessible Mayan ruins of Chichén Itzá and Tulum. These ruins give visitors a rare chance to get close up the monuments and ornate structures that date thousands of years back! 

Sicily, Italy - onebigphoto.com


2. Sicily, Italy

Italy may not be the first vacation destination that comes to mind when thinking about wheelchair-accessible travel, but the city is actually perfect for those with limited mobility and adventure seekers alike! Sicily is home to a tactile museum and Europe’s only sensorial botanic garden, making it an exciting and engaging destination for those with disabilities! Looking for more of an adventure? No worries! The city also features Europe’s largest active volcano, Mount Etna, which is partially accessible to those in wheelchairs. Enjoy scenic views, take in Italy’s vibrant culture and taste traditional European cuisine as you experience a truly unforgettable Italian getaway! 

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia - Australia.com
3. Melbourne, Australia

Pack your bags for an exciting trip “down under!” Full of sprawling beaches, beautiful downtown views and a bunch of tourist attractions, Melbourne, Australia boasts one of the most accommodating and accessible public transport systems in the entire world. Melbourne features a compact city center that makes travel extremely easy for those with disabilities. Seeking an adventure like no other? Try floating 2500 feet above the city’s skyline with Global Ballooning’s disability-friendly hot air balloon rides. You can also explore a wide selection of wheelchair-friendly restaurants, scenic beaches, zoos and tourist hot-spots. Melbourne has something for everyone and is a destination you won’t soon forget! 

San Diego Harbor - hilton.com


4. San Diego, California
California is packed with gorgeous beaches, beautiful boardwalks and exciting night life activities. San Diego is no exception and is widely considered one of the most accessible cities in California! The city itself is laid out in a classic grid system. It’s flat and has a fully-accessible trolley system that runs through all parts of the city. Ocean lovers are able to enjoy a variety of wheelchair accessible beaches, such as La Jolla Shores, Pacific Beach, Mission Beach and Ocean Beach! All of the beaches listed are specially designed to cover sand and harsh terrain that impede wheelchair mobility. Traveling with kids? In less than an hour, you can take a trip up north to Legoland, a Lego-themed amusement park in Carlsbad, CA. This park is completely wheelchair accessible and an excellent choice for children or those who are young at heart!

5. San Antonio, Texas 

The Alamo in San Antonio - history.com
San Antonio is perhaps Texas' most historic city. Featuring the Alamo and the equally famous River Walk, San Antonio has made its way into the hearts of tourists both within Texas and across the country. Even sidewalks and wheelchair accessible buildings make this city a must-see for all people with limited mobility. This Texan city is especially a favorite among children, as it features Morgan’s Wonderland, a 25-acre theme park that was specially designed for those with special-needs and physical handicaps. The park offers more than 30 accessible rides, a music garden and a sensory village, making it unlike any other amusement park in the country. The park is also currently in the midst of constructing an accessible water park, which is expected to open this year! 


Sunset in Vienna, Austrial - lonelyplanet.com


6. Vienna, Austria

Steeped in rich history and widely recognized for its amazing architecture, Vienna is a city that has become an epicenter of European culture. Unlike many of its urban counterparts, Vienna’s cobblestone streets have been removed and completely refurbished, making travel tremendously easier for those in wheelchairs. The city is both flat and compact, making most central shops and cafés fully accessible for all tourists. Getting around the city is also fairly simple. There are several working elevators that go to the metro and the subway itself consists of low floor trams.

Love history? It’s nearly impossible to visit Vienna without going to one of their world-renowned museums. Luckily for you, nearly all museums and tourist hot spots are equipped with ramps and elevators!

Never let your wheelchair get in between you and amazing travel opportunities! The world is your oyster. Travel to faraway lands and open doors to new experiences that will stay with you for a lifetime! Did we forget to mention your favorite wheelchair-friendly tourist destination? Share your go-to vacation spot in the comments section below! 

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Recommended Cleaning Procedures for your Manual or Electric Wheelchair

Elderly woman in wheelchair

You spend practically all day in your wheelchair, which is why maintaining proper cleaning procedures is crucial to its overall care. Whether you drive a manual or electric wheelchair or scooter, making sure to disinfect its surfaces and wheels can greatly lengthen its lifetime. While it may not seem like it, dirt and grime can greatly affect the efficiency of your chair or scooter’s wheels and brakes, so it is important that you wipe down its frame often depending on how often the wheelchair or scooter is used. While cleaning your wheelchair may seem like a long and burdensome task, it is actually quite easy and typically takes only a few minutes! In this blog, we will go over how to clean a wheelchair and keep it in prime condition!

All you need to effectively clean your chair is a washcloth or rag and a nonabrasive cleaner. Keep in mind that wax-based cleaners are usually more effective because it makes the metal parts shinier and more resistant to scratches or other superficial damages. Do not use abrasive cleaners like furniture polishes. These cleaners can wear down the wheelchair cushions and can harden the frames or footrests, making them more prone to dirt and grime accumulation.

Cleaning a Manual (Non-Electric Wheelchair)

The vast majority of those with disabilities use manual wheelchairs, which are simply wheelchairs that do not run on electricity. Maintaining these chairs is typically easier than electric equipment because you do not need to worry about damaging cords or other digital components. The best place to start cleaning is the wheels. If you use your wheelchair outdoors, it is likely that dirt, mud, or even leaves build up in the spokes and crevices of the wheels. This buildup can affect the riding capability of the chair and make it much harder to get the proper traction. To clean the wheels, simply take a rag and a nonabrasive cleaner or soap and gently scrub away at any dirt on the wheels. If there is dirt in the small crevices of the wheels, you can use a cleaning brush to gently dig in and release any built up dirt easily. Once the wheels are squeaky clean, you can move on to the chair’s base and metal components.

During this part, take a clean rag or cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner and wipe down all surfaces of the metal. As aforementioned, wipe down these parts gently and be careful not to scratch the metal surfaces. Also, be sure to focus cleaning around any bolts or screws—the accumulation of dirt around these areas can make future repairs much more difficult. You will instantly notice the difference your cleaning has made and your wheelchair will begin shining as if it were brand new!

Next, focus your attention on the chair’s footrests. These areas are prone to grime because they are regularly exposed to the bottoms of your shoes. Use nonabrasive cleaner or mild disinfectant spray to wipe away any grime that may have built up over time.

Finally, it is time to clean the seat and cushion! Wheelchair cushions and seats often get an odor after periods of extended use even if there were no spills on the chair itself. Both mild and severe odors can build up from sweating or spilt food and drinks if the wheelchair cushion is not properly maintained. Keep in mind that chairs featuring waterproof cushions are much more likely to develop odors due to their ability to absorb moisture and liquids. The end of the day is the best time to clean a chair’s cushion, for this is when the user is typically finished with the wheelchair and you can be sure there is enough time for it to dry out completely. Cleaning is a cinch and can be done in a few seconds or minutes. Simply take the wash cloth and once again cover the surface with the same cleaner or soap and water solution. Scrub the cushion cautiously being sure to avoid causing rips or tears. Be sure to give the cushion time to dry before using it again—no one wants to sit on a wet seat! 

Cleaning a Power Chair (Electric Wheelchair/Scooter)

You generally use the same methods practiced with cleaning a manual wheelchair in cleaning a power chair or scooter, but extra care must be taken to prevent any damage to its electrical components, including its battery or power outlets. Begin by removing any protective cover shielding the battery and then remove the battery itself to avoid any possible damage from cleaning solutions or water. Blow or gently wipe away any collected dust from the hard-to-reach areas near the battery and any other crevices on the wheelchair’s base. Similarly to manual chair care, use a cloth and a nonabrasive cleaner to spray and wipe down the wheels and spokes. Again, be sure to clean away any build-up that may impede the chair’s mobility functions. Spray the remaining metal surfaces with the same cleaner and cloth, being sure to avoid any electrical areas or scratching the paint. Once done, move on to the footrests and follow the same steps. Next, use a small bristled cleaning brush (or toothbrush) to scrub the joystick area. Either vacuum or spray the seat cushion thoroughly. If the chair has a vinyl cushion, consider hand washing it with a mild dish detergent and warm water. If the seat cushion is made of leather, try spraying a mixture of three-quarters vinegar, one-quarter water onto its surface and wipe thoroughly with a cloth. An optional step that may preserve the appearance of your chair for an extended time is applying a thin layer of nonabrasive wax to the power chair’s paint. This will achieve a long-lasting shine that will keep your chair looking brand new!

Whether you have a manual or electric wheelchair, maintaining the proper cleaning care is extremely important in ensuring it stays in optimal working condition for a long time. Being diligent about wheelchair cleaning can make your experience with your chair more pleasurable and can prevent future problems—both technical and mechanical—from occurring. Have your own wheelchair care methods? Share your knowledge in the comments section below!







Monday, April 24, 2017

Understanding the Difference Between a Mental Illness and Dementia



Did you know that there is an estimated 43.8 million adults in the United States that suffer from mental illnesses and about 9.8 million with a serious mental condition? From psychotic disorders to anxiety, mental illness has the potential to affect anyone and it is becoming more common as health professionals improve their understanding of a myriad of different disorders.

Since 1949, May has been known as Mental Health Month. It’s a time when people from all across the country band together to spread awareness for mental illness. Introduced by the national organization Mental Health America, Mental Health Month is about providing support and educating the public on how mental health affects people, how others can prevent stigmas from growing and how to advocate for better care. At Preferred Health Choice, mental health awareness is an important cause that is dear to our hearts. Through this blog, we hope to educate people on what mental illness really is and how it differs from other cognitive impairments like dementia. First, we must understand what it means to have a mental illness.

What is mental illness?

According to Psychiatry.org, mental illness is classified as “a health condition that involves changes in thinking, emotion and/or behavior.” Many people who suffer from mental illness also have problems functioning in social, work or family situations. There is a variety of different mental illnesses, and they can take different forms. Some may be more serious than others, causing low or high levels of daily productivity. These can range from anxiety disorders and phobias to bipolar disorder and severe depression. We’ve listed the most common types of mental disorders below:

·        Anxiety and behavioral disorders
·        Eating disorders
·        Mood disorders
·        Obsessive-compulsive disorders
·        Personality disorders
·        Psychotic disorders
·        Substance abuse disorders
·        Suicidal behavior
·        Trauma and stress-related disorders

However, mental illness is treatable and an early diagnosis is crucial to alleviate symptoms and save lives.


How is dementia different?

The line between identifying dementia and mental illness can be blurry. Many people believe that dementia is a mental illness because of its effects on the brain. However, dementia is not necessarily a mental illness; it is a cognitive disorder that deteriorates memory connectors in the brain, effectively causing memory loss and trouble with communication or bodily function.

The loss of memory could prompt some erratic behavior normally associated with a mental illness like mood swings, confusion or difficulty communicating. Severe cases of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease may also cause physical changes, such as the loss of mobility.  Oftentimes, patients suffering from a later case of dementia will need a wheelchair or require home care services to help them with daily activities. Unfortunately, dementia cannot be reversed and treatment is rarely reliable. While there are medications that may improve symptoms, there is no cure or treatment that can consistently and effectively slow the progression of this illness.

Though it may be hard to see the difference between dementia and a mental illness, we hope our blog helps you recognize that they are similar, but separate conditions that deserve awareness. 

If you think you or someone you love is suffering from a mental illness or dementia, it is imperative to seek medical assistance as soon as possible. We recommend contacting your preferred health professional to discuss the next steps.


Monday, March 27, 2017

The Advantages of Long Term Care Hospital Beds for Patients and Caregivers


Whether you’re a patient or a caregiver, long term care beds can provide unparalleled comfort, safety and convenience for more than a few reasons. Using one of these beds can ultimately improve the quality of life of the patient and minimize potential physical strain for the caregiver. Before we get into the advantages of using these adjustable beds, let’s explore what these beds are and what they can do!

What are long term care beds?
Also known as nursing home beds, these beds are typically used in assisted living facilities, rehab centers, and long term care facilities, but can also be used in the privacy of one’s own home. These beds come in a variety of sizes, including larger and more durable beds for bariatric patients. Some of those beds have the ability to support up to 600 pounds.

Unlike traditional hospital beds, nursing home beds fit the needs of their patient and can be adjusted accordingly. For instance, these beds may be lowered or raised to provide personalized comfort and ease of use for caregivers.


Candidates for Long Term Care Beds
So, who would be an appropriate candidate for a long term care bed? These beds are typically used for patients with debilitating cognitive or physical conditions, which may include, but is not limited to:
  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Dementia
  • Paralysis
  • Amputation
  • Arthritis
  • Huntington’s disease
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Old age

Keep in mind, if you think yourself or a patient may benefit from using an adjustable nursing home bed, it’s important to first speak with a physician or caregiver. They can help you decide what type of bed may be most useful for your condition or ailment.

Benefits of Home Care Beds

There is a long list of benefits to having an electric nursing home bed for both patients and caregivers.  

For patients, these beds can provide optimal comfort for a variety of conditions. Because nursing home beds are ordered and sized specifically for the patient, they prove to be a cushy place to rest. When positioned up or down, these beds can facilitate healthy blood flow and improve circulation for patients with limited mobility or those who spend long periods of time in bed. These adjustable beds may also be accessorized for the patient. Whether it’s an upgraded mattress or custom handrails, long term care beds are designed to fit the safety and comfort needs of the patient completely.

Long-term care beds can help eliminate some of the physical stress for caregivers as well. These beds are typically motorized, which provides an easy way for caregivers to move patients in and out of bed or position them throughout the day. This can help minimize the amount of physical strain and “caregiver burnout.”

At Preferred Health Choice, we offer a variety of long term care bed solutions to meet all your needs. If you think that purchasing one of these beds might be the right decision for you or your patient, please take a moment to browse our selection.

Have you used any of these beds or have experience with a long term care bed? Share your thoughts in the comments!