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Gardening from a Wheelchair - An Enabled Garden

gardening from a wheelchair

You don't need to use your legs to develop a green thumb. With a few accommodations and modifications, you can do anything on four wheels that others do on two feet. This includes gardening, a therapeutic and stress-relieving hobby. With a few design changes, gardening from a wheelchair can be a fruitful endeavor.

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by Clarence Luna  | 

Stair Lifts, Wheelchair Ramps & Lifts to Make Garage Accessible

solutions to make garage stairs accessible at home

One common way to make a home accessible for those with disabilities or limited mobility is by overcoming the steps at the garage entrance. Steps are an accessibility barrier that are typically made of concrete or wood, and railings are not always installed. The construction of the stairs may also be low-quality in some cases, which can pose injury risks from slips and falls. Here are the top 5 solutions to help make a home’s garage safe and accessible.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Does Health Insurance Cover Stair Lifts?

Elite Indoor Straight SRE 2010 lady2 showing turned seat

If you’re in the market for a stair lift, you may be wondering if your health insurance or Medicare coverage will pay the cost. Unfortunately, standard health insurance policies and Medicare will not typically cover the purchase or installation of a stair lift, even with a doctor’s order.

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by John Burfield  | 

8 Benefits of Adding a Stairlift to Your Home

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For some seniors, the stairs can become too difficult to navigate due to limited mobility, weakened muscles, and lack of stability. As a result, navigating a staircase at home becomes a daily chore and may eventually be avoided. When the stairs become a challenge, many seniors may consider downsizing to a single-level home or moving into a retirement living facility. However, both of these options can become very costly.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Winterization Tips for Outdoor Wheelchair Lifts

porch lift in snowy weather in Chicago Illinois

Outdoor wheelchair lifts, which are also commonly known as vertical platform lifts or porch lifts, provide a safe, accessible way to enter/exit a home, school, church, or other building. During the winter months, these types of lifts can be difficult to access after a snow or ice storm. However, there are ways to ensure a wheelchair lift is still accessible throughout the winter season, and we share those tips to help you winterize a wheelchair lift in this blog post.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Winter Maintenance Tips for Wheelchair Ramps

aluminum wheelchair ramp installed with snow on ground in MA

  If you’re in need of wheelchair ramp, there’s no need to wait for spring to have one installed. In fact, modular aluminum wheelchair ramps can be installed all year round. Unlike wooden ramps, aluminum wheelchair ramps do not require concrete footers to be poured. Their adjustable legs sit securely on large foot plates that provide a substantial base and sit on top of the surface. This means that they can be installed even when the ground is frozen.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

5 Common Accessibility "Fails"

Side side wrong ramp slope and right ramp slope

Our home accessibility experts are invited into our client’s homes and into our local communities to evaluate for home accessibility solutions, such as stair lifts or wheelchair ramps or lifts. During our evaluations, we often encounter modifications that were done by another company or DIYs that do not meet ADA requirements, or are unsafe.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Happy Holidays (2023) & New Year from Lifeway Mobility

Happy Holidays 2023 Video Preview v 2

Watch the Lifeway Mobility "Happy Holidays" Video: Best wishes for a happy holiday season, and joyful new year, from all of us at Lifeway Mobility! Thank you to our referral sources and partners for your trust and support this past year. It's an honor to work together to provide home accessibility solutions that improve quality of life, independence, and safety at home. We look forward to working with you in 2024 and helping more families remain safe and independent in the home they love!

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Does Medicare Cover Stairlifts?

man riding stair lift and his wife standing next to him at bottom landing of staircase

  A question that comes up in many stair lift conversations is, “Does Medicare cover stairlifts?”. Unfortunately, the short & quick answer is no, Medicare does not cover the installation of a stairlift.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Will a Stair Lift Damage My Walls?

Lifeway technician servicing stairlift after installation in customers home

While some may worry that a stairlift installation could damage the walls or floor in their home, that is a myth, and simply not true.  Professional installation of a stairlift will not damage the walls in a home as they are simply installed onto the stair treads.  

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by Lifeway Mobility Technician   | 

Mobility & Accessibility Solutions for In-Home Cancer Patients

blog preview image for mobility solutions for in home cancer patients

People diagnosed with cancer often require additional safety precautions to ensure that any health-related problems do not occur. Day-to-day activities that can be taken for granted will become harder. Simple things like cooking, cleaning, and even walking up the stairs may become strenuous, and even dangerous.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

5 Fall Prevention & Home Safety Tips for Older Adults

fall prevention infographic preview

As we age, our home may not be as easy to navigate as it once was. Getting up and down a set of stairs may be a chore because of decline in mobility. The risk of slipping and falling in the bathroom is likely much higher, especially if there are no grab bars in the bathtub/shower, or near the toilet. An option for older adults who are having a difficult time getting around at home is a senior living facility. However, these types of facilities do not offer the familiarity and comfort that a home does. A home is full of memories from parties and gatherings with family and lifelong friends. It is the place where a majority of older prefer to stay as they age. 

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by Eric Rubel  | 

12 Tips To Prevent Falls in the Bathroom

bathroom solutions for fall prevention Lifeway Mobility

Falls are a hazard that the elderly and people with mobility issues face every day – and the majority of falls happen in the bathroom. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared the bathroom the most dangerous room in the house for older adults.

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by John Burfield  | 

5 Ways to Make Organizing In Your Home More Accessible

5 Ways to Make Organizing In Your Home More Accessible

Independent living can be difficult to achieve if your home isn’t ready for it. A newfound lack of mobility may prevent you from doing everyday tasks as you used to. Creating systems for different parts of your home can help you remain self-sufficient. Whether it be living with a disability or aging in place, there are many ways to achieve an independent living situation. Extending your independence and being able to continue living in your home alone allows you to have freedom of choice in your life. While this may seem costly, there are options for the financial burden this could place. There are government assistance programs that allow you to use the money for additions to your home for accommodation purposes. Additionally, if you’ve lived in your home for some time you’ve likely built up a good amount of equity that can beleveraged in a home equity loan. This can be especially helpful for accessing funds immediately in one lump-sum payment. Giving your space any necessary updates gives you more ability to stay in your own home. Take a look at these tips to ensure each room of your home is up-to-date for your lifestyle. 1. Continue your kitchen use Your kitchen shouldn’t turn into a place to avoid because of lack of access. To ensure safety in the kitchen, you don’t want to have things stored too high up, especially heavy items. Having everything at eye level or at an arm’s reach will cut down on the chance of dropping things. Look to add pull down cabinets and pull out drawers so you can still grab things with less mobility. A lazy suzan cabinet or pantry could also keep everything at the same level and makeit easier to search for the items you are looking for. For heavier items, especially ones you would normally keep at a lower level, creating a raising system takes away the need to bend down and lift up heavy appliances. Simple changes can help you to continue using your kitchen as your abilities change. 2. Allow For Accessible Bathroom Storage Accessible bathrooms commonly include handrails and barrier free showers. You will want to ensure the showers in your household are walk/roll-in showers. They should be 30 inches wide by 60 inches deep with a 60 inch wide entry to allow for wheelchair entry according to ADA standards. Another aspect to take into consideration is shower storage. The height of your shower items needs to be attainable for your mobility. Putting in your own storage containers allows you to choose the height. You may want to use soap dispensers so you can easily access your products. Outside of the shower, you may want to take into consideration the sink as well. Make sure your sink is ADA compliant, at least 34 inches above the floor. There also needs to be 60 inches of clear floor space to accommodate wheelchair users. Having one row of drawers in your bathroom design keeps everything at a reachable distance and also allows more space below if you need to make it wheelchair accessible. Removing the barriers in the bathroom and keeping it neat can give you independence and privacy in a place where you want it most. 3. Create Space in Your Bedroom The bedroom is another place where you would want privacy and discretion. Keeping it functional and spacious allows you to move around easier. Make sure you choose a dresser that suits your ideal level of comfort when it comes to storing things. You may want to look into ones that have deeper drawers so you don’t have to look through multiple sections for just a few things. Putting organizers and spacers within the drawer can help keep things separated so everything doesn’t look like a cluttered mess and it’s easier to look through. If you have a lot of electronics, especially those with cords, it may be time to look into getting automation systems set up. This can keep the floor free of cords that could be a fall-hazard and allow you to operate your electronics using your phone or your voice. Smart screens and plugs allow you to control lights and electronics with your voice rather than having to get up and flip a switch. You can also schedule actions so you don’t have to worry about forgetting to turn the living room lights off at night. These systems can also connect throughout your home, so you can control the whole house from one room. 4. Clear Up Your Closet Being able to continue using closet spaces even when your mobility is lacking is important in being able to maintain your independence. A big part of being able to use the closets is making sure it’s accessible. Implementing door widening and an automatic door opener increases the accessibility of your closet which can help if you are in a wheelchair. It can also provide you with more functionality in your closet and make it easier to move around. Shelving and hanging rods should be adjusted to suit your needs. Make sure the rods are at a height that can accommodate your reach. Pull down rods may be a good option as well to keep everything organized while still allowing access to what you need. Shelves also need to be at a height that suits you, both for reaching and potentially for a wheelchair as well. You don’t want to install shelves so low that it impedes a wheelchair’s ability to move throughout a room. 5. Accommodate for Service Animals Service animals, while helpful and necessary, are still an addition to your house. They will need their own food, leashes and harnesses, a crate, and more that you might need space for. Making sure they have their own designated area in your home can keep it from getting cluttered with things and keep it out of your way. Having bins or small cabinets for their items frees up floor space so it doesn’t become a hazard to you. Making sure everything is labeled can also help you to remember where things are stored. A doggy door may be something to think about adding as well. A trained service dog will be more independent than your average animal, so allowing it to go outside when needed without you having to open the door for them makes it easier for the both of you. Organizing your home can not only make it look nicer, but make your life easier. It allows you to live like you have been, just with more access. When it comes down to your future, you can call the shots with just a few adjustments, and make sure your house fits your current and potential needs.

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Posted 9/15/2023

Zero Step Entry Universal Design - 7 Tips to Make Your Ramp Fantastic

aluminum wheelchair ramp with stairs option

Zero step entry or wheelchair ramps can make your home or building accessible and be a beautiful addition. However, there are many common mistakes and costly errors that you can prevent by continuing to read this resource.  Universal Design states that the entrance should work for everyone, however what modifications are needed to include everyone.  Here are the top 7 tips: 1. Who are the Users? Are They Using Any Assistive Devices to Enter the House?  The difference between a wheelchair, scooter, walker, stroller, rolling luggage is subtle. They all have wheels, but the mobility needs of the user can widely vary. While ADA suggests a maximum slope of 1 inch of rise for every foot of ramp, this is the steepest recommended and would not be suitable for someone using a walker with limited strength. The ADA specifically states, “The least possible slope shall be used for any wheelchair ramp.” Most people automatically focus on standards like this and seek to meet the minimum standard. But, users may need a wheelchair ramp to exceed the standards and be easier to go up or down. Surprisingly, more falls happen on the way down the ramp, because momentum and gravity are stronger forces. And because of the increased speed of a fall, there is more force for an injury. Know your users, and exceed their need for your best ramp design. This is why Lifeway Mobility's experts always take the time to understand the needs of the customer any others living at the home before taking measurements and recommending a ramp layout. 2. Make the Pathway Fit the House In every design, we start with the door usually in the garage or in the front of the house, and end with where the user wants to enter the ramp. This is usually where we get out of a vehicle/transportation, like a driveway, garage, parking lot.  The best tip to make your ramp fit the house is to identify where the ramp should start and stop that has the least amount of vertical height difference. Also, you need to look at the house and design along the house vs. out away from the house. This will gain you a visual benefit, ramps looks better if they blend into the structure of the building, but also a design benefit.  Wheelchair ramps are easier to use when they follow the design of the home.  However, watch for the home with short walls and multiple corners. Because a ramp should have a 5 foot level platform at the top of the ramp and every time you turn, a ramp will get longer with more turns and should be designed to be a straight as possible and fit the home. Also, you want to use a type of ramp and materials to fit the home, as you will compliment the look of your ramp instead of stand out. 3. What Type of Wheelchair Ramp Is Needed?  Is the Need Temporary, Portable or Permanent?  There are 3 major types of wheelchair ramps and ramp materials: Aluminum Concrete Wood They each have their advantages, but you first must know how long the ramp is needed. We have seen a wood ramp only used for a year because the owner moved homes and unfortunately, the wood ramp was worthless for the new home. Aluminum wheelchair ramps have several advantages because there are portable options, as well as modular ones that can be customized and even reconfigured to be moved or reused, and it doesn’t require any maintenance like concrete/brick and wood. Wood also requires much more maintenance than concrete.       4. What is the Best Surface for Your Ramp?  The biggest mistake that we see here is to focus on what it look like vs a surface that prevents slips and falls with a good grip. While trex or composite wood is more attractive and offers less maintenance, it can be the most slippery surface, especially if you run your board down the ramp like a bowling alley. Concrete gives a good surface and grip, but ice and snow can build up and be dangerous.  Again, the aluminum ramps can excel here as they offer either a black friction surface like sand paper, or a extruded edges every quarter inch that looks like grooves in the surface. This will be a much better surface in rain and snow. We cannot forget that the ramp should look beautiful and blend into the home, so many of the aluminum ramps now come in colors for the discerning home owner.   5. Little Things Matter  The Threshold of your ramp at the bottom is crucial for ease of use and safety.  Also, where the ramp meets the threshold of the door into the house is just as important. The two pictures below show 1-2 inch bumps as you enter and exit the ramps in these two areas. These can be avoided by working with a home accessibility expert.   A 3/4 in bump is all the is need to bring a walker or wheelchair to a complete stop, like slamming on your brakes in your vehicle. The difference is that when you slam on your brakes, you know you will violently stop. Using a ramp and hitting a small bump can cause you to fall down or out of your chair, you can hit the door frame as you enter or exit the house, or possible you cannot get over the bump and cannot use the ramp at all. The WORST possibility is that you have to ask for help and lose the independence that a ramps is SUPPOSED to PROVIDE.   6. Type of Handrails The Handrail of a ramp is the most intimate part of the ramp because it is what you touch or glide your hand along. A safe smooth surface for your hand is just as important for your feet or mobility device. ADA requires a smooth, uninterrupted handrail that you can wrap your fingers around 7. Maintenance When choosing a wheelchair ramp for your home, it's importance to consider maintenance and how that might impact the long-term cost of the ramp.  Unfortunately, the least expensive ramps are wood and many people choose plywood, but it will deteriorate within 2-3 years. Wood wheelchair ramps require the most maintenance because sun, rain, snow, heat, and cold all cause the wood to expand and contract. Staining or painting is required every 2-3 years.    Concrete or brick ramps require sealing to avoid cracking, and because they are so heavy, they can sink or shift, causing the ramp to be unusable.  Steel Handrails may require painting. This can add 10-25% of costs to the price of a ramp if you include the needed future maintenance.  Aluminum wheelchair ramps may be a bit more expensive up front, but no maintenance is required, making it the most cost-advantageous of the three material types over the long haul. Contact us to learn more about universal design when it comes to wheelchair ramps, or to schedule your FREE ramp consultation!

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Wheelchair Ramp Options

aluminum wheelchair ramp with stairs option 454 255

A basic modular wheelchair ramp system typically consists of a platform(s), ramping and graspable rails. However, depending on the mobility needs of the person in need of the wheelchair ramp, and home setting, there may be upgrade options that need to be considered to ensure easy access for everyone.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Bruno Stairlift Dealer - Lifeway is a Bruno Diamond Dealer

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Lifeway Mobility is humbled and honored to be recognized as a Bruno Diamond Stairlift Dealer for the 8th consecutive year in 2024! The Bruno Diamond Dealer Award, which originated in 2016, is an award that is given to Bruno dealers that finish in the top 3% of Bruno’s sales throughout North America. Prior to 2016, Bruno's top dealers throughout North America had been referred to as “Bruno preferred dealers.” The “Diamond” Dealer award is recognized as a more prestigious award.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

7 Stair Lift Myths Debunked

woman standing up from Bruno Elite curved stairlift installed by Lifeway Mobility

As a trusted stair lift provider for 30+ years, we have heard several stair lift "beliefs" that in reality are not true. In this blog post, we debunk the 7 common myths that people have about stair lifts so that you can know the real facts.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Webinar Recording: Modifications for Home Accessibility

Watch the Webinar: Modifications for Home Accessibility The Accessible Systems - Lifeway Team presented the 1st of our Hospital to Home webinars January 25th 2023 Watch a recording of the webinar here  This webinar covers a wide variety of accessibility solutions with live demos from the Accessible Systems showhome on Denver. It is for Discharge planners, Case and Care managers, Social workers, Nurses, OTs, PTs, Home care providers or Anyone interested in post discharge planning for those with limited mobility  

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by Amy Finke  | 

Happy Holidays (2022) & New Year from Lifeway Mobility

Blog Preview/Happy Holidays 2022 Video Preview

Watch Lifeway Mobility's 2022 "Happy Holidays" Video: On behalf of our entire Team at Lifeway Mobility, we wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season, and wonderful new year! Thank you to our referral sources and partners for your trust and support. It's an honor to work together to provide accessibility solutions that help families remain safe and independent at home. We look forward to another great year in 2023, as we continue to expand our footprint across the country!

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Stair Lift Options

woman standing up from Bruno Elite curved stairlift installed by Lifeway Mobility

Depending on the mobility of the individual that will be using the stair lift, there may be one or more options that may need to be added to provide extra comfort, convenience, and safety. The stair lift options listed below are the ones that are most commonly recommended to meet customers' specific needs.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Lifeway Mobility Opens New Location in San Diego, CA

Lifeway consultant sitting with customers at table in home in San Diego CA

San Diego, CA– Lifeway Mobility, a team of trusted home access professionals, is pleased to announce it is expanding its coverage area in southern CA into San Diego. Lifeway will now offer stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, and a variety of basic transfer aid solutions to those living in San Diego County.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Webinar Recording: Safety at Home for Individuals Living with Dementia

lifeway alz Assoc logos

Watch the October 27th Webinar   Date / TimeThursday, October 27th1pm-2pm Eastern Time Julie McMurray of the Alzheimer's Association and Amy Finke of Lifeway Mobility will explain how dementia affects a person's safety awareness, explore home modifications to support independence, and provide helpful resources.

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by Amy Finke  | 

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