5 Tips for the Teachers Working with Students in Wheelchairs

wheelchair teacher

Today, we’re calling out to all the teachers out there because, whether you like it or not, summer is almost over and the first day of school is right around the corner.  For many of you, this means getting to know a brand new group of students, some of whom may be wheelchair users.  This is why the team at EZ-ACCESS wanted to take this opportunity to offer suggestions on working with students in wheelchairs.

  1. Don’t assume assistance is needed.

Always ask if assistance is needed before helping the student.  Also, never assume this student can’t do something because of their wheelchair.  Focus on the fact that the wheelchair allows this student to participate, not prevent them from participating.

  1. Face to face discussions are important.

If you’re interacting with this student for more than a minute, be sure to get to their level and have a face-to-face discussion.

  1. Provide a clear path.

Evaluate the organization of your desks as well as access to each area of the school so that you can help direct this student to the ideal path for them to take.  Consider if you were to invite a wheelchair user to your home.  How would you plan to accommodate them?  Be sure to anticipate their needs.

  1. During transfers, keep wheelchair within reach.

Familiarize yourself with how your student will need to transfer for washroom visits as well as transportation.  If you’re helping the student transfer, it is important to keep their wheelchair within their reach.

  1. Familiarize yourself with the student’s history.

Our final suggestion is that you develop an understanding of your student’s physical and emotional needs.  Learn about your student’s history from his/her parents as well as outside agencies.

Using these five tips, you will not only help your student reach his/her full potential in your classroom; you’ll also set a standard for how the rest of the class is to treat this student.  Our hope is that your excellent example will inspire your students to go out and spark a change in how society views individuals with disabilities.  Thank you in advance for being the change we all hope to see in the world!

How to Stay Motivated During Tough Times

motivation tough times

In the mobility and accessibility industry, we are constantly reminded that life is hard and can change in an instant.  Whether you’ve recently become a wheelchair user, you are experiencing financial strain, going through difficult times in your family or having trouble in your career, it’s hard to stay motivated and keep moving forward.  At EZ-ACCESS, we learn about difficult situations in mobility daily, so we thought today would be the perfect day to offer suggestions on how to stay motivated during tough times.

Start Small

Looking at the situation as a whole can be intimidating, but breaking it down into small steps that are reached and celebrated will traditionally lead to greater motivation.  Some of you may be in too deep to even see the light at the end of the tunnel, which can make it hard to keep going, but with small achievements, you’ll find the will to keep moving forward.

Remember Why

While we just suggested celebrating baby steps, it is important to keep the final goal in your sights.  Keep in mind why you are cutting back spending, getting up early for exercise or continuing to dedicate time to a job that you dislike.  This way, when things get hard and you forget why you are begrudgingly completing this task, you’ll be reminded of the end goal and keep going.

Keep it in Perspective

When we are dealing with a difficult life situation, we can often lose sight of the aspects of our life that are going well.  Remember to keep the difficult part of your life in perspective and don’t let it the positive areas of your life such as family relationships.

Limit Yourself

Learn how to keep a healthy balance.  Some individuals tend to get lost in the difficult situation and forget to balance with breaks from the situation.  Take breaks to spend with family, with your hobbies or on your own with a good book.  When you return to the task at hand, you’ll be able to look at it more objectively.

Most importantly, find the good in your situation and try to witness personal growth, and also ask for help.  EZ-ACCESS works with vendors and customers to help find the best solution for mobile accessibility.  If you’re struggling to navigate your home as a new mobility user, reach out to EZ-ACCESS and let us know your situation so that we can help!

Keep Calm and Clean Your Wheelchair

clean wheelchair

Do you have the most beautiful wheelchair on the block?  If not, now it the perfect time to earn that title.  This month, we celebrate National Wheelchair Beautification Month by identifying the most effective ways to keep your wheelchair looking shiny and new all year long.  Come along with the EZ-ACCESS team as we describe everything from spot cleaning your nylon seat to maintaining ball bearings!

Wheelchair Cleaning

  • Wipe down entire wheelchair WEEKLY
  • Apply car wax to wheelchair frame
  • Use multipurpose cleaning on marks

Cushion Cleaning

  • Remove cover
  • Machine wash on warm/cold and gentle cycle with mild detergent (no bleach)
  • Air dry (do not tumble dry)
  • Clean cushion by following manufacturer instructions as there are many types out there

Spot Cleaning Nylon Seat

  • Place a towel under the wheelchair to catch drips
  • Spray multi-purpose cleaning on spot or spill
  • Wipe from outside in with microfiber cloth
  • Use clean cloth to wipe down after spot is gone
  • Dampen entire site for even drying
  • Allow to completely dry before use

Maintaining Your Wheelchair

  • Check for loose nuts and bolts MONTHLY
  • Check all function such as removable parts, tilt and fold mechanisms and locks
  • Check wheel tire pressure and tread
  • Pick and clean wheel axle completely
  • Check frame for cracks or breaks in metal and report problems to dealer
  • Lubricate folding mechanism YEARLY
  • Check wheel alignment MONTHLY

Wheelchair cleaning and maintenance is vital when it comes to performance, safety and reliability, and can greatly extend the life of your wheelchair.  Although EZ-ACCESS does not provide wheelchairs or wheelchair cleaner, we do carry wheelchair accessories such as covers, chair packs and underneath carriers as well as a full line of wheelchair ramps to help you safely get you where you need to go.   Contact EZ-ACCESS and see how we can help make your life more accessible!

Celebrate National Parks & Recreation Month with Accessible Outdoor Activities

accessible recreation

July is National Parks & Recreation Month and we at EZ-Access want to help you get out and enjoy your local parks, trails and summertime activities! From identifying easily accessible outdoor areas to joining a local adaptive sports team, EZ-Access is prepared to get you involved with Parks and Recreation Month.

Identifying Accessible Parks and Trails

In recent years, new guidelines have been put in place to help make parks and trails more easily accessible for those with limited mobility. Newer or recently updated parks will be your best bet when looking for a park that can support your mobility needs. These newer parks and trails should include modifications such as wider trails, smoother surfaces, a decrease in hills and major slopes, and accessible routes to campgrounds, beaches, picnic areas, etc.

Summertime Adaptive Sports

Many communities offer adaptive sports for those with disabilities. From golfing to kayaking, there are a variety of adaptive sports available in the summer months for both kids and adults. These modified sports can include adaptive equipment or rules, offer exciting exercise to get you active and can provide comradery and friendship by working with a team. Interested in trying a specific sport? Disabled Sports USA has resources for adaptive sports all across America.

Get Involved

If you are interested in getting outdoors, spending time in the park or joining an adaptive sports program, research what your community offers. There are many national organizations that help get accessible parks and recreational activities in cities across the United States. There may even be a local organization near you! Consider joining an organization that helps provide communities with accessible outdoor areas or an organization that helps develop adaptive sports programs for local communities.

EZ-Access hopes that you will join in the celebration of National Parks & Recreation Month and get involved with your community. As always, feel free to visit us or contact us today if you have any home or commercial accessibility questions!

Preventing Heat Stroke in your Wheelchair

wheelchair heat stroke

The summer is heating up which means the risk of heat stroke is on the rise. Those who are in wheelchairs are at an even higher risk for heat-related illnesses such as heat stroke. If not prevented, a heat stroke can leave a person with vital organ damage and can even be fatal. EZ-ACCESS wants to help you understand how to prevent heat strokes to protect yourself while using your wheelchair during the hot summer months.

Avoid the hottest part of the day – If you are planning to head outside, it is important to do so at the appropriate time of day. Schedule your outdoor activities for the cooler parts of the day such as the early morning or late evening. Stay in air-conditioned buildings during the hot hours of the day.

Stay hydrated – Staying hydrated is important for anybody who plans to be outside in the summer.  It is import to drink plenty of water before, during and after you spend time in the sun. If your body is properly hydrated, it will be able to cool itself off in case you start to overheat. Avoid soda and alcohol as these drinks can quickly lead to dehydration.

Keep a caregiver close – It is important to make sure someone is with you or knows you are going outside.  Having someone close can help remind you to drink water and get you to those cooler outdoor spots, like shade under a tree. Also, in case an emergency did happen, a caregiver would be able to properly and promptly be able to help if you are unable or unconscious.

Remember, if you ever feel dizzy, headachy, muscle cramps, weakness or nauseas get out of the heat and cool down as soon as possible. If you have shortness of breath, hot/dry skin, chest pains or feel confused, call 9-1-1 immediately.

EZ-ACCESS hopes you enjoy your summer staying safe and cool in your wheelchair! Check out our website for more information on our portable mobility ramps and wheelchair storage equipment!

Tips to Travel Safe with Your Wheelchair for National Safety Month

wheelchair travel safety

Are you planning a summer vacation, but you’re unsure what precautions to take to keep you and your mobility equipment safe?  The EZ-ACCESS team understands your concerns.  In honor of National Safety Month, here are a few items to keep in mind when traveling with your mobility device this summer.

  1. Use Your Portable Mobility Ramp Safely

Mobility ramps are our area of expertise and we can’t stress enough how important it is to use your portable mobility ramp in the way it was designed to be used.  This means to only use your ramp at the proper incline, be mindful of weight restrictions and store properly to avoid injury.

  1. Take Along Backup Equipment

Be prepared for anything by remembering to pack replacement parts and backup batteries/chargers.  If your mobility device is battery operated, what is your plan of action in case of a power outage?

  1. Beat the Heat

Heat and hydration is extremely important in the summer, especially for wheelchair users.  Have a plan for staying hydrated throughout the day and know the signs of heat stroke.  Watch for our next blog where we cover the signs of dehydration and heat stroke in detail.

  1. Plan Ahead

Be prepared for any accessibility issues beforehand.  You can do this by calling the places you are visiting to discuss your needs.  This will give you more peace-of-mind and allow the hotel, restaurant or other destination to prepare for your arrival.

Now that you know these four simple precautions, go out and enjoy your summer.  Remember to use your ramp correctly, bring replacements, stay hydrated and call ahead.  If you have questions about how to properly use your portable mobility ramp, contact the helpful customer service team at EZ-ACCESS!

HELP – I Need Last Minute Gift Ideas for Father’s Day!

last minute fathers day gift ideas

We hear you!  Some of us plan ahead and some of us DO NOT.  For those who do not plan ahead, we’re betting you haven’t thought of a Father’s Day gift which is why the team at EZ-ACCESS has you covered.  We’ve come up with a list of creative, thoughtful Father’s Day gifts of differing budgets for the family dad, the traveling dad, the sporty dad, the techy dad AND the assisted living dad!

Family Dad Gift Ideas

  • Subscription to Ancestry.com so he can explore family ties
  • Set him up on social networking and connect him with family

Travel Dad Gift Ideas

  • Gift certificate for gas or an oil change
  • Drive dad to his hometown to explore the past
  • Send dad on a guided tour to somewhere he has always wanted to visit

Sporty Dad Gift Ideas

  • Subscription to premium sports channels
  • Tickets to the nearest game
  • Tee-time at his favorite country club
  • Cover cart rentals if dad already belongs to a country club

Techy Dad Gift Ideas

  • Purchase and install anti-virus software on his computer
  • Gift cards for his iPhone, Android or BlackBerry
  • Research and then help him download some amazing apps that really fit his personality and needs

Assisted Living Dad Gift Ideas

  • Gift certificate for on-site barber at assisted living facility
  • Pay facility car service to bring him on an outing wherever he wants to go
  • Bring family to him for a day of fun
  • Fly his sibling in that he maybe hasn’t seen for years

Whatever Father’s Day gift idea you end up going with, we hope you end up spending the day surrounded by your loved ones.  Unfortunately, EZ-ACCESS doesn’t provide any of the gift ideas listed above, but we do offer an excellent line of mobility ramps to help those with limited mobility get in and out of their home, car or business.  If you need help making your home or business more accessible, visit the EZ-ACCESS website or give us a call today!

MEN – Add These 10 Foods to Your Diet Today

mens health foods

We’re sure you’ve already heard that June is National Men’s Health Month.  Maybe you’re wondering why men need a separate month dedicated to their health.  The truth is that the recommended diet for men and women is very different.  Similar to how women have specific nutritional needs to protect against breast cancer, men need specific nutrients in their diet to fight prostate cancer, maintain muscle mass and more.

Since at least half of our staff and our customers are male, the EZ-ACCESS team has compiled a list of the top 10 foods every man should add to their diet today!

  1. Bananas – Reduce risk of stroke and are a great source of quick energy. Bananas also strengthen your immune system, keep your nervous system at peak performance and promote a health metabolism.
  2. Berries – We’re talking blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, cranberries and cherries. These antioxidant-rich treats will primarily keep your brain healthy and even enhance brain function!
  3. Brazil Nuts – Prevent heart disease and promote prostate health through the selenium in these large nuts. Just one Brazil nut contains your daily dose of selenium, so keep your intake down, but do get those great nutrients in your body each day!
  4. Broccoli – Another fighter when it comes to heart disease and cancer. A healthy dose of broccoli will help fight prostate and colon cancer as will cabbage, cauliflower and Brussel sprouts – so MAN UP and eat your veggies!
  5. Fatty Fish – We’ve all heard the importance of getting your omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and help fight against arthritis or common muscle aches. The omega -3s come specifically in salmon, sardines, tuna, mackerel and herring, but can also be found in flaxseed, walnuts, soy, canola oil and eggs.
  6. Orange or Red Vegetables – Protect your skin and fight against the dreaded enlarged prostate with orange and red vegetables such as red bell peppers, carrots, pumpkin or sweet potatoes. Just one red bell pepper has 300% of the daily intake for vitamin C!
  7. Oysters – Love oysters and they’ll love you right back. They are rich in zinc which is involved in hundreds of body processes including the production of DNA to repair cells and even increase sperm counts.
  8. Plant Stanols – You’re probably wondering what this is. It is a substance that appears in fruits and vegetables, but are now also manufactured and added to stanol-fortified orange juice!  The power behind plan stanols is that they lower cholesterol.
  9. Soybeans – Again, with the prostate health! Soybeans contain isoflavones which help decrease cholesterol and fight prostate cancer.  Get your soy from soy nuts, soy milk, soy cheese, veggie burgers, tofu and edamame.
  10. Whole Grains – Finally, build your muscles with the right kind of whole grains! We mean the grains found in whole grain pasta and quinoa.

There is no better day than today to start eating healthy.  If you’re a man, celebrate National Men’s Health Month by adding these foods to your diet and if you’re a woman, we wish you good luck in encouraging the men in your life to eat more of these male-focused superfoods!

Achieving the ‘Grand Bod’: 3 Senior Exercises for Limited Mobility

senior exercises

This month, you may have heard the term ‘dad bod’, but have you heard of the ‘grand bod’?  In honor of National Senior Fitness Day, the EZ-ACCESS team is focused on the ‘grand bod’ and has come up with 3 exercises to help you get your aging parent or grandparent feeling great this summer!

Seniors with limited mobility often believe they are beyond help when it comes to exercise.  However, just 30 minutes of simple stretching and lifting will aide in mental alertness, stronger bones, healthier metabolism and tight muscles.

Here are 3 senior exercises for limited mobility to get you started:

  1. Stretching – For this exercise, start with the head and then move to the arms and legs. Rotate the head in slow circles to stretch the neck and back.  Then lift arms over the head and slowly drop to the sides.  Finally, lift and lower legs.  Repeat several times to be sure to achieve full stretch throughout the body.
  2. Arms – To work the arms, start with a punching motion and then complete arm circles and arm curls with or without weights.
  3. Legs – When working the legs, kick legs in front of the body and then try to hold legs parallel to the floor for as long as possible. You can also put feet flat to the floor and lift up the heels, then try to push feet through the floor to work the buttocks and top of thighs.

Once these exercises are safely mastered, get your doctor’s ok to gradually introduce light weights starting at 3 pounds and working your way up.  Other options to introduce into your exercise routine include swimming, yoga or tai chi, with deep breathing and medication as a cool down.

The team at EZ-ACCESS deeply cares about the health and safety of your loved ones, which is why we recommend physical activity at any age.  We’re also here to help with all of your accessibility needs.  Explore our residential ramps and see how easy it could be to get you or your loved one out of the house and more active this summer!

6 Things You Need to Start Adaptive Fishing

adaptive fishing

When you became a wheelchair user, did you give up on hobbies such as hunting or fishing?  In the accessibility industry, we have worked with many wheelchair users who believed activities such as fishing were now impossible.  It’s true that you may not be able to reel in the fish in the same way that you did growing up, but we’re here today to encourage you to get back on the lake and tackle your obstacles.  Here are 6 items you may need to get started:

  1. A Disabled Fishing License

For most states throughout the nation, those with disabilities can apply for an annual resident disabled fishing license.  You can find your state’s disabled fishing license application here: http://www.disabledsportsusa.org/fishing/disabled-fishing-licenses/

  1. Automated Caster

Depending on your upper body strength, you may enjoy this hands-free power caster which is push-button controlled to cast your line and reel in!

  1. Fishing Pole Holder for Wheelchair

You may simply need a sturdy fishing pole holder that easily attaches to any wheelchair or lawn chair.

  1. Strong Arm Fishing Pole Holder

For added support when holding your fishing pole, try the Strong Arm.

  1. Electric Reel

If reeling in the big catch is a tough task, check out the Elec-tra-mate Reel.  This product allows you to still set the drag, play the fish and feel the fight, but with a little help!

  1. Portable Wheelchair Ramp

Getting your wheelchair to the lake may also be a problem.  The portable wheelchair ramp can help you load your wheelchair into most vans and SUVs and then, help you out of the vehicle and well on your way to the pier or pontoon boat.

For those who don’t have access to a pontoon boat, just head out to the public lake with access pier.  Most public piers are now required to be ADA compliant with 8 feet of width to safely maneuver your wheelchair.

If you have any questions about how to use your portable wheelchair ramp from EZ-ACCESS or other product that may help you get out and enjoy the outdoors more, contact EZ-ACCESS today!