Tuesday, December 29, 2015

How to Handle Ice, Snow and Winter with Limited Mobility

The ice and snow can make getting around difficult for people who rely on mobility assistance. If you use a cane or wheelchair to get from place to place, then you are familiar with the many challenges that exist when it comes to getting around in the winter.

While the winter does create some challenges to mobility, there are ways to get where you need to go safely. Sometimes it’s a matter of having the right equipment, and other times it’s just a matter of planning ahead to make sure that everything is done right.

Here are some ice, snow and winter safety tips we found could be helpful for elderly seniors, the handicapped or anyone with limited mobility.

Shovel in Snow

Around Your Home
It is critically important that you hire a reliable snow removal service that will plow your driveway and shovel your walks. You will also need your service to clear any access ramps and put down salt to help remove the ice. If you have wooden ramps, be sure to ask your removal service to use a substance that does not damage the wood.

Install rubber mats on your stairs and access ramps to give you traction during bad weather. You can either install these permanently, or you can lay them down on your walkways or access ramps when needed. Be sure that your outdoor railings are clear of snow, and never utilize your outdoor railings without wearing your gloves.

Using Your Wheelchair or Scooter
If you live in an area where it snows during the winter, then be sure to get a heavier wheelchair or scooter to make navigating the snow easier. The lighter and less expensive devices are unable to handle the snow, and they will cause more problems than they will solve.

Approach icy conditions very slowly, and always have some sort of contingency plan in case you get stuck. The best contingency plan is to have someone you can call who will come free you from your snow bank. Make sure to bundle up in case you have to wait for help.

Driving in the Winter
People with mobility issues can find getting stuck in the snow while driving to be much more problematic than the rest of the year. It is often difficult for disabled people to leave their vehicles, and this can lead to the possibility of being stranded for a very long time. If you do have to go anywhere during the winter, try to get someone to drive for you to help reduce the possibility that you could get stuck.

Canes, Crutches and Walking Sticks
If you use a cane or walking stick to get around, then try to get one that has a broader base to it. Canes that can stand on their own have a four-post base, which can be extremely convenient in bad weather. You should also consider getting a tip for your cane or walking stick that is rubber and outfitted with vinyl spikes. This is the same for crutches as well, which will make it much easier to walk in the snow and ice.

People with limited mobility have to make special cold weather preparations during the winter to prevent getting stuck or experiencing some other type of issue. With a little planning, you can make sure that your limited mobility does not prevent you from doing what you have to do this winter.

Friday, December 11, 2015

5 Great Initiatives for National COPD Month

November was National COPD Awareness Month. Today an estimated 210+ million people suffer from COPD, and the number of people with this disease is increasing. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease can refer to several progressive lung diseases, including emphysema, chronic bronchitis, refractory (non-reversible) asthma and some forms of bronchiectasis.

While COPD remains the third leading cause of death in the United States, today we have some of the best and brightest minds working on ways to treat and prevent COPD and ways to improve the lives of those who currently suffer from it. Thanks to the efforts and donations of groups and individuals throughout the year, and especially during National COPD Awareness Month, this research can continue. We’ve picked some of our favorite COPD Awareness Month initiatives and groups to help you learn more.

Healthy Lungs Digital Image
  1. World COPD Day:
    Organized by the Global Initiative for Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease (GOLD), World COPD Day was on November 18th this year and was a day dedicated to improving awareness and care of COPD patients around the world. GOLD provided fundraising activity ideas that individuals, groups, patients and healthcare providers could take advantage of. This year’s theme was “It’s Not Too Late” – a positive reminder that meaningful actions can be taken before and even after a COPD diagnosis.

  2. Drive4COPD:
    Since 2004, the COPD Foundation has focused on speeding up innovations and making COPD treatments both more effective and more affordable. The COPD Foundation hosts events throughout the year and provides resources to help individuals and small groups host their own local fundraisers. This year the foundation partnered with many respiratory health organizations throughout the month of November to host various online and in-person activities that allowed COPD community members to rally, inform and support one another.

  3. Learn More, Live Better:
    The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute hosted the COPD Learn More Breathe Better Campaign, which sought to increase COPD awareness, increase understanding that it is preventable and treatable and encourage people most at risk to talk to their doctor and take a simple breathing test to assess if they have or are at risk for developing COPD. Whether you’re looking for a support network or campaign materials, the NHLBI can help.

  4. The Lung Institute:
    The Lung Institute is focused on discovering and providing stem cell therapies and other forms of regenerative treatments for lung disease. This institute strives to help COPD patients breathe easier and, in November, published a series of blogs written to inform and educate readers about COPD. They’ve shown support for World COPD Day and have participated in the Twitter movement to bring awareness to the disease with #COPDAwarenessMonth.

  5. Better Breathers Club:
    Although not exclusive to November, the Better Breathers Club is worth a spot on the list. These clubs are organized through the American Lung Association to provide COPD sufferers the opportunity to meet up regularly with others who have the disease for support and daily living tips. Sharing your story and talking with others is a great way to improve both your health and mood, so if you feel alone in dealing with this disease, consider attending a Better Breathers Club meeting in your area.

Know of a local COPD event that impressed you? Let us know in the comment section!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Portable Hoyer Journey Stand Aid for Independence

Hoyer Journey Foldable and Portable Stand Aid

The Hoyer Journey, a portable lift assist unit to aid those who experience difficulty standing, is packed with a list of features that make it #1 in the industry. This includes singularly unique features such as its ability to fold up for easy transport and storage. The Journey is the only stand-aid unit out there that has this capability. It's also the first on the market to utilize an adjustable cow-horn setup, allowing it to adapt to a variety of patient sizes – small, medium and large. Weight capacity for the Journey is 340 lbs, giving caregivers a quick and easy means to accommodate just about any patient.

Lightweight, Convenient Portability

This one-of-a-kind stand aid weighs in at only 89 lbs and, being foldable, can easily be placed in a closet for storage or stowed in a vehicle for transport. This adds an incredible amount of independence to patients who might otherwise be reluctant to even leave their homes. Here's a list of other important features that make owning the Hoyer Journey so desirable for users and caregivers alike:

  • Natural, arc-lifting capability that actively encourages patient participation and reduces stress when moving either up or down
  • Low center of gravity and pivot point allow for exceptional maneuverability
  • Compact design with spreading, adjustable base legs to improve access around furniture and bathroom fixtures
  • Under-bed clearance of only 4.3"
  • Two rechargeable batteries and wall-mounted charger so one battery can be in use while the other is charging
  • 20-40 lifting cycles per charge, depending on patient weight and lift height
  • Easy lifting, even from low chairs, at the touch of a button
  • The combination of cow-horn handles and long, thickly-padded knee supports is adjustable and adaptable to accommodate a wide variety of patient heights

Smart System

Maintenance of the Hoyer Journey's power system is made simple with the inclusion of an integrated Smart Monitor that stores and provides instant access to some important performance information. This includes feedback on the number of patient lift cycles completed, the amount of work done by the unit's actuator and the number of lifts attempted in excess of the recommended working load.

The Journey works with small, medium or large standing slings, one of which is provided at no additional cost, and all three sizes of transport slings are available at an additional cost. This unit is currently being offered at 25+% below list price.