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    What is the Best Walker to Use Outdoors?

     what is the best walker to use outdoors

    There are different types of walkers for different needs. Some only use their walker indoors and some like to take it outside on sidewalks or trails. These activities might require a different walker than you’ve been using. A rollator is a walker with a seat and 4 wheels. You might see that term used here too. Most walkers suitable for outdoor use are rollators.

    What is an all terrain walker and do you need one?
    An all terrain rollator is a heavy duty walker with four wheels, a seat and brakes that is appropriate for use on different types of surfaces like city streets, indoors and trails. With an all terrain rollator you can go on nature walks and on walks through cities with bumpy streets. 

    The biggest difference between an all terrain rollator walker and most other walkers is the type of wheel and the size of the wheel. Many conventional walkers have a 6” hard plastic wheel. This works well on a smooth surface like a hardwood floor or in a grocery store, but it is going to be very hard to use on uneven surfaces.  These rock-hard solid tires are uncomfortable when walking on cobblestones, gravel and uneven ground and can cause pain in the hands, elbows and shoulders. All terrain walkers have softer tires. Many have  pneumatic tires. These are similar to car or bike tires. They can be solid or filled with air. The solid rubber  tires can’t be punctured by a nail or glass. An all terrain rollator will have these tires on both the front and back wheels. Tires on an all terrain walker also have more tread than the tires on a conventional walker. This makes it ideal for grip and rolling on different surfaces. 

    The bigger the wheel on your rollator, the easier it is to roll on uneven ground and to traverse obstacles like curbs. They are also easier and more comfortable to push.  A bigger wheel simply performs better than a small wheel, especially outdoors. There is some physics behind this way beyond the scope of this article! A walker for outdoor use should have an 8” diameter wheel at minimum. 

    Why might an all terrain walker be the best choice for you?

    • Best for use on uneven terrain

    One of the top benefits of an all-terrain walker is that it can be used on uneven surfaces- indoor and outdoor. From walking on bumpy carpet to gravel nature trails, an all-terrain walker can work almost  anywhere. 

    • Ideal for outdoor use

    Do you enjoy going on nature walks on gravel trails? Or exploring cities with bumpy sidewalks and curbs? An all-terrain walker will take you everywhere.  These walkers can be used on various outdoor surfaces, allowing you to travel more and worry less! 

    • Perfect for your active lifestyle

    You know it is important to keep moving and an all terrain walker will help. An all terrain walker will help you get the exercise that is so important for staying healthy. An outdoor rollator also provides a seat to take a break so you can walk when you want and rest when you need. And let’s talk about storage. Most all terrain rollators either come with or have available storage bags that attach to the walker so you can easily have everything you need at easy reach.  

    • Puts safety first

    An all-terrain walker is safer than other types of walkers on the market,  especially when walking on uneven surfaces. When using a standard walker different surfaces, you will feel less stable and may have less confidence. This could result in less confidence which leads to less adventure. 

    Most all terrain walkers also have an advanced braking system. They are drum and cable brakes like on a bicycle instead of just  putting pressure on the tire to slow the walker. They also often include a brake cable for the front and rear wheels. 

    Ease Living currently has 2 all terrain walkers in the fleet. The Carbon Overland and Rollz Performance. Each has different features that might appeal to your personal needs but they both have all the all terrain features listed above. 

    It is so important to find a walker that works for you rather than just picking up the first one you see at a drug store or medical supply store. Just like you think about what features you want in a car, look at what walker features will make your life better. 

     alison founder of ease living

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    5 Ways to Stay Independent as You Get Older

    Independence Day Flags- 5 Ways to Stay Independent as you get older


    Loss of independence can be discouraging as we get older. You have spent your entire life living independently, working jobs, raising families, and making decisions. The fact is that things change and sometimes those changes aren’t easy to accept.

    The natural effects of aging can just make things harder. Difficulty with mobility, health, concentration, the loss of roles and the loss of loved ones- these can all contribute to feeling a loss of independence.
    Fortunately, there are many things you can do to maintain your independence. Some might mean making changes from the way you are used to doing things. But that is OK. Change makes life interesting! 

    First, why does it matter?

    Losing independence can be mentally and physically hard. Yes, things like mobility can be harder for many reasons but it isn’t just the physical aspects of this change. The changes have been shown to lead to increased depression which can make everything worse.

    It is so important to feel like the unique individual you are. When you feel like you have less control over choices throughout the day, it has a big impact on how you feel about yourself. When you are no longer managing the decisions in your life, you might feel less important.

    You have lived your whole life with your own personality and beliefs. You have things you like to do and those you prefer to avoid. You have dreams and things you want to accomplish. These things are important.  

    5 Ways to Stay Independent as You Get Older

    You can’t avoid all the effects of aging that may put up barriers to independence. However, there are a few key areas to focus on that can increase your ability to live your life as you choose. 

    1. Stay On Top of Your Health

    Yes, going to doctor appointments can be a pain but keeping on top of your health can prevent small problems from becoming larger ones. You know the basic advice for staying healthy. Nothing new here. Just drop the excuses and make it happen.

    • Eat healthy
    • Get enough sleep
    • Stay physically and mentally active
    • Take any prescription medications as ordered
    • Keep up with routine health screenings
    • Get regular eye and dental exams

     2. Stay Socially Connected

    Having social connections is important for well being at any age. A lack of meaningful social connections is associated with reduced quality of life, unhealthy behaviors, and poor health outcomes.

    This is especially important for people as they get older. When we are working  and raising a family, there are social connections that arise from those activities. As those things cease, we naturally lose touch with some of the people we knew there and they often aren’t replaced.

    It can be hard to put yourself out there to meet new people but it is so rewarding and so important. Getting a part time job, volunteering, joining a club around your interests- there are so many things you can do to meet new people. It can be a little intimidating, but is so worth it. 

    3. Have a Sense of Purpose

    Loss of independence can be isolating and lead to  feelings of hopelessness and depression This then has negative effects on both physical and mental health.

    When you are independent it is easier to pursue activities that give a sense of purpose. Whether it be activities you have always done or something new, you do have so many opportunities for achievement and contributing to the lives of your family, friends, neighbors and strangers. The chance to set and reach goals has a big impact, even if they seem small. Independence allows you to take on the unique challenges of aging head on and overcome them with a sense of accomplishment.

    Don’t let health and mobility limitations make you feel like you don’t have purpose. Find new activities you can do around your challenges. These new hurdles don’t define you, they just present a new challenge to overcome.  

    4. Have Your Plans In Place Before You Need Them

    Legally documenting your wishes for your health and assets well before you need to is a smart way to retain control of your decisions as you age. It also removes stress from your family members and helps them ensure that your wishes are followed. 

    There are several types of documents you’ll want to have on hand. These include a will, a healthcare power of attorney, a power of attorney for your finances, an advanced directive, or a living trust. Some of these can even be drawn up without an attorney. 

    5. Stay Physically Active

    This is going to be a long one. Last but probably the most important. You have to stay active. Now, active might not look like it did when you were 40. That doesn’t mean it is time to give it up.

    Exercise can lower your risk of 
    heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, and some cancers. Therefore it can allow you to stay healthier longer as you get older. Check with your doctor for clearance. Then aim for at least 30 minutes of physical activity most days of the week.

    Activity is crucial to maintain or regain balance and strength. People lose muscle mass as they age. It's just a fact. Balance also tends to falter for a variety of reasons including vision and hearing loss and loss of core strength. This is not a good combination. The loss of balance and strength can lead to falls. You want to avoid falling at all costs.

    In addition to the risk of injury with falls, there is another side effect that isn’t often discussed.


    Fear.


    Once someone has a fall, they are scared of falling again. So they move and get up less- which makes them weaker. Which makes them more likely to fall again. It really is a downward spiral I have seen again and again in my years as an occupational therapist. 

    If you are having problems with strength and balance, what should you do? First, talk to your doctor to make sure there isn’t an underlying problem. Seek out a physical therapist or personal trainer that specializes in working with older adults. Your doctor might have some suggestions of people who specialize in this field. Working under the guidance of a professional will increase your confidence to continue the work on your own.

    There is also a very real place for mobility devices like canes and walkers. Your pride might take a hit (unnecessarily I might add), but the rewards of increased independence are so worth it. Find a cane or walker you love- don’t just grab one from the CVS. This is just as important as your car and your clothes. Pick your mobility device with that amount of thought. See Ease's selection of mobility products here. 


    Aging is a journey. And there will be changes. Some things will get harder and adaptations will have to be made. But guess what? It doesn’t mean the beginning of the end. It means the beginning of more new adventures. Be open. Have fun. And Stay Independent. 

    ease living owner occupational therapist

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    Complete Guide to Compression Socks for Flying

    compression socks for flying

    Should you wear compression socks when you fly? Yes!

    Have you ever gotten off a plane to find your ankles swollen and your legs feeling tight and painful? It is no fun. Traveling can be so great but no one wants to start their trip feeling uncomfortable. There is also a risk of developing blood clots on a flight. The risk is low but it does go up as travel time increases.

    Why do my feet swell when flying?
    Believe it or not it doesn’t have anything to do with flying but is a result of immobility.
    Sitting with your feet on the floor for a long period causes blood to pool in your leg veins. The position of your legs when you are seated also increases the pressure in your leg veins. These things combined can cause legs and feet to swell.

    Compression Socks to the rescue!
    Compression socks are a great tool to decrease swelling, increase comfort and make sure you arrive at your destination ready to go.

    Compression socks can help prevent swelling
    As mentioned above, sitting for long periods- like during a flight can cause fluid retention in your legs below the knee. This can easily be prevented with the right compression socks.

    The best way to keep blood moving is to walk around and stretch. But there is not a lot of room to do this on a plane. Compression socks help prevent swelling by promoting improved blood flow in your legs by gently pushing blood flow up the leg. This helps keep the blood moving and the swelling down.

    Compression socks can help fight leg fatigue
    When you stand up after a long flight, your legs can be stiff and take a while to get used to moving. In addition to  promoting circulation, compression socks also help fight the feeling of fatigue in your legs.

    Keeping the blood flowing and the edema down will help keep your muscles limber and your legs ready for action. 

    Compression socks help prevent blood clots
    One of the most well-known perks of compression socks is how they can help to prevent blood clots. This is why they are commonly used after surgery!  Blood clots are a concern for many people when traveling by air. By preventing blood from pooling in the lower legs, compression socks help keep blood clots from forming. 

    Compression socks can help prevent varicose veins
    If you suffer from varicose veins, wearing compression socks can help. Wearing them on a regular basis —  especially if you travel often — will help prevent the decreased circulation that can cause varicose veins to be more painful and prominent. 

    For compression socks to do their job, there are a few things to consider.

    Buy compression socks that go over your calf.
    Compression socks that only go to the ankle aren’t going to do the job. The socks need to be over the calf to provide the circulation and comfort you need.

    Buy compression socks that fit.
    Too small and they will be uncomfortable and could cause more circulation issues than they solve. Too big and the benefits of the compression will be diminished. 

    Buy the right level of compression.
    The level of compression the socks provide is indicated by mmHg. This stands for millimeters of mercury and it is a measure of pressure. It is also used when taking blood pressure. Compression socks come in many different levels of compression but for flying, socks with 8-20 mmHg are going to be your best bet. Many socks will fall in between this range like 8-15 mmHg, 12-14 mmHg or 15-20 mmhg. Compression levels over 20 mmHg are best worn when prescribed by a doctor.

    One more- very important- thing.
    Don’t forget about style! Compression socks don’t have to be boring white or black. There are so many cute styles available. From florals to stripes and polka dots. There are even lightweight compression socks if you are traveling to someplace hot! Find some compression socks you love, and have a great trip :)

    See Ease Living's Selection of Compression Socks HERE.

    ease living owner occupational therapist

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    5 Solutions for Trouble Using the Toilet



    A difficult but so important topic. There are a lot of things that can make using the toilet difficult. Here are 5 solutions for different issues. 

    Can't Get Off the Toilet. (Numbers 1 & 2)
    Getting up and down off the toilet can be an issue for a lot of people. It is often positioned awkwardly and there sometimes isn't anything to push off of like in a chair with arms. A Dignity Lift is like an electronic lift chair- but for the toilet. It gently and securely gives a boost to make standing from the toilet so much easier when the job is done. In 2 models- basic & deluxe
       

    Can't Get Clean After Using the Bathroom (Numbers 3 & 4)
    A toilet aid is the perfect product to get cleaned up after using the bathroom when doing the old fashioned way just won't work. A toilet aid (also called a bottom buddy) extends your reach so everywhere that needs to get clean gets attention. There are many toilet aids that sit next to the toilet like a toilet brush. But people go out and they do need to use the bathroom out in the world. The compact and pocket easywipes are designed to be used at home and on the road. In discrete hygienic cases to carry with you.

      

    Incontinence Underwear (Number 5)
    When a little drip is inevitable and you don't want to wear a paper diaper, washable reusable incontinence underwear are the way to go. They work well, don't smell and look and feel like regular underwear. Perfect. 


     

    Don't let bathroom issues curtail your life. Solutions do exist! 

    ease living owner occupational therapist

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    How to Choose the Best Walker

    how to choose the best walker or rollator

     

    You are looking to buy a walker. But what is the best type of walker for you? With the right walker, you’ll be more stable and have more energy. You will be able to go further, do more things on your own and have more adventures. The right walker makes everything easier. 

    There are a few things to keep in mind when choosing a walker for yourself or a loved one. Is the walker needed for balance and stability or because of fatigue? Will it be used indoors or outdoors? Does it need to fold for storage and transport? What features are needed? And, do you like how it looks and functions? You are more likely to use a walker you love. 

    Read on to learn more about different types of walkers and their best uses. 

    Standard Walker

    A standard walker is an aluminum walker that doesn’t have wheels. This type is best for someone who needs to lean a lot of weight on the walker- like after an injury or surgery. It is also good for someone who can’t control a rolling walker because of physical or cognitive issues. A con to a standard walker is that they have to be lifted with every step. Because of this a standard walker is not ideal for someone with balance issues. They can also take a bit more energy to use and can make you move a bit slower. Standard walkers are height adjustable and fold for storage and transport 

    Rolling Walker

    A rolling walker is a standard walker with 2 wheels on the front. The back legs have rubber tips or glides that slide along the floor and provide a bit of friction. Rolling walkers provide a more normal walking pattern than a standard walker since they do not need to be lifted off the ground with each step. They are ideal for those who need some stability but don’t need to put a lot of weight on the walker.

    The front wheels don’t swivel which causes a two wheel walker to have a large turning radius. Because of this, people will often pick up the walker to turn it in a small space which can lead to a fall in someone prone to poor balance. The wheels on a rolling walker are small. This type of walker is not ideal for walking on uneven surfaces like outdoors or in a home that switches from carpet to hard floors often. Rolling walkers are height adjustable and also fold for storage and transport.

    Rollator/4 Wheel Walker

    A four wheel walker (also called a rollator) has 4 rotating wheels, hand brakes and a seat. They often come with baskets and other storage options.
    Rollators allow for a more normal gait pattern than other types of walkers. They are easier to maneuver around turns and do not need to be lifted when turning. Having the seat is helpful for people with poor endurance that often need to rest when out for a walk.

    But many of these features can cause problems too.  Because a rollator is easy to push, it can also roll away from the user if they don’t have the physical ability to control the walker.  

    It is also so important to be safe when using the seat. The proper way to sit on a Rollator is to apply the permanent brakes, then sit down. People should NEVER be pushed on while sitting on the seat of the walker. This is a setup for a serious fall and possible head injury.

    Rollators are available with many different types and sizes of tires. A smaller wheel is fine for smooth surfaces but is going to be hard to use on uneven terrain or in a house where the floor changes from carpet to hard from room to room. If you plan on using your rollator on uneven sidewalks or outdoor paths, choose a walker with larger tires. Many even come equipped with pneumatic air tires that help absorb bumps for a smoother walk. 

    Rollators do fold but not as compactly as a standard or 2 wheel walker. They are also heavier so they can be a little harder to store and transport. 

    the best walkers and rollators

    2 in 1

    A rollator transport chair combination has all the features of a rollator but is also designed to transport someone when they sit on the seat. They are equipped with foot rests and a seat angle that makes it safe for someone to be pushed while seated. These are ideal for people that don’t want to have to choose between using a walker and wheelchair when they go out.
    They do fold but like a rollator, they can be heavy and don’t fold as flat as a standard walker.

    rollator walker and transport chair in one

    Do you need a walker with wheels?

    Think about strength and stability when deciding if you want a walker with wheels. If the walker is being used to lean on and take weight, you are going to want to go with a walker without wheels. If stability and fatigue are an issue, wheeled walkers are the way to go. 

    Do you need a walker with a seat?

    If you like to have a place to rest at all times, a walker with a seat might be a good decision for you. It is convenient to always have a place to rest! As long as you can control the walker and don’t have to put too much weight on it, a rollator is a great solution for people who need frequent rest breaks when out having fun or running errands. Just DON’T allow people to give you a ride while you are on the seat!

    Do you like the walker?

    If you think the walker is ugly and you don’t like it, you won’t want to use it. It will likely get left behind and you will risk not being able to get very far or having a fall. There are many different styles and designs of walkers out there. Pick one that suits your style and your needs. 

    Remember, there are many factors to consider when choosing the perfect walker for your needs. Top among them is your goal. What is the purpose of your walker? What do you plan on doing with it? Do you need to be able to store it compactly or transport it easily?

    Choosing the right walker for your needs is a very personal decision. Ultimately, your choice will be based on your needs and what you want to accomplish. 

    occupational therapist

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