6 Things Can You Do to Protect Disability Rights Today

By Alice Wong

This article originally appeared in Teen Vogue.  (https://www.teenvogue.com/story/disability-rights-how-to-help)

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Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

In this op-ed, the founder and director of the Disability Visibility Project, Alice Wong, explains the danger of H.R. 620 and how you can help protect disability rights.

What does it mean to be an activist? I became an accidental activist because this world was never built for me. For me, as a disabled woman of color with a progressive neuromuscular disability, every breath is an act of resistance and activism.

I graduated from high school two years after the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) passed in 1990. It took me a long time understand the influence of this law on my sense of identity and pride as a disabled person. I no longer had to ask “nicely” for access or put up with discrimination. I had a law that represented my lived experience and my community. I could refer to the ADA and say that disability rights are civil and human rights.

Tomorrow, a bill will go for a vote in the House that will weaken the ADA and make it harder for disabled people to fully enjoy the world with their friends and family. The bill is called H.R. 620, the ADA Education and Reform Act of 2017.

For more than 27 years, businesses and public entities have been required to provide reasonable accommodations for people with disabilities. The ADA changed the opportunities disabled people have in every aspect of life.

Read the rest of the article here:  https://www.teenvogue.com/story/disability-rights-how-to-help

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Safe Patient Transfers In The Home

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead electric patient lift designed for home health care and a single family caregiver.  It protects caregivers and their patients from the injuries associated with the manual lifting and transferring of patients in the home.

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The freestanding system does not attach to the structure and can follow the patient throughout their continuum of care.  A rechargeable electric motor gently lifts and lowers the patient while the caregiver glides them across the overhead beam and positions them  for a safe and secure transfer.

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Designed by a Service-Disabled Veteran, the Titan 500 is proudly “Made in the USA”.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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MAKING A HOME ACCESSIBLE CAN MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE AS WE AGE

By David Nickle
This article originally appeared on Inside Toronto.
Sandra and Dan Sexton are doing the kind of work on their North York home that usually comes much later in life.
Although they are only in their 40s, an ALS diagnosis for Dan means the home will have to become entirely accessible, as he transitions from using a walker to eventually an electric wheelchair. The Sextons are planning to offer housing to Dan’s 82-year-old father as well, which will feature a new lower-floor bath with wide doors, a roll-in shower and a widened side entrance to accommodate the wheelchair.
“You have to plan longer term,” Sandra said.
The couple are working with Ronny Wiskin, a specialist in home renovation for accessibility, through the Toronto-based Med+ Home Health Care Company.
The company assists homeowners to modify their environment using what are known as universal design principles — a seven-point checklist that balances esthetics and comfort with accessibility for people who might be confined to a wheelchair, or have other mobility issues.

6 Steps for Preventing Falls Among Your Older Loved Ones

This article was originally published on the National Council on Aging website, http://www.ncoa.com.  The original can be found here.

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Did you know that one in four older Americans falls every year? Falls are the leading cause of both fatal and nonfatal injuries for people aged 65+.

Falls can result in hip fractures, broken bones, and head injuries. And even falls without a major injury can cause older adults to become fearful or depressed, making it difficult for them to stay active.

If you have an aging parent, grandparent, or neighbor in your life, helping them reduce their risk of falling is a great way to help them stay healthy and independent as long as possible.

The good news about falls is that most of them can be prevented. The key is to know where to look. Here are some common factors that can lead to a fall:

  • Balance and gait: As we age, most of us lose some coordination, flexibility, and balance— primarily through inactivity, making it easier to fall.
  • Vision: In the aging eye, less light reaches the retina—making contrasting edges, tripping hazards, and obstacles harder to see.
  • Medications: Some prescriptions and over-the-counter medications can cause dizziness, dehydration or interactions with each other that can lead to a fall.
  • Environment: Most seniors have lived in their homes for a long time and have never thought about simple modifications that might keep it safer as they age.
  • Chronic conditions: More than 80% of older adults have at least one chronic condition like diabetes, stroke, or arthritis. Often, these increase the risk of falling because they result in lost function, inactivity, depression, pain, or multiple medications.

6 Steps to Reducing Falls

Here are six easy steps you can take today to help your older loved one reduce their risk of a fall:

1. Enlist their support in taking simple steps to stay safe.

Ask your older loved one if they’re concerned about falling. Many older adults recognize that falling is a risk, but they believe it won’t happen to them or they won’t get hurt—even if they’ve already fallen in the past. A good place to start is by sharing NCOA’s Debunking the Myths of Older Adult Falls. If they’re concerned about falling, dizziness, or balance, suggest that they discuss it with their health care provider who can assess their risk and suggest programs or services that could help.

2. Discuss their current health conditions.

Find out if your older loved one is experiencing any problems with managing their own health. Are they having trouble remembering to take their medications—or are they experiencing side effects? Is it getting more difficult for them to do things they used to do easily?

Also make sure they’re taking advantage of all the preventive benefits now offered under Medicare, such as the Annual Wellness visit. Encourage them to speak openly with their health care provider about all of their concerns.

3. Ask about their last eye checkup.

If your older loved one wears glasses, make sure they have a current prescription and they’re using the glasses as advised by their eye doctor.

Remember that using tint-changing lenses can be hazardous when going from bright sun into darkened buildings and homes. A simple strategy is to change glasses upon entry or stop until their lenses adjust.

Bifocals also can be problematic on stairs, so it’s important to be cautious. For those already struggling with low vision, consult with a low-vision specialist for ways to make the most of their eyesight.

4. Notice if they’re holding onto walls, furniture, or someone else when walking or if they appear to have difficulty walking or arising from a chair.

These are all signs that it might be time to see a physical therapist. A trained physical therapist can help your older loved one improve their balance, strength, and gait through exercise. They might also suggest a cane or walker—and provide guidance on how to use these aids. Make sure to follow their advice. Poorly fit aids actually can increase the risk of falling.

5. Talk about their medications.

If your older loved one is having a hard time keeping track of medicines or is experiencing side effects, encourage them to discuss their concerns with their doctor and pharmacist. Suggest that they have their medications reviewed each time they get a new prescription.

My mom had an elaborate spreadsheet to keep track of her medications and schedules. Adding a timed medication dispenser that my sister refilled each month promoted her peace of mind and allowed us to ensure her adherence to the prescribed regime.

Also, beware of non-prescription medications that contain sleep aids—including painkillers with “PM” in their names. These can lead to balance issues and dizziness. If your older loved one is having sleeping problems, encourage them to talk to their doctor or pharmacist about safer alternatives.

6. Do a walk-through safety assessment of their home.

There are many simple and inexpensive ways to make a home safer. For professional assistance, consult an Occupational Therapist. Here are some examples:

  • Lighting: Increase lighting throughout the house, especially at the top and bottom of stairs. Ensure that lighting is readily available when getting up in the middle of the night.
  • Stairs: Make sure there are two secure rails on all stairs.
  • Bathrooms: Install grab bars in the tub/shower and near the toilet. Make sure they’re installed where your older loved one would actually use them. For even greater safety, consider using a shower chair and hand-held shower.

For more ideas on how to make the home safer, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) offers a home assessment checklist in multiple languages.

NCOA, the Administration on Aging, and the CDC also promote a variety of community-based programs, like A Matter of Balance, Stepping On, and Tai Chi, that can help older adults learn how to reduce their risk of falling. Contact your Area Agency on Aging to find out what’s available in your area.

Small Health Care Investments Can Pay Off In Quality Of Care

 

As the population ages, older adults will have to make some decisions about their long term care.  Some will be forced into skilled nursing facilities. This may be due to severe health problems, a lack of  family caregivers or to financial constraints. Many others will need to make informed decisions on the where and how they choose to live out their life. Several options are available now including senior communities, assisted living as well as Aging in Place.  Senior communities offer many options as far as types of living arrangements and assisted living can offer peace of mind to those without family caregivers nearby.  These options may not be in the best interest of many.

Aging in Place is becoming a popular choice among older adults.  It can range from remaining in your current home, downsizing to a smaller home or even moving to a new home in a more pedestrian-friendly and accessible community.  The idea behind the Age in Place model is that one is able to live independently and comfortably within your own home.  This is often supported by family caregivers, in home care aides and community support systems like Senior Centers, Meals on Wheels, telemedicine and emerging transportation and delivery technology,

caregiverAging in Place requires older adults to be independent.  This does not exclude those who may be living with a disability or chronic disease.  Improved home health care and home modification products allow those once confined to the nursing home to comfortably live independently in their own home.  In-home care and respite care are also readily available to aid family caregivers in helping to care for their loved ones.

Investing in home modification and home health care products can pay off in the long run.  Skilled nursing facilities and assisted living can cost thousands of dollars a month. Preparing your home for aging can be done gradually to help spread out the cost over time.  Small things like creating barrier-free access in the home, reinforcing hand rails and adding grab bars can be done for little or no cost.  Larger items  like bathroom modifications or home accessibility items like wheelchair ramps or patient lifts require more investment. However, the savings over long term care in a nursing home is substantial.

Traxx Mobility Systems manufactures a patient lift designed to work within the confines of the average bedroom.  The Titan 500 allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a patient in the home without injury.  The lift features a rechargeable electric motor and is equipped with an emergency down system that provides peace of mind for caregivers and patients.  The lift is proudly Made in the USA and comes complete with a free universal sling and free freight shipping within the continental US.

For more information on the Titan 500 and Aging in Place, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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Traxx Mobility is Lifting the Standard of Home Care Patient Transfer

Traxx Mobility Systems

Traxx Mobility Systems Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift for Home Care

The Titan 500 is a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for home health care. It is a complete lift system and comes with the freestanding frame, 8 foot long overhead beam, rechargeable electric lift motor, four-point lift bar, remote control, battery charger and a universal sling, with 4 sizes to choose from.

The Titan 500 does not attach to the structure of the home and allows a single caregiver to safely transfer a loved one without the stress and strain of a floor-based lift. The only real maintenance required is keeping the batteries charged and maintaining a straight lift strap to avoid twists and folds.

Each piece of the system is designed to lift up to 500 pounds. We have several safety systems built in to the lift. These include a belt travel limiter to prevent the belt from completely unspooling, a safety stop switch to keep the belt from winding all the way up into the motor unit and an electric emergency down system.

The Titan 500 ships freight and arrives in a large carton. It is partially assembled and two adults can fully assemble the lift in about 30 minutes. We have a video demonstration of the lift in use, followed by an assembly video, on our website at www.traxxms.com.

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Titan 500 with 12 Foot Long Overhead Beam and King Bed

The Titan 500 is proudly U.S. made and was designed by a service-disabled veteran. We are located in Michigan and shipping is free within the continental U.S.  Options for the unit include a 10 or 12 foot overhead beam and a set of locking casters for the frame.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

10 House Buying Tips when you have mobility issues or a wheelchair — Wheel Chic Home

Aah Spring. Time for Easter Bunnies, newly born lamb, daffodils – and house buying. Spring is a popular time to put your house on the market, probably to do with us coming out of winter hibernation, the nights are lighter and the garden and house are getting a spring clean. House buying is a real […]

via 10 House Buying Tips when you have mobility issues or a wheelchair — Wheel Chic Home

6 Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Aging in Place

10 Kitchen Updates Help Seniors Age-in-Place

This article originally appeared on senior.com.

Home Ready for Aging in Place1.  It pays to retrofit. Basic design and structural modifications to a one-story home cost an average of $9,000 to $12,000, according to The MetLife Report on Aging in Place 2.0. Contrast that expense to the cost of assisted living, which averaged $3,500 per month in 2014, according to Genworth Financial, or $42,000 a year.

2. Think small. Start with replacement hardware, such as lever-handled doorknobs and sturdy handrails along stairs. Install grab bars, single-handled faucets and “comfort height” toilets in the bathrooms. Upgrade your kitchen by adding rollout shelves and better lighting under the cabinets. (For a comprehensive to-do list, see the Aging-in-Place Remodeling Checklist at http://www.nahb.org.)

3. Make it accessible. Other modifications will cost more, and you may want to consult an expert. Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists (CAPS) — who have completed a program developed by the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP — can create a prioritized to-do list suited to your budget and resources (to search by zip code, visit the NAHB website at http://www.nahb.org and search for “CAPS Directory”). If, for example, your home has entry steps, consider installing a ramp; it will run $1,200 to $2,500, according to http://www.costowl.com. A curbless modular shower will cost $2,000 to $3,000 to install.

4. Consider the big picture. Structural changes may include widening doorways and corridors and eliminating walls to accommodate wheelchairs and scooters, or even creating space in a multistory home to add an elevator later. The perfect time to make such adjustments is when you’re updating or remodeling your home.

5. Tap your equity. If you have substantial equity in your home, you have multiple ways to pay for improvements, such as a cash-out refinance of your mortgage, a home-equity loan or line of credit, or a reverse mortgage. For more information on reverse mortgages, visit the websites of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (go to http://www.cfpb.gov and search for “reverse mortgage”) and the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association (http://www.reversemortgage.org). Veterans may be eligible for a grant to construct or retrofit their homes (see http://www.benefits.va.gov/homeloans/adaptedhousing.asp).

6. Use Technology for support.  R2-D2 to the rescue. Voice-activated robot helpers are on the way. Meanwhile, existing tech tools can help you stay in touch with family, caregivers and community, as well as monitor your health and provide for security, says Laurie Orlov, founder of the Aging in Place Technology Watch (http://www.ageinplacetech.com). For example, the BeClose system (http://beclose.com; $499 for equipment plus $99 a month) will alert your emergency contacts if you diverge from your usual activity pattern.

(Patricia Mertz Esswein is an associate editor at Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine. Send your questions and comments to moneypower@kiplinger.com. And for more on this and similar money topics, visit Kiplinger.com.)

(c) 2015 Kiplinger’s Personal Finance; Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

A Better Way To Transfer Patients In The Home

Family Caregivers and Home Health Aides struggle with floor-based lifts in the home. Older homes can present many problems for those who rely on caregivers for help with activities of daily living. A freestanding overhead patient lift can overcome many of the barriers to accessibility in the home.

Room size is often the cause of much stress and strain when relying on a floor-based patient lift. A traditional lift needs quite a bit of room for a caregiver to manoeuvre once the patient is in the lift. Many modern beds do not allow access for the lift to fit under the bed. The Titan 500 can work with just about any bed. It spans the bed leaving room for wheelchair access. The freestanding frame remains in place while the caregiver gently glides the patient across the overhead beam.

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The Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift for home health care.

The Titan 500 is freestanding and does not attach to the structure. We have three lengths of overhead beam to accommodate any size bed or bedroom. It can be lowered and moved to another room, or be completely dismantled and taken to another location. It can also be fitted with casters to provide an easier move within larger structures like group or personal care homes.

The stress and strain of transferring a patient in a floor-based lift on carpet is avoided using an overhead lift. The rechargeable electric lift motor does all the heavy lifting while the caregiver can simply and gently push or pull the patient into place. The caregiver has plenty of room to work and the bedroom furniture can often stay in place.

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Traxx Mobility Systems Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

The Titan 500 is extremely efficient and is rated to lift up to 500 pounds. The frame is made of lightweight, but heavy-duty, aluminum which makes it easy to move and maintain. A complete overhead lift system, the Titan 500 includes the frame, motor, spreader bar, remote control, battery charger, a universal sling (4 sizes) and free shipping within the continental US.

For more information, visit our website, find us on Facebook and watch our channel on YouTube. You can also follow us on Twitter and Pinterest as well as Google+ and Blogger.

We have been proudly manufacturing and selling the Titan 500, designed by service-disabled veteran Guido Capaldi, in Michigan since 2008.

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Limited Mobility & Health Care in the Home

Limited mobility affects people of all ages. Symptoms that cause the limited mobility can come on quick or develop over time. Whether it is a senior aging safely in their home or a young person affected by chronic disease or traumatic injury, care for that individual will often fall on a family member first. Every case is different, but preparation of the home for the patient’s future needs will be at the top of the list. The basic activities of daily living will be addressed and a care plan will be formed.

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Homes come in many different sizes and shapes. For someone with limited mobility, the home environment will need to be modified to create a functional space for receiving home health care. In the case of the elderly aging in place, home modifications can be made over time to address problems before they arise. For those affected by chronic disease or traumatic injury, many decisions must be made fairly quickly. Where will the patient live? Who will take care of the patient? What equipment must be purchased? Can the home accommodate the patient? Who will pay for all of this?

For those confined to a wheelchair or unable to move about on their own, the typical home can present many obstacles. First and foremost, getting in and out of the home. Second, is the bedroom accessible? Solutions to these problems often are based on the budget available. Those without budget constraints may add permanent concrete ramps, elevators or stair lifts, custom ceiling-mounted lifts for the bed and bath and even custom cabinetry in the kitchen. Those with limited budgets will have to spend their money wisely. They may build a wooden ramp, care for the patient in the den or family room, purchase a low-cost patient lift and shower chair and make small modifications to their kitchen and bath.

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The costs of home health care can add up quickly, but it often is still more affordable than assisted living or nursing homes. If the patient does not need constant care or if a family member is available to care for the individual, savings can be found. The new ABLE accounts available in 2016 will help families save for care for those young people suffering from chronic disease or traumatic injury, tax-free without affecting other benefits designed to help those struggling to pay for care, like social security.

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Traxx Mobility Systems Titan 500 Freestanding Overhead Patient Lift

Traxx Mobility Systems offers the Titan 500, a freestanding overhead patient lift designed for home health care. The lift does not attach to the structure and can be placed nearly anywhere in the home. The overhead lift provided by the Titan 500 protects the caregiver and patient from injuries associated with the stress and strain of using a floor-based lift in the home. The electric lift motor is fully rechargeable and is rated to lift up to 500 lbs. The low price of our entire system, including the sling and shipping, is less than two months stay in a nursing home. It is comparable in cost to an electric floor-based lift or a portable electric lift motor by itself.

In reality, the obstacles that society has designed into the home and communities are the issues that need to be addressed. Technology will only help so much, the physical nature of our environments need to change to be inclusive of people of all abilities and ages. Those affected by limited mobility are not any less independent that you and me.

For more information on the Titan 500, view our website, find us on Facebook and watch our YouTube channel.

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