May is National Mobility Awareness Month
National Mobility Awareness Month is an annual celebration each May in the United States and Canada. The awareness month encourages people with disabilities to embody the spirit of Life Moving Forward by raising awareness of the mobility solutions available in your community.
Millions of Americans are affected
According to the census bureau, about 56.7 million people reported some type of disability in 2010. Of these individuals, approximately 30.6 million had difficulty walking or climbing stairs or used a wheelchair, cane, crutches or a walker. In addition, roughly 9.4 million noninstitutionalized adults had difficulty with at least one activity of daily living. These activities included getting around inside the home, bathing, dressing and eating. Furthermore, approximately 5 million of them required some type of assistance with their daily activities. These numbers are only expected to rise.
There are numerous reasons one might experience limited mobility including issues such as arthritis, stroke, pulmonary or neurological diseases, injury or trauma as well as many others. Regardless of the cause, everyone seeks the same solution of how to keep moving. Fortunately, New Visions Medical Equipment, Inc. focuses on improving the lives of those with disabilities because they deserve to live, and their disability shouldn’t be a sentence.
There are many assistive devices available to help and a host of solutions to fit the unique needs of each individual.
Canes: A cane may be sufficient for individuals requiring just a little extra support with walking. However, a quad cane provides added support with a larger and steadier base, but is also somewhat bulkier than a traditional cane.
Walkers: A walker works well for someone who depends more on the equipment for safety. Both hands are utilized with a walker to offer more balance. Wheels are optional and allow the walker to glide along rather than lifting the walker to progress forward.
Rollators: A rollator is a walker with four wheels, a seat and handbrakes. This piece can be utilized instead of a walker with wheels, but the seat is a great feature allowing the user a place to sit and rest when needed. Most rollators come with some sort of basket for personal items.
Wheelchairs: Wheelchairs are available in many different models with many different features; however, a standard wheelchair is similar to what you will see in retail stores, hospitals, etc. for public use. Generally the standard type of wheelchair is available in different widths and weight capacities to allow for the body habitus, but there isn’t a lot of adjustability beyond that. These wheelchairs usually weigh somewhere around 40 pounds and can be burdensome to maneuver as well as transport. However, these are typically the least costly. They are a nice option for the individual who is not in the wheelchair all day long but rather uses it occasionally. Of course, if the standard wheelchair is not for you, there are other possibilities such as transport wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs and ultra-lightweight wheelchairs.
Power Mobility Scooters: If walking aids and manual wheelchairs are not sufficient to get you around, then the next step is a power mobility scooter. Scooters are generally available in 3- or 4-wheel models. They are operated utilizing both hands on a tiller to control steering as well as speed. Scooters typically require a larger area to maneuver and many times are not the best option inside one’s home. For this reason, most individuals choose such an item for outdoor use. A nice feature of a scooter, though, is that many of them can be taken apart and transported in a vehicle much easier than a power wheelchair.
Power wheelchairs: A power wheelchair is usually the best option for someone unable to propel themselves in a manual wheelchair throughout the home but who has the ability and cognition to operate a power wheelchair. One hand is utilized to control the speed and steering through the joystick. The joystick can be mounted on the left or right side to better suit the operator’s needs. Power wheelchairs will turn in a much tighter radius than a scooter, which makes it the better choice for most in-home users due to tight operating spaces. However, this equipment is much heavier than a scooter and does not come apart to transport in one’s vehicle as easily. As in manual wheelchairs, there are many models available ranging from basic to custom.
The vast majority of us know there are assistive devices available to help people safely ambulate such as canes and walkers. Most people are also aware that there are wheelchairs, scooters and power wheelchairs for those that are no longer able to walk or can only walk for very short distances. These are all items that are fairly accessible as long as you don’t need anything “special”. However, many do not realize that there are often times when the “standard” equipment isn’t enough as these items are not a “one-size-fits-all item”. What then?
New Visions Medical Equipment can provide you with whatever equipment it is you need, whether it is standard or custom. The possibilities are endless, but our mission is to provide you with a device that will offer you the maximum comfort level and allow you the greatest amount of independence.
When is customized equipment necessary?
Any full-time wheelchair user, whether manual or power, would most likely benefit from some customized features to ensure proper fit as well as have accessories incorporated that will offer the greatest level of independence. What does customization really mean? In reality, it means a wheelchair built specially for you and your needs with things such as armrests that can be adjusted in height for user comfort and possibly aid in transfers, a proper seat width and depth to accommodate your body habitus, a proper seat cushion to prevent skin breakdown, a back cushion to provide optimal positioning, added lateral supports for better trunk support, or whatever it is you need to help you live life to the fullest. The combinations are endless and these are just a few of the options available. So if you spend much time in a wheelchair and it is not meeting your needs, a custom wheelchair might be your answer.
ADDITIONAL MOBILITY SOLUTIONS FOR THE HOME
Of course, if you have restricted mobility, a device to get you from place to place may not be the only beneficial piece of equipment for you. Following are some of the countless options available.
Lift chairs: An ideal candidate for a lift chair is someone who may need help getting in and out of their chair on a daily basis whether due to aging, arthritis or a recent surgery that limits their mobility. And because lift chairs look and feel like regular chairs–but possess a safety mechanism that can allow them to raise or lower the chair in order to easily stand up or sit down–they provide a friendly way of regaining independence. Typically, those in need of a standard lift chair are not able to get in and out of a chair by themselves. Lift chairs come in many sizes, models and colors to fit your home décor.
Stairlifts: There’s no place that makes you more comfortable and secure than home. Stairs shouldn’t become an obstacle to that contentment. Stairlifts make it easy to once again enjoy your entire home. Whether you need a stairlift to reach an upstairs bedroom or downstairs laundry, a stairlift is a fast, easy solution.
Patient Lifts: Patient lifts are designed to lift and transfer patients who are unable to do so on their own from one place to another using a sling. These medical devices are very beneficial in reducing risk of injury to patients and caregivers when properly used. Lift types vary from portable hydraulic or electric to stationary ceiling lifts.
Automatic Door openers: If you’re struggling to get through doorways due to your limited mobility, it’s important to understand all the advantages that come with installing automatic door openers. Automatic door openers do come in multiple models and designs, but for the most part, they’re incredibly simple to use and maintain. They typically operate using either motion sensor technology or with a simple remote control or button. Ultimately, approximately 6.8 million Americans use assistive devices to aid their mobility, and automatic door openers are just one device that makes lives easier every single day.
We all use the bathroom every day and most of us take this activity for granted and never stop to consider what risks this might present us with. Statistics show the bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the home. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention relates approximately 235,000 people over the age of 15 visit emergency rooms each year because of injuries they suffered in the bathroom. About 14 percent of these injuries result in hospitalization and roughly two-thirds of the injuries occur while bathing or showering. Although the shower or bathtub may propose the biggest risk, there are many other safety concerns in the bathroom. Many older adults have problems getting on and off the toilet, and this also leads to frequent falls. There are many precautions we can take to avoid a mishap, but unfortunately many individuals don’t take these steps until it is too late.
BATHROOM MOBILITY SOLUTIONS
Grab Bars: Beyond helping to prevent a dangerous fall, grab bars can improve your stability in the bathroom. They can help you safely enter and exit the shower as well as the toilet and provide support for individuals who are not steady on their feet.
Elevated toilet seats: It may not seem like much but a raised toilet seat is a huge quality of life investment for many individuals. We able-bodied individuals take our mobility for granted. Raised seats return independence for those less mobile.
Shower chairs: Using a shower or bath chair helps to increase safety by decreasing the chance of you falling by providing a secure area in a slippery shower or bath. Shower Chairs and Bath chairs are especially useful for those that are in wheelchairs, the elderly, or anyone who finds excessive movement painful or difficult.
Barrier free showers: For those who prefer to spend their 15 minutes of relaxation in a shower, a barrier free shower is a great alternative to a walk-in tub. The low barrier shower has an open side that is level to the floor, which eliminates the obstacle of stepping over a high shower wall and easily allows wheelchair accessibility.
Walk-in tubs: When living a comfortable, stress free life is most important, it is essential to enhance the home with a walk-in tub. The stress relief from a walk-in tub will help strengthen the immune system, lower blood pressure, improve metabolism, manage diabetes and improve heart health.
MOBILITY SOLUTIONS OUTSIDE THE HOME
Ramps: Wheelchair ramps enable physically disabled as well as elderly people to enjoy complete freedom, as they allow users to move in and around the home safely and freely. It is a cost-effective and practical solution to enhance mobility. By installing a ramp, scooter and wheelchair users can access steps, doorways, sliding glass doors, showers or even raised landings easily. The type of ramp most useful for you will depend on the application it is being used for and whether you are needing something portable or permanent. New Visions can help you choose a ramp depending upon the structure of your home. In order to comply with the handicap accessibility law, you will need one foot of ramp for every one inch of rise.
Vehicle lifts: You’ve got places to go! Scooter and power wheelchair lifts make it simple to take a mobility device with you. Transport your scooter or wheelchair inside or outside your vehicle. These lifts make it easy to keep you on the road.
OUR FAMILY CARES ABOUT YOU
It’s challenging to make sure you or your loved one has whatever is needed to ensure quality of life. New Visions medical Equipment was established in 1998 to meet our daughter’s needs and help her live life to the fullest. It’s been exciting and rewarding to help others accomplish the same.
New Visions is a nationally accredited HME company serving all ages and abilities with custom rehab solutions. Our team offers a personal approach to truly finding the best solution for recuperation or for living an independent lifestyle.
Our company is a provider of all the different types of equipment mentioned above as well as much more. If you know of anyone needing any type of assistive device, please contact our office at 419-678-4979.