Author: Jason Dumont

Caregiver Tips

Caregiver TipsHave you ever been too sick to care for yourself, perhaps with a bad virus or physical injury? The situation may have been frustrating or frightening. Without a doubt, the experience required someone to care for you until you recovered. Once the health problem subsided, I bet you felt a big sense of relief and feelings of gratitude toward the person who stuck with you during the ordeal.

For millions of families around the country, however, this scenario does not capture their daily circumstances. According to the AARP, “more than one in five Americans (21.3%) are caregivers, having provided care to an adult or child with special needs at some point in the last 12 months.” What is a caregiver, what vital role do they play in the lives of others, and what support is available to them?

Caregiving: Formal vs. Informal

Caregiver Helping Elderly WomanThere are two types of caregivers: formal and informal. The formal caregiver is usually a paid individual who cares for individuals who are not their family members in places like nursing homes, residential care facilities, and home care visits. The other type of caregiver is called an “informal” caregiver. This type of caregiver is described as an unpaid individual who cares for a loved one’s physical needs.

In “formal” caregiving settings, the care recipient may be surrounded by a team of professionals who specialize in everything from meal planning to healthcare. An informal caregiver is responsible for the exact needs without the benefit of shift changes or weekends off. This inequality of need vs. manpower may put immense pressure on the informal caregiver resulting in increased stress and ultimately something called “caregiver burnout.”

If you are a caregiver, what can you do to protect yourself from an overload of caregiver stress leading to burnout? What can friends and family do to help relieve your stress or burnout?

10 Signs of Caregiver Stress

For some people, the need to become a caregiver is placed on them when they learn that their child has a physical or developmental disability. In other families, the decision comes after a parent begins to exhibit deterioration in their mobility or cognitive health. Whenever this shift takes place, several questions and concerns present themselves. These concerns lead to a heightened stress level that may cause a decline in the caregiver’s physical and mental health. Could you be suffering from caregiver stress? To answer that question, you need to know the signs…

Caregiver Stress: Signs 1-5

  1. Denial. After your family member receives a devastating diagnosis, such as Alzheimer’s disease or Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), the belief that the person can get better or relearn the physical or mental skills lost creates an added burden.
  2.  Increased Aggravation. Closely linked to denial, anger, or agitation may result from not accepting the care recipient’s declining health. Aggravation is a form of stress manifesting itself. If the emotion goes unchecked, it could present a danger to the caregiver and the person in their care.
  3.  Social Isolation. When the stressors become too oppressive, a caregiver may withdraw from their friends and social engagements.
  4.  Anxiety. A caregiver may experience anxiety when they reflect on the future of the person in their care. The unknown questions that swirl around any type of long-term care situation can pile up and make it difficult to manage situations that may not have previously caused them distress.
  5.  Depression. Unrelenting stress may lead to depression. Feelings like the signs listed above could signal an overarching mental health crisis.

Caregiver Stress: Signs 6-10

  1. Exhaustion. Informal caregivers are on the job 24/7. The constant activity and need for vigilance may lead to a lack of available energy to perform simple tasks.
  2.  Sleeplessness. Sleep deprivation is a shared burden that all informal caregivers face. A lack of sleep may be linked to anxiety, depression, or the care recipient’s needs.
  3.  Irritability. A prolonged lack of sleep is bound to make anyone irritable over time. Combined with any of the other signs on this list and the caregiver may be signaling they need help even if they haven’t asked for it.
  4.  Lack of concentration. If the caregiver begins to miss appointments or other things that make them say, “I forgot,” it may be a result of a caregiver’s levels hitting critical mass.
  5.  Health issues. Our body and mind are our best advocates when it comes to stress overload. They usually signal there is a problem before a caregiver is ready to admit it themselves.

The Dangers of Stress

The Dangers of StressCaregivers accomplish extraordinary things every day, but they are still human. Ignoring the signs of stress could have a severe and long-term impact on a caregiver’s physical and mental health.  What are some of the physical and mental consequences of prolonged, unhealthy stress?

Taking a Physical Toll

The body’s stress-response system activates on a case-by-case basis. Once a perceived threat has passed, hormone levels return to normal. As adrenaline and cortisol levels drop, our heart rate and blood pressure return to baseline levels and other systems resume their regular activities.

Unfortunately, caregivers rarely receive a reprieve from their stressors, so the body does not get a chance to recoup. The long-term activation of the stress-response system and the overexposure to cortisol and other stress hormones can disrupt almost all your body’s processes. This strain puts you at increased risk of many health problems, including:

  • Digestive Problems
  • Weight Gain or Loss
  • Heart Disease
  • Sleeping Disorders
  • Headaches
  • Muscle Aches and Pains

The Mental Impact of Too Much Stress

When stressors run out of control, a person’s physical health is not the only part of their being that suffers. A caregiver’s mental health may begin to show signs of excess stress even before the physical symptoms appear. Some of these signs are:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Memory and concentration impairment
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

What Should You Do?

If you or someone you love exhibits any of the signs listed above, do not hesitate to seek help. Self-care is a vital part of a caregiver’s ability to provide quality care for their family member. Ignoring the signs because “there isn’t time to take care of myself” could spell disaster. Once the signs are present, what can be done to alleviate the pressure?

Six Methods for Managing Stress in Caregivers

Methods for Managing Stress in Caregiver - Inhale and ExhaleA caregiver may have few options available to them to change their circumstances, but the situation is not without hope. Here are six steps to help manage stress:

  1. Eat healthier and drink plenty of water
  2. Regularly exercise
  3. Give up nicotine or heavy drinking
  4. Practice relaxation techniques
  5. Assert yourself
  6. Set realistic goals and expectations

Managing Stress in Caregivers: Tips 1-3

  1. Eat healthier and drink plenty of water. As an exhausted, time-strapped caregiver, it may be challenging to maintain a healthy diet. Remember that consuming plenty of fruits, veggies, and balanced proteins can increase a body’s ability to manage stress, clear the mental fog, and decreases that sluggish feeling from unhealthy eating.
  2.  Regularly exercise. This tip does not involve taking two hours of “me-time” at the gym. A caregiver’s time is precious and rarely solitary. If you are a caregiver, use the world around you like your gym. When caring for a loved one in a wheelchair, use the barre method to stretch or strengthen your core every time you are standing in line at the pharmacy or while you are waiting for an appointment. If the only time you get to yourself is that precious 10 minutes in the shower, use five of those minutes to stretch and do simple Yoga or Thai Chi poses. No matter how brief, daily activity will protect you from injury and help your body dilute some of those excess chemicals in your body.
  3.  Give up nicotine and heavy drinking. A caregiver’s body is flooded with toxins due to sustained stressors. The presence of nicotine or alcohol worsens these conditions in the body. People who use nicotine often refer to it as a stress reliever. However, nicotine places more pressure on the body by increasing physical arousal and reducing blood flow and breathing. Taking care to reduce these types of substances will truly help reduce caregiver burnout despite the common misconceptions.

Managing Stress in Caregivers: Tips 4-6

  1. Practice relaxation techniques. During the day, a caregiver can manage their stress by practicing a series of relaxation techniques that help regulate stubborn stress hormones, like cortisol.
  2.  Assert yourself. As a caregiver, it may be difficult to say, “No.” It may also be uncomfortable to ask for help. Setting healthy boundaries is key to avoiding burnout.
  3.  Set realistic goals and expectations. The desire to allow loved ones who needs care the dignity of independence is a common dilemma for caregivers and their family. The commitment to care for that loved one in the home may feel like the “right” decision, but various circumstances may not make that possible. A caregiver must set goals that are reasonable and fact-based.

Relaxation Techniques for Caregivers

Caregiver Relaxation Techniques - Woman MeditatingCombined with aromatherapy, these techniques can help a caregiver manage the stressors associated with their caregiving responsibilities. An added benefit to each of these practices is that they can be done at any time without interrupting a caregiver’s obligations.

  • Visualization. Close your eyes and mentally picture a place or situation that is peaceful and calm: the more detail, the better. YouTube has tons of videos to guide you through this process.
  • Breathing Exercises. Slow your breathing and focusing on taking deep breaths. Using an app such as Calm or iBreathe can help a caregiver develop these skills.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation. Try tightening and then relaxing each muscle group, starting at one end of your body, and working your way to the other end. You can find information and instructional videos on the internet to help you perfect this self-care method that you can do just about anywhere.

Have an Escape Plan

If you find yourself in the position of becoming an informal caregiver, here are some questions you should ask to help you avoid burnout.

  1. Couple Managing FinancesDoes your family member need occasional support or full-time care?
  2. Who will serve as the primary caregiver?
  3. If there are financial needs, who will absorb the cost?
  4. If the caregiver is sick or unavailable, who in the family will provide support?
  5. Are there financial or medical documents that need filling out?
  6. What state or local agencies can provide caregiver support?
  7. What is the plan if the family member’s health situation becomes worse than before?

Resources for Caregivers

Being a caregiver is a momentous task that requires constant physical and mental energy. To maintain the rigorous pace, they must be allowed to decompress. Two of the resources available to caregivers and their families are respite care facilities and support groups. 

Caregiving Support: Respite Care

An essential part of good self-care is called “respite care.” In short, this means that the person in need of care spends the day at an adult daycare center so that the person taking care of them can rejuvenate. All informal caregivers need this type of support. Taking a break is vital to the well-being of both the caregiver and the relative in their care.

Each state has different programs available. Speak to your primary care doctor or specialist to receive more information about the community resources available in your area.

Caregiving Support Groups

Caregiving Support GroupsA vital part of a caregiver’s self-care arsenal is a thriving support group. In some cases, this role can be filled by friends and family who give a caregiver a safe place to talk about their challenges as a caregiver. In addition to the familiar faces in their lives, caregivers often need the support of people experiencing similar things. In-person and online support groups are crucial to anyone who is a caregiver. Support group members can provide information about other resources, listen to a caregiver’s unique anxieties, and provide practice help when needed. For family caregivers during 2020, support groups were a lifeline in the face of isolation, limited resources, and mounting frustration. If you are the caregiver of a relative or loved one, you are not alone. Find a support group online today!

Caregiving: The key Is Honesty

The key to managing avoiding burnout is based in part on our ability, to be honest with ourselves and others. It may be incredibly difficult to come to terms with the fact that we cannot care for all our relative’s needs or we cannot care for them in our home. Remember, the best way to face these challenges is not to ignore our own needs and desires. A caregiver cannot successfully assist their loved ones if the caregiver is suffering physically or mentally.

Playing Our Part

If you are a friend or relative of a caregiver, there are several things you can do to help your loved one avoid burnout. These simple steps may seem small to us, but they could be a life-saver to a person caring for a loved one.

  1. Find practical ways to support the caregiver, like providing a meal once a week.
  2. Help fill out online forms for financial resources or in-home services.
  3. Identify errands you could help complete, like going to the store or post office.
  4. Arrange to do household or yard chores.
  5. Provide or arrange regular respite days.
  6. Be a good listener.

Don’t Take “NO” for an Answer

Female Counselor in Support Group Giving Advice to Another WomanCaregivers may fall into the bad habit of thinking they have to do it all themselves. The idea that everything their responsibility may lead to a lot of “no, I don’t need any help” responses. As friends or family members of the individual doing the caregiving, we need to learn not to take “no” for an answer. Caregivers need and deserve our support so don’t give up even if the answer is always “no.”

As a caregiver, if you find yourself saying “no” to support while feeling overwhelmed by the out-of-control to-do list, consider accepting the support of the people around you. If you do not have anyone available, it might help to use a shopping app like Instacart, prescription delivery, or other online tools to cut down on your hectic schedule.

Listen to What Isn’t Said

If you have a caregiver in your life, it is important to watch for the signs of stress or burnout mentioned in this article. Exposure to prolonged stress can have a long-term impact on the caregiver. While friends and family members may not carry the burden of caregiving, their ongoing support is both practical and loving. A caregiver may not ask for help. They may not realize they need help until there is a crisis. The best way to avoid this outcome is to watch for what isn’t being said. The signs are all there – the ability to be proactive and “see-a-need, fill-a-need” is crucial.

Thank Your Heroes!

If you know a caregiver, then you know a hero. Whether they are a formal or informal caregiver, they attend to the well-being of the most vulnerable people in our communities. They often forgo their own physical or emotional needs to care for someone who can’t take care of themselves. If you have a caregiver in your life, take the time to show appreciation for everything they do to help others. Being a caregiver is a complex issue, but the more we can prove to a caregiver that they are not alone, the more equipped they will be to meet the demands placed on them.

What to Expect with a Diagnosis of Cerebral Palsy

Cerebral Palsy - 1 in 345 Children in US Diagnosed with CPLearning that your child has cerebral palsy (CP) can be very distressing. If this happens to your child, know that you are not alone. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), each year, an average of 1 in 345 children in the United States are diagnosed with cerebral palsy. While your child cannot “outgrow” the symptoms of CP, children with cerebral palsy can still lead full lives. The first step to reaching this potential is understanding what a cerebral palsy diagnosis means for your child’s health and future.

What is Cerebral Palsy?

CP is not a disease. It is a group of disorders that affects a person’s ability to move and maintain balance and posture. Cerebral palsy is the most common motor disability in childhood. According to the CDC, cerebral palsy may be caused by abnormal brain development or some form of brain damage to the developing brain. CP is more common among boys than girls. It is also more common in Black children than in White children. Developmental issues related to cerebral palsy often first begin to appear between 18 months and two years old. An estimated 800,000 children and adults have at least one cerebral palsy symptom.

What are the early signs and symptoms of CP?

A doctor and a child’s parents are called a child’s care team. Their observations and communication will help them to identify potential signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy early. The early signs and symptoms of cerebral palsy can vary. Children reach most of their motor development milestones early in life. Most symptoms of CP may appear during infancy or preschool age. In severe cases, a child may present signs of cerebral palsy at birth. Parents are usually the first to notice issues. Their child may demonstrate slow motor development, tight or floppy muscle tone, or other signs that cause them to worry about their child’s health.

A doctor may first suspect a problem if a child fails to reach key developmental milestones. Some of the markers doctors watch for at a well-baby check-up include steady increases in muscle tone, motor skills, or speech patterns. They may also watch for issues related to posture, coordination, and hearing or vision.

Signs and symptoms of CP

Cerebral Palsy SymptomsMovement and coordination problems associated with cerebral palsy include:

  • Variations in muscle tone, such as being either too stiff or too floppy
  • Stiff muscles and exaggerated reflexes (spasticity)
  • Stiff muscles with normal reflexes (rigidity)
  • Lack of balance and muscle coordination (ataxia)
  • Tremors or involuntary movements
  • Slow, writhing movements
  • Delays in reaching motor skills milestones, such as pushing up on arms, sitting up, or crawling
  • Favoring one side of the body, such as reaching with one hand or dragging a leg while crawling
  • Difficulty walking, such as walking on toes, a crouched gait, a scissors-like gait with knees crossing, a wide gait, or an asymmetrical gait
  • Excessive drooling or problems with swallowing
  • Difficulty with sucking or eating
  • Delays in speech development or difficulty speaking
  • Learning difficulties
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills, such as buttoning clothes or picking up utensils
  • Seizures

What other conditions are associated with CP?

Cerebral Palsy - What Other Conditions Are There?In addition to the main symptoms, people with CP may have related conditions, including intellectual and developmental disability (IDD), seizures, delayed growth, abnormally shaped spine, vision problems, hearing loss, infections, and long-term illnesses, malnutrition, dental problems.

Intellectual and Developmental disability (IDD)

Up to one-half of people with cerebral palsy have intellectual and developmental disabilities. An IDD diagnosis requires ongoing attention from parents and doctors. Additional tests may need to be performed to diagnose IDD. Early intervention can help a person with cerebral palsy and IDD to live with the symptoms related to CP with IDD.

Seizures

About half of all children with cerebral palsy have one or more seizures during their lifetime. Seizures can range from small to severe. A child prone to seizures is at high risk for further brain damage and other injuries. Brain-imaging tests such as an EEG can determine if a child has had a seizure.

Delayed Growth

Children with moderate to severe cerebral palsy are often very small for their age. This delayed growth may be one of the first symptoms parents notice before a cerebral palsy diagnosis. If your child is diagnosed with CP, parents will need to be patient with themselves and their child since their child’s development may fall behind other children in their age group.

Abnormally-Shaped Spine

The spine may curve in a way that makes sitting, standing, or walking more difficult for a child with cerebral palsy. In addition to the pain commonly associated with CP, an abnormally shaped spine can increase a child’s pain level. It is crucial to have good communication and pain management measures in place. Following medical advice is key to improving your child’s quality of life.

Vision Problems

Vision problems may include problems focusing on objects, blurred vision, field vision loss, rapid eye movement, or trouble recognizing familiar faces. Poor eyesight may cause learning delays or frustration for your child. If you notice problems with your child’s vision, talk to your doctor. They may be able to help improve your child’s vision.

Hearing Loss

This form of hearing loss is incurable. It is often related to the nerve in the inner-ear. A child with hearing loss may struggle in social or academic settings. Working closely with their doctors and teachers will help a child avoid falling behind in school. What may appear to be IDD could actually be hearing or vision issues. That is why partnering with a child’s doctor and performing the necessary tests is so important.

Infections and Long-Term Illnesses

Many people with cerebral palsy have a higher risk of heart and lung disease and pneumonia (infection of the lungs). A parent who has a child with CP will need to be vigilant to the signs of heart and lung disease. They will also need to be wary of exposing their child to anyone who may be sick. A small germ for most people could be detrimental to a person with CP.

Malnutrition

Because people with CP can have trouble swallowing, sucking, or feeding, it can be hard to get the proper nutrition or eat enough to gain or maintain weight. To avoid this issue, it is vital that the care team (parents and doctors) work closely together to meet a child’s nutritional needs.

Dental Problems

Some people with cerebral palsy may have movement problems that prevent them from taking care of their teeth. Poor dental care can lead to other health issues, including damage to the heart. Regular dental cleaning and tooth maintenance can help protect a child with CP.

Is diagnosing CP easy to do?

Unfortunately, no. Diagnosing cerebral palsy is a complicated process because it cannot be done with a single test. An accurate diagnosis of cerebral palsy requires both the parents’ observations and a doctor’s evaluation and tests. This method of diagnosis is often a long process. In some cases, it can take years to determine that a person has cerebral palsy. Since a single method does not exist, parents and doctors must closely watch a child’s development before making a diagnosis.

Doctors are not quick to diagnose cerebral palsy. A child’s doctor will perform a series of tests and look at a child’s medical history to rule out other conditions, such as neurological disorders. Once a doctor suspects cerebral palsy, they may order one or more brain imaging tests to look for brain damage. The tests that may be used are:

  • Ultrasound – This method is used most commonly in high-risk preterm infants to take pictures of the brain. Ultrasound is not as good as other methods of taking images of the brain, but it is the safest way to look at preterm infants’ brains.
  • Computed tomography (CT scan) – CT scans use x-rays to take pictures of the brain and show damaged areas.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) – MRI uses a computer, a magnetic field, and radio waves to create an image of the brain. It can show the location and type of damage in better detail than a CT scan.
  • Electroencephalogram (EEG) – If a person with CP has had seizures, a health care provider may order this test to rule out another disorder such as epilepsy. Small disks called electrodes are placed on the scalp to measure the brain’s activity.

Once your child is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, what will life be like for them?

Cerebral Palsy - How Parents Can Help Their Child Live with CPWhen a person is diagnosed with cerebral palsy, a great many things will change. First, be assured that you, as a parent did nothing wrong. In most cases, cerebral palsy cannot be prevented. It is caused by preterm births and other situations that are out of a parent’s control.

Cerebral palsy cannot be cured. Throughout their life, a person with cerebral palsy will deal with many of the symptoms and complications caused by CP. In addition to the physical limitation, a person with CP may experience depression, anxiety, or delayed social development.

Parents and children must have the right support around them as they face the daily requirements of living with such a complex disability. Support groups for families and ongoing medical advice are just two things parents will need as they adapt to their child’s new life.

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month - MarchLiving with CP will never be easy, but you are not alone. There are many resources available to support you. Talk to your doctor about what tools and programs may be the best fit for your family. Here are some other timely articles you may find helpful:

Complex Rehab Technology (CRT)

Complex Rehab Technology: Power Wheelchair

Complex Rehab Technology (CRT) Power ChairHave you been diagnosed with a condition that limits your mobility? You may be a candidate for a specialized complex rehab technology solution or CRT.

CRT Rehab power wheelchairs augment or replace function while providing support surfaces. They can assist in building and maintaining muscle strength and elasticity and enable improved participation in everyday life.

What is Complex Rehab Technology?

CRT refers to technologically advanced devices that help an individual fulfill their needs and which are medically necessary. CRT components are not off-the-shelf products; they require a custom-tailored approach to each individual, including evaluation, measurement, configuration, fitting, adjustment, and even custom programming.

Who Might Need Complex Rehab Technology?

Candidates for CRT may include people with congenital defects, an adverse neuromuscular diagnosis, or a serious injury. Common diagnoses requiring CRT might include amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), multiple sclerosis (MS), muscular dystrophy (MD), cerebral palsy (CP), spinal cord or traumatic brain injuries (SCI), and other progressive or degenerative neuromuscular diseases.

What is the difference between Complex Rehab Technology and Durable Medical Equipment?

While CRT is usually a fully customized and technological solution to help people with very serious conditions, DME refers to equipment that is more generally available. This can include items like conventional wheelchairs, electric scooters, and even simple devices like walkers and canes. DME items can often be obtained without a prescription from any DME provider, including corner drug stores. CRT equipment almost always has power components and is customized for the individual.

A CRT wheelchair can offer life-altering assistance to patients in dire medical and functional need. Power wheelchairs with CRT can finally make possible the completion of Mobility Related Activities of Daily Living, or MRADLs. Everyday tasks like doing laundry, prepping dinner, getting dressed, bathing and eating may seem simple for an able-bodied person. But for a person with disabilities, a CRT power wheelchair can make such seemingly impossible tasks not only possible, but enjoyable again. Sometimes these can even be accomplished with limited assistance or even completely independently with the aid of CRT.

Do I qualify for a CRT Wheelchair?

If you are living with a disability, have suffered trauma, or have recently been diagnosed with a disability that affects your mobility, your insurance may cover a Complex Rehab Technology Power Chair. To get more information about the eligibility of your specific diagnosis, check with your doctor or insurance company. Your doctor or physical therapist can arrange for a personal evaluation, and your health care provider will then determine whether you qualify. CRT Power Chairs require a prescription and some supporting documents that can then be sent to the chair retailer for fulfillment.

Is Redman Power Chair a CRT Device?

Yes. The Redman Power Chair is a Multi-Option Group 3 power wheelchair. Its one-of-a-kind design provides the gold star standard in power chair mobility. Each chair is custom made to fit the user to optimize comfort and functionality. This chair allows the user to have a full range of motion from standing to tilting back. This unique CRT device is singular in its ability to support organ function; improve circulation; freedom to the user; and much more.

Tips for a Tidy Home – Living with MS

Living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) can be very challenging. The symptoms of MS can make it a struggle to perform basic household chores and completing those everyday tasks can seem hopeless! However, cleaning and decluttering the most lived-in areas of the home can offer surprising benefits for people living with MS.

You can fight the fatigue, reduce stress, and increase positive emotions – with the help of these simple tips and tricks along your way…

MS home tipsOne Room at a Time:

Don’t try to clean the entire house all at once!

Monumental tasks can seem insurmountable if they’re thought of as one huge job. Instead, break up the job into a series of smaller tasks.

Try to schedule a few minutes per day over several days, and keep track of your progress. Attend to a certain room or section of your house on different days, if possible. For example, dust one room a day rather than the entire house. Declutter one kitchen cupboard or shelf at a time rather than trying to organize the whole space at once.

Dishwasher:

You should obviously use the dishwasher as much as possible for any cups, flatware, and dishes. But something you perhaps hadn’t thought about is that the dishwasher can be used to wash more than just dishes! Things like toys, medical equipment, and tools can be cleaned in the dishwasher, too. Baseball caps that would be ruined by a washing machine are perfectly fine in the dishwasher. Just be careful not to put anything in that might melt in high-temperature hot water.

Ergonomics:

Invest in reachers and grabbers that can help with odd jobs  around   the   house.   Some   are   spring-loaded,   and   others  are mechanical.   Most   have   a   “trigger”   that   you   pull   to   activate the grabbing action. These can help you get to items on the floor or other hard-to-reach areas that would otherwise be challenging to grab. You never want to risk falling just to get your hands on a certain item, and this kind of tool can definitely help minimize that risk.

Cleaning Supplies:

Try to keep your cleaning products in a convenient and accessible location. Having all of your supplies on a cart with wheels can make transporting these items around your home a little easier. When it’s time to purchase cleaning supplies, try to buy heavy-duty cleaning products that don’t require extra scrubbing to remove dirt and grime. Pick up rags and cloths that do a better job with minimal scrubbing, and try to use tools with a handle for grip control. If possible, try using a cordless or lightweight vacuum cleaner to avoid tiring out before you meet your day’s goal.

Cleaning Services:

In some cases, hiring a cleaning professional to do the deep cleaning needed around your home is an even better option. Oftentimes, local cleaning companies offer specials or discounts. You can also shop around for online specials. If you are on a fixed budget, try to schedule cleaning once a month to keep expenses down. Make sure to give the cleaner detailed instructions or a list of tasks that you cannot personally reach or access around your home.

Decluttering and cleaning are often where we expend most of our energy, which is described quite well in the MultipleSclerosis.net article titled Every Little Thing.

The mental and physical health benefits we receive from living in a tidy home are worth some extra effort. Small modifications here and there can certainly add up to significant overall improvements in your daily life!

 

Wheelchair Safety Tips

If you’re using a wheelchair, it’s likely because of a debilitating injury or a chronic disease. That means staying safe when operating your wheelchair is vital.

Virtually all modern wheelchairs come with built-in safety measures, but that isn’t a foolproof safeguard against user error. As a user, you can do several things to put your safety at risk while using a wheelchair.

At Redman, we’re a team of dedicated wheelchair specialists. Our entire goal is to provide our clients with high-quality wheelchairs that are dependable. That also means making sure you understand how to use a wheelchair safely.

Here are some of the top wheelchair safety tips…

Wheelchair Safety Tips

Operating your wheelchair safely

One significant way to ensure your wheelchair remains in optimal operation is to service it regularly. Improperly maintained wheelchairs can malfunction at any time.

Every wheelchair is different, so read your user manual to find out the right maintenance schedule. If you own a Redman, contact us directly for an authorized service provider in your area.

Do your best to avoid sudden jolts or tugs on other objects, and be sure to keep loose objects away from the wheels at all times.

Always make sure the wheels of your wheelchair are planted on the surface of the ground. This ensures you maintain proper balance at all times.

Avoid exposing your joystick to rain and inclement weather wherever possible to help maintain its functionality.

Never add too much weight to your wheelchair. Always look at the chair specifications to see the maximum weight allowed for your chair. A Redman supports up to 250lbs unless it has been customized to support more.

A failsafe way to avoid any wheelchair accidents is simply by being attentive. As long as you watch your surroundings, you shouldn’t have too many problems operating your wheelchair.

You can find additional tips for staying safe while operating your wheelchair in these articles at Aquilacorp and Healthnetcafe.


Other questions about wheelchair safety include…

Q: How do you use a wheelchair safely?
A: Always following the manufacturer instructions for use and maintenance while also being careful and attentive are the best ways to remain safe in your wheelchair

Q: What safety precautions should you remember regarding wheelchairs?
A: Avoid leaning forward when operating your wheelchair. Ensure your brakes are locked before exiting your wheelchair. Don’t position yourself too far from the center of your seat.

Q: Can pushing a wheelchair cause back pain?
A: Yes, published studies have shown that pushing a heavy wheelchair regularly can cause lower back injury. So, you may want to upgrade from a manual to a power chair with a remote attendant control.

Contact Redman today!

Contact us today and let us help you stay safe. Our team is ready and willing to customize a power chair to meet your needs! Give us a call at 800-727-6684 to get started.

Redman Power Chair Logo

Giving Mobility Back to People with Multiple Sclerosis

Giving mobility back to people with multiple sclerosisYour typical standing power chair is an automated device that helps its user move from a seated to standing position and back again. Some standing power chairs also enable users to fully recline.

The Redman Power Chair goes much further. It doesn’t just facilitate standing and reclining, it offers a patented body-positioning system that enables users to enjoy a greater range of motion than other chairs.

Stand Up for Your Health

When power chair-using MS patients add standing to their daily routine, better health often follows. They enjoy better circulation, improved bowel and bladder function, higher bone density, greater muscle and joint flexibility, and enhanced morale.

Many say the improved quality of life is the greatest benefit. From their standing chairs, they can look friends and family in the eye and be taken more seriously.

Sports lovers? They aren’t avoiding the stadium anymore. When their team scores, they can stand up and cheer like everyone else.

Then there’s the man who wasn’t satisfied with merely attending his daughter’s wedding. Using his power chair, he walked his daughter down the aisle and got the reception off to a rollicking start with the traditional father-daughter dance. All great benefits of giving mobility back to people with Multiple Sclerosis with a Redman power chair.

Going Here, There, and Everywhere

Standing power chair users love the fact that they can stand. But they sure aren’t standing still. That’s because they don’t think of power chair life as confinement. Instead, they call it liberation.

And they’re taking that mindset out into the world. Standing chair users are enjoying everything from a regular day at the office to participating in conventions.
We’ve heard from many people who’ve gone hiking – and some who’ve enjoyed scuba diving trips.

Since Redman Power Chair users like to get out and about, the Chief 107-ZRx is designed to help them do just that. The seat base height is a standard 18 inches, making it easy to get under restaurant tables and school or office desks.

Redman chairs fit into a much smaller footprint than competing models. The Redman footprint is only 23 inches wide and 39 inches long, so you can easily maneuver those tight squeezes.

Every Redman Power Chair is custom-fitted to you and can be adapted to a wide variety of terrain. So, if your day includes a walk in the woods or work in your garden, Redman can take you there, standing up.

Motorized Wheelchair Details

The Original, One-Chair Pioneer

In 1984, Redman revolutionized the power chair industry by introducing the first standing chair. That has been the company’s focus ever since. Rather than offering a confusing array of makes and models, Redman builds just one uniquely advanced Standing Power Chair, the Chief 107-ZRx. Our design and functionality improvements have come directly from you – our valued customers – over 35 years.

The Chief 107-ZRx is the only power chair with a patented body positioning system. It’s a chair that’s designed to move with the user. The chair’s versatility extends to operational controls as well. It can be controlled by eye gaze, movements of the tongue or head, by hand, or by foot.

Unlike competitors’ chairs, the Redman system mechanically – and automatically – compensates for body position. With a Redman Power Chair, users can enjoy unassisted standing, reclining, tilting, and stretching. And every movement and position offers positive clinical health benefits!

Giving Mobility Back To People with Multiple Sclerosis with a Redman!

  • We build the smallest, lightest power chairs in the industry
  • Our chairs move intrinsically to mimic your body
  • Each chair is built specifically to fit the individual – no mass production
  • The only mid-wheel standing chair that elevates, tilts, stands, and reclines
  • Unique positions – Yoga, Stand & Stretch, Tilt in Space – that no other chair offers
  • 100% custom-manufactured in the USA by a family-owned company

Redman Power Chairs are proudly made in Tucson, Arizona, and sold all across the United States. We provide our expertise and services directly to you, with no middleman – including evaluation and fitting, delivery and setup with a complete fit/function guarantee, plus repair and maintenance through a nationwide network of trained staff. We offer live customer support 24/7/365 and accept all major credit cards and insurance plans. In fact, we’re one of just a few power chair companies with an in-house insurance department.

Schedule a free, no-obligation in-home demonstration today!

We appeared in this edition of InforMS Magazine!

How to get a wheelchair

How to Get a Wheelchair

How to get a wheelchairTLDR: finding a wheelchair without the right insurance coverage can be quite challenging. But, there are solutions available to those struggling to obtain a quality chair. One of the guaranteed ways to get a wheelchair is if you have Medicare Plan B. If you don’t, there are several other options. Some of the best nonprofit organizations to get a chair from are: Chariots of Hope, Medicaid, and LifeNets.

Whether you were involved in a debilitating accident or just happened to sprain an ankle while playing sports. Once you’re injured, you’ll need a wheelchair to get around and still be mobile. However, trying to find a reliable one to use for all of your mobility needs can be challenging. There are several chair options for you to choose from.

Finding the right one for you largely depends on the specific features and capabilities you need from your chair of choice. For many people, trying to find an affordable wheelchair can be nearly impossible without the right insurance. Even people with insurance sometimes have difficulty finding a wheelchair compatible with their coverage plan.

If you’ve recently been assigned to use a wheelchair as a result of issues affecting your mobility. You’ve come to the right place because we’re going to give you tips on how to find a wheelchair.

Continue reading to find out more.

Let’s break down how to get a wheelchair

Unless you have the money to pay for your wheelchair out of pocket, you’ll need to use alternative methods. Luckily for you, there are plenty of free programs you can access to buy one that meets all of your needs.

First, before we get into all of the cost-free ways you can obtain a wheelchair, let’s talk about one of the most well-known methods, which is medicare part B. Medicare Part B covers the majority percentage of the costs of electric chairs. Before you can receive your wheelchair, you’ll need to set an appointment to determine eligibility.

To be eligible for a wheelchair through medicare Plan B, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Limited mobility
  • You’re able to operate your wheelchair safely with or without assistance
  • You can’t perform daily activities necessary to live a normal life like dressing, bathing, using the bathroom, or to get in & out of bed

Meet any of the above qualifications. You’ll likely be able to acquire a chair through your medicare Part b insurance coverage. If you don’t have Medicare Part B insurance, there are other options available.

Here are some alternative ways you can obtain a wheelchair at little to no cost:

  • Chariots of Hope- this is a nonprofit movement that donates chairs to those who need it. Before they accept any donated wheelchairs. They must undergo a thorough inspection and repair process. You can only get a basic wheelchair as the service doesn’t offer powered options. ChariotsOfHope.org.
  • LifeNets- this nonprofit organization that takes wheelchairs, not in use, and donates them to people who need one.
  • Medicaid- Medicaid provides comprehensive coverage for wheelchairs similar to what’s offered under Medicare Part B. Medicaid also covers 20% of the remaining costs not covered under your Medicare Part B plan.
  • The Wheelchair Society- this program delivers free parts and entire wheelchairs to residents of the following states: Washington D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

These are some of the most sure-fire ways to obtain a wheelchair if you have limited insurance coverage.

Finding the right wheelchair for you

When going to decide which one is right for you, there are several factors to consider. First, you need to find out what size chair you need. The size of your wheelchair determines how big of a person can fit in it. Also, you need to figure out the weight capacity of your wheelchair.

Your wheelchair’s weight capacity will determine the maximum load before it breaks. But, the Redman Power Chair finds the perfect balance between both these elements. Making it a great option for caregivers. However, since the Redman power chair is standing, it’s not optimal for those with weak joints/bones.

You’ll also need to decide if you need a powered wheelchair or not. If you’re unsure about which configuration is right for you. Go online and do some research to find out more information.

People Also Ask

Q: Does insurance pay for a wheelchair?
A: It all depends on your coverage provider. Some insurance companies do pay for either all or some wheelchair related expenses based upon the coverage rate you have. Medicare Part B medical insurance is one of the plans well-known for covering all the associated costs.

Q: How much does a powered wheelchair cost?
A: powered wheelchairs vary in cost based on the specific features and capabilities you need. On average, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1,500-$4,000 for a fully capable chair. That’s on the low-end for powered wheelchairs, honestly. Because once you get one of the leading models, that price can easily exceed $15,000.

Q: How long does a wheelchair battery last?
A: for a fully charged powered wheelchair, you can expect the battery to last about 8 hours. On this amount of charge, you should be able to travel about 10miles in total; in the real world, you can expect to get at least 20 miles total out of your chair.

Understanding how to get a wheelchair

We’ve covered all of the critical and vital information you need to know as it relates to getting a wheelchair if you don’t already have access to one. Don’t let a lack of insurance coverage stop you from being able to move freely. Find your perfect fit for you today!

A Redman Power Chair is a complex rehabilitation chair. Specifically, it is a Multi-Option Group 3 Power Wheelchair and it is the very best in its class! Rehab chairs augment or replace function while providing support surfaces… this can help build and maintain muscle strength and elasticity and enables improved participation in everyday life. Contact us at 800-727-6684 to see if you might qualify!

What is the best wheelchair for elderly

What is the Best Wheelchair for the Elderly?

What is the best wheelchair for elderlyActually, there is no “best” wheelchair for elderly people in general. That’s because every older person has individual needs. The needs of one elderly person may be very different from the needs of another. That means in order to choose the right wheelchair for your elderly loved one, you should conduct an analysis of the would-be user to see what areas they are impacted in.

As we age, our mobility becomes limited. For many seniors, a wheelchair enables improved participation in everyday life. There are a lot of wheelchairs to choose from on the market. Each one is intended to provide specific benefits and advantages based on patient needs. For elderly people, it’s essential to get them a wheelchair that’s both comfortable, sturdy, and functional. Before purchasing a wheelchair for an elderly person, there are several factors to consider:

Two of the most important factors are a wheelchair’s weight and width. Sometimes a lightweight, folding chair is needed so it can be easily placed in the trunk of a car – there are many great chairs available with these features. If portability isn’t an issue, the Redman power chair can be a great option because it is the narrowest chair of its type – just 23 inches wide – allowing it to fit narrow doorways and hallways. And even though it is not lightweight, it’s completely self-powered so a caregiver doesn’t have to push it. It also has remote attendant controls that can be hand-held or placed in the rear of the chair making it easier for caregivers to maneuver.

Benefits of Body Positioning for Seniors in Wheelchairs

Since most elderly people also lose strength over time, they may use their wheelchair as a means of support when interacting with the world. A Redman Power Chair is a complex rehabilitation chair, technically known as a multi-option group 3 power wheelchair. Rehab chairs augment or replace function while providing support surfaces. Because the chair allows for infinite body positions at the touch of a button, it can help build and maintain muscle strength and elasticity. It can help strengthen core and leg muscles and help stretch cords and tendons when using different positions. It gives the senior access to physical therapy any time they want!

When considering the comfort of a wheelchair for your elderly loved one, it’s important to gauge how many hours a day they will need to spend sitting and how that may affect their body. Many elderly people suffer from swelling and edema in their feet and legs. Others often get pressure ulcers or bed-sores in areas of prolonged pressure because of so much time spent in one position. A chair that offers body positions others than just sitting will help to prevent pressure sores, reduce swelling and edema, and even help improve circulation and organ function.

Another important benefit to note in regards to the positioning capability of a wheelchair is the ability to lie the user flat. This can not only allow the elderly person to enjoy a mid-day nap in a more comfortable position, reducing neck strain and pressure on the bottom but can be useful for caregivers as well. Should your loved-one require the use of diapers, being able to lay them flat allows for easy changing without the need for cumbersome transfers. This can help keep them clean, dry, and overall happier and healthier.

What is the Best Wheelchair for the Elderly?

As we have discussed thus far, every elderly person has different needs when it comes to mobility. That’s why it’s so important to speak with them to evaluate their needs and thus make an educated purchase decision.

Once you have a clear idea of what the elderly person needs, you can start scouting wheelchairs. There are a few main types of wheelchair options for seniors. Each of them delivers unique benefits that can help improve your mobility with ease.

Here are the primary types of wheelchairs available:

  • Lift Chairs
  • Rollators & Walkers
  • Lightweight Manual Chairs
  • Ultralight Manual Chairs
  • Standard Manual Wheelchairs
  • Heavy-Duty Manual Wheelchairs
  • Rehab Wheelchairs
  • Standing Wheelchairs
  • Electric Wheelchairs

If you’re unsure about which wheelchair type is best for their needs, do some research to find out more about the specific benefits each offers. The health, mobility, and comfort of the elderly person in question should be the top priorities.

Choosing the Right Wheelchair for the Elderly

If you’re able to secure a wheelchair for an elderly person through their insurance provider, you can even ask them about details regarding which wheelchair is best suited for your intended purpose. They will also be able to give you personalized advice on how to choose the optimal wheelchair.

Once you’ve determined the wheelchair features you desire for your loved one, it can be helpful to see if insurance will cover some of the costs. Most insurances will help cover when the need for the chair is due to mobility loss, old age, and secondary diagnoses.

You can call your insurance company for a list of contracted wheelchair providers – the number is typically on the back of the insurance ID card. Then it is up to you to research the individual wheelchair companies to see if their products meet your specific needs. Redman has a highly experienced insurance department that would gladly discuss options with you.

People Also Ask

Q: What is the best wheelchair on the market?
A: The Redman power chair is considered to be one of the best wheelchairs on the market. It’s made in America and is manufactured and sold factory direct.

Q: Which wheelchair is easiest to push?
A: Transport wheelchairs are the easiest to push. That’s because they have small wheels compared to standard wheelchairs. That allows caregivers to push the wheelchair without as much exertion. Another option is a power wheelchair with a remote attendant control.

Q: How long does a wheelchair last?
A: On average, most wheelchairs last about 5 years. The lifespan of a given chair often depends on how well it’s maintained.

Understanding what is the best wheelchair for elderly

In this article, we’ve covered a variety of information to consider when choosing a wheelchair for an elderly person. You can use this article to help you make the right decision about which wheelchair is best to help your senior loved-one attain the mobility and health benefits he or she needs and deserves. If you’ve decided to look into a body positioning power chair, contact us at 800-727-6684 to see if you might qualify for a Redman!

Can a Wheelchair Fit Through a 30-inch Door?

Can a wheelchair fit through a 30 inch doorTLDR: standard wheelchair sizes range from 25in-36in, and many of them have heights of about 36in. For most people, a door with a 30in opening is more than enough for standard wheelchair access. In the event that your wheelchair can’t fit through a 30in door, you should consider remodeling your home and widening your door clearances.

Many people who’ve suffered from an injury or another debilitating experience that impacts their mobility use wheelchairs to commute and get around. Wheelchairs make it easy to get around from one destination to another while providing a comfortable seat to keep your body parts relaxed while traveling. Whether you know someone who uses a wheelchair or use one yourself, you know how complicated it can be to access certain doorways.

Choosing the right wheelchair for you

All wheelchairs aren’t created equally, so you need to choose the right sized wheelchair for your needs. One of the significant problems people who use wheelchairs face is not being able to move through doors. Most wheelchairs in production are 25in wide and a height of 36in.

Of course, you find wheelchairs larger or smaller than those dimensions; however, those are the main ones. Sometimes, you can’t help the fact that a wheelchair won’t fit through a particular door or entryway. You’ll have to find an alternative way to access the specific building or area you need to in these instances.

Can a wheelchair fit through a 30-inch door?

Most traditional residential and commercial buildings have doorways made with measurements of 30-32in wide. Since this is the standard door size for many buildings, it’s essential to know whether your wheelchair will fit through it. Informing yourself about the various door sizes out there will enable you to avoid accidents or other instances in which you won’t access specific areas or locations.
For starters, most standard wheelchairs can fit through a 30in wide door with no issue. However, this is just for standard wheelchair sizes ranging from 25in wide to 36in wide. If you have a wheelchair larger than that, you’ll need to make some adjustments to your home to ensure it can accommodate your wheelchair.

Here are some effective and simple techniques you can use to widen your home’s entryway and doorways:

⦁ Remove Trim & Doors- removing the door trim or entire door is a great way to increase clearance in an entryway for your wheelchair.
⦁ Widen Your Door Frames- if you cannot get your wheelchair through the existing doors in your home, try widening their frames.
⦁ Install “Z” or Offset Hinges- offset and “Z” hinges allow doors to swing independently from the doorway itself. They can easily give you an extra inch of clearance. The best part is, they are affordable and easy to install.

Choosing the correct wheelchair for your needs

While it’s not possible in all situations, you can try to get another wheelchair that accommodates your existing doorway sizes. Some people are naturally bigger, so they need larger wheelchairs; however, there is always a workaround when your wheelchair can’t fit through the existing doors in your home.

People Also Ask

Q: Do wheelchairs fit through standard doors?
A: most wheelchairs have an average seat width of about 18in-22in to fit through standard doorways. However, most standard doors aren’t designed to accommodate wheelchairs.

Q: How wide should a door be for a walker?
A: an optimal door size for walkers is anywhere between 34in-36in. However, you’ll rarely find standard doors in these sizes unless they are custom made.

Q: What is the narrowest wheelchair available?
A: the narrowest wheelchair available has a 16in seat width.

Understanding the answer to, Can a wheelchair fit through a 30-inch door

Now, you know how to handle situations where your wheelchair won’t fit through a door opening. Use all of the tips and information we’ve included in this article so you can move around freely without restrictions.

Contact Redman Power Chair today to get the perfect chair to fit your needs

Do Wheelchairs Have a Weight Limit?

TLDR: wheelchairs come in three main configurations: basic wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs, and heavy-duty wheelchairs. Each of these wheelchair types come with varying weight limits. Basic wheelchairs have weight limits of 250-350lbs, lightweight wheelchairs have weight limits of 200lbs-250lbs, and heavy-duty wheelchairs have weight limits of 700lbs+. Get an accurate assessment of your physical size so you can find the right wheelchair. 

Discussing the answer to "Do wheelchairs have a weight limit

People with disabilities face various challenges daily; having to worry about whether or not you weigh too much for your wheelchair shouldn’t have to be one of them. When you’re involved in a debilitating accident, your insurance provider and coverage plan will determine how much assistance you get during the recovery process. 

Wheelchairs for recovery

Most individuals who suffer severe traumatic events require a wheelchair as part of their recovery. The downside is that not all insurance providers cover accessories; in this situation, you’ll have to purchase your own wheelchair. There are several factors to consider when trying to find the right wheelchair. 

Variables such as accessibility, features, size, and more determine how useful your chosen wheelchair will be. One factor many people ignore or forget is weight limitations. Although most wheelchairs in production come rated for people on the heavier side, they do come with weight limits that vary depending on the type of chair you buy. 

Do wheelchairs have a weight limit?

You must understand that there are three primary types of wheelchairs available. The categories include basic wheelchairs, lightweight wheelchairs, and heavy-duty wheelchairs. Each of these categories has varying weight limits, which is vital to consider before making your final decision. 

Most basic wheelchairs have standard weight limits than range from 250lbs to 350lbs. Lightweight wheelchairs typically have weight limits that max out at 200lbs-250lbs. Heavy-duty wheelchairs, on the other hand, come with weight limits starting at 700lbs+. 

Factors to consider when choosing your wheelchair

While your physical size and weight play a huge role in deciding what wheelchair you should go with, you should also consider any accessories you will be carrying while in your wheelchair. Heavy-duty folding wheelchairs are great for people who weigh 400-500lbs and travel often. The folding design allows you to fold and take our wheelchair with you wherever you go. 

For enormous individuals, you should consider purchasing a bariatric wheelchair. Bariatric wheelchairs utilize either aluminum, steel, or titanium and have very wide seats. Bariatric wheelchairs can carry individuals who weigh over 1,000lbs; you can see why this is the best choice for people who are obese. 

Determining the weight limit of your wheelchair

If you already have a wheelchair but don’t know its weight limit, you can check it to find a manufacturer tag that will give you detailed information about how to determine the weight limit. If you still can’t find the weight limit of your wheelchair, you can do a google search with the model number to find out. 

Use a scale to weigh yourself before purchasing a wheelchair; this enables you to get a definitive answer to which wheelchair can accommodate your size and needs. Using a wheelchair with a lower weight limit than your actual size may work for some time, but not long. 

You need to make sure you buy a wheelchair with an appropriate weight limit for your body type. In short, “do wheelchairs have a weight limit? Yes, they do.

People Also Ask 

Q: Are wheelchairs with big wheels easier to push? 

A: yes, wheelchairs that have big wheels can roll smoothly over various surface types. Wheelchairs with big wheels also tend to be much more comfortable than those with smaller wheels. 

Q: What is the weight of a lightweight wheelchair?

A: lightweight wheelchairs tend to weigh in the range of 29-34lbs. Most lightweight wheelchairs utilize aluminum for the primary construction material, making them durable and long-lasting. 

Q: What is the lightest weight transport wheelchair?

A: the lightest weight transport wheelchair available is the Nissin Lightweight Travel Chair. 

Understanding the answer to “Do wheelchairs have a weight limit”

We’ve given you all the facts you need to know about wheelchair weight limits and how to choose the right one for you. Before making a final decision about which wheelchair is right for you, ask these two simple questions: “How wide of a wheelchair do I need? and “Will I be traveling a lot with my wheelchair?”

People also asked

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