The darnedest thing I’ve ever seen

A walking wheelchair that can climb stairs and practically turn on a dime is well beyond the dream stage. In fact, it is a project of the CHIBA Institute of Technology in Japan. Based on its picture, it doesn't seem very practical for in-home use. If something like this makes it to production, however, a handicapped person could "walk" over curbs and other obstacles with ease. It looks just like a regular wheelchair with wheels on arms. As a curb or set of stairs is encountered, a set of sensors goes into action and instantaneously causes the chair to raise the appropriate front arm and wheel. The action is then duplicated by the rear wheels. It is very similar to how an able-bodied person with outriggers would handle stepping up onto [...]

Scooter Transportation: A Chicken or Egg” Problem?

When my wife and I decided we had to do something to make transporting my mobility scooter easier, we quickly encountered a chicken-or-egg type of problem. At the time, she was driving a Ford Focus. Though the scooter easily breaks down into four pieces that fit neatly into the trunk (but with no room for anything else), lifting each piece over the wall of the trunk to get it in became an issue. If we went shopping and made four or five stops that meant my wife was having put the strain own her back muscles 8-10 times a trip. Besides this impact on her, the trips became less enjoyable as I didn't want her to have to unload and load the scooter so many times. I often opted to sit in the car rather than put her through the hassle. We [...]

Winter Funerals

Funerals are very personal ceremonies whether they are for a close relative, a friend, or yourself. I recently went to an important one myself. You’d think mobility access would be taken for granted in situations like this, even in winter. Nope. Despite the fact most New England funeral homes are made over Victorian homes that originally included several porches and stairs, access is not something that has been overlooked. I’ve always seen street level entrances or ramps suitable for electric wheel chairs or mobility scooters as needed. Parking lots are generally clear of snow and well-marked. I did find the interior to be a bit crowded, particularly with both a power wheelchair and a mobility scooter arriving at the same [...]

Brace Yourselves! Change is in the Wind

The next few months are going to bring some interesting changes to the mobility equipment acquisition process, and you may find some real savings if you bring a pile of cash to the table. In process for over a year now, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) new competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) is expected to slash CMS payments by as much as 45%. Mobility equipment providers had already been expecting cuts in the 32-35% range and even at that rate,  a number of the smaller companies had been considering closure. Right now, CMS payments in behalf of over 100 million beneficiaries makes them the largest consumer of durable medical equipment. This [...]

How to Self-Fund Your Mobility Independence

Mobility issues in 2013 may take some dramatic turns as future needs and declining federal monies collide with baby boomers’ increasing frailty and the obesity epidemic. The demands for broader insurance coverage, changing technology and inordinate spending for institutionalized care may make self-funding solutions a more and more necessary option. Government safety nets work for now, but we may not always be able to rely on them. It never hurts to have a backup plan. I have spent a lot of time price-shopping for mobility scooters and honestly it is not as bad as you might have been led to think to aid your own mobility when it becomes evident your independence is being challenged. You can start by setting aside a $5 bill once [...]

Charging Stations and Traffic Rules Proposed in Macon

Macon-Bibb County in Georgia, the country’s first “Age-Friendly Community” according to the AARP and the WHO, has proposed new legislation to help motorized wheelchair and mobility scooter users navigate city streets. In this article by Jim Gaines of Macon.com, he writes that City Councilman Frank Tompkins isn't taking the AARP title for granted; as a strong advocate for the disabled, he is asking for four charging stations for mobility aids in high traffic areas of downtown Macon. This will allow for electric wheelchair and mobility scooter users to make a brief pit stop to recharge before setting back out in the city. Gaines is also proposing some laws to help keep scooter and wheelchair users safe on the streets of Macon. Traffic [...]

How To Clean and Disinfect Your Mobility Scooter

So I was on the way back from the gym, using a shortcut on my mobility scooter that took me through an unused parking lot. Before I realized what I was dealing with, I’d run over a couple of cigar-shaped pieces of goose droppings. It brought to mind rubber gloves and cleaners. Not my favorite subject, but something I have to deal with on a regular basis now, especially with all the viruses associated with winter. So, how do you go about sanitizing a mobility scooter? How often do you need to do it, and how do you make sure it is germ-free? With all the time I spend on my scooter, the times I have ridden it to the dinner table to eat and the times I haven't quite made it to the bathroom, I never once gave it a thought about how [...]

Enough with Excessive ADA Regulations!

My disability has caused me to be troubled by unequal access in public buildings and streets. For years I have been a champion of the Americans with Disabilities Act which I truly felt was bringing equalization to the table. With that said, there are some times I think my personal access needs to take the back seat to practicality. For instance, in areas of pure recreation the ADA is running amuck. I used to always enjoy a round of miniature golf, especially on courses that featured a rough, hilly terrain. As long as I was walking handily, I was able to get along with the typically narrow pathways. Now, the ADA wants all mini golf courses to be flatter and handicap-accessible. The 2010 ADA standards for Accessible Design require that [...]

Portable Bath Bench and Accessibility

Access-Able Designs, a company started by quadriplegic CEO Allen Garrett, has created a new innovative product to serve the mobility-impaired. Their ADA-Compliant Portable Bath Bench is now available to the public for sale. Custom-made to allow for easy wheelchair transfers and weighing in at only 24 pounds, its sturdy frame can accommodate up to 420 pounds! Here's a link to the full article detailing both Access-Able Designs and their new portable bath bench. Handicap-accessible products are becoming increasingly common and effective, but we still have a far way to go before accessibility is no longer an issue. As you may recall, we published a blog post a few weeks ago from Reg about “The Blueprints for a Handicap-Friendly World,” [...]

When Working Out is an Exercise in Patience

Getting around in the winter is a little more challenging than during the rest of the year, and I am beginning to learn what this means for the mobility challenged. I recently joined the ranks of "gym rats" in hopes of getting more exercise. Besides losing weight and building strength, my real desire is to increase my flexibility and getting some movement into my all-but-petrified legs. I have a gym located exactly one mile from my condo. It is a mile I can travel safely on my mobility scooter and because my three-wheel Pride Go-Go Elite can adroitly get in and around fitness equipment for easy transfer from my mobility scooter. But now I am finding the real trick is keeping myself warm for the one mile trip. I need to negotiate [...]