Residential Elevator in Your Home

 

Things to Consider Before You Buy a Residential Elevator

 

 

Once only for the rich and famous, a home elevator is now an affordable luxury to make the home barrier free and convenient. Building a new home with a residential elevator can add value to the property by making it accessible to all and ease every day tasks like lugging laundry and groceries between floors. Here’s some great information.

 

 

A private home elevator is a specialized version of a public elevator, with the same basic principle of operation. In North America, residential elevators should be built to meet certain code requirements that limit such things as the speed, size and capacity for home use only. Most home elevators require a shaftway in which to travel. Modern designs feature automatic operation so they open, close and move and down with single touch buttons.

Today’s home elevators can be finished inside to match the homeowner’s style and design tastes including solid hardwood interiors and glass observation panels.

 

Home Elevator Contractor

A locally trained residential elevator contractor will perform a site visit to assess the space you have and the specific construction requirements in your home. The best time to involve the contractor is when you are planning a new home, or planning a major renovation.

Not all home elevators have the same requirements, so it is imperative to select the elevator you want before the hoistway is constructed. The best companies have free planning guides on their web sites to advise on hoistway construction.

Operational Choices

Your elevator will be custom built and programmed to travel from floor to floor with 2 stops or more. Each landing will have a call station button (hall call) installed and each landing will also require a special door that locks and cannot be opened unless the elevator is at the landing. The elevator itself should also have a cab door or gate to keep occupants from falling outside the cab while the elevator is in motion. Inside, the elevator will include a cab operating panel (COP) to allow the user to select the stop and operate doors.

Inside the Elevator Cab

For traditional elevator drive systems, the inside elevator cab can be finished as you like it. Some companies offer great factory finish options including solid raised hardwood, veneer, MDF, melamine or plastic laminate walls. You many also choose to receive a basic unfinished cab and have your local home contractor to finish the cab to match you home.

 

The elevator will also have hardware fixtures such as a handrail, operating panel and pot lighting in the ceiling. You will be able to select styles and finishes for these components.

 

 

A home elevator cab is built to a variety of standard sizes or may be custom-sized. A good size is 40″ by 54″ (a maximum size is 15 sq. ft in North America). A home elevator can have one or two doors that exit straight through or at 90 degrees to each other depending on your home construction. You may also have a choice for the height of your elevator cab. A taller cab (80″) will feel more spacious.

Construction & Safety Requirements

A home elevator cannot be installed in any kind of public building, including places of worship. For any buildings that are not private homes, you will need a commercial elevator or lift. The exception is a private condominium with private access.

Hoistway contruction is important. Do not build a hoistway without knowing the specifications required for your elevator. An elevator also needs overhead room (room above the top of the elevator at the top landing), and usually a pit at the bottom. A general idea of space required for the hoistway would be five square feet. Leading manufacturers publish many specifications on their web sites to plan in advance.

A hoistway has a number of requirements for construction including specifics for the wall where the elevator rails will be secured (the support wall). Each manufacturer provides these specifics for the model of elevator.

Most of the time, a pit between 6 and 12 inches is required at the bottom of the hoistway. The pit must have a concrete pad able to withstand an impact load for safety.

 

 

There are also electrical requirements for residential elevators that vary by model. A skilled electrician will need to ready the site to power the drive and other features of the elevator such as lighting.

Most elevators include a phone key pad for safety, but you will need to add a landline for the telephone capability.

Residential elevators can travel up to 50 ft depending on the model and manufacturer and move at a speed of between 20 and 40 feet per minute. Each model has its own capacity rating but the largest size carries 1000 lb (some areas may allow larger capacity).

Doors and gates are controlled with electro mechanical locks for safety. Solid core doors are required. A door operator can be added so that it does not need to be opened manually. Automatic sliding doors like those from Savaria provide added safety because they eliminate the gap between the landing door and the cab door. Look for doors and gates that include light screens or light curtains. Light screens create a beam of light that when broken by a person walking through it, ensures that the elevator cannot move.

Your local professional elevator contractor should know the local code and inspection requirements for residential elevators. You may need a permit and you may also require government inspection before you can use your elevator depending upon where you live. Silver Cross can help you find a pre-qualified installer near you who will know what is required in your area.

 

Types of Home Elevators

 

Geared, gearless and hydraulic residential elevators

There are several different drive systems available for home elevators. Each has its advantages and disadvantages.

Geared Traction

A popular choice that is moderately priced. The geared traction home elevator uses a chain with motor and counterweights to move the elevator up and down. It is generally regarded as a good quality ride, low maintenance and not difficult to install (by a professionally trained elevator contractor).

MRL (Machine Roomless)

This option (on a geared traction drive) means that a separate machine room is not required for the elevator drive system. Instead, the drive is integrated with the elevator itself. This means less space is needed for the installation. An ideal choice when you do not have space near by for a dedicated machine room.

Hydraulic Drive

The elevator moves using power generated by moving pressurized hydraulic fluid through a cylinder. Known as a very quiet and smooth ride in comparison to a chain drive elevator. Typically, more expensive than chain drives and more complex to install with a machine room required to house the drive system.

Gearless

 

Today’s commercial elevators are fast, smooth and quiet thanks to gearless traction systems. Because of their more complex drive systems, they are more expensive but gearless home elevators offer the smoothest, quietest rides. A machine room is not required. They are the ultimate home elevators.

Winding Drum

Less popular today, a winding drum elevator is less expensive with its simple technology of winding cable from years past. They tend to be more noisy and less smooth than most people want. A very small cab size may be possible with this type of drive.

 

Unique small home elevators

These futuristic looking elevators use air suction to move an elevator car up and down inside a plastic cylinder (just like mail moves through pneumatic tubes in large offices). They are quiet and smooth, but quite expensive.

 

Through-the-floor Elevators

These elevators are not fully automatic, they feature constant pressure operation. They operate on a self-supporting tower and move through a floor cut-out rather than a hoistway. When space is an issue, this option is a good way to move one person with a wheelchair from one floor to another.

 

5 tips about residential elevators

1. Manufacturer Reputation

A well built home elevator should last many years with scheduled maintenance. Choose a well known manufacturer with history in the business. A home elevator is nothing you should go cheap on. Do your homework to buy quality and it will last.

2. Dealer Expertise

Installing a residential elevator is for the pros only. Licensed, experienced elevator technicians will ensure that your elevator meets all national and local code which is critical for safe operation. Silver Cross has a list of pre-qualified elevator installers and can help you find a local expert.

3. Try Them!

The elevator drive system you choose will dictate the noise and smoothness of the ride. The quietest and smoothest rides come from gearless drives or hydraulic drives. But there are pros and cons to each style, so it’s always best to visit a dealer’s showroom to try the elevator type yourself and ask questions.

4. Customization Options

Some companies are very flexible and offer different finish options and cab styles. Adding options such as glass sliding doors (offered by Savaria) takes your home elevator to a different level of luxury altogether.

5. Specifications and Your Home

Before you run down the path of picking exactly what you want, a local elevator contractor is the right person to help you review your needs for travel distance and hoistway requirements and these factors may narrow your choices. If you are building a new home, figure the elevator into your plan right from the beginning for the most flexibility of choice. For a renovation, make sure you get an expert in to review how it can be done.

 

Frequently asked questions about residential elevators

 

How much does a home elevator cost?

A home elevator costs between about $20,000 and $50,000 including the installation. Entry level elevators have 2 stops and basic interior finishes. More expensive home elevators have luxury finishes and more stops. Adding things like glass walls and doors may raise the price about $50,000.

 

How long does it take to install a home elevator?

 

The actual elevator installation time will likely be 1 week. But that time does not include the building of the hoistway and on-site finishing time for things like flooring.

 

How much space does a residential elevator need?

Allow at least 5 square feet for a hoistway. You will also need to allow for space above the top landing (overhead) and below the bottom landing (pit).

 

How safe is a home elevator?

Installing a reputable manufacturer’s elevator using a licensed local elevator installer ensures the best level of safety. There are very specific rules and code requirements for installation that should be followed. Home elevators need to be operated according to the owner’s manual.

 

What is the largest size of home elevator?

A home elevator by building code, can be a maximum of 15 square feet inside the elevator cab.

 

What type of maintenance is required for a residential elevator?

Each manufacturer specifies maintenance requirements or schedules. Just like a car, you will need to service your elevator according to the schedule in order to uphold the warranty and avoid larger, more costly repairs.

 

Who are the top manufacturers of home elevators in the US and Canada?

Inclinator, Savaria (Concord) and Waupaca are all well known, established names in the business.

 

What is the best type of elevator drive system?

All systems have their pros and cons. Gearless and hydraulic drive systems are usually the quietest and smoothest running, but geared traction drives are easier to install and can be less expensive to install as well.

 

What is a through-the-floor elevator?

A through-the-floor elevator is a specialty home elevator that can travel with 2 stops. Rather than being installed into a shaftway/hoistway, it travels through a cut-out in the floor, on a tower which is securely mounted to the wall. The cut-out features a cover that rides on the top of the elevator and goes back into place on the floor when the elevator is at the bottom so the floor hole is covered.

 

List of Home Elevator Manufacturers

There are several residential elevator companies based in North America. With the exception of Savaria which is a public company, the companies are privately held. Commercial elevator companies such as Otis and Kone do not sell home elevators.

 

Inclinator

A family-run business of 90 years, Inclinator’s Elevette home elevator was actually introduced in 1928. Today, the company offers cable drum and hydraulic drive elevators as well as machine roomless options.

 

Savaria

An overall accessibility company, Savaria purchased luxury manufacturer Concord Elevator in 2005 and offers hydraulic, machine roomless geared traction and gearless home elevators. They are known for doing custom work to meet virtually any needs.

 

Waupaca Elevator Company

In business since the 1950’s, this well known company makes winding drum and hydraulic units with machine roomless options.

 

Garaventa

With its roots in mountain aerial tramways, Garaventa changed its focus to accessibility products in the late 1970’s. The company more recently introduced home elevators to its portfolio with a hydraulic and machine roomless model.

 

Residential Elevators

This company offers both traction and hydraulic drive systems. They are more well known in the southern US.

 

In Summary

If you are considering a residential elevator, take your time with this decision. Contact several local dealer/installers to arrange for an in-home analysis and estimate.  Make sure you ask plenty of questions, and get any estimates and guarantees in writing. 

 

Related:

Choosing a Walking Cane

Best Power Wheelchairs

Guide to Lift Chairs

Start Your Own Blog

 

 

 

Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

Don’t Ignore Sleep Apnea

 

Image result for sleep apnea

 

 

If Left Untreated, Sleep Apnea Can Be Life Threatening

 

 

Sleep apnea is a disorder in which people have one or more pauses in breathing while they sleep.

Breathing pauses can last from a few seconds to minutes. They often occur 5 to 30 times or more an hour. Typically, normal breathing then starts again, sometimes with a loud snort or choking sound.

Sleep apnea usually is a chronic ongoing condition that disrupts your sleep. You often move out of deep sleep and into light sleep when your breathing pauses or becomes shallow.

 

 

Obstructive Sleep Apnea

 

The most common type of sleep apnea is obstructive sleep apnea. This most often means that the airway has collapsed or is blocked during sleep.

The blockage may cause shallow breathing or breathing pauses. When you try to breathe, any air that squeezes past the blockage can cause loud snoring. Obstructive sleep apnea is more common in people who are overweight, but it can affect anyone.

 

 

 

 

Central Sleep Apnea

 

Central sleep apnea (CSA) is caused by irregularities in the brain’s normal signals to breathe. Most people with sleep apnea will have a combination of both types.

Untreated sleep apnea can:

  • Increase the risk of, or worsen, heart attack and heart failure
  • Make arhythmias or irregular heartbeats, which  increase the chance of having work-related or driving accidents

 

What Happens if Sleep Apnea Goes Untreated

 

 

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that requires long-term management. Lifestyle changes, mouthpieces, surgery, and/or breathing devices can successfully treat sleep apnea in many people.

Untreated, sleep apnea can be life threatening. Excessive daytime sleepiness can cause people to fall asleep at inappropriate times, such as while driving.

Sleep apnea also appears to put individuals at risk for stroke and transient ischemic attacks (TIAs, also known as “mini-strokes”), and is associated with coronary heart disease, heart failure, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, and high blood pressure. Although there is no cure for sleep apnea, recent studies show that successful treatment can reduce the risk of heart and blood pressure problems.

 

 

Treatments for Sleep Apnea

 

There are a variety of treatments for sleep apnea, depending on an individual’s medical history and the severity of the disorder.

Most treatment regimens begin with lifestyle changes, such as avoiding alcohol and medications that relax the central nervous system (for example, sedatives and muscle relaxants), losing weight, and quitting smoking.

Some people are helped by special pillows or devices that keep them from sleeping on their backs, or oral appliances to keep the airway open during sleep.

 

 

If Conservative Methods Don’t Work

 

If these conservative methods are inadequate, doctors often recommend continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine, in which a face mask is attached to a tube and a machine that blows pressurized air into the mask and through the airway to keep it open.

 

Also available are machines that offer variable positive airway pressure (VPAP) and automatic positive airway pressure (APAP).

A BiPAP machine has settings for both inhaling and exhaling to make it easier for people who have higher pressure settings to exhale. This unit also has a built-in humidifier.

There are also surgical procedures that can be used to remove tissue and widen the airway. Some individuals may need a combination of therapies to successfully treat their sleep apnea.

 

 

How to Pick the Right CPAP Machine For Sleep Apnea

 

If your loved one has been diagnosed with sleep apnea, and your doctor has prescribed use of a continuous positive airway pressure, or CPAP, machine, it can be difficult to decide which one will best suit your needs.

A CPAP is not always covered by insurance, and the elder will need it for a long time, so think of the purchase as an investment.

Do your research and compare the available models before you purchase a CPAP machine. Here are a few factors to consider:

 

Comfort

Because pressurized air requires a closed seal for it to be effective, CPAP machine users are required to wear specialized masks when sleeping.

 However, an uncomfortable mask or chin strip is usually what causes people to stop wearning their CPAP.

 

It is absolutely vital that the CPAP chin strap and mask fit properly.

If the mask and chin strap don’t fit properly, it can cause:

  • Skin irritation, chafing, rashes, sores
  • Leaks from a mask that is the wrong size, causing the pressurized air to escape, reducing the effectiveness of your nasal CPAP machine.
  • Dry mouth, red, swollen eyes or conjunctivitis from a mask that it too tight, which can increase the pressure on the apnea sufferer’s eyes

 

Look for straps that come in different sizes, to accommodate the user’s head, as well as soft, stretchable straps.

Straps extend around your face and over your head to hold the nasal cushion in place while the breathing tube extends up over your head to allow sleep in any position. Unfortunately, many users find the straps on their face to be uncomfortable, especially when initially trying to fall asleep.

 

Sleep Position

It is difficult to get used to wearing a CPAP mask every night, but there are a variety of CPAP accessory options that can make the machines easier to adjust to.

For example, users can choose between a mask that covers the entire face, or one with tubes that seal inside the nostrils. There are CPAP masks that work best for people who lie on their stomachs and others for people who toss and turn. Experiment with CPAP mask accessories to find the one that is most comfortable for your elderly parent.

 

Portability

If you find yourself frequently traveling for business or pleasure, be sure to choose a model that is portable, compact, and easy to take with you. Some machines are available with an optional DC power supply for you car’s cigarette lighter, or can be run with an optional integrated battery, making it the ideal choice for traveling by airplane.

 

Heated Humidifier

Clinical research has shown that CPAP patients tend to be more compliant with the addition of heated humidity to their CPAP program.

A CPAP humidifier can prevent a dry mouth and the sinus problems caused by the stream of pressurized air.

A CPAP humidifier works by using a fine mist of warm or room-temperature distilled water to keep your nasal passages moist. When choosing a CPAP machine with the heated humidifier, keep in mind how much space the machine will take up with the humidifier attached.

 

Adjustable Ramp and Exhalation Pressure Relief

The ramp is used to temporarily lower the air pressure initially to allow the CPAP machine user to fall asleep more easily. The pressure then gradually increases to the prescribed level.

Adjustable ramp settings allow the user to set the amount of time it takes for the CPAP machine to reach the prescribed level. Some CPAP machines, include a feature the decreases the air flow pressure when you exhale. Exhalation pressure relief is usually not a necessary feature, and most CPAP machines that include it are much more expensive.

 

Sound Level

All newer CPAP machines are very quiet, but some are more quiet than others. Although the majority of noise you hear while using CPAP therapy is the sound of air rushing through the tube, the quietness of the motor is an important factor to consider.

 

APAP or CPAP

Some CPAP users find it more pleasant to breath with APAP than with CPAP because the pressure automatically changes as needed to deliver the minimal pressure needed. With a CPAP, on the other hand, the pressure is set at the highest necessary to keep the airway open, even though the high pressure is needed only a fraction of the time.

The bottom line: Before purchasing a CPAP machine, be sure to look at all of the options and features available.

 

 

 

Final Thoughts

If someone you care for is suffering from sleep apnea, don’t ignore it;  it’s not likely to go away on it’s own, and it could lead to serious complications.  See your doctor to discuss treatment options, including the use and care of a CPAP machine.

 

 

Buying a Stairlift

Which stairlift suits you and your home?

 

There are different types of stairlifts. Most stairlifts have seats but some are for standing on – they have a slim pad that you lean against. If you have difficulty stepping off the lift, some designs give you level access to the landing. Choosing the right one is a matter of assessing your needs and your home.

If, however, your stairs are too narrow for a stairlift, or you are unable to use one for other reason, you’ll need to consider alternatives, such as

  • installing an elevator
  • rearranging your house so that you can live on one floor

 

Types of Stairlifts

 

Lifts for straight stairs

Lifts for straight flights of stairs are cheaper. However, if you have two or more straight flights separated by landings, you may be able to install one continuous curved stairlift, rather than have two lifts fitted.

Straight stairs

Lifts for curved stairs

This is the type of lift you’d need if your stairs are actually curved. But stairlift manufacturers and suppliers call any kind of lift that goes round a corner a ‘lift for curved stairs’.

Lifts for use outdoors

Outdoor stairlifts are similar to indoor models but tougher and waterproof, so they can be used to get you  up your front steps.

http://www.lucanus.ca/images/CRE-2110E_top.jpg
Outdoor stairlift

Standing lifts

Lifts that you stand or ‘perch’ on are the answer if you can’t sit or stand easily – they’re often used by people who have trouble bending their knees. They’re slimmer than lifts with seats, and so can be fitted on narrower stairs.

To use a standing lift, you need to be able to stand for the minute or so it takes the lift to climb the stairs. If you get dizzy or collapse sometimes, a standing lift is probably not for you. There also needs to be enough headroom on the stairway. This is usually worked out as your height when standing plus around 12″ (30cm).

Lifts which can pass a doorway

In some houses, the lift will need to pass in front of a door – this often happens at the foot of the stairs. You can get around this by fitting a hinged track that lifts up when the stairlift is not being used.  Check that there’s some mechanism to make lifting the track more easy. Remember to raise it at night, so no one trips over it.

Or go for a powered stairlift that will slot automatically into place and lift out again when you use or park the lift. If you’re very heavy, check with the supplier that the hinge will be strong enough. Some  models use a different system – the track extends and withdraws automatically as the seat moves.

 

Four Steps for Choosing and Buying a Stairlift

 

You can’t just order a stairlift off the rack – it has to suit you and your home.

Stairlift companies will visit you at home to:

  • talk about what you need and how you’ll use the lift
  • check your stairs and work out how the lift might be fitted
  • either give you a quote during this visit or send it to you soon afterwards

 

These visits are made without obligation – don’t be put under any pressure to buy.

Use this checklist of key questions below to ask company reps.

 

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Print out and use this checklist as a reminder of some key questions to ask.

The company

 

  • Did the rep carry out a thorough assessment of you and your home?
  • Did the rep provide a firm, written quote?
  • Could the company arrange for you to avoid VAT?
  • Did the rep provide satisfactory answers to all of your questions?
  • Does the company have a money-back guarantee?
  • Are you able to pay the last installment after the lift is fitted, when you know that you are happy with it?

Repairs

 

  • For how long is the lift guaranteed?
  • Is there a 24-hour repair service?
  • How long might it take a repair person to arrive?
  • How much would repairs cost?

 

The lift

 

  • Were you able to see and try out the lift locally?
  • Are the controls easy enough to use?
  • Could you get on and off it easily?
  • Is the lift comfortable?
  • If things get more difficult, will you still be able to use the lift?

 

Safety

 

Stairlifts have a number of safety features. Check which of these the lift has, if they are important to you:

  • Speed controller – the lift will start and stop without jerking and will move slowly.
  • Safety sensors – if the lift meets an obstacle on the stairs, it will stop.
  • Safety belt – is one included and, if  so, can you fasten it easily?
  • Seat locks – swivel seats have a lock so that they don’t move when you are getting in or out of them.
  • Locks – lifts can be fitted with locks to stop children or visitors using the lift.

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There are four steps to take when you’re deciding on a stairlift:

  1. Contact a number of companies
  2. Discuss your options
  3. Compare costs
  4. Ask questions

 

Contact a number of companies 

Prices vary a lot, so I recommend trying at least three companies. Different manufacturers offer different ranges of stairlifts, too, so you may have to try more than one to find the lift that works best for you and your home.

It’s best to contact firms that aren’t tied to any one make of stairlift, so you’ll have a wider choice.

 

Discuss the options

When the manufacturer or supplier visits, the rep will measure your stairs and you. They usually just need to know the length of your leg when sitting, to make sure there’s no danger of you grazing your knees as you go up and down the stairs. If your stairs have a particularly low ceiling, they may measure your height when sitting down.

They’ll also need to know your weight. They should ask you about your mobility. Expect questions that will help you choose the right control, including whether you are left- or right-handed.

The rep should give you full details of their range and tell you about the products that will suit you best. You should think about what you’ll be able to manage in the future, as well as what you find easy now.

 

Here are some of the main options – make sure you discuss any that are important to you:

Swivel Seats – these let you turn to face the landing to get on and off more easily. The swivel locks in place, so there’s no danger of any movement if you push on the arm rest to stand up. Some swivel seats are powered.

Choice of colors and upholstery – some lifts have a greater choice than others. Some firms will paint the lift any color, and cover the upholstery in any fabric you like.

Easy-to-use controls – you should be able to choose between right- and left-handed controls. They should offer other choices, including levers that are easy to use even if you have little grip or strength. Check that you’ll be able to easily hold the control in place for as long as it takes to get up or down the stairs. Some lifts have remote controls.

A good rep will have a selection of controls for you to try before deciding.

Hand held remote controls and wall controls – you can use these to call the lift or send it back up or down the stairs. This is very useful if more than one person in your household uses the stairlift. Check how many remote controls are supplied – some firms give you two as a matter of course. Remote control and wall controls can also be used by an assistant, who can control the lift for you.

Safety belt – These are fitted on many lifts as standard. Check that you can fasten your belt easily. Can you choose which side it fastens on? If you need more support than a belt will give, many lifts can be supplied with a more elaborate harness.

Lock – if you have children visiting and they want to play on the stairlift, a lock is useful to help avoid accidents.

Comfortable seats – all stairlifts have padded seats. If you can, try them out for comfort before you buy. The manufacturer or supplier should be able to tell you where you can do this – many companies provide local mobility shops with demonstration models for people to try. Check that the lift moves off quietly and smoothly.

Footrest raisers – all lifts have a platform on which you rest your feet. Both the seat and this platform flip up so that the lift doesn’t take up much space when not in use. If you have difficulty bending to lift the footrest up, look for a model which raises the footrest automatically.

 

Compare Stairlift Costs and Service

You need to think about costs and the service offered. Take into account the after-sales service offered and the length of guarantee, as well as what the lift itself is worth.

Some companies will provide a firm quote – you either take it or leave it. Others may be open to negotiation. It may help you to get a keener price if you tell the company that you’re getting quotes from more than one firm.

 

Think Carefully About Accepting a Special Offer

You may find that a company can offer you a discount or a cheap deal on a particular model. Usually, you have to sign up quickly to get this discount. You may be told that a ‘cancelled’ order means that a lift has suddenly become available that just happens to fit your home and can be offered to you at a reduced cost.

While you will get the lift for the price promised, the lift may not be the one that suits you best. Consider carefully if it would be a good choice for you.

 

Ask Questions

Here are some questions you may want to ask the rep:

How long would the work take?

You may be surprised by how quickly a lift can be supplied and fitted – often within a week of the first call. Stairlifts usually take only a few hours to fit; one manufacturer claims less than an hour for a straight stairway.

How much mess is caused by installation?

Lifts are attached to the stairs rather than the wall, and do not involve any major building work. You can expect the company to tidy up after the lift is fitted. You shouldn’t have to repaint or redecorate afterwards.

What happens if I no longer need the stairlift?

If you move house or rearrange your home so that you don’t have to use the stairs, you may no longer need the lift. Some companies will buy the lift back – it can be reconditioned and resold. But the costs of removal and refurbishment mean you’ll probably only get a fraction of the price back. Ask them:

  • How much the company would offer to buy it back
  • What conditions might apply, such as the age of the lift or whether it’s been regularly serviced by them
  • If the price depends on the age and condition of the stairlift
  • How quickly they would be able to do this
  • Would they remove it for free and make good any damage to the walls or stairs?

 

If you think you’ll only be needing a lift for a short period, you might consider renting a stairlift.

 

What about after-sales service?

 

  • Guarantee: check the period offered – all lifts will have a year’s guarantee, but some manufacturers give you a more generous two years.

  • Repairs: stairlifts are reliable, so these should be rare. Ask when the call center is open and how long it takes before an engineer will visit. Get details of call-out and additional hourly charges.
  • Maintenance contract or extended warranty: you can buy these at the time of purchase or when the original guarantee runs out.
  • The usual deal is that for an annual fee you’ll get an annual service visit and free repairs. Some manufacturers offer variations such as an annual service plus reduced rates for an engineer’s visit, if the lift needs repair.

  • Battery: check that the maintenance contract covers the battery – many don’t.

While maintenance contracts may give you peace of mind, you should think about whether it would be cheaper to pay for repairs as you go.

 

Stair Lifts FAQs

 

What is a continuous charge stair lift?

Most stair lifts are battery powered and are charged on the travel rail. A continuous charge stair lift charges the lift along the full length of the rail, rather than just at the top or bottom of the rail.

 

I am in wheelchair, can I use a stair lift?

In many cases, a stair lift is not the right choice if you are a wheelchair user. But if you can transfer to and from the lift easily, you may be able to use it. If you use a wheelchair, your healthcare professional (such as an occupational therapist) can provide you the best answer about your ability to use a stair lift.

 

How much does a curved stair lift cost?

A simple curved stair lift, including the installation starts at $7,500 and can cost upwards of $20,000 depending on the complexity of your stairs.

 

Should I buy a used stair lift?

You may be able to locate a gently used stair lift that can save you money upfront. Reputable dealers selling recycled equipment will sell products they know they can get parts for and may even provide a warranty which reduces the risk of buying used.

 

I want to sell my stair lift, where can I go?

If you have a unit for sale that was purchased within the last 2 or 3 years, you may find a dealer interested in buying it. The dealer will value the product more if it is a current model with readily available parts.

 

I need a stair lift for short term, can I rent one?

Some dealers offer short term rentals or rent-to-own programs. Remember that generally a rental fee will include the installation and removal fee as well as the usage fee.

 

Will insurance pay for my stair lift?

Private health insurance companies may pay for your stair lift and you may qualify for full or partial payment from other funding sources (USA, Canada) depending on your personal financial situation or employment status. Your local dealer is the best resource for assistance with what is available in your region.

 

Can I get a tax deduction for my stair lift?

You may be able to claim the purchase of the stair lift as a medical expense if your health care provider deems the product necessary for your medical condition.

 

I need service for my stair lift, who can I call?

The best company to service is usually the company that installed your stair lift so call them first. If your product has a warranty, you likely must use the original installing dealer to service your unit. If you are not sure who installed it, contact the manufacturer to see if they can help you.

 

What company makes the best stair lift?

The major brands listed below have all been building and selling stair lifts for many years. The major components of this product are very similar among brands.

The best stair lift is the one that fits your needs and is sold to you by your local dealer to ensure that the product is properly installed and can be serviced in the future if any problems arise.

 

Stair Lift Manufacturers

 

North America Based Manufacturers

SAVARIA | Straight Stair Lift Manufacturers
In business since 1979, Savaria is one the top accessibility companies in North America.

 

Bruno Stair Lifts Logo
A solid company with a good reputation in home access products. They make stair lifts that are suitable for outdoor applications as well as for inside the home.

 

Harmar Stair Lifts
Newer to the industry than Savaria and Bruno, they have been in business since the late 90’s and they currently make several models of stair lifts.

 

Europe Based Manufacturers

Acorn Stair Lifts
Known for selling direct-to-consumers rather than through local dealers, this company’s head office is in the UK. They specialize in stair lifts.

 

Stannah Stair Lifts
Highly regarded in the UK, Stannah has produced many stair lifts for the European market, but has smaller presence in North America.

 

Handicare Stair Lifts
Another Europe based company that sells stair lifts under different brand names including Sterling in the USA. This company makes other types of daily living mobility aids.

 

If you have any experience with purchasing or using a stairlift, please share your thoughts below.

 

FBI Warning – Seniors Getting Scammed!

Finding Safe, Practical Shoes for the Elderly

 

Help for the Shingles Rash

 

Help for the Shingles Rash

 

http://a.abcnews.go.com/images/Health/abc_gmahealth_shingles_100908_wg.jpg

 

Shingles is an infection of a nerve area caused by the varicella-zoster virus.

 

It causes pain and a rash along a band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. Symptoms usually go within 2-4 weeks. Pain sometimes persists after the rash has gone, more commonly in people over the age of 50. Other complications are uncommon. Antiviral medication may be prescribed to limit the severity of the condition.

 

 

What is shingles and how common is it?

 

Shingles is an infection of a nerve and the area of skin supplied by the nerve. It is caused by a virus called the varicella-zoster virus. It is the same virus that causes chickenpox. Anyone who has had chickenpox in the past may develop shingles. Shingles is sometimes called herpes zoster. (Note: this is very different from genital herpes which is caused by a different virus called herpes simplex.)

About 1 in 5 people have shingles at some time in their life. It can occur at any age, but it is most common in people over the age of 50. It is uncommon to have shingles more than once, but about 1 person in 50 has shingles two or more times in their life.

 

How Does Shingles Occur?

 

Most people have chickenpox at some stage (usually as a child). The virus does not completely go away after you have chickenpox.

Some virus particles remain inactive in the nerve roots next to your spinal cord. They do no harm there, and cause no symptoms.

For reasons that are not clear, the virus may begin to multiply again (reactivate). This is often years later. The reactivated virus travels along the nerve to the skin to cause shingles.

 

 

In most cases, an episode of shingles occurs for no apparent reason. Sometimes a period of stress or illness seems to trigger it. A minor aging of the immune system may account for it being more common in older people. (The immune system keeps the virus inactive and prevents it from multiplying. A slight weakening of the immune system in older people may account for the virus reactivating and multiplying to cause shingles.)

 

 

Shingles is also more common in people with a poor immune system (immunosuppression). For example, shingles commonly occurs in younger people who have HIV/AIDS or whose immune system is suppressed with treatment such as steroids or chemotherapy.

 

Shingles Symptoms

 

The virus usually affects one nerve only, on one side of the body. Symptoms occur in the area of skin that the nerve supplies. The usual symptoms are pain and a rash. Occasionally, two or three nerves next to each other are affected.

 

The most commonly involved nerves are those supplying the skin on the chest or tummy (abdomen). The upper face (including an eye) is also a common site.

 

 

The pain is a localized band of pain. It can be anywhere on your body, depending on which nerve is affected. The pain can range from mild to severe. You may have a constant dull, burning, or gnawing pain. In addition, or instead, you may have sharp and stabbing pains that come and go. The affected area of skin is usually tender.

 

The rash typically appears 2-3 days after the pain begins. Red blotches appear that quickly develop into itchy blisters.

 

The rash looks like chickenpox, but only appears on the band of skin supplied by the affected nerve. New blisters may appear for up to a week. The soft tissues under and around the rash may become swollen for a while due to swelling (inflammation) caused by the virus. The blisters then dry up, form scabs, and gradually fade away. Slight scarring may occur where the blisters have been.

 

shingles

 

The picture above shows a scabbing rash (a few days old) of a fairly bad episode of shingles. In this person, it has affected a nerve and the skin that the nerve supplies, on the left side of the abdomen.

 

An episode of shingles usually lasts 2-4 weeks. In some cases there is a rash but no pain. Rarely, there is no rash but just a band of pain.

 

You may also feel you have a high temperature (feel feverish) and unwell for a few days.

 

Is Shingles Contagious?

 

 

You can catch chickenpox from someone with shingles if you have not had chickenpox before. But most adults and older children have already had chickenpox, and so are immune. You cannot get shingles from someone who has shingles.

 

The shingles rash is contagious (for someone else to catch as chickenpox) until all the blisters (vesicles) have scabbed and are dry. Also, if the blisters are covered with a dressing, it is unlikely that the virus will pass on to others. This is because the virus is passed on by direct contact with the blisters. (Therefore, if you have a job, you can return to work once the blisters have dried up, or earlier if you keep the rash covered and feel well enough.)

 

However, as a general rule, pregnant women who have not had chickenpox should avoid people with shingles.  Also, if you have a poor immune system (immunosuppression), you should avoid people with shingles.  hese general rules are to play safe, as it is direct contact with the rash that usually passes on the virus.

 

Also, to play safe and not risk passing on the virus to others who may not have had chickenpox, you should not share towels, go swimming, or play contact sports such as rugby while you have a shingles rash.

 

Complications From Shingles

 

Most people do not have any complications. Those that sometimes occur include the following:

 

Postherpetic Neuralgia (PHN)

 

This is the most common complication. It is where the nerve pain (neuralgia) of shingles persists after the rash has gone.

 

This problem is uncommon in people aged under 50. However, up to 1 in 4 people with shingles, over the age of 60, have pain that lasts more than a month. The older you are, the more likely it will occur. The pain usually eases gradually. However, in some people it lasts months, or even longer in a few cases. The chance of pain persisting is reduced with treatment.

 

Loose-fitting cotton clothes are best to reduce irritation of the affected area of skin. Pain may be eased by cooling the affected area with ice cubes (wrapped in a plastic bag), or by having a cool bath. Some people find that putting several layers of ‘cling film’ over the affected area of skin helps. This allows clothes to slide over the skin without irritating.

 

 

Orvis Men's The Perfect Flannel Shirt, Rust Plaid, Medium

 

On a personal note, my dad suffered from shingles recently, and found that the only thing he could wear during the day or for sleep in was super soft flannel.  Even the bed covers irritated him.  I recommend the Orvis Men’s  Flannel Shirt – it is the softest shirt ever!

The flannel fabric in these shirts is the softest flannel you will ever find, thick and brushed on both sides for maximum softness and comfort. Long-sleeved shirt with button-through patch pockets. Distinctive washable faux-suede trim on the outside neckband, bound buttonholes, and locker loop. Long shirttail hem stays tucked in. Pure cotton. Washable.

 

You may have already tried traditional painkillers such as paracetamol or anti-inflammatory painkillers such as ibuprofen that you can buy from pharmacies. However, these are unlikely to ease PHN very much in most cases.

 

An antidepressant medicine in the tricyclic group is a common treatment for PHN. Tricyclic antidepressants ease nerve pain (neuralgia) separately to their action on depression. There are several tricyclic antidepressants, but amitriptyline is the one commonly used for nerve pain. Pain is stopped, or greatly eased, in up to 8 in 10 cases of PHN treated with amitriptyline. Imipramine and nortriptyline are other tricyclic antidepressants that are sometimes used to treat PHN.

 

A tricyclic antidepressant will usually ease the pain within a few days, but it may take 2-3 weeks. It can take several weeks before you get maximum benefit. Some people give up on their treatment too early. It is best to persevere for at least 4-6 weeks to see how well the antidepressant is working. If an antidepressant works, it is usual to take it for a further month after the pain has gone or eased. After this, the dose is gradually reduced and then stopped. You should re-start the antidepressant quickly if the pain returns.

 

Tricyclic antidepressants sometimes cause drowsiness. This often eases in time. To try to avoid drowsiness, a low dose is usually started at first, and then built up gradually if needed. A dry mouth is another common side-effect. Frequent sips of water may help with this.

SHINGLES MIST-DON'T TOUCH THOSE PAINFUL LESIONS! Soothing Doctor Approved Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils Pain Relief Spray Mist

Topical Treatments

Recommended: Momae’s Garden Shingles Mist 

REAL RELIEF you can notice within 24 Hours, and Expedited Drying of Lesions within days. Case studies conducted through MoMae’s Garden report increased pain relief and soothing comfort through the healing process from painful shingles lesions.

ALL NATURAL ingredients are in this proprietary blend of essential oils and extracts. Don’t waste time with painful and ineffective over the counter remedies. Use Shingles Mist as a complement with or without your prescription medication. MoMae’s Garden All-Natural Shingles Mist provides the right blend of ingredients when you are suffering with Shingles lesions.

 

SAFE AND PAINLESS APPLICATION. Other formulas found in lotions and creams are painful to apply to shingles lesions. Our exclusive mist-on formula can be applied effectively and pain-free!

 

Soothe Soreness & Speed Drying of Lesions From Shingles ~ MoMae’s Garden 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

 

“After trying countless remedies for shingles, my father was still miserable and in quite a bit of pain. After using this natural remedy from Momae’s Garden, the relief was real, and almost instantaneous! I’m a believer!!” – Laura

 

Shingles can be one of the most painful experiences of you or your loved one’s life. Add to that the fact that most remedies come in the form of a cream which must be “rubbed” on, causing further pain and irritation. MoMae’s Garden All-Natural Shingles Mist provides real relief in a painless, spray on formula.

 

Our Proprietary, All-Natural formula uses a perfectly blended mix of natural essential oils and extracts to soothe the pain and stinging and speed drying of the affected area.

 

Case Studies show a dramatic improvement after just 1 day of use, and a significant reduction in the overall healing time for the shingles-affected lesions.

 

This premium product is not available in retail stores or pharmacies.

 

Read 130 customer reviews!

 

Skin Infection

Sometimes the rash becomes infected with germs (bacteria). The surrounding skin then becomes red and tender. If this occurs you may need a course of medicines called antibiotics.

 

Eye Problems

Shingles of the eye can cause swelling (inflammation) of the front of the eye.

 

 

In severe cases it can lead to inflammation of the whole of the eye which may cause loss of vision.

 

Weakness

Sometimes the nerve affected is a motor nerve (ones which control muscles) and not a usual sensory nerve (ones for touch). This may result in a weakness (palsy) of the muscles that are supplied by the nerve.

 

Prevention of the Shingles Virus

 

 

There’s a vaccine that may help prevent shingles or make it less painful if you do get it. The shingles vaccine is known as Zostavax. It is recommended for adults ages 60 and older, whether or not they’ve had shingles before. You can ask your doctor or pharmacist about getting the vaccine at age 50 to 59 instead. 

 

If you have never had chickenpox, you may avoid getting the virus that causes both chickenpox and later shingles by receiving the varicella vaccine.If you have never had chickenpox and have never gotten the chickenpox vaccine, avoid contact with people who have shingles or chickenpox. Fluid from shingles blisters is contagious and can cause chickenpox (but not shingles) in people who have never had chickenpox and who have never gotten the chickenpox vaccine.

 

Shingles is a painful virus which can develop in anyone who has had chickenpox. Be aware of the early symptoms of shingles, which include headache, sensitivity to light, and flu-like symptoms without a fever. You may then feel itching, tingling, or pain where a band, strip, or small area of rash may appear several days or weeks later. A rash can appear anywhere on the body but will be on only one side of the body, the left or right.

 

If you suspect you are developing shingles, see your doctor right away, as early medical treatment can help lessen the duration and severity of the virus.

 
 
Have you or someone you care for had experience with shingles?  Please share your tips and experience.

 

High Blood Pressure – Take Control

 

Take Control of Your High Blood Pressure

 

 

 

Blood pressure is a measure of how hard the blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. It’s normal for blood pressure to go up and down throughout the day, but if it stays up, you have high blood pressure. Another name for high blood pressure is hypertension.

 

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, can damage your blood vessels, heart and kidneys. This damage can cause a heart attack, stroke or other health problems.

 

When blood pressure is high, it starts to damage the blood vessels, heart, and kidneys. This can lead to heart attack , stroke , and other problems. High blood pressure is called a “silent killer,” because it doesn’t usually cause symptoms while it is causing this damage.

 

 

 

Your blood pressure consists of two numbers: systolic and diastolic . Someone with a systolic pressure of 120 and a diastolic pressure of 80 has a blood pressure of 120/80, or “120 over 80.” Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg).

  • The systolic number shows how hard the blood pushes when the heart is pumping.
  • The diastolic number shows how hard the blood pushes between heartbeats, when the heart is relaxed and filling with blood.

This figure is different for the very elderly (more than 80 years old) whose blood pressure should be below 150/90 mmHg, and for people with diabetes whose blood pressure should be below 130/80 mmHg. People suffering from other illnesses will have different target normal values.

 

See Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

What causes high blood pressure?

In most cases, doctors can’t point to the exact cause. But several things are known to raise blood pressure, including being very overweight, drinking too much alcohol, having a family history of high blood pressure, eating too much salt, and getting older.

 

 

Your blood pressure may also rise if you are not very active, you don’t eat enough potassium and calcium, or you have a condition called insulin resistance.

 

Blood pressure and aging

With advancing years, the arteries tend to become more rigid (less elastic). This may change a person’s blood pressure pattern, with a higher systolic pressure and a lower diastolic pressure. The higher systolic pressure is important because it can further accelerate the rigidity of the arteries. This state is referred to as ‘isolated systolic hypertension’. Although these changes are due to aging, this is not a normal state and may need medication to control the systolic pressures.

 

What are the symptoms?

 

High blood pressure doesn’t usually cause symptoms. Most people don’t know they have it until they go to the doctor for some other reason.

Very high blood pressure can cause severe headaches and vision problems. These symptoms can also be caused by dangerously high blood pressure called malignant high blood pressure. It may also be called a hypertensive crisis or hypertensive emergency. Malignant high blood pressure is a medical emergency.

How is high blood pressure diagnosed?

Most people find out that they have high blood pressure during a routine doctor visit. For your doctor to confirm that you have high blood pressure, your blood pressure must be at least 140/90 on three or more separate occasions. It is usually measured 1 to 2 weeks apart.

 

Important: Monitor your blood pressure regularly at home

 

Before you begin to monitor your blood pressure at home, it’s important to know that differences between left-arm and right-arm (interarm) blood pressure are common. Several studies have been done to determine what is a ‘normal’ variation between right and left arm. In general, any difference of 10 mm Hg or less is considered normal and not a cause for concern.

Since some studies showed that the average interarm systolic blood pressure difference was significantly greater in patients with known coronary artery disease, it’s a good idea to discuss differences higher than 10 mm Hg with your doctor.

When you have your blood pressure taken at the doctor’s office for the first time, it’s recommended that it be taken in both arms. But if you’re measuring your blood pressure at home, readings are often more easily taken in the non-dominant arm. If your home blood pressure readings are different from those taken in the doctor’s office, be sure to discuss this with your healthcare professional.

Many factors affect blood pressure. The fact that there are differences in right and left arm readings emphasizes the importance of measuring blood pressure in both arms initially to prevent the misdiagnosis of high blood pressure. If one arm consistently has higher blood pressure than the other, that arm should be used to measure your blood pressure.

 

Recommended: Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Widerange ComFit(TM) Cuff

 

No. 1 doctor and pharmacist recommended home blood pressure monitor

Manage and track up to 200 readings on your blood pressure monitor and unlimited readings on your smartphone with Omron’s free iOS and Android applications.

Comfortable and simple to adjust, the pre-formed ComFit(TM) Cuff inflates around the entire arm to avoid incorrect cuff positioning ensuring a precise reading and expandable cuff fits standard and large arms.

 

Easy-to-read screen features a backlight, extra large digits and multi-colored indicator lights that show how your reading compares to normal home blood pressure levels.

 

 

Omron 10 Series Wireless Upper Arm Blood Pressure Monitor with Wide-Range ComFit Cuff (BP786)

Feel empowered by accuracy with exclusive technology that automatically displays the average of your last 3 readings taken within the last 10 minutes and detects irregular heartbeats

 

 Blood Pressure Measuring Tips:

 
  • Be still.
    Don’t smoke, drink caffeinated beverages or exercise within the 30 minutes before measuring your blood pressure.

 

  • Sit correctly.
    Sit with your back straight and supported (on a dining chair, for example, rather than a sofa). Your feet should be flat on the floor; don’t cross your legs. Your arm should be supported on a flat surface (such as a table) with the upper arm at heart level. Make sure the middle of the cuff is placed directly above the eye of the elbow. Check your monitor’s instructions for an illustration or have your healthcare provider show you how.

 

  • Take multiple readings.
    Each time you measure, take two or three readings one minute apart and record all the results.

 

  • Measure at the same time daily.
    It’s important to take the readings at the same time each day, such as morning and evening, or as your healthcare professional recommends.

 

  • Understand the readings.

 

  • Accurately record all your results.
    Record all of your readings, including the date and time taken. Share your blood pressure records with your healthcare team. Some monitors have built-in memory to store your readings; if yours does, take it with you to your appointments. Some monitors may also allow you to upload your readings to a secure Web site after you register your profile. You may find a blood pressure log book handy.
  • Optimal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mm Hg (systolic pressure is 120 AND diastolic pressure is less than 80). Read Understanding Blood Pressure Readings to learn more about what the numbers mean.

 

  • Consult your healthcare professional if you get several high readings.

 

A single high reading of blood pressure is not an immediate cause for alarm. However, if you get a high reading, take your blood pressure several more times and consult your healthcare professional to make sure you (or your monitor) don’t have a problem. When blood pressure reaches a systolic (top number) of 180 or higher OR diastolic (bottom number) of 110 or higher, emergency medical treatment is required for hypertensive crisis.

 

 

See Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

How is high blood pressure treated?

 

Treatment depends on how high your blood pressure is, whether you have other health problems such as diabetes, and whether any organs have already been damaged. Your doctor will also consider how likely you are to develop other diseases, especially heart disease.

You can help lower your blood pressure by making healthy changes in your lifestyle. If those lifestyle changes don’t work well enough, you may also need to take medication. Either way, you will need to control your high blood pressure throughout your life.

Most people take more than one pill for high blood pressure. Work with your doctor to find the right pill or combination of pills that will cause the fewest side effects.

 

Controlling Your High Blood Pressure Throughout Life

 

Lifestyle plays an important role in treating your high blood pressure. If you successfully control your blood pressure with a healthy lifestyle, you might avoid, delay or reduce the need for medication.

Here are 10 lifestyle changes you can make to lower your blood pressure and keep it down.

 

Lose Extra Pounds and Watch Your Waistline

Blood pressure often increases as weight increases. Being overweight also can cause disrupted breathing while you sleep (sleep apnea), which further raises your blood pressure.

Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. Losing just 10 pounds (4.5 kilograms) can help reduce your blood pressure.

 

 

Besides shedding pounds, you generally should also keep an eye on your waistline. Carrying too much weight around your waist can put you at greater risk of high blood pressure.

In general:

  • Men are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches (102 centimeters).
  • Women are at risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches (89 centimeters).

These numbers vary among ethnic groups. Ask your doctor about a healthy waist measurement for you.

 

Exercise Regularly

Regular physical activity — at least 30 minutes most days of the week — can lower your blood pressure by 4 to 9 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It’s important to be consistent because if you stop exercising, your blood pressure can rise again.

If you have slightly high blood pressure (pre-hypertension), exercise can help you avoid developing full-blown hypertension. If you already have hypertension, regular physical activity can bring your blood pressure down to safer levels.

 

 

The best types of exercise for lowering blood pressure include walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing. Strength training also can help reduce blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about developing an exercise program.

 

Eat a Healthy Diet

Eating a diet that is rich in whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products and skimps on saturated fat and cholesterol can lower your blood pressure by up to 14 mm Hg. This eating plan is known as the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet.

 

 

 

It isn’t easy to change your eating habits, but with these tips, you can adopt a healthy diet:

  • Keep a food diary. Writing down what you eat, even for just a week, can shed surprising light on your true eating habits. Monitor what you eat, how much, when and why.
  • Consider boosting potassium. Potassium can lessen the effects of sodium on blood pressure. The best source of potassium is food, such as fruits and vegetables, rather than supplements. Talk to your doctor about the potassium level that’s best for you.
Now Foods Potassium Citrate 99 mg Capsules, 180-Count
  • Be a smart shopper. Read food labels when you shop and stick to your healthy-eating plan when you’re dining out, too.

 

Reduce Sodium in Your Diet

Even a small reduction in the sodium in your diet can reduce blood pressure by 2 to 8 mm Hg.

 

The effect of sodium intake on blood pressure varies among groups of people. In general, limit sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) a day or less. However, a lower sodium intake — 1,500 mg a day or less — is appropriate for people with greater salt sensitivity, including:

  • African-Americans
  • Anyone age 51 or older
  • Anyone diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes or chronic kidney disease

To decrease sodium in your diet, consider these tips:

  • Read food labels. If possible, choose low-sodium alternatives of the foods and beverages you normally buy.

  • Eat fewer processed foods. Only a small amount of sodium occurs naturally in foods. Most sodium is added during processing.
  • Don’t add salt. Just 1 level teaspoon of salt has 2,300 mg of sodium. Use herbs or spices to add flavor to your food.

 

Some Suggestions:

No Salt Salt Substitute

Kirkland Signature Organic No-Salt Seasoning, 14.5 Ounce
 
Ease into it. If you don’t feel you can drastically reduce the sodium in your diet suddenly, cut back gradually. Your palate will adjust over time.
 

 

Limit Your Alcohol

Alcohol can be both good and bad for your health. In small amounts, it can potentially lower your blood pressure by 2 to 4 mm Hg.

 

But that protective effect is lost if you drink too much alcohol — generally more than one drink a day for women and for men older than age 65, or more than two a day for men age 65 and younger. One drink equals 12 ounces of beer, five ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of 80-proof liquor.

Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can actually raise blood pressure by several points. It can also reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications.

 

Quit Smoking

Each cigarette you smoke increases your blood pressure for many minutes after you finish.

Nic Out Cigarette Filters Holders Stop Smoking Aid Reduce Tar and Nicotine

Nic Out Cigarette Filters Stop Smoking Aid – Reduces Tar and Nicotine

 

NicoDerm CQ Clear Nicotine Patch 21 milligram (Step 1) Stop Smoking Aid 14 count
Quitting smoking helps your blood pressure return to normal. People who quit smoking, regardless of age, have substantial increases in life expectancy.
 
 
 

Cut Back on Caffeine

The role caffeine plays in blood pressure is still debated. Caffeine can raise blood pressure by as much as 10 mm Hg in people who rarely consume it, but there is little to no strong effect on blood pressure in habitual coffee drinkers.

 Although the effects of chronic caffeine ingestion on blood pressure aren’t clear, the possibility of a slight increase in blood pressure exists.

To see if caffeine raises your blood pressure, check your pressure within 30 minutes of drinking a caffeinated beverage. If your blood pressure increases by 5 to 10 mm Hg, you may be sensitive to the blood pressure raising effects of caffeine. Talk to your doctor about the effects of caffeine on your blood pressure.

 

 

Reduce Your Stress

 

 

Chronic stress is an important contributor to high blood pressure. Occasional stress also can contribute to high blood pressure if you react to stress by eating unhealthy food, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Take some time to think about what causes you to feel stressed, such as work, family, finances or illness. Once you know what’s causing your stress, consider how you can eliminate or reduce stress.

Personal Recommendation: The Relaxation & Stress Reduction Workbook by New Harbinger

This book has been awarded The Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies Self-Help Seal of Merit — an award bestowed on outstanding self-help books that are consistent with cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) principles and that incorporate scientifically tested strategies for overcoming mental health difficulties.

 

If you can’t eliminate all of your stressors, you can at least cope with them in a healthier way.

Try to:

  • Change your expectations. Give yourself time to get things done. Learn to say no and to live within manageable limits. Try to learn to accept things you can’t change.
  • Think about problems under your control and make a plan to solve them. You could talk to your boss about difficulties at work or to family members about problems at home.
  • Know your stress triggers. Avoid whatever triggers you can. For example, spend less time with people who bother you or avoid driving in rush-hour traffic.
  • Make time to relax and to do activities you enjoy. Take 15 to 20 minutes a day to sit quietly and breathe deeply. Try to intentionally enjoy what you do rather than hurrying through your “relaxing activities” at a stressful pace.

  • Practice gratitude. Expressing gratitude to others can help reduce stressful thoughts.

 

 

Monitor your blood pressure at home and see your doctor regularly.

As discussed earlier, home monitoring can help you keep tabs on your blood pressure, make certain your lifestyle changes are working, and alert you and your doctor to potential health complications. Blood pressure monitors are available widely and without a prescription. Talk to your doctor about home monitoring before you get started.

Regular visits with your doctor are also key to controlling your blood pressure. If your blood pressure is under control, you might need to visit your doctor only every six to 12 months, depending on other conditions you might have. If your blood pressure isn’t well-controlled, your doctor will likely want to see you more frequently.

 

Get Support

Supportive family and friends can help improve your health. They may encourage you to take care of yourself, drive you to the doctor’s office or embark on an exercise program with you to keep your blood pressure low.

 

 

If you find you need support beyond your family and friends, consider joining a support group. This may put you in touch with people who can give you an emotional or morale boost and who can offer practical tips to cope with your condition.

 

Recommended:

 

If you have experience with high blood pressure or to tips to share, please comment below; I’d love to hear from you!

 

You may also be interested in:

Best Blood Pressure Monitors Under $50

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About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

 

Diabetes – Not Really Fun

 

You’ve seen them on TV or viewed them online.

You couldn’t help that they caught your eye or made your ears perk up, in spite of yourself.

 

Diabetes Commericals

 

We’re talking about those ever-more-prevalent diabetes commercials, most brimming with smiling faces and bundles of energetic excitement about whatever the particular product, medication or message aimed at PWDs (people with diabetes). Sometimes it’s hard to swallow.

 

 

Yep, some even have catchy tunes, creative spins, or big-name actors and personalities to bump up interest in whatever’s being marketed.

Here’s an example.  These people are too happy and I think they’re giving the average viewer the wrong idea that diabetes management is a casual affair.  What do you think?

 

 

Though it is becoming increasingly common, type 2 diabetes is a serious disease. If you or someone you care for has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, it is very important that the disease be managed proactively.

 
Diabetes increases your risk for many serious health problems – take it seriously! 
 
It is important to keep your blood sugar, blood pressure, and cholesterol in a healthy range. You should learn the basic steps for managing diabetes and staying as healthy as possible.
 

 
With the correct treatment and recommended lifestyle changes, many people with diabetes are able to prevent or delay the onset of complications.
 

Long-term effects of diabetes

 

 

The most common long-term complications of diabetes include:

  • damage to the large blood vessels of the heart, brain and legs (macrovascular complications)
  • damage to the small blood vessels, causing problems in the eyes, kidneys, feet and nerves (microvascular complications).

Other parts of the body can also be affected by diabetes, including the digestive system, the skin, sexual organs, teeth and gums, and the immune system.

 

Diabetes and cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease includes blood vessel disease, heart attack and stroke. The risk is greater for people with diabetes, who often have increased cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Smoking, having a family history of cardiovascular disease and being inactive also increase your risk.

To reduce your risk and pick up any problems early:

 

  • Have your blood pressure checked at least every six months, but more often if you have high blood pressure or are taking medication to lower this.

 

 

  • Have your cholesterol checked at least yearly, as well as an HbA1c (average blood glucose over the past three months).
  • Further pathology tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or exercise stress test may also be recommended by your doctor.

 

Eye disease and diabetes

 

 

Diabetes-related eye problems include:

 

  • Retinopathy – with this condition, the blood vessels in the retina become damaged and eventually this can affect vision.
  • Retinopathy has various stages. In its early stages, there are usually no symptoms, so having a full diabetes eye check is essential to detect it early. Regular eye checks help detect any changes and allow for early treatment where needed to prevent further damage.
  • Macular oedema – the macular is part of the retina and helps us to see things clearly. Swelling of this area can happen when the blood vessels in the retina are damaged and cause fluid to build up. This can lead to the macular being damaged and vision may be blurry. Treatment is available. Early detection is important.
  • Cataracts – the lens of the eye becomes cloudy and can cause things such as vision becoming cloudy, distorted or sensitivity to glare. People with diabetes can develop cataracts at an earlier age.
  • Glaucoma – the pressure of the fluid within the eye builds up to a higher level than is healthy. This pressure over time can damage the eye. Glaucoma occurs in people with and without diabetes, but is more common in people with diabetes.

While most damage to the eyes is free of symptoms in the earlier stages, there are certain symptoms that may occur and these need urgent review. If you have flashes of light, floaters, blots and dots or part vision missing, seek urgent medical assessment.

Regular eye checks

Everyone with diabetes should have a professional eye examination by an ophthalmologist or optometrist when they are first diagnosed, and then at least every two years after that.

 

 

It is important that you inform the person checking your eyes that you have diabetes. If retinopathy or another abnormality is found, eye tests will be required every year, or more frequently if advised by your ophthalmologist.

 

Kidney damage and diabetes

 

 

People with diabetes are at risk of kidney disease (nephropathy) due to changes in the small blood vessels of the kidneys. Kidney disease is painless and does not cause symptoms until it is advanced.

Screening is very important. Kidney damage can be diagnosed early by detecting microalbumin (very small amounts of protein) in the urine. Everyone with diabetes should have a urine check for microalbumin at least once a year. Your doctor will also monitor your kidney function, including estimated glomerular filtration rate (e-GFR), with a blood test.

If problems are picked up early, nephropathy can be slowed or prevented with the right treatment. Medication called ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor antagonists helps to protect the kidneys from further damage. These tablets can also be used to treat high blood pressure.

 

Nerve damage and diabetes

 

Nerve damage (neuropathy) is usually caused by high blood glucose levels. Damage can occur to the sensory (feeling) and motor (movement) nerves of the legs and feet, arms, hands, chest and stomach, and to the nerves that control the actions of body organs.

Neuropathy

People who drink large amounts of alcohol can have similar nerve damage. Vitamin B12 deficiency can mimic signs and symptoms of peripheral neuropathy. Long-term Metformin (diabetes treatment) use (over three to five years) can increase your risk of vitamin B12 deficiency, and doctors will sometimes test for this.

 

To help prevent nerve damage:

 

  • Keep your blood glucose levels in target range.
  • If you drink alcohol, keep within the recommended guidelines.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Talk to your doctor about any problems you have with your hands, arms, feet, or legs, your stomach, bowels, or bladder.

 

Foot problems and diabetes

 

The feet of someone with diabetes are at risk of damage when the blood supply in both large and small blood vessels is reduced. Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy) often results and structural abnormalities can also occur, for example, clawed toes.

Reduced blood supply and reduced nerve function can delay healing, increase the risk of infection, reduce feeling in the feet, and lead to ulcers and structural foot problems.

 

Look after your feet by:

 

  • seeing a podiatrist at least once a year. They will assess the health of your feet by checking the blood supply, nerve function and looking for changes in the structure of your feet.

 

 

  • Checking your feet every day or get someone to help you if you are unable to check them yourself. Look for cuts, blisters calluses, corns, tinea (especially between the toes) and any changes you notice. If treated early and without delay, you can help prevent complications occurring

Kenkay Pure Sorbolene Cream Plain 475G

  • moisturizing using a moisturizer (such as sorbolene), especially if you have areas of dry, rough or cracked skin on your feet and heels, can help keep your feet healthy
  • protecting your feet by wearing comfortable, supportive shoes that fit well.

 

Skin problems and diabetes

 

People with diabetes may experience very dry skin due to damage to the small blood vessels and nerves. A common problem for people with diabetes is very dry skin on the feet, but this may be more generalized.

There are also other skin conditions related to diabetes. High blood glucose levels over time can affect the health of the skin. The skin acts as a barrier to protect our bodies from infection so it is important to keep the skin as healthy as possible. If the skin becomes dry, it can lead to cracks and possibly infections.

To reduce the risk of skin problems:

 

  • Make sure your blood glucose is well controlled – keep your blood glucose levels and HbA1c within recommended ranges to reduce the risk of skin infections.

 

active1st TrueTest Complete Diabetes Testing Kit, 100 Count (TrueResult Meter, 100 Test Strips, 100 30g Lancets, Lancing Device, Control Solution, Owners Manual/Log Book)
 

 

  • Wear gloves when you use household cleaners and solvents.
  • Avoid very hot baths and showers.
  • Take care not to have your feet too close to heaters, especially if you have neuropathy, as you may not be able to feel the intensity of the heat.
  • Use a cream or lotion on your skin after bathing, preferably one that is not perfumed. Use non-scented soaps or soap alternatives.
  • If you notice you have a skin problem, see your doctor.

 

Teeth and gum problems and diabetes

 

People with poorly managed diabetes are at increased risk of tooth decay and gum infections. This is due to damage to the small blood vessels supplying the gums and teeth. Dental and gum infections can also lead to high blood glucose levels.

Not looking after your teeth and gums can cause the gums to become inflamed and loosen around the teeth. Poor oral care is also strongly linked with an increased risk of heart disease.
To reduce your risk of teeth and gum problems:

  • See your dentist regularly (every six months) for a check-up.
  • If you have dentures, make sure you brush your dentures and gums with a soft tooth brush.

 

Mental health and diabetes

 

 

Living with and managing either type 1 or type 2 diabetes can lead to stress, anxiety and depression. This can affect your blood glucose levels and how you manage your diabetes in general. Over time, this can affect your health.

It is important to talk to your doctor if you are going through times of stress, depression or anxiety. Your doctor can refer you to a counselor, psychologist or psychiatrist by providing a diabetes mental health plan.

Recommended: Diabetes Burnout

Diabetes, particularly type 2, has been linked with Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. Brain changes, resulting from reduced blood supply to the brain over time, appears to be associated with an increased risk for development of these conditions.

 

 

Diabetes and infections

 

Your immune system helps to prevent and fight infection. High blood glucose levels slow down the action of infection-fighting white blood cells. This makes it more difficult for the immune system to do its job.

 

Support your immune system and reduce your risk of infections by:

 

  • getting plenty of rest
  • washing your hands often
  • protecting yourself against infection
  • having a yearly influenza (flu) immunization.

 

 

 

  • ask your doctor about the pneumonia vaccine, especially if you are over 65
  • seeing your doctor if you have an infection or are unwell.

 

Thyroid problems and diabetes

 

People with either type 1 or type 2 diabetes are at increased risk of thyroid disease. This includes both overactive and underactive thyroid. Thyroid disorders can affect general health and may affect blood glucose levels.

Thyroid function is assessed by a blood test. Check with your doctor if you are not sure whether you have had your thyroid function checked.

 

Sexual dysfunction and diabetes

 

Reduced blood supply and nerve damage can affect sexual function. Erectile dysfunction (impotence) in men is the persistent inability to achieve or maintain an erection sufficient for satisfactory sexual performance. This is a common problem for men of all ages and is more common in men with diabetes.

Erectile dysfunction is not a disease, but a symptom of some other problem – physical, psychological or a mixture of both. Most cases of erectile dysfunction are physical, such as nerve or blood vessel damage.

In women, sexual dysfunction is also reported, although there is a lack of research in this area. It is difficult to know whether this is directly related to hormonal changes such as menopause, or to diabetes.

It is important to seek help from your doctor or diabetes educator.

 

 

Managing Your Diabetes

 

Managing diabetes is something that you do not have to do on your own.

There are health professionals available to help you. Take charge of diabetes management by doing your part and communicating regularly with your healthcare provider. 

 

 

Be Proactive

 

Proactive diabetes management can go a long way toward reducing the risk of long term complications.

 

 

Please share your experience or tips on type 2 diabetes and it’s complications.

 

You may also be interested in:

The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

Guide to Blood Glucose Meters

Type 2 Diabetes: An Introduction

Best Glucose Meters Reviewed

Magnesium A Great Help for Diabetics

Best Nutrition Drinks for Diabetics

Vitamin D and Diabetes

Caring for Diabetic Feet

Kidney Disease – Now What?

Cure Toenail Fungus Naturally in 4 Weeks

Heartburn and Acid Reflux Help

Find the Best Bathroom Scale for YOU

Living With Angina From Coronary Heart Disease

Compression Therapy for Seniors

About Me

Create Your Own Blog

 

Type 2 Diabetes: Introduction

 

Type 2 Diabetes: A Primer

Caring for an elderly parent, relative or close family friend often involves managing one or more age-related health problems, including type 2 diabetes.

 

 

 

 

 

What is diabetes?

 

When you eat, your food is broken down into a sugar called glucose.

 

Glucose gives your body the energy it needs to work. But to use glucose as energy, your body needs insulin.

 

When you have type 2 diabetes, your body does not make enough insulin or use it well.

 

Since your body’s cells can’t use the glucose from your food as energy, the glucose stays in your blood, where it can cause serious problems.

 

 

Diabetes is often called the silent killer because of its easy-to-miss symptoms. “Almost every day people come into my office with diabetes who don’t know it,” says Maria Collazo-Clavell, MD, an endocrinologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

 

See: Guide to Complications of Diabetes

 

The best way to pick up on it is to have a blood sugar test. But if you have these symptoms, see your doctor:

 
If you need to urinate frequently—particularly if you often have to get up at night to use the bathroom—it could be a symptom of diabetes.
 

 

The kidneys kick into high gear to get rid of all that extra glucose in the blood, hence the urge to relieve yourself, sometimes several times during the night.

 

The excessive thirst means your body is trying to replenish those lost fluids.

 

 

These two symptoms go hand in hand and are some of “your body’s ways of trying to manage high blood sugar,” explains Dr. Collazo-Clavell.

 

Overly high blood sugar levels can also cause rapid weight loss, say 10 to 20 pounds over two or three months—but this is not a healthy weight loss.

 

Because the insulin hormone isn’t getting glucose into the cells, where it can be used as energy, the body thinks it’s starving and starts breaking down protein from the muscles as an alternate source of fuel.

 

The kidneys are also working overtime to eliminate the excess sugar, and this leads to a loss of calories (and can harm the kidneys). “These are processes that require a lot of energy,” Dr. Collazo-Clavell notes. “You create a calorie deficit.”

 

Excessive pangs of hunger, another sign of diabetes, can come from sharp peaks and lows in blood sugar levels.

 

 

When blood sugar levels plummet, the body thinks it hasn’t been fed and craves more of the glucose that cells need to function.

 

Itchy skin, perhaps the result of dry skin or poor circulation, can often be a warning sign of diabetes, as are other skin conditions, such as acanthosis nigricans.

 

http://images.medicaldaily.com/sites/medicaldaily.com/files/2014/07/23/itchy-skin.jpg

 

“This is a darkening of the skin around the neck or armpit area,” Dr. Collazo-Clavell says.

“People who have this already have an insulin resistance process occurring even though their blood sugar might not be high. When I see this, I want to check their blood sugar.”

 

Infections, cuts, and bruises that don’t heal quickly are another classic sign of diabetes.

 

This usually happens because the blood vessels are being damaged by the excessive amounts of glucose traveling the veins and arteries.

 

 

This makes it hard for blood—needed to facilitate healing—to reach different areas of the body.

 

“Diabetes is considered an immunosuppressed state,” Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains. That means heightened susceptibility to a variety of infections, although the most common are yeast (candida) and other fungal infections, she says. Fungi and bacteria both thrive in sugar-rich environments.

 

Women, in particular, need to watch out for vaginal candida infections.

 

 

“When people have high blood sugar levels, depending on how long it’s been, they can get used to chronically not feeling well,” says Dr. Collazo-Clavell. “Sometimes that’s what brings them into the office.”

 

Getting up to go to the bathroom several times during the night will make anyone tired, as will the extra effort your body is expending to compensate for its glucose deficiency.

 

 

And being tired will make you irritable. “We see people whose blood sugar has been really high, and when we bring the blood sugar down, it’s not uncommon that I hear, ‘I didn’t realize how bad I felt,'” she says.

 

Having distorted vision and seeing floaters or occasional flashes of light are a direct result of high blood sugar levels.

 

 

“Blurry vision is a refraction problem. When the glucose in the blood is high, it changes the shape of the lens and the eye,” Dr. Collazo-Clavell explains.

 

The good news is that this symptom is reversible once blood sugar levels are returned to normal or near normal. But let your blood sugar go unchecked for long periods and the glucose will cause permanent damage, possibly even blindness. And that’s not reversible.

 

Tingling and numbness in the hands and feet, along with burning pain or swelling, are signs that nerves are being damaged by diabetes.

 

 

“If (the symptoms are) recent, it’s more likely to be reversible,” Dr. Collazo-Clavell says.

 

Still, as with vision, if blood sugar levels are allowed to run rampant for too long, neuropathy (nerve damage) will be permanent. “That’s why we try to control blood sugar as quickly and as well as possible,” she says.

 

Several tests are used to check for diabetes, but a single test result is never enough on its own to diagnose diabetes (the test has to be repeated).

 

One is the fasting plasma glucose test, which checks your blood sugar after a night (or eight hours) of not eating.

 

 

Blood glucose above 126 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dL) on two occasions means you have diabetes.

 

The normal cutoff is 99 mg/dL while a blood sugar level of 100 to 125 mg/dL is considered prediabetes, a serious condition on its own.

 

Living with diabetes, while it can be effectively managed, can be tough at times. Every day is a new hurdle with unique challenges that you must jump over. As you get older, jumping over those hurdles can become a bit more challenging, but it’s not impossible. With age comes an increased risk for specific complications that require diligence and care to properly mitigate them.
 
Your Type 2 Diabetes Action Plan

To begin with, learn as much as you can about type 2 diabetes. The more you and your parent learn, the better equipped you both will be to make the lifestyle adjustments that come with good diabetes management. Contact the American or Canadian Diabetes Association to find a Diabetes Education Center in your area.

Recommended reading: Your Type 2 Diabetes Action Plan from the American Diabetic Association, published 2016

 

If you or someone you care for has just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, first, take a deep breath.

Yes, it’s a big deal. But you know what? It’s also something you can deal with.

 

When people first find out that they have diabetes, it’s sometimes really scary, or sad, or even hard to believe.

 

After all, you probably don’t feel sick, or any different than you felt before you were told you have diabetes. And yet it is very important to take this disease seriously.

 

See: Guide to Complications of Diabetes

 

Some people who learn they have diabetes worry that it means their life is over, or that they won’t be able to do everything they used to do. Neither of those things is true.

 

At first, learning all you need to know about diabetes may seem daunting, perhaps even a little frightening. Depending on your parent’s physical and cognitive abilities, you may be required to help with medications, test and track blood glucose (sugar) levels, and ensure they are eating well. Fortunately, many services are available to help you and your parent learn more about diabetes and what you can do to help manage the disease.

 

What is true is that you may need to change some things about your daily routine.

 

It’s not your fault that you got diabetes, but it is your job to take care of yourself.

 

Luckily, there’s a lot that you can do to keep yourself healthy.

 

 

You Can Manage Your Diabetes

 

There is no cure for type 2 diabetes, but it can be managed. Balancing the food you eat with exercise and medicine (if prescribed) can keep your blood glucose in a healthy range.

 

Many people with diabetes live long and healthful lives.

 

Your diabetes care team may include:

 
  • your doctor

 

  • nurse

 

  • dietitian

 

  • pharmacist

 

  • diabetes educator

 

  • any other health care provider working to help you care for your diabetes.

 

And remember, you and your family and friends are the most important members of your diabetes care team.

 

Your diabetes care team will help you, but day-to-day diabetes care is up to you.

 

That care includes:

 

  • Choosing what, how much, and when to eat

 

  • Getting physically active

 

  • Taking medicine (if your doctor prescribes it)

 

  • Checking your blood glucose (if your doctor prescribes it)

 

  • Going to your appointments

 

  • Learning all you can about diabetes

 

Choosing what, how much, and when to eat:  In the past, diets for people with diabetes were very restrictive.  Things are different now.  There isn’t a one-size fits all diabetes diet.

 

While you may need to make some changes in what and how much you eat, you have flexibility in deciding what’s on the menu.  With a little planning, you can still include your favorite foods.

 

What does healthy eating really mean?

 

  • Eating a variety of foods, including vegetables, whole grains, fruits, non-fat dairy foods, healthy fats, and lean meats or meat substitutes.

 

  • Trying not to eat too much food.

 

  • Trying not to eat too much of one type of food.

 

  • Spacing your meals evenly throughout the day.

 

  • Not skipping meals.

Trying to figure out how you’re supposed to eat now that you have diabetes? A good place to begin is the “Plate Method.”

 

Create Your Plate is a simple and effective way to manage your blood glucose levels and lose weight. With this method, you fill your plate with more non-starchy veggies and smaller portions of starchy foods and protein—no special tools or counting required!

 

For people with diabetes, a good diabetic cookbook provides ideas to trim fat from their diet and gives detailed nutritional analysis and exchanges for each recipe.

 

Month of Meals Diabetes Meal Planner - American Diabetes Association

 

The American Diabetes Association publishes new cookbooks every year filled with recipes that meet the Association’s diabetes nutrition guidelines.

Recommended: The American Diabetes Association Month of Meals Diabetes Meal Planner

 

Getting Active

Being active is another part of living healthy and managing diabetes.  Any type of physical activity you do helps lower your blood glucose.

 

Other benefits of physical activity include:

 

  • Having more energy

 

  • Relieving stress

 

  • Keeping your joints flexible

 

  • Lowering your risk for heart disease and stroke

 

  • Feeling great

 

Talk to your doctor if you have questions about which activities are right for you.

 

 

Examples of different types of physical activity include:

 

  • Aerobic activity (walking, biking, swimming)

 

  • Being active throughout the day (taking the stairs instead of an elevator)

 

  • Strength training (lifting weights or using resistance bands)

 

  • Flexibility exercises (stretching and yoga)
 
 
Aerobic Activity
 
Aerobic activity makes your heart and bones strong, relieves stress, helps your insulin work better and improves blood flow.For most people, it’s best to aim for a total of 30 minutes a day, at least 5 days a week.If you are trying to lose weight, you may want to exercise more than 30 minutes a day.
Try these:
 
 
  • Go dancing

 

  • Take an aerobics class

 

  • Go for a bike ride or use a stationary bike indoors.

 

 

If you haven’t been very active recently, you can start out with 5 or 10 minutes a day and work up to more time each week.

 

You can also split up your activity for the day: For example, take a quick 10-minute walk before or after each meal instead of 30 minutes all at once.

 

Being Active Throughout the Day

 

In addition to aerobic activity, there are many ways to be more active during your day.

 

This can help you burn calories and lower your blood glucose.  Here are some examples:

 

  • Walk instead of drive

 

  • Get off the bus a stop early and walk the rest of the way

 

  • Work in the garden, rake leaves or wash the car

 

  • Play actively with kids

 

  • Walk around while talking on the phone

 

  • Park at the far end of the lot and walk

 

 

Weight Loss

 

Your doctor or diabetes care team may suggest you try to lose some weight.

Losing weight can improve your blood glucose, blood pressure and cholesterol.

 

You don’t have to lose a lot of weight to start seeing results. Just losing 10-15 pounds can make a difference.

 

There are many types of weight loss plans to choose from. If you’re having trouble losing weight, talk with your doctor or a registered dietitian.

 

Recommended: Diabetes Weight Loss

 

 

 

 

Medicines

Your doctor may prescribe medicine to help get and keep your blood glucose in your target range.

 

There are different types of diabetes medicines that work in different ways to lower blood glucose.

 

Your doctor may prescribe more than one to help you get to your target range.

 

Some people with type 2 diabetes take both pills and insulin or insulin by itself.

 

 

If you are starting new medicines, ask your doctor, pharmacist or diabetes educator the following questions:

 

  • How many pills do I take?

 

  • How often should I take them, and when?

 

  • Should I take my medicine on an empty stomach or with food?

 

  • What if I forget to take my medicine and remember later?

 

  • What side effects could I have?

 

  • What should I do if I have side effects?

 

  • Will my diabetes medicine cause a problem with any of my other medicines?

 

If you think you are having side effects from your medicine, or have questions, call your doctor or pharmacist. Don’t stop taking it unless the doctor tells you to.

 

Remember, your medicine will work best if you also make healthy changes to how you eat and if you are active.

 

 

Checking Blood Glucose

 

Your doctor may want you to start checking your blood glucose at home.

If this is the case, you will need to get a small machine called a blood glucose meter. Meters are available in drug stores and online.

 

 

  • active1st Bayer Contour NEXT Complete Diabetes Testing Kit, 100 Count, Bayer Contour NEXT EZ Meter W/Carry Case, 100 Test Strips, 100 30g Lancets, Lancing Device, Control Solution, Owners Manual/Log Book
  • Recommended:  Bayer Complete Diabetes Testing Kit includes: Bayer contour next EZ meter plus 100 Bayer contour next test strips plus 100 active1st 30g lancets plus lancing device plus contour next control solution plus instruction booklet plus active1st carry case.

     

    Ask your doctor or diabetes educator to help you select a meter that works best for you and is covered by your insurance.

     

    Meters work by testing a small drop of your blood for glucose.

     

    Most people prick their fingertip to get the blood drop, but you can ask your diabetes educator or doctor about other methods.

     

  • TRUEResult Blood Glucose Starter Kit

     TRUEplus Sterile Lancets 28 gauge (100-ct) by Nipro
     
  • It is important to check your blood glucose because before you had diabetes, no matter what you ate or how active you were, your blood glucose automatically stayed within a normal range; with diabetes, this is no longer true.

     

    Checking your blood glucose is one way you can know how food, activity and medicine affect your blood glucose.

    It can help you make sure your blood glucose isn’t going too high or too low.

     

     

    Write the date, time and blood glucose number in a logbook so you can share it with your diabetes care team.

     

    Together with the team, you can use your logbook to make decisions about food, physical activity and medicine.

     

    Recommended: The Complete Diabetes Organizer

     

  • Medport On the Go Diabetic Organizer
  •  

     

     

    Recommended: Medport On the Go Organizer for Diabetic Supplies.

     
    • Insulin Travel Bag
    • Sturdy and Durable Diabetic Case
    • Freezer Pack included
    • Two clear pockets
    • A meter compartment to organize supplies for the day

     

    Talk with your doctor or your diabetes care team about how often and when you should check your blood glucose. 

    Before a meal or two hours after a meal are common times to check blood glucose.

    Also talk with your doctor about what your target numbers should be.

     

     

    How do you feel about knowing you have type 2 diabetes?

    Different people have different feelings about getting type 2 diabetes.

     

    Some of the usual reactions are:

     

    • A sense of loss

     

    • Fear

     

    • Stress

     

    • Anger

     

    • Shock

     

    • Guilt

     

    • Disbelief and not wanting to think about it.

     

    The thing to remember is that all of these feelings are completely normal.

     

    Finding out that you have diabetes is a big deal. And even if you’re doing great with it now, there may be moments where you feel bad about what has happened to you.

     

    It’s a great idea to talk to family, friends, or your doctor about how you’re feeling. Sometimes just putting your thoughts into words makes dealing with them easier.

     

    Other people may be able to help you see the positive side of things, or figure out ways to reduce the stress.

     

    TIP: Ask your diabetes care team to help if your feelings are overwhelming you or affecting the way you take care of yourself.

     

    There’s a lot to learn about living well with diabetes. Getting in control might take some time. It’s going to mean making some changes in your life, but you can start with small changes, and you don’t have to make them all at once.

     

    Have you or has someone you care about been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?  Please help others by sharing your tips and experience in the comment section below.

     

     

    Be Proactive

     

    Proactive diabetes management can go a long way toward reducing the risk of long term complications.

     

    Recommended: Reverse Diabetes Today – The Diabetes-Reversing Breakthrough

     

     

    Through my research for this article, I ordered Reverse Diabetes Today , and found it to be currently the most scientific, clinically-proven program for reversing diabetes. 

    This program covers all aspects of diabetes treatment, giving you a complete protocol that delivers proven results, and I know you will find it to be a valuable tool for escaping the downward spiral of diabetes-related complications.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    You may also be interested in:

    Guide to Blood Glucose Meters

    Best Glucose Meters Reviewed

    Diabetes Complications

    Magnesium A Great Help for Diabetics

    The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend

    Best Nutrition Drinks for Diabetics

    Caring for Diabetic Feet

    Kidney Disease – Now What?

    Cure Toenail Fungus Naturally in 4 Weeks

    The Most Effective Stop Smoking Aids

    Heartburn and Acid Reflux Help

    Find the Best Bathroom Scale for YOU

    Living With Angina From Coronary Heart Disease

    Compression Therapy for Seniors

    Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

    About Me

    Create Your Own Blog

     

    Cancer and Hair Loss

    Cancer and Hair Loss

     

     

     

     

    Frequently Asked Questions About Cancer and Hair Loss

     

     

    How can I prepare for my impending hair loss?

     

    Each have their own way of coping and preparing.  Many cancer patients will cut their hair and wear it in a shorter style a few weeks before they lose their hair. This helps to make the hair loss a bit less traumatic as and will also make the hair loss easier to manage when it begins to happen.

    Many find that by shaving their head just before their hair loss happens, or when it starts to come out, that they regain a sense of control over the situation.

    This also eliminates the trauma of hair falling out over a period of days. Most chemotherapy patients find that they gain peace of mind by being prepared and proactively shopping for head wear and wigs before their hair loss happens.

     

    Others decide to forgo hats and wigs altogether and go bald.

     

     

    No matter what you decide, having something warm for your head in the evenings is a must.  Also, considering sun protection is essential.   Again, the process is as unique as you are so go with what feels right for you.

     

     

    Will I lose my eyebrows and eyelashes, too?

    Every person reacts differently to treatments. It is common to not only lose scalp hair but also the hair on the rest of your body. This includes eyebrows and eyelashes. There are several options for replacing your eyebrows and eyelashes.

     

     

    How long after chemotherapy will it take for my hair to fall out?

    Drugs used during chemotherapy treat cancer by attacking the cancer causing cells in a patient’s body. Unfortunately, these drugs can also attack hair growth cells as well. Whether or not you experience hair loss during chemotherapy depends on the type of treatment, medication, and dosage you receive.

     

    Most chemotherapy patients report losing their hair approximately 2-4 weeks after starting treatment.

    Hair may come out in clumps or in single strands, all at once or gradually.  You may notice loose hair on your pillow, in your hair brush or shower drain.

    If your hair falls out a lot at night, consider a sleep cap for for comfort and to catch the hair. A sleep cap can also help with the tenderness that chemotherapy treatments may also cause.

     

     

     

     

     

    Does everyone who undergoes chemotherapy lose their hair?

    No. Some chemotherapy drugs are more likely to cause hair loss.  Others merely cause thinning of the hair. Others may not cause hair loss at all.

    Fortunately, in most cases, hair loss from chemotherapy is temporary. Consult with your doctor to determine the likelihood of hair loss in your particular situation.

     

     

    How do I take care of my bald scalp?

    It is very important to protect your skin during treatments. Your scalp will be especially sensitive to burning without the protection your hair provides. Apply a high quality full spectrum sunscreen, such as Elta Block, before exposing your scalp to the sun.

     

     

    Alra Mild Conditioning Shampoo
     

     

    Your skin can become dry during treatments. Wash your scalp using a gentle shampoo, such as Alra Shampoo.

     

    As your hair begins to come back in, it may be brittle or dry. You will want to continue using the gentle shampoo in order to keep the hair nourished and encourage continued growth as your hair comes back in.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    How will my hair loss affect my daily life?

     

    Psychological Affects:

    Because the causes for hair loss vary greatly, almost anyone can be affected by it. While hair loss is not a specifically medically serious condition, it can have a significant psychological impact on an individual.

    Some people experience a wide range of emotions during and following hair loss. These emotions can include anger, depression, sadness and fear. They can also affect friends and family members.

     

     

    Often, wearing a head cover, hat or hairpiece can help to quell some of the negative emotions associated with hair loss by making the wearer less self-conscious of the physical affects of their condition.

     

     

     

    Physical Affects:

    Additionally, there may be multiple physical affects of hair loss to deal with on a daily basis.

     

     

    Common physical affects of hair loss include:

     

    Cold Head: Most of a person’s body heat is lost through the top of the head and scalp. This is especially true at night when the body is at rest. However, when hair is covering the head, the heat does not escape as easily.

    When experiencing hair loss, most people will find that their head gets cold rather quickly, especially at night.

    I recommend wearing a sleep cap or covering of some sort at night to prevent chills and promote rest.

    Cold weather can also cause discomfort to a bald or balding head. A soft, warm cap or beanie is great for blocking wind and snow.

     

    Sunburned Scalp: A bare scalp receives more exposure to the elements than one with hair covering it. To prevent sunburns on the scalp, always apply a high SPF sunscreen before sun exposure. Most hats and head covers will protect your head from the sun, while also keeping the sun out of the eyes and off of the face.

     

    What will my hair look like when it grows back in?

    It is unique to every individual. Some find that it comes back in the same as it was before treatments. Others will find that it may grow back with a different texture, fullness or even a different color than it was before the treatments.

     

    https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e6/28/84/e62884edac532e0c1ba7cf504367417b.jpg

     

    These changes are usually temporary and most individuals find that their hair will return to its original color and texture after several months.

     

     

    How do I take care of my hair when it comes back in?

    Hair may take several weeks after finishing treatment to begin regrowth.

    Hair after chemotherapy or radiation is often lacking protein and weak. Therefore it is recommended that you:

     

    Use gentle, vitamin induced shampoos free of dyes (See Alra Shampoo)

    Avoid harsh or strenuous brushing

    Use a soft massaging brush

    Avoid or use gentle settings when using hairdryers

     

     

    Try this Semi Oval 100 Soft Boar Wood Handle For Very Fine Hair is very gentle To The scalp. The soft bristle is specially designed for fine thin hair and balding men or women.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Losing your hair as part of illness or chemotherapy can be upsetting.  Being kind to yourself, protecting your scalp and finding an attractive head covering (if you wish) can help.

     

     

     

    You may also be interested in:

    Does BioSil Actualy Do Anything?

    Chemotherapy and Hair Loss

    Head Scarves for Hair Loss

    Best Hats for Covering Chemo Hair Loss

    Best Wigs for Chemo Patients

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    Create Your Own Blog

     

    Risks of Bed Rails

    Should You Install Bed Rails?

     

     

     

     

    If you are caring for a loved one that is at risk of falling out of bed you may be considering using bed rails. Knowing a loved one is safely tucked up in bed at night can give a caregiver that extra peace of mind.

    Used correctly, bed rails can help reduce the risk of falling out of bed for certain people, but caregivers need to be aware of the risks of incorrect usage.

    For example, people who fear falling out of bed, for instance after a stroke, can feel much safer with bed rails.

    But for someone with dementia, bed rails can be hazardous and increase the risk of injury.

     

     

    Examples of bed rail products:

     

     

     

     

    SINGLE BOLSTER TO PREVENT FALLING OUT OF BED

     

     

    Bed Rail Safety Concerns

     

    • It is not uncommon for people with dementia to attempt to climb over bed rails overnight; for people who are at risk of falls due to night time wandering, lowering the bed to the floor is preferable.

     

    • People with dementia generally feel trapped by bed rails causing increased anxiety and agitation. It is not unusual for people with dementia to hang onto or shake bed rails overnight putting them at risk of injury.

     

    • Skin tears often occur when arms and legs get caught in between bed rails. Heads can also get stuck in the space between the mattress and the bed rail.

     

    • Purchasing bed protectors can soften bed rails but many people with dementia and agitation will pull bed protectors off. Be sure that any bed protectors are secure and fit firmly around the bed rail.

     

    Able Life Bedside Extend-A-Rail - Adjustable Length Home Bed Rail and Stand Suppor Handle + Included Safety Strap
    Able Life Bedside Extend-A-Rail

     

     

    The use of bed rails needs to be considered carefully. Keep in mind that a person’s needs and health can change over time and the use of bed rails may need to be reassessed.

     

    If you are concerned a loved one may fall out of bed other strategies to consider before using bed rails include:

     

    • Purchasing a high-low bed and lowering it to the ground overnight. Place a soft mattress next to the bed for a safer landing.

     

     

     

    Cordless Bed Alarm System - No Alarm in Patient Room!Consider this Cordless Bed Alarm System with no alarm in the patient’s room.
    This is a wireless, cordless bed alarm system; when the patient lifts their weight from the bed pad, the alarm will sound, up to 100 feet from the pad. The pad is made of a high quality soft vinyl, incontinence protected and features a layer of foam for more comfort for the patient.

     

    • Use grip and bed handles on the side of the bed as an alternative to a bed rail to assist with transfers.

     

     

     

    • Move one side of the bed close to the wall.

     

     

    • Ensure a person is ready for sleep when they are put to bed.

     

    • Consider modifying the environment to encourage sleep. Night lights, soft music and ensuring the TV is turned off may induce sleep.

     

    • Many older people fall overnight as they can’t get to the toilet in time. Installing a bed handle, using a urinal overnight or placing a commode next to the bed can make toileting safer and easier.

     

    Bed rails are designed to provide protection and security to individuals who cannot reliably support themselves, and can also be used as a precautionary measure for those who will be limited their bed for an extended period of time. These rails are often portable, and typically feature handholds that assist the user in rising to a seated or standing position.

     

    If you have a loved one entering a care home, their need for bed rails will be considered on an individual basis. A restraint form must be signed by family and a doctor detailing the specific use of bed rails and reassessed every few months.

     

    If you have decided that you or your loved one need the added safety that a bed rail provides, consider  my personal recommendation:


    Recommended:  The Stander EZ Adjust & Pivoting Home Bed Rail + 3 Pocket Organizer Pouch.  
    Stander EZ Adjust & Pivoting Home Bed Rail + 3 pocket organizer pouch + Adjustable in Length to 26"-34"-42" + Included Safety Strap + Lifetime Gaurantee
    Stander EZ Adjust & Pivoting Home Bed Rail + 3 pocket organizer pouch + Adjustable in Length to 26″-34″-42″ + Included Safety Strap + Lifetime Guarantee

     

     

     

    This is only bed rail that adjusts in length after installation.

    This Stander EZ Adjust Bed Rail works well as a side rail for preventing falls, as well as a support bar for getting in and out of bed.

    It adjusts from 26″ to 34″ to 42″ with the push of a button.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    • It includes a dual safety strap that secures it to the bed frame.

     

    • The rail also folds down and out of the way when it isn’t in use.

     

    • The Stander EZ Adjust can be installed on either side of the bed in between the mattress and box spring.

     

    • The Stander EZ Adjust works well on any size home or hospital bed rail and at 23″ high it accommodates the thicker pillow top mattresses; also works well with adjustable beds.

     

    • It comes with a bonus 6-pocket organizer, which prevents entrapment and is perfect for keeping handy items close by.

     

    • Weight capacity: 300lbs

     

    The Stander EZ Adjust is a best seller on Amazon, and has over 1,000 customer reviews, with a 4.5 star total rating.

     

     

    Thanks for visiting and reading …

    I hope this article provided you some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.

    -Laurie

     

     

     

     

    You may also be interested in:

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    Get the Wheelchair into the Car

    Do you need help loading a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car and transporting it safely?

     

    Today we will look at the different types of hoists, lifts, ramps, top boxes and other things that can help.

     

    Introduction

    Getting a light wheelchair into a car is easy for some people. If you have some strength and the right car, you can pull it in front of the passenger’s seat or behind the front seats. And if you can lift and walk a little, you may be able to put the chair in the back of the car without any equipment.

    Some wheelchair users can put their chair in the back of the car and walk the few steps round to the front. Some people who can’t do this transfer into the car and pull their wheelchair in behind the front seats, or they lift their rigid wheelchair frame on to the front passenger seat.

    For this you have to be:

    • quite strong and flexible
    • confident that you can do it even on a bad day, if your condition is variable.

    It also involves putting your wheelchair in the car with you – you may get your clothes or upholstery muddy in wet weather.

    The car needs to have:

    • enough clearance around the seat and doorway
    • low door sills and wide, square doors
    • seats that are easy to adjust

    Here we describe some common techniques. If these techniques aren’t suitable for you, your car or your wheelchair, you may be able to develop your own.

    Note: For safety, park facing the traffic so that you can get out on the curb if you are entering from the driver’s side. If this isn’t possible, leave something in sight to alert other drivers. A large luminous wheelchair sticker on the inside of the door may help.

    Rigid wheelchairs

    Get in through the rear hatch and stow the wheelchair in the back

    This works only if you are small and agile and have a vehicle with a flat rear sill and a low floor. You get in through the back, drag the wheelchair after you, and clamber over to the driver’s seat. In small cars, this will be possible only if the rear seats fold flat.

    Get in on the driver’s side, put the wheelchair on the passenger seat

     

    Man pulling wheelchair wheel into carMan pulling wheelchair frame into carMan placing wheelchair frame on to passenger seat

     

    Once you’re in the car, remove the larger wheels from the wheelchair and stow them behind the seat or on the floor in front of the passenger seat.

    Lift the wheelchair frame over your stomach and on to the front passenger seat. You may have to recline the backrest to make more room between you and the steering wheel. If you have a steering ball, this may reduce the distance between your stomach and the steering wheel.

    Place the frame on the passenger seat. Make sure it is strapped in securely; secure the wheelchair with a strap or the front passenger seat belt. Otherwise, it could cause an injury if you have to brake sharply.

    Folding wheelchairs

    Get in on the driver’s side, put the wheelchair behind the seat

    Once you’re in the car seat, turn the wheelchair to face the car, and fold it. Lift the front castors over the sill behind your seat so that the wheelchair cannot roll away or topple over.

    Then edge yourself and the car seat forwards to make enough space to get the wheelchair in between the back of the seat and the door pillar. It may be necessary to tilt the seat backrest forwards to give you more room. Now pull the wheelchair in so that the back wheels ride up and over the sill. Finally, move the car seat to your driving position.

    A sliding swivel seat may make this easier.

    Get in on the passenger’s side and put the wheelchair behind the seat

    This technique means you don’t have to go out into the road. It also leaves you more room for getting the wheelchair in.

    Transfer to the front passenger seat, fold the wheelchair and lift the front castors over the sill. Slide across to the driver’s seat. Move the passenger seat forwards as far as it will go and tilt the backrest forwards. Lean across and pull the wheelchair in over the sill. A walking stick or piece of rope may help you do this. This is much easier if the whole car seat tilts forward.

    You need to be able to reach the lever to tilt the seat forwards. Some cars have levers on both sides. Alternatively, it may be possible to attach a cable to it or to swap the driver and passenger seats round so that the lever is in reach.

    Getting over the sill

    Some people put a small piece of carpet over the door sill to protect the car from damage and make it easier to slide the wheelchair over the sill. If the car foot well is deep it might help to make an internal ramp or build up the well. Adaptation firms may be able to help you with this.

    Unable to get a heavy wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car?

     

    Harmar Mobility AL560 Automatic Powerchair Lift Outside Carrier + AL105 Swing Away Joint + FREE Challenger Vinyl Cover

    One of the following may help:

    • a ramp to help get the wheelchair or scooter into the boot
    • a hoist that lifts a manual or powered wheelchair into the boot
    • a rooftop hoists that winches a manual wheelchair up and on to the car roof
    • racks or trailers

     

    Things to Consider

    Pros and cons

    Below is a summary of the advantages and disadvantages of each method for getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into your car.

    Ramp

     

     

    Harmar Single Fold Safety Ramp - 6'

     

    • use with manual wheelchair, powered wheelchair or mobility scooter
    • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
    • wheelchair stored in boot
    • ramps can be portable

     

    Hoist or Lift

    Lift n Go Electric Scooter or Powerchair Carrier 210 + Swing Away Joint 130

     

    • use with manual chair, power chair or scooter
    • need to walk to your seat, or have helper
    • wheelchair stored in trunk

     

    Stowage System

    http://www.rica.org.uk/sites/default/files/images/mobility/motoring/wheelchair-into-car/volkswagen-up-wheelchair-bo.jpg

    • use with manual chair
    • transfer from wheelchair to seat
    • wheelchair stored on roof, in trunk or in back

     

    Wheelchair Accessible Vehicle

    http://www.wheelchair-information.com/images/wheelchair-accessible-cars.jpg

    • use with manual or power chair
    • entry by ramp or lift
    • remain in wheelchair so independent
    • driver and passenger types available

     

    Other Solutions

     

    Wheelchair Carriers 001 Tilt n Tote

     

    • trailers, racks and bags
    • need to walk to your seat or have a helper

    Ramps

    Ramps are a comparatively cheap way of getting a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car. You just need good dexterity and a large enough vehicle.

    Ramps:

    • are widely available from adaptation suppliers
    • are portable, carried in the boot and hook on to the back of the vehicle
    • enable someone to push a light wheelchair or scooter up the ramp
    • enable a powered wheelchair or scooter to run up under its own power
    • can be fitted with an electric winch to your vehicle to help.

    Folding ramps or telescopic ramps make them easier to especially if they have carrying handles.

    Which ramp for which use?

    Ramps have sides that help keep the wheelchair or scooter in line. Check that the side guards are high enough to stop your wheelchair from falling off and that they don’t catch the underside of the chair when you’re pushing it up.

    For wheelchairs, use two narrow ‘channel ramps’. Make sure the channels are wide enough to allow the castors to turn.

    For a three-wheeled mobility scooter, use a wide ramp or three channel ramps. Look for a ramp that is wide enough to take the wheels easily.

    Don’t Forget

    • Ramps often need to be quite long, so that the incline isn’t too steep
    • To leave enough room behind your car for the whole length of the ramp plus the length of your wheelchair or mobility scooter.

     

    Using a hoist to lift a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car:

    Two-way hoists

    Hoists for lighter chairs are usually two-way hoists. They lift the chair up and down by power but you push the chair by hand to swing it into the car.

    Four-way hoists

    Four-way hoists:

    • use power to swing the wheelchair into the car AND lift it up and down
    • are generally used if your scooter or wheelchair is heavy
    • are easier to use on roads with steep slopes or hills since you don’t have to push your wheelchair up into the trunk
    • can be fitted to almost any vehicle, while others are made for larger vehicles

     

    Using a hoist to get a wheelchair or mobility scooter into a car

    You’ll probably need:

    • to use both hands to use the hoist
    • to be able to stand without much support while you are hooking on and lifting the wheelchair or scooter
    • to fold or dismantle the wheelchair or scooter before you lift it, especially if you have a small car or a large or heavy wheelchair or scooter

    Attaching the hoist

    There are different ways of attaching the hoist to the wheelchair – open hooks or hooks that close:

    • open hooks are easier to use but can come off when the lifting cord is slack
    • closed hooks may be more awkward If you have limited grip or dexterity
    • if the hook has a spring, try it to see whether you need both hands, or if your fingers get caught easily

    Telescopic hoist

    You need to use both hands for some hoists – one to hold it in the right place to stop the hooks falling loose, and the other to take up the tension with the control unit. This may be difficult to do standing if you have poor balance.

    Nearly all suppliers provide a range of hooks, so discuss what you need with them before you buy, and make sure you try all the functions.

    With four-way hoists especially, the wheelchair/scooter needs to be in just the right place, which may take a bit of getting used to.

     

    Controlling the hoist

    Most hoists have hand-held control units which can be:

    • either attached by wires
    • cordless

    On a few hoists, there are control units that are fixed to the hoist’s arm or base which means you can hold on for support while you’re using it. Some people find these easier to use than a hand-held control.

    Most suppliers have a choice of switches and should be able to find something to suit you. Try the control before you buy.

    On some hoists, you have to remove the lifting arm when the wheelchair is stowed in the boot.

    If you’re traveling without your wheelchair, some hoists allow you to remove the swinging arm to get it out of the way, leaving more room for luggage. The removable parts can be heavy, especially on heavier-duty hoists. Some can’t be taken out of the car because the lifting cords are permanently threaded through them.

    Platform Lifts

    As an alternative to hoists, use a platform lift to load an unoccupied wheelchair or mobility scooter into the boot.

    To use a platform lift:

    • you bring the platform out of the boot under power
    • push or drive the wheelchair on and secure it
    • and then transfer the platform back into the trunk

     

    Platform lifts are easier than a hoist because:

    • you don’t need to fold or dismantle the wheelchair or scooter
    • you don’t need the same strength or dexterity to load the wheelchair
    • you can secure the wheelchair to the platform before loading

     

    Platform lifts are:

    • generally used for larger wheelchairs and scooters and they need quite a large load space
    • designed to fit in larger vehicles and vans.
    • best fitted into a large trunk
    • a bulky solution: you need the same amount of room behind the vehicle to load the wheelchair onto the lift platform

    Four-way hoists

    • A four-way hoist is easier to use with a heavy wheelchair/scooter.
    • Some users find it difficult to position the wheelchair/scooter in the right place to attach it to the hoist.
    • Some find it difficult to load the wheelchair/scooter using a four-way hoist as they could not operate the control while moving to help guide it into the boot.

    Straps and cords

    • Hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached to the end of a strap or cord can cause users difficulties.
    • The load is more likely to swing and sway and it requires at least one hand to steady it as it is being hoisted.
    • Some users may worry about getting their fingers caught in the winch on some of these hoists.
    • Users often prefer hoists where the wheelchair/scooter is attached directly to the end of the lifting arm.

    Where Do you want to stow your manual wheelchair?

    Once you’ve transferred onto your car seat, you can stow your manual wheelchair:

    • in the trunk
    • in back-seat area of your car
    • on your car roof

    These hoists can be fitted to either the driver’s or the passenger’s side of the car.

     

    How they work

     

    Roof Spider hoist

    • Transfer to your car seat
    • Use a switch to bring the hoist mechanism to the car door
    • Hook your wheelchair on by hand
    • The hoist then lifts the chair on to the roof or transfers it to the back of the car and secures it safely.
    • You usually have to attach the wheelchair to the hoist
    • Some are easier than others – with some rear-loading systems you just need to position the wheelchair in the right place
    • Note: for all of them you need to be able to twist into position to use them.

     

    A rooftop system means

    • the trunk of your car remains free to carry luggage
    • an increase in the height of the car with some needing a lot of headroom to stow the wheelchair
    • they can’t be used in some indoor parkades

    Most rooftop systems carry the wheelchair in a box. However, in some the chair is exposed to the weather. Rooftop systems can be fitted to most cars without any modification.

    Trunk-loading systems are slightly less flexible than rooftop systems, as your car’s trunk has to be large enough, and the right shape. Systems that stow the wheelchair in the rear seat area can be fitted to a limited range of vehicles, and require considerable modification.

    Besides ramps, hoists and lifts, the other ways you can carry a wheelchair in a car are by using:

    • a trailer
    • a bag or trunk slider which helps you lift a wheelchair into the trunk of a car

    Trailers

    Trailers let you carry a wheelchair without dismantling or folding it, while keeping the trunk free.

    Trailers can easily carry large items including mobility scooters. However, they will make reversing and parking difficult.

    In both cases, you may need a license plate if the one fitted to your vehicle is obscured.

    Your abilities

    • Whatever option you go for, make sure you are able to use it every time you go out in the car even on a bad day.
    • Make sure you know exactly what you need to do to load and secure your chair and you can do it comfortably and safely.
    • When using a hoist, you also need to secure the hoist itself. Sometimes it stays attached to the chair, which holds it securely but some hoists need to be detached and secured separately.

    Your car and equipment

     

    • Make sure the car you choose has enough space for all the equipment you need plus anything else you want to carry. Where will you put your shopping?
    • If you have to fold or dismantle your chair, can you do it? Can you pick up the heaviest part?
    • Check the weight of any equipment you use
    • If you’re using a hoist, check with the supplier that it can take the weight of your wheelchair.
    • Check the car can take the weight of the hoist and wheelchair together, and check its towing weight if you’re using a trailer (ask the car dealer).
    • Some hoists and other equipment can only be fitted to a limited range of cars. Check with the supplier.
    • Most suppliers will adapt equipment to suit you, your car and your wheelchair. Discuss what you need with the supplier before you start.

     

    Fitting

     

    • Hoists, lifts and stowage systems are usually installed by vehicle adaptation companies or by their local dealers. Some will come to you to fit the hoist. Otherwise you will have to arrange for your car to be taken to them.
    • Most hoists can be fitted to the right or left hand side of the boot – check with the supplier. Some hoists come in one size. Some are cut and shaped individually for each car to give as much room as possible for swinging the wheelchair in.
    • Some stowage systems require considerable modification of the car, which may not be reversible.
    • Winches need to be fitted correctly: the winch cable must be aligned with the vehicle so it pulls the wheelchair in a straight line.

    Safety

    Securing things in your car

    It’s vitally important to secure the wheelchair when the car is moving. If a wheelchair or parts of a hoist or stowage system came loose, they could cause severe injuries if you have to brake suddenly.

    Ramps

    • secure both your wheelchair or mobility scooter and the ramp

    Two-way hoists

    • secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter and, with some hoists, the lifting arm, too
    • some two-way hoists come with securing mechanisms built in

    Four-way hoists and lifts

    • Four-way hoists and lifts do not require you to secure the wheelchair or mobility scooter
    • the wheelchair or mobility scooter remains attached to the hoist which is secure

    Wheelchair accessible vehicles (WAVs)

    WAVs come equipped with restraints for the wheelchair and for the passenger. Both should be used properly at all times.

     

    In summary, if do not have the ability to just “pop” the wheelchair into the car without encountering problems, there are many things that you can do in order to prevent the hassle of pushing and pulling your wheelchair and hoping that it fits inside the vehicle. In order to be able to fold and store your chair in your car, consider the assistance of additional mobility equipment, such as a ramp, hoist or a wheelchair accessible van.

     

    Related:

    Best Power Wheelchairs

    Choosing the Best Transport Chair

    Start Your Own Blog