My Poor Knees

As a member of the Atlanta Track Club Women’s competitive team and a teacher who lifts and aids students with disabilities, I have more than my share of wear and tear on my joints and muscles. I just recently experienced a setback with a diagnosis of Runner’s Knee and arthritis in both knees. I am beginning to realize that just like brakes in a car, your joints also have a shelf life! Taking care of your body and mind should be a priority throughout the year. There are proven practices that will help your body from wearing out! I caught some good advice from some individuals who are very knowledgeable in this area! I went to an Atlanta Track Club member’s New Year’s Day party and gravitated towards the Masters Runners who are [...]

Happy 131st Birthday FDR!

How does a great leader approach a serious mobility issue? To find out, I took a look at one of the most famous disabled of all time: Franklin Delano Roosevelt. FDR contracted polio the same year I was born. Until my research, I never realized his circumstances shared many similarities with my own. Of course, I most likely will never be presidential material and I wasn't fully diagnosed with multiple sclerosis until I was 73. FDR, on the other hand, was paralyzed at 39 while campaigning for the office.  But the actual details, many evident in the new movie Hyde Park on the Hudson, were largely unpublicized. FDR was paralyzed from the waist down. Though I am not paralyzed myself, we both have the similar bowel and urinary issues, [...]

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 [...]

Nerve Stimulation: Future Cure for Paralysis?

Similar to our last post on paralyzed dogs regaining mobility, today’s featured article is about restoring functionality after spinal injury. US News Health ran an article a couple of weeks ago on a small study performed by stimulating nerves in the brain and wrist. In this study, the stimulation of nerves allowed temporarily increased hand movement in those with partial spinal cord injuries. While the study focused on short-term effects, researchers are hoping that these findings can help open doors in terms of regaining better hand mobility after cervical spine injuries. The cervical spine is the upper portion of the spinal cord, and damage to this area can often times cause partial or full impairment in the hands and arms. The [...]

Paralyzed Dogs Regain Mobility After Cambridge Study

In a new study, thirty four pet dogs with paralysis in their hind legs were given the chance to hopefully walk again. ABC News reports in this article that olfactory “ensheathing” cells were extracted from the dogs’ noses and then implanted into their spines. While not too much is known about why this worked as well as it did, something about these regenerative cells helped to restore mobility to the dogs’ legs. In one of the subjects, the dog was only able to walk on a treadmill using his front legs as his hind legs hung limply. Three months after the treatment, he was able to walk on all legs using the harness for support, and after another three months, he was able to walk without the harness altogether. Much more research [...]

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 [...]

Inactivity Pandemic

Extended periods of limited mobility from mobility aids can be as serious for boomers as taking a fall is for the elderly. Couple that with an unchanged food plan and you have the makings of a real problem. The human body was designed to be at its peak when it is mobile, but over the years we all tend to move less and less. Such a sedentary lifestyle can lead to heart disease and diabetes. I have also learned that constantly remaining in a seated position leads to pressure sores right where you do your sitting. These can actually become quite serious if left untreated. These issues have been around for decades. However, insurance, Medicare and other health care plans rarely cover the illnesses that arise from a lack of exercise. [...]

Iron Man Helps Mobility-Challenged

Come on, admit it, at one time or another we've all had superhero fantasies. My favorite just happens to be Iron Man. There is something about his personality that I can really identify with. Lately, there have been a slew of developments in the robotics arena called wearable exoskeletons that may eventually mean new mobility freedoms for the mobility-challenged. They've got me thinking maybe I could be a little like Iron Man after all. Take HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb), a cyborg-like wearable robot developed by the Japanese firm CYBERDYNE, Inc. HAL was designed to supplement, improve and expand physical capability. According to the company's website "When a person attempts to move, nerve signals are sent from the brain to the [...]

GUEST POST:
Social Activity Ideas for Seniors with Limited Mobility

Today's post comes from Sarah, a writer for Brookdale Assisted Living. Senior citizens who are coping with the loss of mobility often feel overwhelmed by all the things they were once able to do that they can no longer enjoy.  This is particularly true with regards to social activities, as those who have recently had their mobility impaired often feel particularly left out of social functions. As caregivers, we can help to remedy these “blues” by pointing out the myriad of social opportunities that exist for those with limited mobility.  Most often, getting our loved ones engaged in some fun activities will help them quickly realize that all is not lost and that there are many, many ways they can enjoy themselves in the company [...]