Jun 5

For people with Parkinson’s Disease, one of the most telling signals of the disease is their gait, or shuffling movement of the feet when they walk. Instead of walking heel to toe, many times they don’t lift their feet at all. They sometimes shuffle their feet on the ground or stride with the toe first.

As the disease progresses, this gait shuffling becomes more pronounced and eventually they may become susceptible to falls or “freezing of gait” symptoms, also known as FOG.

Freezing of gait episodes are closely related to falls and both can be debilitating. Medication can help decrease the chances of episodes or the severity of episodes, but as things progress, medication can only do so much.

When freezing episodes occur, the patient has trouble starting to walk and may stand in the same spot for a minute or two. The brain wants to walk but the feet don’t move. There are a variety of stimuli that may trigger gait freezing such as small spaces or stressful situations, but there are ways other than medication that can also reduce freezing and minimize falls.

One of the most effective prevention techniques we’ve found is with the use of a Parkinson walker that uses a laser beam near the feet. The laser provides a visual cue to the brain to walk.

Parkinson Walker with Laser beam to prevent gait freezing

Not only does the laser aid in reducing freezing of gait episodes, it is a very stable walker with features designed specifically for Parkinson’s. The automatic braking and reversible handle and brake combination make this an attractive walker for a person with Parkinson’s Disease.

While it may be impossible to eliminate freezing of gait completely, it is possible to reduce the tendency to freeze or fall with the right equipment, and ensure safer daily routines.

We have more information and a video about the Parkinson Walker on our website at:
AccessibleConstruction.com/services/walkers/parkinson-walker

May 9

Summer is always a great time for exercise because the weather is nice and most of us would rather be outside soaking up some of the sun’s Vitamin D energy than staying indoors. With the high temps we’ve had across the country in previous years, being in a pool makes it all that much better.

Pools are a great way for seniors to get low impact exercise that is easy on the joints but still gives a pretty good workout. Not only does the exercise release feel-good endorphins, it’s a refreshing way to stay active outside and beat the heat.

Pool safety is imperative though, and it’s always advised to not swim alone – and that goes for all age groups. Just as children should always have a parent with them, seniors should also be accompanied by a caregiver, friend, or other family member when using a pool. As kids at camp learn every summer, it’s called the buddy system and it’s a lesson that should be followed all through life.

Every pool should have a secure pool rail adjacent to the steps for getting in and out of the pool. Public swimming pools are required to have at least one at every entrance and the same should be followed by private residential pools. In fact, public pools over a certain size are now also required to have an ADA Pool Lift. While a pool lift may be overkill for your home pool, many styles and sizes are available should one be needed.

We recently installed a pool rail at the home of an elderly couple in Los Angeles. We do quite a few pool rail installations every summer. As you can see in the first photo, both the pool and jacuzzi were without any railings to aid in getting in or out.

Pool Rail before Installation

The next photo shows the pool rails we installed that extend out across the length of the steps. They take up very little space and do not impede the walkway area around the pool. They help ensure the safety of the person using the pool, as well as allowing a caregiver to get into the pool to help with exercise routines.

Pool Rail after Installion

Also notice in the second photo, the pool area is free from any obstacles that may cause somebody to trip and fall into the pool. Inside the home we’re always careful to keep cords out of the way and carpets tacked down to prevent tripping and falling. The same care should be taken outside around the pool.

If you have a pool, but haven’t been using it because of safety issues, it might be worth it to have a backyard assessment. It usually doesn’t take much to get a pool in shape to begin enjoying it again.

Feb 28

Many seniors have trouble getting in and out of the car because of arthritis, joint pain, and general symptoms caused by aging. There are many ways to make a home easier to use, but how do you make a car easier to use? Here are our three favorite car mobility aids that make getting in and out of a car safer and easier.

Handybar Car Standing Support Lever

Handybar
The Handybar is a car standing support lever that fits inside the u-striker of the car door frame when the door is opened. It’s been around forever and is a simple device to use and store in the car. This is a great tool for people who need something sturdy to hold onto when getting in and out of a car.

The Handybar easily fits in the glove compartment or better yet, a door pocket so it’s available when the door is opened for use getting in.

For those unusual circumstances, it can also be used to break the window or cut through the seat belts. Even though it is rare that these features will ever be used, they show how well the device is designed.

Car Caddie Car Window Standing Strap

Car Caddie
The Car Caddie is a car window standing strap that attaches to the top of the door frame and has a gripper handle.

It can be used like the Handybar except it works better for people that have more strength “pulling” themselves up instead of “pushing” up. Because certain disabilities or injuries require different motions, it’s nice to have an option that works with a person’s strength.

It can also be attached to a grab handle in the ceiling on newer cars. The Handybar and Car Caddie are both ideal for use in the front or rear seats and they both aid in entering and exiting the vehicle.

Swivel Car Seat

Swivel Car Seat
A Swivel Car Seat sits on the seat of a car and works similar in motion to a lazy susan and allows the driver or passenger to sit and swivel in or out for easier transfers to the car seat. It’s a simple device but really does its job.

Other products that deserve mentioning are the Beasy Transfer Board and lightweight Transport Chairs, which work well when traveling by car.

Seniors and people with disabilities rely on their cars for getting around but they can be cumbersome to use when getting in and out. These products help make using the car safer and easier to use.

Sep 8

Transferring patients from one place to another can be one of the most physically demanding aspects for a caregiver and the person they care for. It is difficult, can cause discomfort, and sometimes results in injuries to one or both. Straining is the most common occurrence but falls can be almost as troublesome.

It’s important to use the legs and not the back when lifting and whenever possible, transfer to the patient’s strong side. Proper patient handling is half the battle but using transfer devices that aid in patient transfers can make things safer and better for everyone involved.

With that said, here are 7 Patient Transfer Devices that make life easier for caregivers and patients:

Gait Belt

Gait Belt
A transfer belt, or Gait Belt, helps prevent back injuries and offers safe areas to grab on to a patient. They have multiple handles and give the caregiver a supported area to hold instead of grabbing an arm. Gait belts are ideal for transferring to and from wheelchairs or beds.


Advantage Rail

Advantage Rail
Using a transfer pole support rail such as the Advantage Rail gives the patient a sturdy support to hold when getting up, sitting down, or moving between a wheelchair and other sitting area. It is like adding a four-foot high grab bar that is mounted to the floor, and can be placed in any room or area of the home. Advantage rails work great in the bathroom but can be just as helpful in the bedroom or frequently used living area. Patients that can help lift themselves ultimately lessen the strain on the caregiver.


Super Pole

Super Pole
Similar to the Advantage Rail, the Super Pole is a transfer support rail that extends from the floor to the ceiling and works especially well in the bedroom. It has several available attachment options like the Trapeze Bar and T-Bar support, and makes transferring to and from a bed much easier. Having a sturdy support to hold on to during transfers is important for both patients and caregivers.


Sliding Transfer Board

Sliding Transfer Board
The old-fashioned wooden wheelchair transfer board has been updated to the Sliding Transfer Board, or Beasy Board. It comes in three shapes and sizes and is ideally suited for transfers to and from a wheelchair. It has a swivel, sliding disc in the center of the board that aids in moving the patient from one seat to the other. It is made of durable plastic and offers none of the friction or splinters of the old style transfer boards.


Patient Lift

Portable Patient Lift
For patients who are less ambulatory, transfers can be very difficult and usually require more than one caregiver. A portable Patient Lift is sometimes the only way to transfer a patient from one place to another. It comes with a nylon sling that is placed underneath and electrically lifts the patient up. It can then be wheeled from one spot or room to another and then lowered at the touch of a button. Made from extra strong aircraft aluminum, it is lightweight and easy to maneuver. It also folds up for storing in the trunk of a car. The Portable Patient Lift is well-suited for taking on trips by car or plane when a lifting device is needed at your destination.


Ceiling Lift

Ceiling Lift
For patients who remain mostly in one spot in the home, an overhead Ceiling Lift might be a better option than a portable patient lift. They are usually placed in the bedroom or bathroom for raising and lowering in one spot. A ceiling track can also be installed that moves the patient in the sling from the bedroom to the bathroom and back. A ceiling lift greatly reduces the strain on everyone and offers a much better quality of life for non-ambulatory patients.


Transport Chair

Transport Chair
The final item is more of a transportation device than a transfer device, but a Transport Chair certainly makes life easier for patients and caregivers. Transport chairs work great for going to the doctor or making small trips. They work like a standard wheelchair but they’re lightweight and fold down for taking in a car. Our favorite model has foldable armrests and footrests that make transfers a breeze. There’s no reason to take a heavy, bulky wheelchair when a transport chair will do the job.

Moving patients from one place to another always involves some risk of injury but by taking advantage of the available patient transfer devices, it reduces the possibility of injury and increases the quality of life for both the patient and the caregiver.

Aug 30

Grab Bars are one of the most popular safety items for the bathroom. They come in a variety of shapes, sizes, colors, and configurations while adding form and function to one of the most popular rooms in the home. Here are 7 Grab Bar Installation Tips that we’ve discovered over the years.

There are two main areas of the bathroom where grab bars are necessary: the toilet area and the shower/bath area.

1. Whenever possible, position a grab bar within reach of the strongest side of the body. If the grab bar user has limited mobility in the left arm, a grab bar within reach of the right arm is preferred.

Grab Bar Installation

2. The grab bar installation height is important. The user should be comfortable with the position of the grab bar next to the toilet and in the shower. In the first photo, the toilet uses a Toilevator raised toilet base that adds 3.5 inches to the height of the toilet. If the grab bar is installed before raising the toilet, the grab bar height won’t be appropriate. Raise the toilet first and THEN install the grab bars.

The same is true for the grab bars in the shower. The second photo shows a shower bench that will be used for sitting in the shower. If at all possible, place the shower bench in the shower first and THEN position the grab bars to the best height for standing up and sitting down on the bench. This applies to any shower seats.

3. If the wall is too far away from the toilet, consider using Fold Down Grab Bars that attach to the wall behind the toilet. These come in various lengths and fold up and out of the way when not needed, such as performing wheelchair transfers. They fold down and into place when needed.

7 Grab Bar Installation Tips

4. Vertical Grab Bars provide support directly outside the shower. In the second photo the threshold has a collapsible shower water dam to keep water in the shower. A wheelchair user rolling over this could use the vertical grab bar to pull into the shower and over the shower dam. It also gives walking users something to hold onto while getting in and out of the shower. Wet surfaces are slippery so the safe transition from dry to wet floors is important.

5. Almost all grab bars meet ADA grab Bar specifications, meaning they are already the correct diameter and provide the proper distance from the wall when installed. But it’s important to ensure the wall they are attached to is strong enough to hold the user. The grab bar is strong enough but the installation of it into the wall might not be. Often, the wall needs to be reinforced before installation. Don’t just attach a grab bar and expect it to hold. Rely on experienced installers to do the job right.

6. Mixing horizontal, diagonal, and vertical grab bars provides the best safety measure and the most surface area for grabbing onto something sturdy.

7. A Portable Grab Bar, like a travel or suction cup grab bar, is a great way to test out the best position for your requirements. They attach temporarily with a suction cup and can be used to try out different heights and positions. This can save the time and expense of reinstalling grab bars that were positioned incorrectly.

Grab bars can be a great safety feature for the bathroom but a little pre-planning before the grab bar installation will ensure that they work as well as they should.

Jan 26

People with Parkinson’s Disease can be prone to gait freezing episodes. One of the most popular products to prevent freezing is a Parkinson Walker with Laser.

But for beginning stages of Parkinson, a walker may not be necessary yet and a great alternative is a Laser Cane for Parkinson Disease.

Laser Cane for Parkinson Disease

The laser creates an easy to see line on the ground that signifies to the brain to move the feet forward to cross the line.

For more info or to order, visit: www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/walkers/parkinson-laser-cane

Jan 21

The Parkinson Walker with Laser was designed for people with Parkinson’s Disease that have trouble with freezing gait episodes.

The Parkinson Walker is unique among walkers and is ideal for anybody that needs a very stable walker.

Most walkers have brakes that can be applied when need but the Parkinson Walker begins in the locked or brake position and the brakes are released by pushing down on a bar or by squeezing the brake handles.

This walker has so many features that it’s best to watch the video. For more details or to order, visit our website at: www.AccessibleConstruction.com/services/walkers/parkinson-walker

Dec 22

It’s a Toilet Paper Holder. It’s a Grab Bar. It’s both in one. The Invisia Collection Toilet Paper Roll Holder and Grab Bar puts both within easy reach while offering a sturdy grab bar for safety and convenience.

Toilet Paper Roll Holder and Grab Bar Combo - Invisia Collection

Available in chrome or white, the best part of the Invisia Collection Toilet Paper Roll Holder and Grab Bar Combo is its attractive look in a very functional product.

Details and ordering information our on our main website at: www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/bathrooms/toilet-roll-grab-bar

Nov 9

This Portable Patient Lift is lightweight and electric.

Light Weight Electric Portable Patient Lift

Made of aircraft aluminum, it is extremely strong and durable, raises and lowers electrically, and folds up for taking in a car or on an airplane.

A Portable Patient Lift can be used in homes, hospitals, care facilities, or anywhere there is a need for safely lifting or lowering patients.

For more details and ordering info visit our website: www.accessibleconstruction.com/services/ramps/11.html

Oct 19

Many of our clients suffer from a fall or stroke and are hospitalized for a period of time. They get good care and have special accommodations while in the hospital but under ideal conditions they are released from care and return to their home.

Sometimes they need a special bed and other times they just WANT a bed like they had in the hospital with hi-low adjustments. We work with select manufacturers to provide our clients with custom, designer Hi-Low Hospital Beds.

Hi-Low Hospital Bed for Home

These aren’t standard hospital beds, though. These are high-quality custom beds with a variety of features such as a standard single massage with timer, floor illuminating night light, and gentle call buzzer.

If you or a loved-one need a hospital bed for your home, give us a call toll-free at (866) 902-9800 and tell us what you need. We’ll set you up with a perfect fit.

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