Accessible Adventures: Help Your Patient with Physical Disability to Enjoy the Outdoors

Everyone needs to experience at least one outdoor adventure in their lifetime. It’s a fun escape from the mundanity of our everyday lives. 

A study published in the Environmental Research, Volume 166  highlighted the benefits of spending time in forests or parks. The study found that people who spent more time in green spaces had lower risks of chronic illnesses like type II diabetes.  

 Unfortunately, going outdoors also poses a considerable challenge for people with limited mobility. Not every park or hiking trail is wheelchair-accessible or disabled-friendly. If you’re taking care of someone with limited mobility, here’s what you can do to help them enjoy the beauty of nature.

Getting the Right Equipment

Getting suitable equipment to support your patient is crucial for their comfort during a trip or hike outdoors. Not every scooter, wheelchair, or crutch can be used on the trail. Have them invest in a good all-terrain scooter or wheelchair if they plan on making their nature trips a regular thing. Make sure you have the right tools when lifting your patient off a wheelchair to avoid any injuries.

Finding a Suitable Destination

Accessibility upgrades for national parks are relatively new. The National Park Service’s (NPS) Accessibility Task Force was formed in 2012. In 2015, the group drafted a five-year plan to make all national parks accessible. It’s been about four years since the plan was enacted, and a number of popular destinations under the NPS have made great strides in upgrading their facilities to welcome everyone.

 

The Grand Canyon

One of these places is the ever-famous Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona. This historic landmark is wheelchair-accessible. Its shuttle buses have ramps that can carry passengers with mobility equipment. However, some motorized scooters might not fit on the vehicle, so you better check ahead. The park also offers a “scenic drive accessibility permit” that allows physically disabled visitors to go to places that are closed to public traffic.

 

 

Yellowstone National Park

Yellowstone National Park is another popular destination that’s working to be universally accessible. Most of its trails are wheelchair-friendly, though its staff is still trying to eliminate barriers in some areas. The park allows motorized personal vehicles, stand-up devices, and service animals. Its “NPS Yellowstone National Park app” has updated accessibility information that people can use to plan their trail.

 

Glacier National Park

Accessibility improvements are also being made for Glacier National Park. This has a wonderful view of the rocky mountains of Montana and its gorgeous Avalanche Lake. Park management recommends calling them in advance for a special program that lets disabled guests enjoy the place without worrying about hazards. The destination also has accessible shuttles that lead to various campgrounds, lakes, and lodging.

 

It’s smart to get an “Access Pass” from the government. This allows U.S. citizens who have a permanent disability to enter over 2,000 federal recreation sites (like parks) free of charge.

Wrap-Up: Testing Their Limits

While it’s a great experience for you and your patient to see the beautiful views and scenery in forests and national parks, it takes a little preparation before they can take the trip and enjoy the hike. Get them ready by strolling with them around the neighborhood to see how long they can stay outside without feeling too exhausted.

Once you find their limit, you can ask for longer or shorter hiking trails and programs from your park of choice. With a little creativity and the NPS’ continued efforts, it won’t be long before the outdoors can truly be a place for everyone.

Get a Reliable Patient Lift

It can be difficult to lift your patient from their wheelchair to another place they can rest on while you’re on an outdoor trip. Here at 1800wheelchair.com, we offer manual and electric motor patient lifts that help with this challenging task. With over a decade of experience in helping the elderly with their mobility challenges, we’re here to help you move your patients safely and with ease.

 

Call us today to learn more about our mobility products.

Accessible Architecture: What Makes a Disability-Friendly Home?

According to an annual survey conducted by the US Census Bureau, people with disabilities make up 12.8% of the US population. This percentage is likely to grow as the US population ages, since the older people get, the higher the rate of disability increases. Still, even with physical limitations affecting such a large part of the population, most existing and new housing structures lack the basic accessibility features differently abled people require. That is, of course, unless the current occupant has a disability.

An accessible home is one that enables all its occupants to do what they need to do as independently as possible. Accessibility is achieved not only through architectural design but also through integrating specific features, particularly in bathrooms and along stairways. There are many ways that you can make your home more accessible. Here are just some of them.

Yard

To enter a house, one may have to go through the yard. You can make your yard more accessible by installing paths with a firm and level surface so that wheelchair users can go on them without any problem. Installing a ramp is a good way to make your entrance accessible to those in wheelchairs. Don’t forget to add handrails and curbs to prevent people from slipping or falling from the ramp. If you cannot install a ramp, you should have a folding aluminum wheelchair ramp at the ready.

Interiors

Having an accessible interior means having clear paths of travel throughout your home. It is vital that you have doors that are at least 32 inches wide and that your threshold is rounded and is no more than one-half inch higher than the floor. Having a high threshold is difficult not only for people who use wheelchairs but also for those who use canes and walkers. In addition, your hallways should be at least 36 inches wide to accommodate wheelchair users.

One potential limitation to think about is your flooring. Plush carpeting may not be such a good idea for wheelchair users. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design, the carpet pile shouldn’t be more than one-half-inch thick so that they don’t get stuck in the wheelchair’s wheels. Throw rugs, which can shift position, are not recommended, as these can get caught in the wheels and also present trip and fall hazards.

Bathrooms

One way to make your bathroom accessible is by replacing your bathtub with a shower since showers can be used by those in wheelchairs and those with limited mobility, alike. You can even install a shower seat and a hand-held shower head for extra versatility. For added stability, it is a good idea to install grab bars in proximity to the shower and toilet.

A taller toilet is more accessible to those with limited mobility. Don’t forget to leave enough room around the toilet and sink for the wheelchair.

If you’re looking to make your home more accessible and friendlier to differently-abled people, then turn to none other than 1800wheelchair.com. We have wheelchairs, and walkers, among others, that will help you or your loved ones address your mobility needs. Also check out our fantastic resource on wheelchair accessibility in you home here as well.

Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today for more information. We would love to hear from you.

Transportation for Seniors : Improving Quality of Life for Your Loved Ones

Aging may affect a persons ability to move freely and travel from one place to another because of muscle loss, joint stiffness, and balance issues. Mobility problems can also occur in people who have developed certain diseases, such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, and other similar conditions.

 

There are equipment pieces that can provide seniors with assistance, including wheelchairs and electric scooters designed for the elderly. Transportation, however, can be difficult for seniors with mobility problems. This may prevent them from visiting their doctors or running important errands.

 

Current Transportation for Seniors

 

Younger members of your family can drive your senior loved ones when they need to go somewhere, like for a checkup, shopping, or visiting a relative or a friend. But there will be times that you may not be free to give them a ride. If this happens, your loved ones may rely on other transportation options.

 

Seniors can take public transportation, including buses, subways, light rails, and others. Most buses can accommodate wheelchairs and mobility scooters, too. And some transportation also offers discount fares or coupons for seniors. The availability of these options varies depending on your area. Not all cities, unfortunately, have public transportation designed with people who have limited mobility.

 

Improving the Quality of Life of Seniors

 

Mobility scooters are helpful equipment for seniors with limited mobility. These allow them to move around either at home or outdoors. Staying in one place for a long time can be depressing for seniors, that’s why they should be able to move more despite their condition.

Investing in quality scooters provides several benefits, including:

  • Prevention of falls. Seniors, especially with mobility problems are more prone to slips and falls. These can cause bruises and broken bones. In some cases, falls can lead to head and neck injuries. Scooters reduce these dangers, keeping seniors safe.
  • Convenient shopping. Mobility scooters make shopping easier for seniors, especially if they go to big shopping malls. They can enjoy their time with family and friends without worrying about fatigue and falls.
  • Improves caregivers lives. Scooters are not only beneficial to seniors, but they also benefit caregivers. Looking after seniors can overwhelm caregivers over time. Since scooters allow seniors to move independently, caregivers can focus on other chores.

 

Choose a Scooter Based on Your Loved Ones Needs

 

There are various types of mobility scooters in the market, which come in a range of features. Selecting one for your senior family member will mean understanding their needs.

A three-wheel mobility scooter, for example, fits indoor use. They usually have a smaller turning radius, depending on the size of its tires. Some of these scooters also come in different driving range and weight capacities. A four-wheel mobility scooter, on the other hand, has a bigger turning radius, making it ideal for outdoor use.

 

There are also portable varieties that you can disassemble and place in a car trunk. Some of these scooters also come in different driving range and weight capacities.

At 1800wheelchair.com, you can find a wide range of scooters. We carry different designs and style to match the individual needs of your senior loved ones. Our products suit different purposes, like shopping, strolling in the park, or moving around the house.

 

Call our representatives for more information or order online today.

The New York Subway: Why it’s Inaccessible for People in Wheelchairs

 

Getting around New York is a challenge everyone in a wheelchair has to face. Using a portable aluminum wheelchair ramp is helpful, but there’s a great need for the city to become accessible for all.

 

Inaccessibility: The Subway Challenge

 

There are many accessible spots in New York. But the subway is one of the culprits for challenging accessibility in the city. Subways in other states are accessible; all stations in Washington are wheelchair-friendly, in Boston, it’s 74 percent of the stations and 67 percent in Chicago.

 

The New York Times reports that it’s not just New Yorkers in wheelchairs who struggle with using the mass public transportation system. Other commuters, like parents with strollers and travelers with luggage, find the subway difficult to navigate.

 

The main problem: the elevators in the subway stations. Only about a quarter of the 472 subway stations in New York are wheelchair accessible. It’s a low percentage for any major transit system across the globe.

 

The small number of elevators isn’t the only problem because many of them don’t work. Every subway elevator malfunctions on an average of 53.2 times a year. Although some of the elevators work, commuters then have to deal with the issue of foul odor and the inaccessible location of the elevators, typically at the far end of a narrow platform.

 

The Hope of a Wheelchair-Friendly City

 

Access is one of the defining issues that many persons with disabilities (PWDs) across the world face. It’s either a shop has too large steps or raised doorframes, or worse, has no wheelchair ramp.

 

Small wonder then that PWDs are less likely to mingle with other people or worked. Of course, the law requires cities and any establishment or property to provide wheelchair accessibility. The mandate doesn’t only benefit PWDs; it’s good for the economy, too.

 

With wheelchair-friendly transportation, people in New York, from residents to tourists, will have more confidence to explore the city. PWD employees will also find it easier to go to work, helping businesses meet their goals.

 

New York, however, is still on its way to becoming one of the most accessible cities for those with disabilities. Funding is hard to come by for the city’s transportation system, and when it does, it is usually diverted to new cars or signal improvements. Gabriel Amari, supervisor for the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled, also points out that money for the subway is usually insufficient.

 

Although mass transportation needs further improvements to be wheelchair-friendly, you don’t have to be limited when traveling.

 

 

A Portable Wheelchair Ramp Can Help

 

At 1800wheelchair.com, we have a variety of portable wheelchair ramps. Our products can make it easier and better for people in wheelchairs to get around the city. The ramp system offers a semi-permanent yet durable solution to inaccessible places, including homes without wheelchair access.

 

Choose from our selection and find the right length and weight you need. Some will come with their own bag, allowing for further convenience.

Contact us today for more information.