Assistive Devices for People With Disabilities

Our day-to-day lives all have repetitious tasks and challenges. Thankfully, most of these are mundane; chores like cleaning the dishes, taking out the trash, personal hygiene and so forth. But for some wheelchair users, these mundane, but instrumental tasks of daily living are outright struggles that require time, patience and occasionally a little bit of help. Luckily, technology innovations continually progress, and alongside the advancements are a lot of unique assistive devices to give us that helping hand.

Slightly more than 6.8 million Americans with physical disabilities use assistive devices to help them become more independent and perform daily tasks they may have had trouble with before. A wheelchair van helps bring a newfound sense of freedom, but that’s only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to assistive devices.

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The most transformative technologies are still being refined, such as self-driving cars and prosthetic limbs powered by mind control, there are plenty of available assistive technologies for people with disabilities that can make life a little easier.

Here are a few of our favorites.

Assistive Computer Gadgets
Using a computer may not be easy if you have limited use of your hands or arms, but there are plenty of gadgets and accessibility options that help. If you’re using a touch screen computer or tablet, a few different companies make computer mounts that attach to your wheelchair and allow you to handle the device at any height you’re comfortable with. Many apps themselves will have accessibility options that refine the user experience specifically for people with disabilities. You also have standard options like voice-to-text typing, digital readers, oversized mice and keyboards, and eye-tracking computer systems that control the computer with your eye movements.

Cleaning Robots
Trying to clean the house when you sit in a wheelchair or have limited mobility is a pain. Using a vacuum efficiently when you’re in the chair is difficult, and vacuuming under chairs, beds or couches is nearly impossible without a few fancy attachments. Hiring a cleaning service is always an option—albeit, an expensive one. While there aren’t gadgets available to perform every cleaning task, there are a few that can take care of the basic jobs, so you can spend your time doing what you enjoy most. The most popular cleaning technologies include:

Vacuum Robot: This is the classic home-cleaning robot option. Most models work quite well on carpets and swerve their little dirt-munching bodies under every available surface. Newer models from a few brands even have sensors that detect what area of the house the cleaning bot has visited, so it won’t get stuck cleaning just one area. Most modern models also let you set a cleaning schedule, and a few fancier options even let you program the robot to return to its dock after cleaning and stay there until its next scheduled session.

Floor Mopping Robot: These ferocious scrubbers are nearly identical in operation to the vacuum robot, but they have a water reservoir to scrub clean your hardwood, linoleum or tile floors.

Personal Emergency Response System
This assistive technology for people with disabilities is a must-have — no matter what your level of mobility. Whether you live alone or have a caregiver or family member who helps you, this can you’re your life in the event of an emergency. These devices often come as a wearable pendant, bracelet or pin that you can clip onto clothes. Pressing a small button can alert the best person if you’re seriously injured or have any sort of emergency.

Smart Home Assistants
At-home digital assistants like Google Home and Amazon’s Echo can make your significantly more wireless and decrease the amount of time you spend fidgeting with your phone or computer. For people who have limited use of their arms or hands, this technology is surprisingly useful. You can talk with the virtual assistants like a real person and for the most part, they’ll respond like a normal person. The assistants can do handle routine tasks like making a calendar appointment and telling you the weather, to more sophisticated tasks like playing a particular song, ordering a product online or making movie recommendations.

Stair Climbing Power Chairs
About half of wheelchair users must use steps to enter or exit their home or work, and roughly the same number of people report struggling to enter or leave the home.

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Several companies and academic organizations have created power chairs that can literally climb stairs. Take this prototype by a group of university students in Zurich, Switzerland, as an example. The designers have developed a chair that uses tank-like treads and a Segway balance system to climb stairs in reverse, all while keeping the wheelchair user level and safe. They estimate the cost will be roughly comparable to a normal power chair, and give users unparalleled mobility.

Smart Watches
When people have disabilities, often times they need to stick to certain schedules when it comes to things like medication or exercises. Smart watches can synchronize with your smartphone and keep track of these schedules to automatically let you know when it’s time to do something – wherever you are. Plus, because they sync up with your phone, you can screen calls, emails and messages without having to fumble through your pockets or wheelchair pouches when you get a phone call or text.

 

*Article originally posted on VMI’s Blog: Available Here
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Happy New Year

Happy New Year

 

Here’s to a wonderful new year and a warm adieu to the old,
Here’s to happiness good times,
Good cheers and the many joys yet to unfold.

From all of us at Access Options, Inc., we would like to wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

 

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CFILC Post-Election Statement

 From the California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC)

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Our nation’s recent and unexpected presidential election results will lead to a great deal of unknowns for people with disabilities. It is too soon to determine the exact impact the new administration will have on disability rights and the Independent Living Movement, but we can look to the divisiveness in the campaigns, and the current fear and protests to understand that we have a lot to be concerned about.

The Disability Rights Movement is a civil rights movement for everyone. Anyone who lives long enough will experience some sort of access or functional limitation in their lifetime. We value and derive power from the fact that we are everywhere. Our community crosses all lines, and the “disability vote” was cast for all candidates.

As a movement created by, for and about people with disabilities, this election offers us the opportunity to reflect on the diversity of our experiences as a community, our intersections across communities, and the critical aspects of independence and interdependence in our daily lives.

The disability community prides itself on doing things differently, adapting to change and getting on with living our lives. Our movement was founded on liberty, freedom, justice, and human rights. We will not allow fear, discrimination or hate to tear us down or pull us apart.

The presidential campaign drew upon deep chasms of dissatisfaction with our political system—one in which many voters sought change after years of feeling forgotten, lied to, neglected and ignored. Many people in America are feeling the sting of ableism, sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia, anti-semitism, ageism, religious persecution and anti-immigration sentiments that emerged as a result.

The Disability Community suffers from the stigma of being mocked, and the denial of opportunities for education, employment, transportation, housing and healthcare. Our money is often turned away due to a lack of access in storefronts, hotels and restaurants. It is simple to see that we have a long way to go to achieve true access, equality and independence in America.

The battle for independence, economic justice and the alleviation of poverty lies in the road to employment. Yet the labor force participation rate for people with disabilities is a dismal 20% compared to 68% for people without disabilities. The poverty rate of people with disabilities is 28% compared to 12% for the non-disabled. Clearly, we have work to do!

The California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC) is doubling down on our values of community, inclusion and justice. We commit to protecting and promoting policies, programs and services that increase access and equality for people across all disabilities, ages and ethnicities, sexual identities, genders, citizenship and religious beliefs. We commit to connect our agenda to like communities to build our power and help define the policies and programs that will impact our lives, and lead us to true independence, freedom and equality.

We remain resolved to ensure that nothing about us, happens without us!

**Originally posted on November 29, 2016 by California Foundation for Independent Living Centers (CFILC). Click HERE for the original post.
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Holiday Hours

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In order to assist our customers in planning their service, we at Access Options, Inc. wanted to make you aware of our upcoming holiday hours in advance.

Access Options, Inc. will be closing at noon on:

Friday December 23, 2016
Friday December 30, 2016

We will be closed in observance of the holidays on:

Monday December 26, 2016
Monday January 2, 2017

Our friendly staff will be available during our regular office hours outside of these dates to assist you in any way we can.

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Abilities Expo Success

We at Access Options, Inc. want to thank all of you who came out to see us at the Abilities Expo. It was a wonderful success.

Below are pictures of our booth, which was manned by our friendly staff!

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Some of our vendors were in attendance as well. Including Braun, which had our very own Kevin from Fremont helping out!

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All in all we met so many wonderful people at the Abilities Expo, but the fun isn’t over yet! Stay tuned as we will be drawing our winner for the Apple Watch soon!

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Thanksgiving Office Hours

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Access Options, Inc. offices will be open for regular hours Monday – Wednesday. Our office is closed on Thursday  and Friday for Thanksgiving.

Access Options, Inc. wishes you and your family a very happy and safe Thanksgiving.

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Abilities Expo: Bay Area, CA

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Ladies and Gentlemen, the Abilities Expo is almost upon us and Access Options, Inc. would love to invite you come by and visit us at Booth 907. Stop by and meet some of our friendly staff, learn about products we offer, and pick up some great swag.

We sincerely hope to see you there!

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The Benefits of a Vertical Home Lift: Access Options Week in Review

We often get to work with fantastic customers on amazing jobs; this week was no exception.

This last week Access Options, Inc. was able to install an Extended Vertical Lift and Custom Modular Ramp for a wonderful client. Vertical lifts give wheelchair users a better way in to and out of their residential homes as such devices allows them to be raised from the ground up on their elevated (or with steps ) front porches. In the case of our client, the lift gave her entry to parts of the house she previously could not access on her own.

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Previously it was difficult for our client to maneuver around her home on her own. We were able to recommend and install some EZ Access Transition Mats and a Custom Modular Ramp, and now there isn’t anywhere in the home she can’t navigate.

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EZ Access Transition Mats

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Custom Modular Ramp

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Custom Modular Ramp

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Custom Modular Ramp

If you or someone you know is interested in a FREE Home Assessment and Estimate call or email us.

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Preparing for an Accessible Road Trip this Fall

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The leaves have already started to change, pumpkin patches are all around, Halloween is just around the corner and the fall season is in full swing. This cool, refreshing weather can be a great time to go on a road trip through the states with friends. Road trips can be challenging for drivers with disabilities because of the hours in a wheelchair accessible vehicle and the preparation needed before the trip. However, road trips can be a great way to spend quality time this fall season. Here are some ways to make the trip more easygoing for everyone.

Destination

Sketch out and plan your destination. The fall season can be different depending on which states you wish to go to. Take a road trip to the chilly and vibrant city of New York or Seattle. If you are looking for a more scenic road trip, consider taking a drive through the Great Smoky Mountains, Glacier National Park, or New Hampshire and Vermont. Once you pick your destination make sure to check the weather forecast as it gets closer to the date; this will help you prepare accordingly.

Anticipate Obstacles

Planning your trip in advance can help you avoid potential obstacles during your trip. Search for hotels, attractions, and activities near your destination that offer accommodations for people with disabilities. It is more convenient to do this ahead of time because it will help them provide the best possible service and will save you the trouble of trying to find the ideal places to visit last minute. Making sure your wheelchair accessible vehicle is in good condition for the road is essential. All of the vehicle conversions need to be in acceptable conditions for the road, especially for long road trips. Wheelchair restraints and other items used to accommodate people with disabilities should be checked for safety.

Fun, Food, and Comfort

One of the most important aspects of road trips is to remember to have fun! Bringing blankets and pillows can help make everyone feel at home and be more comfortable during the trip. Be sure to bring loose or breathable clothing; it will come in handy for those long hours on the road. Avoid tight jeans or clothing that is too snug on your body. Bringing snacks to eat along the way can be a great way to save money. Pack snacks like trail mix, cut or mini veggies, PB&J sandwiches, or other snacks that are easy to eat on the go.

When taking road trips with your loved ones, make sure to keep these tips in mind.

If you need assistance with your handicap accessible vehicle or would like to purchase one, please call us today at 888.828.5438.

 

** Posted on October 27, 2016 in Drivers With Disabilities, Handicap Accessible Vehicles, Living With a Disability
and on October 28, 2016 on NMEDA’s Website http://www.nmeda.com/fall-accessible-road-trip/
 

 

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Pool Lifts Offer Significant Benefits to Individuals with Physical Disabilities

Swimming is one of the most relaxing activities, and it can also be a great source of low-impact exercise. It offers significant benefits for those with physical disabilities, however, there has always been a problem in providing those with physical disabilities a simple, safe, and convenient means to get in and out of a swimming pool. Most pools are accessed by stairs or via a ladder, which will not work for those who use a wheelchair.

Pool Lifts Make Entering the Water Easy

There are options available to help make getting in and out of the water a simple, safe process. Pool lifts come in a range of types, sizes and capabilities. For instance, chair lifts are able to lift an individual up and over the lip of an above-ground pool and then lower them gently into the water. Once in the water, the individual can choose to remain seated in the pool lift chair, or they can move to another seating platform.

Pool Lifts Offer Multiple Uses

Of course, you’ll find that pool lifts are not limited to use with swimming pools alone. These types of lifts can also be used with spas and hot tubs. Spa therapy can be an invaluable therapeutic tool for individuals with physical disabilities, and pool lifts can help ensure that they are able to make the most of the experience.

Choosing the Right Pool Lifts

When considering pool lifts, you will need to make sure that you choose the right model for your needs. One of the first considerations will be the configuration of the lift — is it designed for use with above-ground pools and spas only? Can it be used with an in-ground pool as well? You should also consider the lifting capacity and the anchoring system used to attach the lift to the ground or floor. To learn more about pool lifts and which one is right for your needs, contact a Mobility Consultant at Access Options in Fremont or Watsonville, CA.

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