If you or a loved one uses a wheelchair or experiences difficulty with steps, there are now a variety of mobility solutions to choose from, including ramps, vertical platform lifts, incline platform lifts and even outdoor stair lifts. These products significantly increase outdoor independence; Yet, many people are unaware of the outdoor accessibility options available.
Gordon Raney, Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS) and the owner/operator of 101 Mobility franchises in Tulsa and Dallas, has a few guidelines to help you pick the best product to meet your mobility needs:
Best for? Ramping is the most common way to address accessibility issues within the home. They are perfect for individuals using wheelchairs, scooters, or who simply struggle with stairs. Folding ramps provide a solid threshold over smaller steps or curbs. More substantial modular ramps are suggested for higher landings.
How much ramp will I need? For every inch of vertical rise, a foot of ramp is necessary. The slope of your property will also dictate the amount of ramping needed. If your property is sloped downhill, more ramping will be needed to create a steady incline and vice versa.
How will I maintain it? Aluminum EZ Access Ramps require basically no maintenance; no rust, rot or decay. Aluminum modular ramps can be disassembled, moved, and easily rebuilt should families move or decide to re-sell.
How do I use the incline platform lift? The lift includes a large platform onto which the individual can drive their wheelchair or scooter. The platform then follows the incline of the stairs by a rail installed into the staircase, not the wall.
Do I have the space for it? Incline platform lifts generally work well with larger staircases as enough space for the platform to stop at top and bottom landings is required. Keep in mind that average platform size is 28” x 36” and they fold up when not in use.
Best for? The platforms are large enough for a wheelchair or scooter; similar to the incline lift, vertical platform lifts are great options for people who are unable to independently make transfers from their chair.
How is this different from an incline lift? Vertical Platform Lifts are essentially mini platforms that lift in a vertical fashion as opposed to an incline platform lift which follows the route of the stairs. Vertical platforms lifts are generally used for porches.
When should I choose a vertical platform lift over a wheelchair ramp? Porch lifts take up considerably less space than wheelchair ramps and certain models enable the user to travel up to two stories high. At approximately 30” of vertical rise, a wheelchair ramp would need to be 30 feet long and likely contain 2 landing platforms. At this point, it becomes more cost effective to opt for a porch lift instead of a modular wheelchair ramp.
How does an outdoor stair lift work? Similar to indoor stair lifts, they safely transport a person from ground to porch by following the route of the stair case.
How do I keep it protected from the elements? Outdoor stair lift models have marine-grade vinyl seats and other standard features to withstand weather conditions. Ordering a cover to keep the lift free of any dirt or debris is recommended, especially if you live in an area where it frequently snows and rains.
Still have questions? No problem, find your nearest 101 Mobility location by clicking here. Learn more from Gordon Raney about accessibility enhancing modifications in an upcoming post. Stay tuned!
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Osteoarthritis (OA) is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.”
Common symptoms of arthritis include:
- Chronic pain at the joint affected by arthritis
- Chronic fatigue that goes beyond being just tired or sleepy
- Inflammation of the affected joint. Inflamed joints can become swollen, red or tender.
Arthritis can affect many areas of the body. Most commonly people think of arthritis as affecting the hands, fingers, knees or hip. However, arthritis can also be found in the ankles, feet, neck, shoulder, back, elbows or wrist. With the potential for arthritis to hit nearly any part of the body, it is important to have a plan for living with arthritis.
Arthritis is often treated by reducing stress on the affected joints. Losing weight and avoiding painful activities are two of the easiest ways to reduce stress on the affected joints. Additional treatments can include application of hot or cold packs to the affected areas, physical therapy, low-impact exercise, and the use of supportive devices such as canes. Should the arthritis become severe, mobility devices such as scooters, stair lifts and wheelchairs can be helpful or even necessary. Finally, in severe cases, surgery may be necessary to relieve pain.
There are several pain relieving drugs on the market. Over the counter medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen or naproxen can be taken to minimize pain. There are also various options for pain relief in the form of creams, rubs or sprays. Your doctor can also prescribe pain relief medications.
The important thing when living with arthritis is to get a proper diagnosis. With over 100 types of arthritis, it is essential that you get more than just a diagnosis of “you have arthritis.” You need a proper diagnosis, in order to get the proper treatment plan in place. If you begin to experience the symptoms of arthritis, make an appointment to see your doctor.
More information on arthritis can be found on the Arthritis Foundation website.
Whether you are moving into a new home or are making modifications to your current home, choosing the best features can seem overwhelming. When the goal is to choose design features that will help you to “age in place” with comfort, ease, and mobility, the task can seem even more challenging. For many Baby Boomers, the desire to create a home that will meet their needs far into the future is an essential one.
When designing a new home that will age with you, it is best to consider open living floor plans with main living areas all situated on one floor. With your kitchen, family room, bedrooms, bathrooms, laundry, and garage access all within easy access on the same floor, it eliminates the need for you to worry about climbing stairs. However, many people do not wish to build a new home and are looking for ways to modify their existing space. The simple addition of a stairlift can easily overcome the need to climb stairs in any home.
Increasing the natural light in your home can be a significant help to making your home more comfortable as you age. Adding skylights and larger windows helps increase natural light and does not require the homeowner to always turn on lights. If you are replacing windows, consider casement windows over double hung windows as they provide superior ventilation and are easier to open and close.
Other features within your home that make it easier to age in place include:
- The addition of wider doors, 36” wide doors are preferred.
- Opt for lever style handles on all doors.
- Roll out shelves in cabinets in the kitchen and bathrooms allow for easier access to items stored there.
- The addition of D-shaped or loop cabinet pulls.
- Tubs with doors for easy access.
- Grab bars at the toilet and in the shower or tub for stability.
- Lever style faucets in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Toilet paper dispensers that can be changed with only one hand.
- Counter tops with rounded corners.
- Thresholds or floor level differences of no more than ½” for easy clearance by wheelchairs or power scooters.
In order to reduce maintenance on the exterior of your home, consider upgrading the exterior to low maintenance coverings such as brick, stone, stucco or vinyl siding. All of these allow you to minimize the expense and upkeep of your home.
There are many more ways to improve the functionality of your home making it easier to age in place. Many communities have contractors who specialize in building or retrofitting homes for aging in place. Find a reputable builder who will work with you to accommodate your needs and help you to bring the changes you envision to reality.
New Company Fills Niche for Home Health Care Mobility Devices in seven (7) Counties, Serving a Population of five (5) Million
Houston resident Deanna Geggatt, a registered nurse and home health care administrator with more than 20 years of experience in the medical field, has taken her compassion for helping the disabled to another level by introducing 101 Mobility to the Houston area. As the first location in the state, 101 Mobility is a franchise provider and installer of affordable brands of mobility and accessibility equipment for the elderly and disabled.
While working as a home health care administrator, Geggatt discovered a void in the home mobility device market. She found that many patients in need of home mobility devices—such as grab bars, stair lifts, modular ramps, etc.—needed a simple way to choose the right equipment and have it installed quickly and easily. After researching the options available in the greater Houston-area, she found that consumers in need could either go to small, independent “mom and pop-type” local businesses who at times lacked practical knowledge in mobility-related equipment (because it isn’t their core focus), or they could go to large online distributors who often fail to offer installation or face-to-face-support.
“When the elderly or disabled and their families invest in expensive mobility equipment, they prefer to have local experts install and service as well as provide face-to-face support for ongoing service and repair issues,” Geggatt said.
On August 31, Geggatt, along with her husband Glen, will introduce 101 Mobility to the Houston area, serving a population of more than five million people in seven counties, including Fort Bend, Galveston, Harris, Liberty, Matagorda, Montgomery and Waller.
101 Mobility is the franchising world’s first full-service sales, service and installation provider of a complete line of mobility and accessibility products and equipment, including stair lifts, auto lifts, ramps, porch lifts, power wheelchairs, scooters and more. By working with patients to identify which home health care devices best suit each individual’s needs, 101 Mobility provides an alternative to group homes and rehabilitation centers by allowing patients to live self-sufficiently in their homes.
The combination of Geggatt’s experience in the home health care industry and Glen’s professional experience working as a contractor serves as the perfect combination for a successful full-service home mobility device business. Glen is also certified as an “Aging-In-Place-Specialist” through the National Association of Homebuilders.
“I think there’s good synergy between Glen and I where I can identify the patients at risk and recommend the right products to them; Glen then brings the technical aspect to the table by handling all the installations,” Geggatt said.
With her background, Geggatt lends her expertise in all things related to home health care mobility to the disabled and senior population throughout the Houston area.
“Our goal is to become a solution that people didn’t have before,” Geggatt said. “There’s not much awareness of what home mobility devices are available to encourage independence and serve as a practical, real alternative to moving to an assisted living facility.”
She continued, “Since we’re part of a larger franchise, we are able to offer better pricing than the small local shops, plus extra support for our customers by tapping into our franchise support network. We hope to develop a strong local business relationship with the community.”
101 Mobility plans for further expansion throughout the state of Texas and is growing rapidly across the Country as well. For more information, visit www.101mobility.com
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