Category: Wheelchair Tips

3 Winter Tips for Wheelchair Use

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The arrival of winter can bring plenty of opportunities for family fun, gatherings and games. However, for people affected by disabilities, it can also mean potential problems. Snow can create treacherous walkways, leaving those with limited mobility at a distinct disadvantage. By using these winter guidelines from EZ-ACCESS, you can ensure safety for you and your loved ones.

  • Create Winter Tires

This winter, snow tires are not just for your car! Reinforcing the tires on your wheelchair can help you get through snowy walkways and uneven terrain. Not only will this help increase your traction, it is an easy and inexpensive safety addition you can do at home. Simply purchase sturdy plastic or nylon wire ties that are long enough to go around the thickness of your wheelchair’s tire and wheel. For manual wheelchairs, space 25 to 30 ties evenly around each wheel and make sure the tie heads point slightly away from the tire. To avoid hurting your hands, the tie heads should be placed on the inside of the wheel and not downward under the tire. This will help dig into the snow to make for an easier ride.

  • Have a Back-Up Power Source

The winter weather can create additional obstacles for those with limited mobility. If you have an electric wheelchair or other medical equipment that requires electric power, be prepared with a back-up power source such as a portable generator.  This will ensure you are equipped in the event of an emergency.

  • Utilize Portable Ramps

To give you peace of mind no matter your location this winter, portable ramps from EZ-ACCESS are a simple and versatile solution for those with limited mobility. These ramps can be easily transported to help you safely enter and exit vehicles as well as avoid snowy staircases and curbs. With a large variety of options as well as non-slip surfaces for additional traction, you can find the one best suited for your individual needs.

The upcoming winter months can be daunting, but with these helpful tips and products from EZ-ACCESS, you can enjoy this time of year to the fullest. For more information on how EZ-ACCESS can help you get the security you deserve year-round, contact our team today.

How to Plan a Path for Your Wheelchair Ramp

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At EZ-ACCESS, we are here to help you choose the best wheelchair ramp pathway for your home. Our innovative products can fit almost any yard or home, and our expert installation will ensure your wheelchair ramp will last for years to come. Today, we’re going to share a few of the things to keep in mind while selecting the best pathway for your home:

Property Lines

Before our experts arrive, check your home’s property lines to ensure that your wheelchair ramp doesn’t overlap your neighbors’ yard, lawn, sidewalk or drive. If you must overlap the sidewalk in front of your house, call the city first to make sure you won’t get a fine for doing so.

Access Point

When our dedicated team comes to your home for installation, the first thing we do is help to determine the best access point. Which door do you want to go in and out of every day? What entry has the most width? The last thing you want is to feel cramped going in and out of your own home, so be sure to choose an area that has plenty of space for you to move around.

The Elements

You don’t want your wheelchair to slip on wet leaves or other debris, so aim to avoid placing your wheelchair ramp under any trees. If possible, position the ramp underneath an awning or porch so it won’t become slick when it rains or snows. Sunlight exposure is also good, as it can quickly dry your wheelchair ramp after a storm, as well as more easily melt the snow.

We’re all about helping our customers increase their mobility. If you or a loved one have difficulty getting around, don’t wait until there’s an accident. Find a nearby EZ-ACCESS dealer today to come out and help you make your home safe and accessible!

4 Ways Someone with a Disability Can Benefit from Having a Pet

service dogs pets and disabilities

National Dog Week has been observed the last full week of September for the past 87 years, celebrating what dogs mean to people and our society. Dogs, as well as many other pets, can provide a more fulfilling life to many. Not only are they wonderful companions, but they can help meet the needs of individuals living with a disability. We’ve compiled a list of four ways a carefully chosen pet can provide extra benefits:

Natural Companion
There is power in the relationship between a pet and their owner. Pet owners tend to be less lonely and receive much needed affection from their pet. This bond can lend itself to more social interaction and less isolation as well. Animals in public tend to be a social magnet, creating a means for daily interaction with other people, which otherwise could be uncomfortable.

Motivation and Learning
Owners push themselves to strive harder for their pet. Pets provide a means for exercise, whether it be grooming, training or simply playing fetch and other games. In addition, pets increase mind stimulation; they promote curiosity and exploration.

Emotional Support
Often a person with a disability hides difficult emotions and pain they are dealing with inside them, but a pet gives an unconditional love that provides stability. A successful relationship with a pet boosts confidence and fosters a positive mood. A pet could be the difference between a good and bad day.

Service
Pets can act as guardians to their companions. They reassure their owner’s comfort with being alone. Pets can be trained to assist if fallen or alert help if necessary. A pet can increase self-sufficiency and promote freedom. It’s like having a personal assistant 24 hours a day!

Dealing with the day-to-day challenges of a disability can be made more bearable with the assistance of a pet. Pets can lessen the feelings of isolation, lack of motivation, and dependency. Join the team here at EZ-ACCESS in celebrating National Dog Week and show your thanks for all the canine companions you know!

Top Wheelchair Safety Tips for Fall Outdoor Activities

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As fall approaches, daytime temperatures decrease and trees begin to shed their leaves. These crisp fall days make for some of the best outdoor activities. Don’t let your wheelchair stop you from taking advantage of the season! The team at EZ-ACCESS is here to help with a few outdoor wheelchair safety tips:

Preparing for the Weather
Be sure to check the weather in your area before heading for your fall outing. Keep your eye in the sky, but also on the surface your navigating. Precipitation of any kind will make the ground you are traveling slick and prone to slipping. Remember that when using ramps, a wet surface makes uphill wheeling difficult and downhill wheeling dangerous. Most importantly, take your time.

Balancing Off-Road Surfaces
When participating in fall festivities outdoors, thicker tires work better for traversing difficult terrain. Be cautious of potholes, large rocks, and sandy areas. These hazards create an imbalance for your wheelchair. As soon as you are over the off-road surface, clean off your tires to avoid unwanted tipping or spinning.

Navigating Nighttime
Making yourself visible is the number one priority, especially in parking lots or along roadways. Keep in mind, a dimly lit wheelchair shape is unexpected for motorists, thus their response time to your presence is delayed.  Be proactive by attaching lights or reflectors to your chair before heading out on any fall excursions that may carry into the night.

Keep in mind, EZ-ACCESS can provide many wheelchair accessories to make your excursion even easier such as chair packs and covers, and welcome the fall season safely by following these tips!

5 Tips for the Teachers Working with Students in Wheelchairs

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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

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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

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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!