Tag Archives: wheelchairs

Accessible Holiday Parties

Plan ahead by finding out information about your guests.

  • Ask if anyone has a special diet or food allergy to consider
  • Find out if anyone is bringing a service animal – your Fluffy may not appreciate Fido, so you may want to take your pets into a separate area of your home
  • Decide what area of the house could be a private place – some people may need to take medication, change feeding tubes or have other personal needs

Food accessibility can be determined by thinking about food shape, size, consistency, and packaging.

  • Large and floppy sandwiches with loose ingredients may be difficult to hold for those with limited dexterity
  • Try to limit the use of wet ingredients in sandwiches, like tomatoes, because it makes them soggy and hard to hold
  • Smaller items are easier to eat and pick up
  • Limit the amount of cutting that foods require
  • Serve foods that stay on a fork – rice, small vegetables and long spaghetti noodles are more difficult than tortellini or rigatoni
  • Soup is not very accessible
  • Have a variety of differently sized and shaped cutlery
  • Straws, cups with lids and beverages in both cans and bottles provide beverage accessibility
  • Packaging should be easy to open and re-sealable to enable small eaters to save food for later

Conduct an accessibility review of your home. You can’t change everything, such as the foundation of your home, but you can make some simple changes to your home to ensure that people in wheelchairs have better access to things they need:

  • Consider the height of your table – can a wheelchair fit comfortably? If not, consider swapping out your regular dinner table for something taller or shorter
  • Remove barriers that make navigating your house difficult – take out extra coffee tables, lamps, chairs, throw rugs and items that sit on the floor
  • Ensure adequate lighting for persons with visual impairments
  • Keep music low as laughter, noise, talking, music, lights and excitement may already cause over stimulation

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair

Magic Wheelchair is a nonprofit organization that makes epic Halloween costumes for children in wheelchairs.

Their vision is to put a smile on the face of every child in a wheelchair by transforming their wheelchairs into awesomeness created by their hands and their imaginations.

Their mission is to give kids in wheelchairs an unforgettable Halloween by creating custom costumes for them at no expense to their families

Kids, with their parents’ permission can submit a 1-3 minute video telling them what they want to be for Halloween and why they should be selected for this year’s Magic Wheelchair Build. They will review the submissions and select 5 children, who will then work with designers and builders to create the ultimate wheelchair costume in time for Halloween!

Being in a wheelchair can be tough, so they want to help kids make something truly epic. To do that requires time, money and the support of people like you. But when they’re done, they will change the life of a young wheelchair rider. See some of the costumes here.or check out their Pinterest account.

For more information about Magic Wheelchair you can visit their website or their Facebook Page.

Accessible Fun Family Summer Activities

Picnics in the park are a great way to have a nice and affordable time with your family. Most parks are also easily accessible for those in wheelchairs, so pack your favorite snacks and just enjoy the amazing weather. Some local parks will have music playing, or community events that the whole family can enjoy—some even welcome dogs so you can enjoy the day with your furry friend.

Why not take a trip to a museum? Not only are most museum entrance fees affordable, but also this idea is a great way for you and your family to discover foreign cultures, classic masterpieces and more of history, while having a great time doing it.

Have a family game night. Who doesn’t love some mildly intense family competition? Find your favorite board games and plan a night in with the family. Great snacks are a definite must for this kind of fun, so make sure you have plenty of finger foods and yummy treats to munch on while you play. If you’re inviting friends or family members over to your home, it’s always a good idea to ask if there are any special dietary needs or food allergies you should know when planning the evening’s menu.

At home science experiments are a fun way to keep kids engaged even while they’re on summer break. It’s been shown that being away from school, kids lose a third of what they learned the previous year. Help them retain their knowledge and go back to school smarter than ever before by doing fun at home experiments and projects.

Horseback riding and/or fishing have also proven to be very therapeutic for folks with disabilities. Both items provide a great opportunity to be outside in a healthy environment.

Volunteering is definitely the least costly and most rewarding way to spend your time this summer. There are tons of different organizations and causes that you can dive into as a family. Pick a cause, assemble your team and give back to your community this summer.

Accessible Preparations for Memorial Day

Hosting a Memorial Day Party is the perfect way to kick off your summer adventures, and here are some tips on how to make sure your gathering is accessible and fun for all!

Choose Your Location
To ensure all of your guests are able to easily maneuver around your party and its surroundings, make certain there are ramps, lifts or unobstructed entryways available for guests in wheelchairs. Another thing to consider is parking. If some of your guests will be arriving in wheelchair accessible vans, they might need a little bit of extra room to deploy a lift or ramp.

You can host an accessible Memorial Day party if your home or apartment is less than wheelchair-friendly. Local parks often rent out pavilions or picnic areas for gatherings, and these areas often boast open spaces and paved paths, making them a great bet for guests in wheelchairs.

Perfect Your Spread
From grilling up veggies and even fresh fruits, to stocking up on refreshing drinks to beat the summer heat, making sure you’re serving up tasty treats is perhaps the most important part of throwing a great, memorable party. When planning your party’s spread, always take into consideration any possible allergies or food restrictions your guests might have. If you’re sending out invites, it might be a good idea to ask guests of any food requirements right on the invitation, so you’ll be armed with the right information when it comes time to shop and prep.

Don’t Forget the Entertainment
Every good party needs some entertainment. That doesn’t mean you have to go out and hire a full band though—making your own fun is easy! You could set out the board games for some old school fun or create a dance floor on your deck or living room with plenty of room. Start a game of trivia, charades or bingo, you could even break out the karaoke machine and make some hilarious and potentially embarrassing memories.

Memorial Day is a day for honoring and remembering all of the brave men and women who served (and continue to serve) in our country’s Armed Forces. As such, if you have a disabled veteran attending your party, think of ways that you can honor him/her in some special way.

Adaptive Golf

Whether you want to learn the game or hone your skills, there is a golf program for everyone! Many solutions exist for whatever stops you from enjoying the game of golf, from carts to clubs to accessories and specialty devices.

  • Adaptive golf carts now have swivel and extending seats and armrests to play while seated as well as elevating lifts that allow paraplegics and others with limited leg strength to play from a standing position.
  • Adaptive golf clubs can have special grips for those with missing fingers, deformed hands, osteoarthritis or loss of strength. Some are specialized for seated or standing golfers. Some club shafts are bent for seated individuals.
  • Gloves and grip aids include prosthetic golf grip devices, elastic gripping devices and more.
  • Accessories include tee setters and ball retrieval systems to reduce bending. One device even stabilizes your balance.

Search for a golf program for those with disabilities in your area to get tailored instruction from golf instructors certified to teach. For more information, check out national associations like the National Alliance for Accessible Golf, the Disabled Sports USA, and/or the United States Golf Assoc.

The Adaptive Golf Foundation of America has scrambles, classics, opens, championships and tournaments across the country throughout the year.

Universal design

Universal design

Universal Design makes things safer, easier and more convenient for everyone.
Universal Design involves designing products and spaces so that they can be used by the widest range of people possible. Universal Design evolved from Accessible Design, a design process that addresses the needs of people with disabilities. Universal Design goes further by recognizing that there is a wide spectrum of human abilities. Everyone, even the most able-bodied person, passes through childhood, periods of temporary illness, injury and old age. By designing for this human diversity, we can create things that will be easier for all people to use.

Who Does Universal Design Benefit?
Everyone.
Universal Design takes into account the full range of human diversity, including physical, perceptual and cognitive abilities, as well as different body sizes and shapes. By designing for this diversity, we can create things that are more functional and more user-friendly for everyone. For instance, curb cuts at sidewalks were initially designed for people who use wheelchairs, but they are now also used by pedestrians with strollers or rolling luggage. Curb cuts have added functionality to sidewalks that we can all benefit from.

What can be Universally Designed?
Everything.

  • Universal Design can apply to anything that can be designed, including products like door handles, kitchen utensils and smartphones.
  • Universal Design can be applied to architecture and the built environment, including public and commercial buildings, as well as residential buildings and family homes.
  • Universal Design can also be applied to the community at large through urban planning and public transportation.

Universal Design vs. the Americans with Disabilities Act
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a piece of legislation that protects the civil rights of people with disabilities by ensuring that they are not unfairly denied access to job opportunities, goods or services due to their disability. The ADA includes the 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design, which outlines accessibility requirements for buildings and facilities. There is a great deal of overlap between what is required under the ADA and what would be suggested by Universal Design, but there are also differences. The ADA outlines the bare minimum necessary in order to curb discrimination against people with disabilities, while Universal Design strives to meet the best practices for design, which are always evolving and improving as we continue to learn more about how to best meet people’s different needs. The ADA focuses solely on the civil rights of people with disabilities, while Universal Design is designed with everyone in mind. The ADA does not apply to single family residences, while Universal Design can and should.

Below are some examples of universal designs:

Low Force Flooring Materials
There is actually a reason that short, stiff carpets and hard surface floors are found in most public buildings. If you use a wheelchair, you know how difficult it can be to push through even slightly plush carpet. Wheelchairs, handcarts, strollers – they are all easier to operate on hard surfaces.

Seamless Room Transitions
Room thresholds are most common in transitions between areas of carpeting and hard surfaces, and those lips can be not only difficult, but painful to maneuver over. Sticking to a consistent flooring style and removing those thresholds can make a huge impact on ease of maneuvering an interior.

Access for Pools
An hour of freely moving around in the water gives people with severe arthritis, muscle atrophy, and more a way to recover and live a significantly more pain-free life. This is why an increasing number of public pools have accessible chairs on metal arms by the side of the pool.

Lever Handles Instead of Knobs
Knobs, while being visually more appealing, require quite a bit more arm and wrist torque to move the bolt. Lever handles require both less force and overall motion.

Close Captioning/Large Print
Tablets, eReaders, smartphones, and more have shortcuts to increase font size easily – another great example of subtle universal design. This is the same principle behind why Netflix, YouTube and others alike now have captioning built in. Disability or not, these features can make life easier.

 

Wheelchair Accessibility

Wheelchair accessibility helps people who can no longer get around without support. You can optimize your home and your daily life to make things easier for your loved one if they are not as mobile as they use to be.

Wheelchair Ramps
Ramps make it much easier for people in wheelchairs to exit and enter their homes. The material for the ramps should be standard wood, but you can use protective coatings on the ramp to make sure that the weather doesn’t weaken it. You must check to see if the person using the wheelchair can easily push themselves up the ramp and down the ramp without the wheels getting snagged on anything.

Don’t space the wooden planks too far apart. The gaps in the wood can cause a bumpy ride at the least and a health hazard if you’re not careful. You can even buy portable ramps that you can take with you on road trips. The person in the wheelchair may also need help getting into vehicles and other establishments. Portable ramps can certainly come in handy at the most inconvenient times.

Wider Doors Inside
You must ensure that doors have easy paths of travel. Don’t place boxes or other items close to doors when a person using a wheelchair will have to navigate through the opening. The doors in the home may need to be wider if they are less than 32 inches wide. The wheelchair user must have plenty of space to get through.

Wider doors can also make a people feel more comfortable inside the home. The bare minimum amount of space can make them feel cramped and closed in. They should at least be given some freedom of movement even though they are using a wheelchair.

Wider Hallways
Wider hallways are also essential to the comfort and well-being of someone who gets around in a wheelchair. The wheelchair must be able to move freely through the halls with plenty of space to spare. Make sure there is at least 36 inches of space between the walls in the hallways.

You might also need wider hallways if the wheelchair will need to turn corners to get to different rooms. It can be difficult for a wheelchair to navigate through tight corridors without rounded corners. Leaving plenty of space will ensure a happier and healthier experience.

Bathroom Changes
It’s time to get rid of that bathtub in your bathroom. Showers are much more accessible for wheelchairs than bathtubs. You can also install hand-held shower heads and seats so that people using wheelchairs can have a better chance at bathing themselves. The person will be much more comfortable in the shower since they can just open the door and wheel their way in.

Accessible Holiday Parties

Plan ahead by finding out information about your guests.

  • Ask if anyone has a special diet or food allergy to consider
  • Find out if anyone is bringing a service animal – your Fluffy may not appreciate Fido, so you may want to take your pets into a separate area of your home
  • Decide what area of the house could be a private place – some people may need to take medication, change feeding tubes or have other personal needs

Food accessibility can be determined by thinking about food shape, size, consistency, and packaging.

  • Large and floppy sandwiches with loose ingredients may be difficult to hold for those with limited dexterity
  • Try to limit the use of wet ingredients in sandwiches, like tomatoes, because it makes them soggy and hard to hold
  • Smaller items are easier to eat and pick up
  • Limit the amount of cutting that foods require
  • Serve foods that stay on a fork – rice, small vegetables and long spaghetti noodles are more difficult than tortellini or rigatoni
  • Soup is not very accessible
  • Have a variety of differently sized and shaped cutlery
  • Straws, cups with lids and beverages in both cans and bottles provide beverage accessibility
  • Packaging should be easy to open and re-sealable to enable small eaters to save food for later

Conduct an accessibility review of your home. You can’t change everything, such as the foundation of your home, but you can make some simple changes to your home to ensure that people in wheelchairs have better access to things they need:

  • Consider the height of your table – can a wheelchair fit comfortably? If not, consider swapping out your regular dinner table for something taller or shorter
  • Remove barriers that make navigating your house difficult – take out extra coffee tables, lamps, chairs, throw rugs and items that sit on the floor
  • Ensure adequate lighting for persons with visual impairments
  • Keep music low as laughter, noise, talking, music, lights and excitement may already cause over stimulation

Portable Ramps

Portable Ramps Offer Accessible Solutions
Portable wheelchair ramps are a durable yet relatively inexpensive alternative to permanent ramps or lifts. Ideal for use in situations where permanent fixtures are not convenient or available, most portable ramps can be safely used by both scooter and wheelchair users to access vehicles, homes, and other raised spaces.

Solid Ramps
A solid ramp requires no assembly and is easy to use with its single piece design. Generally constructed from aluminum, these ramps offer a slip-resistant surface ideal for wheelchairs and scooters up to 600 lbs.

Suitcase Ramps
Suitcase style ramps are made up of a single-fold design and feature carrying handles that increase portability. Available in a number of lengths that provide access to various heights, including some minivans and SUVs, suitcase ramps are ergonomically designed to provide stability while remaining light enough to be carried by a single individual. Depending on the incline, caregiver assistance may be needed in order to utilize these ramps.

Folding Ramps
Folding ramps offer the convenience of an easily condensed design, allowing for this type of equipment to be transported without hassles even in small vehicles. Single, double and triple fold ramps can be stowed and taken out for use when necessary in mere minutes, making the process a speedy and convenient one.

Thresholds
Thresholds may provide a simple and cost effective solution for rises in doorways, sliding doors and raised landings. These portable ramps rest against doorsills (inside or outside) to provide a smooth transition from the floor onto the raised step or landing. Either trimming the ramp or adding risers can also adjust the accessible height.

When permanent ramps are simply not a viable option, portable solutions can ensure you are able to fully enjoy your day without worrying about accessibility issues. Whether you’re loading the car up for a long trip or simply getting around inside your home, portable ramps and thresholds can ensure you have full access to your surroundings.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a 1:12 slope for wheelchairs and ramps, which works out to 1 foot of ramp to each inch of rise. For residential use it is usually recommended not to exceed a 2:12 ratio.