Making Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

There are several ways to create a more accessible space for a person in a wheelchair. Some options include: altering an existing floor plan, building an addition, converting existing rooms, or buying a new home. The following guidelines will be helpful to anyone planning for wheelchair accessible housing. Always measure the width and length of your wheelchair since there are many different sizes. The dimensions listed below refer to standard wheelchairs. Owners of power and reclining models may need to modify the measurements based on the length and width of the chair. It is important to identify specific needs. Entrance and Exit Parking: If you use a garage, make sure the entrance is high enough for a raised roof van and wide enough to allow the use of a wheelchair lift or to make an easy wheelchair transfer. Approximately eight feet is needed for a wheelchair lift and five feet of space is needed for a transfer from the wheelchair. Illustration of optimal parking space dimensions–cars/vans Specifications for a ramp or pathway to entrance • 36 to 48” wide pathways • 32 to 36” high hand rails that extend 1′ beyond ramp • Slip resistant surface (non–slip strips, indoor/outdoor carpeting, sand paint) • Covering for inclement weather • Ramp materials: wood, concrete expanded aluminum • 12” of ramp for every 1” of vertical rise • Free swinging (no spring or hydraulic mechanism) • ½” or less threshold edge height • Option: electric entrance door opener • If a ramp is longer than 30 feet, it needs to change direction. With a change of direction, a level platform or landing...

Alzheimer’s Patient Paints Self-Portraits Over The Years

 Alzheimer’s is a mysterious disease capable of stealing memories and time from our loved ones. British artist William Utermohlen was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 1995. Utermohlen decided to document the progression of the disease by doing self-portraits until he no longer remembered his own face. As terribly sad as these portraits are, they show how rapidly—and with such fury—Alzheimer’s can affect the human brain. Utermohlen’s widow, Patricia, said, “In these pictures we see with heart-breaking intensity William’s efforts to explain his altered self, his fears and his sadness.” William Utermohlen passed away in 2007. MAN WITH ALZHEIMER’S DISEASE DREW A SERIES OF SELF-PORTRAITS OVER THE YEARS 08.20.2014 12:17 pm William Utermohlen’s self-portrait from 1967 1996 1996 1997 1997 1998 1999 2000 Below, Louis Theroux’s eye-opening and poignant 2012 documentary Extreme Love: Dementia. I highly, highly recommend this documentary if you have a loved one with Alzheimer’s or just want to learn more about the disease. You won’t soon forget it.   To see the original article, click...

Dining With Dementia

Dementia comes with its obstacles; bathing, walking, household chores and others, but no one would think about eating. As Dementia and Alzheimer’s progress the mobility required during meal time slowly slips away. The ability to hold a fork, pass the potatoes and chew food may also diminish. A person with dementia may refuse to eat food or may spit food out. This may be because they dislike the food, are trying to communicate about the food being too hot, or being unsure what to do with the food. The person with dementia may become angry or agitated or exhibit challenging behaviour during mealtimes. This can happen for a variety of reasons; such as frustration at any difficulties they are having, feeling rushed, or even the environment they are in. They may not want to accept assistance with eating. Try not to rush the person with dementia, and help them maintain as much independence as possible. If a person is agitated or distressed, do not put pressure on them to eat or drink. Wait until the person is calm and less anxious. Not only will the fine motor skills diminish, but the ability to sense temperature diminishes along with swallowing (called dysphagia).  If your loved one is having difficulty with swallowing, a referral to a speech and language therapist can help. Some problems can include holding food in the mouth, continuous chewing, and leaving harder-to-chew foods (eg hard vegetables) on the plate. Be aware, issues such as weight loss, malnutrition and dehydration can also be consequences of swallowing difficulties. To learn more,...

80-Odd Years of Happy

For today’s blog…we just wanted to share an adorable video we found on YouTube. It’s not really meant to explain or demonstrate anything other than putting a large smile on your face. Go out there and be...

Making Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

There are several ways to create a more accessible space for a person in a wheelchair. Some options include: altering an existing floor plan, building an addition, converting existing rooms, or buying a new home. The following guidelines will be helpful to anyone planning for wheelchair accessible housing. Always measure the width and length of your wheelchair since there are many different sizes. The dimensions listed below refer to standard wheelchairs. Owners of power and reclining models may need to modify the measurements based on the length and width of the chair. It is important to identify specific needs. Entrance and Exit Parking: If you use a garage, make sure the entrance is high enough for a raised roof van and wide enough to allow the use of a wheelchair lift or to make an easy wheelchair transfer. Approximately eight feet is needed for a wheelchair lift and five feet of space is needed for a transfer from the wheelchair. Illustration of optimal parking space dimensions–cars/vans Specifications for a ramp or pathway to entrance • 36 to 48” wide pathways • 32 to 36” high hand rails that extend 1′ beyond ramp • Slip resistant surface (non–slip strips, indoor/outdoor carpeting, sand paint) • Covering for inclement weather • Ramp materials: wood, concrete expanded aluminum • 12” of ramp for every 1” of vertical rise • Free swinging (no spring or hydraulic mechanism) • ½” or less threshold edge height • Option: electric entrance door opener • If a ramp is longer than 30 feet, it needs to change direction. With a change of direction, a level platform or landing...

Losing The Senior Weight

Senior weight. It’s cute…kinda like baby weight, right? Nope. Now, don’t get me wrong. I enjoy a good doughnut or icecream sundae as much as the next person, but as you age, and your waist line increases so does your risk for heart disease, diabetes and other weight-related ailments. Here are a few tips we found to keep you fit and trim around the middle.  Here’s how to figure your BMI: Weigh yourself first thing in the morning, without clothes. Measure your height in inches. Multiply your weight in pounds by 700. Divide the answer in #3 by your height. Divide the answer in #4 by your height again. The answer in #5 is your BMI. What Your BMI Means: 18.5 or less is underweight 18.5-24.9 is a healthy weight 25-29.9 is overweight 30 or more is obese   Knowing how many calories you need each day is another important piece of information that will help you manage your weight. Most experts say that 2,000 to 2,600 calories a day should meet the energy needs ofmen older than 50 who are lightly to moderately active. For women over 50 who are lightly to moderately active, 1,600 to 1,800 calories a day should do it. However, these are just ballpark figures. Individual calorie needs can differ greatly depending on muscle mass, physical activity, and genetic differences. While it’s true that the more calories you cut, the quicker you’ll lose, don’t make the mistake of cutting back too much. If you go too low (below 1,600 calories a day), you won’t get enough nutrients, you’ll be fatigued, and your body will simply compensate by slowing its...

Sleeping “On The Rocks”

While scrolling through the internet, we found an article to be especially interesting. Especially for those women out there having their own…lets say…personal summers. Granted, the photo below may be a bit much, but you get what we’re trying to illustrate here. A drop in body temperature may help people to fall asleep easier.  According to a study in the Journal “Sleep”, making a special effort to cool down before bedtime may be of particular benefit to insomniacs. Sleep specialists have long debated whether the regular nighttime drop in temperature induces sleep or follows it. To investigate this question, Doctors Murphy and Campbell of the New York Hospital’s Cornell Medical Center in White Plains, recruited 21 men and 23 women, aged 19 to 82. The researchers identified the time at which the subjects’ body temperature fell most sharply. This point almost always occurred in the two hours before sleep began.  Therefore, people with trouble falling asleep might benefit from taking hot baths about 90 minutes before bedtime, the researchers speculate. When they get out of the bath, body temperature will drop rapidly, and this might help them to fall asleep faster.  Other tips would be to keep the bedroom comfortably cool, wear cool nightclothes, and use a fan as needed. This news is brought to you by Nutrition Breakthroughs.  Since 2001, Nutrition Breakthroughs has provided health articles and effective natural remedies.  Their mission is to provide nutritional supplements that work well and help people to avoid drugs and their side effects. Since 2009, their natural sleep aid Sleep Minerals II has been keeping that promise — by soothing even...

The Benefits of Respite Care for New Moms

Per Diem Nurse Staffing is proud to offer Respite Care on an as-needed basis for maternity, vacation, and post-hospital care.  Our caring and experienced team of in home caregivers are bonded and insured and go through a thorough background and criminal check. We are proud of our healthcare staff and the respite care services we provide. In times of need, you can choose the hours and days of in home respite care you want. We take care of everything, leaving you to bond with your new baby or heal from a hospital stay.  Whatever the need, consider Per Diem Nurse Staffing’s respite care as a relief from daily struggles and duties as our experienced and caring in home caregivers provide the services you need. Personal care providers assist with daily living skills such as bathing, dressing, feeding, or toileting. Homemaker services support meal preparation, shopping, and housekeeping. Skilled health care, which requires more specialized training and experience, addresses medical needs. In this article taken from USA Today, it highlights the benefits of a visiting nurse for new moms. Check it out! http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/health/2010-04-14-homenurse14_CV_N.htm...

The Importance of Hydration

I’m sure we have all heard the old adage “Water, water everywhere. But not a drop to drink”. Luckily, most of us have access to good old fashioned H2O whenever we please however, we don’t always remember to take the time to stay completely hydrated. With summer in full swing, the temperatures are on the rise. With the increase in temperature, the risk of dehydration is also a real problem. Did you know water makes up more than half of your body weight? Every cell, tissue and organ in your body needs water to function correctly. Our bodies depend on water for survival tasks such as maintaining temperature and lubricating joints.  Over time the water is lost, and if we don’t replace the lost volume, it can result in a great deal of illnesses and issues, especially for the senior community. There are many reasons it is important for seniors to stay atop the hydration list. Here are just a short few: -Older people are more likely to have certain medical problems that can cause dehydration such as influenza, digestive problems and high blood sugar. -Many seniors take medications with diuretic effects for high blood pressure, heart disease, or kidney and liver problems. -As we get older, our kidneys start to decline and become less sensitive to the anti-diuretic hormone in our bodies  This hormone helps conserve the water in our bodies by reducing the loss of water in our urine. -The thirst response mechanism in our brains decline as we age.  Due to this, seniors aren’t able to accurately determine their level of dehydration because of this decline. How do I know if...

Partying with Grandma: Building a Social Life In Your Later Years

Losing a spouse, retiring, or even moving to a different address can have an overwhelming effect on a senior. Remembering what you used to love is a big part of returning to your old social life, or if you wish, building a new one.  We found a really interesting article on a WIKIhow about getting your groove back as a senior citizen. Tip number one, provided by the Wiki Authors is to pick up from where you left off, or try new, similar activities. Use your local newspaper to keep abreast of upcoming events of interest.  Visit university lectures on topics you know nothing about to stretch your imagination and improve your knowledge. Tip 2 suggests fitness. “Return to keeping fit. While climbing Mt. Everest may no longer be in the cards, there is certainly nothing stopping you from continuing physical activities involvingwalking clubs, senior’s gym or other fitness activities made available especially for seniors. Staying fit is a sure way to build confidence and regain a healthy outlook on life!” Tip 3- Make a friend!  Invite a friend or neighbor to attend events with you. Get back into the rhythm of meeting new friends. Tip 4- Try new things. “This may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if it involves new technology. Consider trying new activities that are possible given your level of health and fitness, and that you find interesting. Try not to react negatively to suggestions from others who try to help. Think things through before rejecting the ideas altogether. You may discover something you wished you’d tried earlier.” To read the full article, make sure you...