A-A-L ARCHIVES

 

   LIFE-IMPROVING PRODUCTS/SERVICES

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This looks kind of odd, but it’s quite workable.  It’s a sponge mop that has been designed to use with one hand, for those of us who need to balance on one crutch but maintain stability when bending a little or reaching into hard-to-get-at places (e.g., behind the toilet) when mopping the floor.  It even has an easy-to-use hand wringer.  It’s compact enough to fit in the cabinet under your bathroom sink.  Designed by a crutch-user, Thomas Fetterman.  For more details, go to http://www.fetterman-crutches.com/accessories/mini-sponge/index.php. 

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Easier Monitoring for Diabetics:  The 8.3% of the U.S. population with diabetes spends a good deal of their day worrying about testing and tracking their glucose levels.  Results are important to have when talking with their doctor about managing the diabetes.

Glooko is a new management-system product that uses a person’s iPhone or Android to help with this task.  He downloads his glucose readings, integrates information about lifestyle and food, and can track the data.  He can even set reminders.  When it’s time to update his doctor, he can print, fax, or email the reports.

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After-Snooze Safety:  Some of us need a little help keeping our balance while getting out of bed and to our feet.  There are bed rails out there that do just that.  No, not the type found on hospital beds; small ones designed to help you stand rather than larger (ugly) ones intended to keep you from falling out of bed.

There are a variety of designs.  I recommend one that has two positions, parallel to the bed and swung out: closed against the bed gives you an aid to re-positioning yourself in bed; open helps you stand up safely.  How they do that and how they’re shaped differs from brand to brand.  For example, the Smart-Rail Bed Rail, by Healthcraft, is an oblong device with a leg that secures against the floor when swung out.  If you have an extra-tick mattress or a raised bed, leg-extensions are available.  The Bed Cane, by Stander, is shaped like a question mark, so it’s nicer-looking, and it has a pouch with pockets and a cushioned handle.

There are more choices if you don’t want a rail that swings out.  For some people, the rail that stays in position parallel to the mattress is workable. It may suit your balance just fine.  For others, however, having a bar sticking out away from the bed for us to hold onto stabilizes us better when we try to get into a standing position.

In any event, most of both types are installed using a board under the mattress, although a few attach to the bed frame.

You can purchase these on manufacturers’ websites, Amazon.com, or your local medical equipment store.

 Source: The Re-Mobilizers, San Jose CA

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Wheel Blades:  Here’s a new product for people who must use a wheelchair but find they’re snowed in more often than not.  It’s called Wheel Blades.  The product replaces the caster wheels and helps a person negotiate a wheelchair through the snow. Here’s what it looks like:

For details, including more pictures and a short video (choose the bottom one, in English), go to their website:  http://www.wheelblades.ch/en/index.php

NOTE: I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, and we wouldn’t recognize snow if we saw it.   So please let me know if you try the Wheel Blades.  I’d like your opinion on how good they are.

Source: The Re-Mobilizers, San Jose CA

File For previously posted products and services, click HERE..

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FoldIed-Wheelchair Carrier:  Here’s an item I’m surprised more people don’t use.  I often see someone fold up a companion’s wheelchair and try to lift the heavy thing sideways into the car-trunk.  Or wrestle it into the back seat.  All the while it wants to flop in a direction that makes the task harder.  That individual should consider mounting a lightweight carrier to the back of his or her car.  In my opinion, the most convenient one is the Tilt n Tote.  You fold the chair, roll it onto the carrier, and secure it.  That’s all there is to it.

It needs a small hitch to attach to.  You’d think the hitch and holder would get in the way of your accessing the trunk.  But the Tilt n Tote folds up when you aren’t using it and folds down so you can get into your trunk.  Bad weather?  There are covers that slip over the chair to protect it.

They run around $250-$300, which isn’t much considering a series of visits to the chiropractor.

[Source: The Re-Mobilizers, San Jose CA]

Prairie View Industries Hitch Mount Folding Wheelchair Carrier

 

IT’S THE LAW

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It’s Worth the Fight:  If you encounter a situation in which a business is not allowing you the same service, goods, consideration, or safety as non-disabled people, don’t just let it go.  If they’re doing that to you, they’re doing it to many of us.  Don’t think that filing a complaint with the ADA will get you nowhere.  I’m here to say that it does work.

In 2007 the fire alarm went off in the theatre my husband and I were in.  We went where we were directed—out the side door to the sidewalk…and no way for me to get my scooter down off the curb.  The closest curb cut was quite a distance along the building (which might have been on fire), taking the sidewalk around the corner of the building, by a loading dock.  And we had no way to know it was there.  After discussing matters with the theater and the mall’s owners, Westfield (a multi-national corporation), I got tired of being brushed off and filed an ADA suit.  All of a sudden, Westfield was interested in talking to me.

I could have let it go to court but chose arbitration instead because I was able, personally, to have more input, to make specific demands.  Yes, it took a while, but my ADA lawyer (free) did most of the work, and I won.  My suit forced them to put up signs inside and outside the theater directing people to wheelchair access and making sure the access ramps remained uncluttered.

Actually, they went overboard to please me.  They put in a huge, expensive ramp from a main door down to the parking lot.  I know enough about ADA specifications to know that the same wheelchair-access could have been accomplished in a far less expensive way.  But that’s okay.  When I go to that mall to shop I drive by what I call “my” ramp and know that I and all other disabled patrons of that theatre are now as safe as the temporarily-non-disabled patrons.

Next time, file that complaint.  If not for yourself, then for the rest of us.

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Fair Housing:   You’ve found the perfect home or apartment.  It’s in the right area, at the right price, with the room you need to live comfortably.  You put in your application.  Then you hear comments such as, “You won’t like it here because you can’t get your wheelchair up the one step,” or “I’m afraid the laundry room is too far for you to walk to,” or “Even with your white cane, it might be too dangerous for you here,” or “We don’t allow anyone to have a pet here.”  The people speaking such words are violating the Fair Housing Act.

By law, you can’t be denied a purchase or rental based on someone’s discomfort with your disability.  In fact, landlords are required to make reasonable exceptions to their normal policies to accommodate you.  Such exemptions may include a short ramp to get your wheelchair up that step, allowing you to keep a wheeled cart to carry your laundry, or have a guide dog or other service animal.

If you think you’re being denied housing based on accessibility issues or those of someone who will be living with you, contact Fair Housing FIRST at www.fairhousingfirst.org or (888) 341-7781 (voice/TTY).

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Know This When Job-Hunting:  If you’re applying for a job and haven’t yet been given a conditional offer of employment, take note:  it’s very likely that, under Title 1 of the Americans with Disabilities Act, you should not be asked about any disability you may have or be asked to take a physical exam.  Also, they should have made the website on which they advertised openings, including the job application, fully accessible and in accordance with the ADA industry guidelines for making web content accessible (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines [WCAG] 2.0).

Four cities in Illinois, Florida, Nevada, and South Carolina found out the hard way when they were sued.  They settled with the Justice Dept. and agreed to comply with Title 1 rules.

When four states are caught out of compliance, the other states notice and pass on warnings or reminders within their own state.

This is good information to have when you enter the job-hunting jungle.

For details about this settlement, go to http://www.ada.gov/.  The cities involved were DeKalb, Illinois; Vero Beach, Florida; Fallon, Nevada; and Isle of Palms, South Carolina.

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Go Directly to Jail:  If you have a disability or if your loved one does, and you (or he) finds himself in the unfortunate position of being arrested and put into jail, a recent settlement between the U.S. government and the Erie County Jail (New York) has set an important precedent for other jails and correctional facilities in our country.  According to that settlement, Erie agreed to abide by the ADA and the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (Section 504) and stop discriminating against inmates with disabilities.  They must now give equal access to their programs for all inmates, provide cells with features needed by people with mobility issues, and services and aids for those with hearing or vision loss.

Of course, you don’t intend to land up in jail.  But disabled people are people, and we make mistakes just like everyone else.  Now, however, we won’t end up with what amounts to a double punishment—incarceration AND having our disability aids taken from us.

For details of the settlement, read the settlement agreement http://www.ada.gov/erie_county/erie_county_sa.htm.

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Flying with a Service Animal:  Airline policies vary on what they require to allow a service or emotional support animal to fly with you.  Legally they may ask for evidence that you are disabled.  If you have an emotional support animal, that usually will be a letter from a psychologist or psychiatrist, on his letterhead, explaining why you need the animal.  And if your disability isn’t apparent, they may ask you for such a letter.  Additionally, they may insist that the dog is marked as a service dog (vest, tag, etc.).  If they’re suspicious of you they may also ask for documentation that the dog is a service animal, so have paperwork handy to prove it.

You should call the airlines 24 hours before your flight to be sure your dog is on the passenger list.  You don’t want to get to the gate and find out he’s not listed.  When you arrive at the airport, before going through security, make sure your dog isn’t wearing any metal that would set off the alarm.  If he does have metal, notify the agent before going through the station, go through yourself, and let them search the dog.  And be sure your dog is on leash at all times.

Get to the gate an hour ahead of scheduled departure so you can tell the gate attendant that you have a service dog with you and would like to board early to be seated and settled before the crowd of other passengers comes on board.

Plan ahead.  Be proactive.  Then enjoy the trip.

For additional information, see http://servicedogcentral.org/content/flying-with-service-dog

 

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THAT’S A THOUGHT

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“Let someone love you just as you are.  As flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you might feel, as unaccomplished as you might think you are; let someone love you just as you are.  And let that someone be you.” — Sandra Kring.

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“Let someone love you just as you are.  As flawed as you might be, as unattractive as you might feel, as unaccomplished as you might think you are; let someone love you just as you are.  And let that someone be you.”   (Sandra Kring)

“The world worries about disability more than disabled people do.”  (Warwick Davis)

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EQUIPMENT MAINTENANCE/SAFETY

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Watch Those Walker Wheels: Have you looked at those wheels on your walker lately?  Maybe they’re sticking a little or otherwise not gliding you along like they used to.  That’s probably because you, like most people, have neglected them.  So, sit down in front of your favorite TV rerun, armed with sharp-pointed scissors, long-nosed pliers or tweezers, and paper towels.  Then, dig out all the string, thread, pet hair, and other junk that has wrapped itself around the shaft of the wheel.  Dig out any mud that has caked in the area.  Once it’s debris-free, spray it with a small amount of WD-40 and give it a few twirls.  (Warning: Don’t over-squirt, because it will drip onto your carpets.)  Repeat with the other wheel.  If you want your walker to run smoothly—and put off having to replace bearings—do this at least monthly.  That way, too, it won’t be as big a job.

(Source: The Re-Mobilizers)

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Self-Deference:  Here are some tips for basic self-defense for a person with a physical disability.  Although the demonstration shows a person in a power wheelchair, many of us with a disability can use these tips, modifying them to meet our individual needs.

 

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Wheelchair/Scooter Batteries:  More and more power wheelchairs, and all scooters, now use batteries that contain gel.  You know you have this kind if they’re sealed and you don’t have to add water.  It’s important to charge them properly.  It is NOT TRUE that they have “memory” so you should let them run all the way down before recharging.  In fact, that will ruin them quickly.  You may run them down so far that the charger won’t even recognize that batteries are there, meaning it won’t even try to charge them.  This kind of battery likes to be charged.  If you’ve used the chair or scooter a lot during the day but it still registers half full, put it on an overnight charge anyway (it will stop charging when full).  If you didn’t use it that much today but you know it will get heavy use tomorrow, charge it overnight.  When the batteries are new, most people who are not in the chair much during the day can get away with charging every few days.  As the batteries age, though, or if your use increases, be sure to plug in often.

(Source: MK Batteries, Interstate Batteries, The Re-Mobilizers)

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Nebulizers:  If you’re like many people, you don’t think to clean your nebulizer.  You should, since you’re drawing the medication and anything else that’s in the apparatus into your already not-too-healthy lungs.  There may be germs in there that can give you a cold or even bronchitis or pneumonia.  Those need to be eliminated by cleaning.

The process is simple, with a variety of choices.  At least rinse the equipment with warm water and let it air dry.  Better still, use hot soapy water.  Check your owner’s manual, because some brands are perfectly fine being run through the dish washer, on the top shelf.  Some manufacturers even recommend a specific solution to use.

However, a solution of water and white vinegar kills off all those germs.  For an occasional deep cleaning, use a 1:1 ratio or 2:1 if you want it stronger; soak the parts of the nebulizer for an hour.  Then rinse well and air dry.  If you’ve miscalculated on time, though, and you need a treatment before it’s dry, run the air through it for half a minute and that will dry it.

You won’t need to do a thorough cleaning after every use, but DO remember to do it often, once a day if you take many treatments per day.  Your lungs will thank you for it. 

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Air Purifiers:  Many of us have disabilities affecting our breathing.  With winter weather keeping us indoors more, and with fires warming our homes, our air purifiers are important to help keep our lungs clear and healthy.  But we sometimes forget that they need some attention from time to time.  Here are some tips.

Electrostatic Purifiers:  These are easy to maintain—IF you can remember to do one small task on a regular basis: each week wash the plates.  You can soak them in the sink or bathtub or even stick them into the dishwasher.  If you think weekly is overkill, take a look at the plates after a few days and see how fast the particles accumulate.  You should also wash the pre-filters regularly, about once a month.  They shouldn’t have to be replaced, but watch for a tear and replace them then.  The carbon filters should be replaced when they no longer work well—they absorb smells, so they’ll tell you when they’re ready to be replaced (usually about every six months).

Filter-Based Purifiers:  This may very well be the type you have, as it’s the most common.  Pre-filters, which take the larger particles out of the air, should be washed or replaced, according to manufacturer instructions.  This is important because they lessen the work for the Hepa filter, making this more expensive item last longer and not get clogged. The Hepa filter, which traps the smallest particles and is, therefore, vital to the process, needs to be replaced when it’s no longer effective (if your unit has a monitor, it will let you know).  Carbon filters remove odors and chemicals from the air, so if you begin to smell odors still floating around, it’s time to change the filter.  The frequency of replacing depends on how thin the filter is and how much you use your unit.

Yes, all of this is common sense.  But our air cleaner is always there with us, working away, and we forget about taking care of it.    Nonetheless, we must remember to maintain it…so that it works well and so that we can breathe easily and safely.

 

 

 

 

 

5 responses to “A-A-L ARCHIVES

  1. attisyncisoms

    Thanks for the info.

  2. you have an excellent blog here! would you like to make some invite posts on my blog?

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