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The Home Safety Guide for Seniors

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  Most seniors want to age in place in their homes, well past retirement and into their golden years, and with a bit of help, they can. When circumstances change, specifically in the areas of mobility and ability, seniors may look for ways to make the rooms in their homes more easily accessible for themselves. Adult children of aging parents also worry that mom or dad may be more susceptible to potential risks at home, especially in the bathroom or shower. A fall while performing daily activities would surely raise concerns about their continued ability to stay safe and independent at home. Wheelchair users can grow frustrated by common barriers like narrow doorways, stairways, tight hallways and inaccessible bathing or shower facilities, just to name a few. Facing any of these challenges can be enough to make a person want to move. This Home Safety Guide for Seniors is intended to help the elderly, and their caregivers alike, commence a plan to stay in their own home as long as is possible, and on their own terms. This home safety for seniors guide contains useful information about ways to help them get around in their home an community. Lifeway Mobility can help seniors plan ahead and make informed decisions about assistive equipment and home modifications that can be the difference between living independently in their home and alternatives that are not nearly as desirable.   Falls: There are Ways to Lower the Risk of a Fall The elderly are hospitalized for fall-related injuries five times more often than they are for injuries from other causes. Too often, seniors seek help after a tragic event happens. Seeking a professional assessment of one’s home environment to learn how to make it safer is highly recommended. This will help seniors and their families understand the variety of assistive and safety devices that may help reduce the risk of falling. Or, here are some common-sense ways for seniors to prevent falls right away: Use a cane or walker to steady yourself when getting up. Stand up slowly after eating, lying down or resting. Getting up too quickly can cause your blood pressure to drop, which can make you feel faint. Use a cane or walker to feel steadier when you walk. If your doctor prescribes a cane or walker, we can help find one that fits your needs. Wear rubber-soled, low-heeled shoes that fully support your feet. Wearing only socks or smooth-soled shoes on stairs or waxed floors can be unsafe. Hold the handrails when you use the stairs. Use hand grips and install grab bars throughout the house. Use a reaching stick, or more commonly known as a reacher, to reach items on top shelves. Consider a step stool with a handle. Carefully consider the safety of your bathroom. Grab bars, raised toilet seats, safety bars for your tub, and transfer benches can make your bathroom a significantly safer place. Consider purchasing a personal medical alarm to wear around your neck. These electronic devices that can bring peace of mind to you and your loved ones. Taking care of your overall health and well-being can help lower fall risks. Ask your doctor about a bone density test, which will tell how strong your bones are. Medications are available that can make your bones stronger and harder to break. Regular exercise can help keep you strong, and your joints, tendons and ligaments flexible. Talk with your doctor before beginning any program. Have your vision and hearing tested often. Even small changes in sight and hearing can make you less stable and can throw off your depth perception. Discuss possible side effects from medication with your doctor and/or pharmacist. Some medicines affect coordination and balance. Related resource: Take this Free Fall Risk Assessment Test Making Every Room in a Home Safe and Accessible Have you thought about the current and future safety and accessibility needs of all those who are living in your home? What about accessibility needs of friends and relatives who visit? Do you have an aging parent who is coming to stay for awhile?   Practicing the concept of universal design, either during initial construction or with home modifications later, incorporates design elements, spaces and even equipment that make each room more user friendly for as many different people as possible. Modifications like extra-wide doorways and hallways can accommodate a walker, or make getting around easier for a person on crutches or in a wheelchair. Movable cabinets increase the usability of the kitchen wheelchair users, and anyone who has a hard time bending down or reaching up. Equipment like grab bars and support poles offer assistance when coming to a standing position, while stair lifts, wheelchair ramps, platform lifts and even residential elevators can keep every level of your home accessible to all. Home Safety Solutions to Home Accessibility Challenges Here are some solutions to common home mobility and accessibility challenges for seniors by room. Bathrooms Barrier-free showers Walk-in tubs Step-in tub cutouts Grab bars & handrails Elevated toilet seats Bath lifts Shower benches Swing & support bath basins Toilet support frames   Bedroom Adjustable beds Bed rails Floor or ceiling-mounted lifts Bedside commodes Handholds/poles to help with standing Over-bed trapeze Pull-out closet shelving Handrails   Kitchen Easy-access cabinetry Accessible counter tops Handrails Easy-grip utensils, ergonomic dishes Accessible appliances Reachers Pull-out shelving   Living Area Stairway lifts Lift chairs Canes & walkers Home monitoring devices Walkers Safety poles Handrails Lighting Home automation devices for seniors   Getting Around – inside, outside and in your community Scooters Portable ramps Power wheelchairs Rollators & canes Vehicle lifts Accessible vehicles Lightweight transport wheelchairs Porch railings Foldable canes, walkers, wheelchairs   Wheelchair Users Modular ramps Door widening Curbless or barrier-free showers Residential elevators Patient and vehicle lifts Pull-out shelving Inclined platform lifts Vertical platform lifts Automatic door openers   Modify Your Home Room by Room Modifying the home can be as simple as picking up throw rugs (tripping hazards) or more complex – widening doorways, installing a “curbless” shower, changing door handles to levers, installing “rocker” light switches, or opening up interior space to make it more accessible and practical for individuals who use mobility equipment. Some of the most common home modifications include: • Grab bars in bathrooms especially around the toilet and bathing area• Ramps, both interior and exterior• Stair lifts – both indoor and outdoor• Door widening• Walk-in tubs/curbless or barrier-free showers• Full bath remodels• Ceiling lifts• Porch lifts• Accessible room additions• Floor coverings to accommodate wheelchair use   Staying Safe in Your Home Home automation products are ‘smart’ home devices that can help seniors monitor the security and safety of their homes, engage automated lighting systems, allow the homeowner to see who is at the door, and program the thermostat so it learns family patterns, and knows when someone is home or not. Elders can also check on pets and the security of your home while away, and so much more. These gadget can help seniors stay in their homes –– comfortably and safely. Actual smart devices include security cameras, doorbells, thermostats, smoke detectors, lighting controls and more. Emergency alert devices and systems can help seniors remain independent at home and when out and about in the community. Most systems offer options for wearing the alert button around the neck or on the wrist, and are automatically triggered when a fall is detected and the user cannot push the button. Such automated fall detection can be a real life saver. Medicare & Insurance Guide Many home medical products are covered by Medicare. What Medicare doesn’t cover, secondary insurance often will. Home modifications and accessibility equipment like stair lifts, bathroom safety, ramps, vehicle lifts, and vertical platform lifts usually are not covered by Medicare or insurance, but may be through non-profits, waiver programs, reverse mortgages, special home improvement loans, foundations and churches. Remember to weigh the cost of alternative care versus the cost of making your home environment more accessible through modification. The average annual cost of skilled care at a nursing home is $82,500 for a semi-private room, or $92,500 for a private room. Assisted living costs an average of $48,000 annually. The average rate for an in-home health aide is $23 per hour. Adult day services average about $22,000 if care is provided five days a week. Learn about how much a stair lift, wheelchair ramp, or home elevator might cost (spoiler - each solution is more cost-effective than any alternative care option above!) Stair Lift Pricing Wheelchair Ramp Pricing Home Elevator Pricing We trust you’ll find value in all the information presented and that if circumstances change, that Lifeway Mobility will be top-of-mind when needing a professional evaluation for one’s home. Related Resource: Medicaid Home Modification Funding Guide

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Posted 2/25/2022

Home Access CEU Webinar

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Virtual CEU* Event: Modifications for Home AccessibilityDate & Time: TBD This webinar will cover the basics of modifications for home accessibility and answer questions including:

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by Amy Finke  | 

Happy Holidays from Lifeway Mobility

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Watch Lifeway Mobility's 2021 "Happy Holidays" Video: All of us at Lifeway wish you and yours a safe and happy holiday season, and joyous new year! Thank you to our referral sources, partners, and suppliers for another great year, and we look forward to working together in 2022!

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Accessibility Solutions for Veterans

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If you are a veteran, we would first like to say thank you for your service. You put your life on the line to protect our freedom and keep us safe in our home country.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Home Access CEU Webinar Nov 17th 2021

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Virtual CEU* Event: Modifications for Home AccessibilityWednesday Nov 17, 2021 1:00 pm Eastern Time / 10 am Pacific Time This webinar will cover the basics of modifications for home accessibility and answer questions including:

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by Amy Finke  | 

Lifeway Mobility Featured on HouseSmarts via WGN Radio Chicago 720

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Lifeway Mobility was proudly featured on HouseSmarts Radio with Lou Manfredini via WGN Radio Chicago 720! HouseSmarts is a well-known home improvement and lifestyle show that provides homeowners with tips on home renovation and repairs.   Lou and his team were interested in speaking to an expert about aging-in-place and making homes more accessible, and selected Lifeway Mobility as the guest to interview.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Chair Lifts for Stairs with Landings

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There are many reasons landings are added to stairs. They allow stairs to change directions and also provide a space for people to rest, if needed. Stair landings are also needed when a door at the top of the steps swings inwards towards the stairway.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Do Stair Lifts Work When the Power goes out?

stairlift during power outage

It's officially the summer season, which means warmer weather and more time outside enjoying fun activities in the sun. However, it also means there will be a higher chance for severe thunderstorms with high winds that can cause power outages.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Accessibility Solutions Help Discharged Patients Remain Safe at Home

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Due to the pandemic, more patients with complex needs are being discharged directly home, which can cause challenges for healthcare facilities and patients. Home care and home access are part of the solution to help those with limited mobility remain in their homes safely and on parallel path to help minimize readmission.   

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by Amy Finke  | 

Stair Lift Provides Renewed Independence at Home

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Limited mobility and/or balance issues can restrict someone to the first level of the home and prevent access to a bedroom and shower upstairs. A senior veteran named Robert was dealing with this exact issue, until he and his family learned about stair lifts, and had one installed by Lifeway Mobility.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Local Stair Lift Showroom in San Francisco-Bay Area

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Lifeway Mobility San Francisco, a Bruno Diamond Stair Lift Dealer, has a showroom in Union City, California that is equipped with fully operational straight and curved rail stairlifts. For those with limited mobility, a stair lift provides a simple and affordable way to regain access to a second level bedroom or laundry room in the basement 

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Local Stair Lift Showroom in Los Angeles Area

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Lifeway Mobility Los Angeles, a Bruno Diamond Stair Lift Dealer, has a showroom in Pacoima, California that is equipped with multiple stairlifts, both straight and curved rails, that are fully operational. A stair lift provides a safe and easy way to navigate the stairs for those with limited mobility.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

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  | 

Trouble with Stairs? Attend Our Next Webinar: Is a Stairlift For ME?

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If you or someone you care for is having trouble with stairs this webinar is a must-watch! Trouble with stairs doesn't just limit the enjoyment of your home, it can be a major safety risk. Don't wait for a dangerous fall - learn about your options now. Watch a Live Demo of a stairlift so you can see and hear how it works from the comfort of your home or office. Our accessibility experts, each with over twenty years in the field, will answer your questions such as:

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by Amy Finke  | 

Long-Term Care Planning: What You Should Know

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For most, long-term care planning is not something that is on their radar.  However, for older adults making a long-term care plan is something that should be done sooner than later.  A first step is learning more about what long-term care is and about the variety of services that are available.

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by John Burfield  | 

Stair Lift Provides Safe Solution After a Fall on the Stairs

Lifeway Mobility customer riding stairlift while his wife and daughter drink coffee in background

A stair lift provides a safe means for accessing the second-floor level of a home or a basement, for people with limited mobility or balance issues. In this case, it was an easy and affordable solution that allowed for regained independence at home after a fall on the stairs.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Gamburd Joins Lifeway Mobility

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Lifeway Mobility is pleased to announce that it has invested in Gamburd, Inc., which has been a leading provider of accessibility solutions for people with limited mobility throughout California for over 18 years.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Aluminum vs. Wood Wheelchair Ramps

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When evaluating your home for wheelchair access via a ramp, there are many factors to consider, such as the location for installation and type of material. There are many types of ramps available and for each individual's needs and situation, the best solution is going to vary. In this post, we'll compare aluminum and wood ramps and briefly review the best locations for the installation of a ramp.

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by Bob Conroy  | 

Can a Stair Lift be Installed in a Condo?

stair lift installed in Calvalry church in Chicago Illinois

A stair lift can be very useful to those who need assistance with navigating a staircase due to limited mobility or balance issues. While these types of lifts are most often installed inside and outside of homes, there are other buildings where they can be accommodating.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

Lifeway Mobility Prepares to "Run Marathon"

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After reading the title of this blog post, you may be thinking "what marathon is Lifeway preparing for? Aren't all large gatherings cancelled?". While we're not preparing to run an actual 26.2 mile marathon, we do believe we're prepared to navigate  through this COVID-19 crisis period, which we as a team are relating to a marathon.

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by Eric Rubel  | 

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