It can be difficult to determine the all of the aspects of making a home wheelchair accessible, especially when a loved one becomes disabled in a matter of weeks or months. There is also the cost to consider in having to remodel several different areas of a home in a short period of time, so cost-efficient measures are of the utmost importance as well as creating an accessible and safe wheelchair ready environment. These are some important things to consider:
1. Yard Access
All the walkways and other access surfaces should be checked to see if they are free of bumps or uneven areas. You may have to widen paths to fit a wheelchair comfortably so it will not consistently run over into a grassy or landscaped area. Make sure the surfaces are also smooth but have enough traction to avoid skidding.
According to the Americans with Disabilities Act, all entryway doors need to have a threshold of at least one-half inch in height to accommodate a wheelchair, and it must be sloped or rounded for wheels. There is also the consideration of installing a ramp or some form of incline. This needs to be at least 36 inches wide to comfortably accommodate a wheelchair. There are usually some form or handrails and safety “curbs” on the ramp to avoid slipping.
3. Floor Plan Layouts
Consider that a floor plan that will have the most convenience for someone who is wheelchair bound would be an open floor plan with a main floor that has a bedroom, full bathroom, kitchen, and sitting room. Avoid any carpeting that will impede the use of wheels. This includes throw rugs which will inevitably get bound up or shift with the chair’s wheels. Wood or tile flooring is always a better alternative.
These areas should be clear of wider tables, cabinets, and any other types of displays that could make access for a wheelchair difficult. The openings to each hallway also need to be at least 32 inches wide for a standard wheelchair to fit through comfortable whether the person is being pushed or rolling themselves through the entryway.
5. Electrical Outlets
If your goal is to make your wheelchair bound loved one as independent as possible, then you may want to consider having the electrical outlets customized and raised to 15 inches above the floor. This could include light switches and other electrical appliances that could be lowered to 48 inches from the floor as well.
Since the use of a bathtub is almost impossible for someone in a wheelchair, customized the bathroom and removing the tub to create a shower large enough to accommodate rolling a wheelchair into it. They can also be customized with a seat so that anyone in a wheelchair that hop onto the seat and close the door themselves and use a hand-held shower head. Sinks need to also be between 30-48 inches and allow wheelchairs to be rolled up to them. Toilets can be purchased in taller models as well and grab bars should be put throughout the bathroom including next to the toilet and sink as well as several in the shower area.
For wheelchair users who intend on cooking for themselves, the sinks, ovens and counters in the kitchen area need to be lowered to the same height as the sink areas in the bathroom (30-48 inches). There are also appliances that are more wheelchair friendly like side-by-side refrigerators with the freezer at waist height as well as the main fridge area.
This is a guest post by Carolyn Ridland, the founder of Caregiver Connection.
You have reached the point in your life where you have learned that socks aren’t just socks. They can actually serve a purpose and help or hurt your health. I get a lot of questions about diabetic socks vs compression socks. Are they the same? Should diabetics wear compression socks?
Diabetic patients have a high risk of developing serious foot problems. Circulatory issues are common leaving diabetics more prone to foot ulcers and injuries that can quickly turn into serious complications.
So, good foot care is very important when you suffer from diabetes.
If you are diabetic, your physician may recommend special socks for the health of your feet. So, should you wear compression socks or diabetic socks? How are they different?
Let's compare them and find out.
What are compression socks?
Compression socks are tight-fitting socks that apply gradient pressure to the feet and legs to improve circulation.These socks prevent pooling of blood in the feet and lower legs assisting the blood back up the veins to the heart.
They are often recommended for management and treatment of varicose veins, muscle fatigue, edema and other circulatory problems.
Compression socks are often plain colors like white, beige and black. Shop for cute and stylish compression socks.
What are diabetic socks?
Diabetic socks, unlike compression socks, offer little to no compression benefit. They are non-binding soft socks designed to prevent foot injuries that affect diabetic patients. These loose-fitting socks sometimes have seamless toes and are made of materials that do not irritate skin.
Diabetic socks are designed with moisture wicking properties that keep the feet dry to avoid infections. They protect the skin of your feet, but do not help with circulation problems.
You don't have to compromise your style because you need diabetic socks. Shop men's and women's patterned non-binding socks.
So, you can see that diabetic socks are very different from compression socks and that they offer opposite benefits.
Can diabetes patients benefit from use of compression socks?
Compression socks are effective in managing conditions like edema and venous insufficiency that affects diabetic patients. But tight compression socks can restrict blood flow in the feet which is a problem area for diabetics. So compression socks are not typically recommended for those with diabetes.
However, if you are diabetic and your physician feels the benefits of compression outweigh the risks - for you -, compression socks will work with careful monitoring of your feet for increased swelling and for any sores.
- Chest Pain or Discomfort. Women can experience this common symptom of chest pain but may experience it differently than men. Instead of pain, it may feel like a squeezing or fullness, like a vise. The pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just on the left side.
- Pain in your Arms, Back, Neck, or Jaw. More common in women than in men, this type of pain can be confusing for those who expect only left side chest pain in a heart situation. This pain can come on suddenly or be gradual or sudden, and it can wax and wane.
- Stomach Pain or Nausea. Stomach pain or pressure is often mistaken for heartburn or an ulcer when it is actually an indication of a heart attack. Be alert for any stomach pain issues that are out of the ordinary for you.
- Excessive Fatigue. Some women who are having or have had a heart attack report feeling extremely tired even if they have had a sedentary day. Simple tasks like walking around the house will feel insurmountable.
- Shortness of Breath or Lightheadedness. If you are having trouble breathing without an obvious cause like exercise, it could be a heart attack, especially if combined with other symptoms.
- Sweating. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common among women who are having a heart attack. It feels differently that sweat from exercise, more like sweating in a stressful situation.
Not everyone will experience all of these symptoms but if you experience more than one, it is definitely a good idea to get checked out by a medical professional. The most important symptoms is your gut instinct, if you know something isn't right, you are likely correct. While women's heart issues are becoming more recognized, some doctors might need a little prompting to take your concerns seriously. Push for necessary tests, this is your heart we are talking about!
To your health,
Another Memorial Day has passed and you know what that means, it is officially summer! Warmer weather, perhaps more free time - the options are endless. With gardening, cook outs and more time outside, it is important to think about how increased heat poses health risks as we and our loved ones age.
8 easy tips:
- Drink Up - Dehydration is a something to be concerned about as the temperature rises. But don't wait until you feel thirsty before reaching for a drink. The negative effects of dehydration can occur without feeling thirsty. Drink water and a variety of other beverages through out the day. But....
- Cut Out the Caffeine - Decrease the amount of hot and iced coffee and tea in the summer. Caffeine works on the kidneys as a diuretic which depletes a body of needed liquid. Stick to water or flavored water instead.
- Wear Layers - To prevent the hot/cold that happens when going back and forth all day between scorching summer heat and frigid air conditioning, dress in layers so you will always be comfortable. Wear light colors that will reflect the sun in breathable, natural fabrics like cotton that will always be comfortable.
- Don't be a Sun Worshiper - On excessively hot days, avoid being outdoors to prevent overheating, dehydration, and sunburn. If your home doesn't have air conditioning, head to a friend's house, to the movies or to the mall, or go your local senior center to take advantage of their air conditioning.
- Rinse Away the Heat - Jumping in a pool or taking cool shower or bath can help bring down your body temperature when things have gotten a little too hot. A small towel or cloth soaked in cool water and draped around your neck or on top of your head can also help to cool down.
- Block the Sun - When you do spend time in the sun, make sure you wear sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher to protect your skin from sunburn. A hat and sunglasses are also important.
- No one wants to stand over a hot stove in the heat of the summer. The stove and oven will heat your kitchen in addition to your food. Switch to cooler dishes like salads or sandwiches or order take away and let someone else do the cooking!
- Cool Home Sweet Home - Keep the temperature in your home at a comfortable temperature so you don't over heat. If air conditioning isn't available, open the windows and use fans to circulate the breezes from outside.
Have a safe and happy summer with these tips from Ease Living. And don't forget to check on older neighbors and friends that may not have the benefit of this knowledge.
Now get out there and have some fun!