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Home Safety & Modifications

Making the Garage Steps Accessible

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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  | 

Mobility & Accessibility Solutions for In-Home Cancer Patients

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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

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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  | 

Tax Deductions for Accessible Home Modifications

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Whether you have recently become disabled or have been living with a disability your whole life, you have likely needed to make modifications to your home to support an independent lifestyle. Home modifications can make parts of your home more accessible.

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by Gamburd   | 

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

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  | 

Accessibility Solutions Help Discharged Patients Remain Safe at Home

nurse meeting with family and their senior parent

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  | 

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  | 

Making the Transition to Independent Living on College Campus

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In a study on parents of children with a disability, it was found that 55% of the parents were not sure their disabled child would always have a place to stay. Further, 62% stated their adult child with disabilities had strong independent living skills and abilities to to care of themselves.

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Posted 2/19/2020

7 Questions to Ask Before Hospital Discharge

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It is our purpose to help people simplify their lives with accessibility solutions. Many times, individuals who need us don’t know where to start and yet, they are about to be processed for hospital discharge or leave a physical rehab center. Whether patients are calling for guidance themselves or a family member is reaching out, here are seven helpful tips one should address before hospital discharge.

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Posted 1/14/2020

Unusual Ways People Use Their Stair Lift

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We have been providing mobility solutions for families for over 18 years. Not even the most experienced professionals in our company thought of these unique problem-solving techniques! Our clients have shared some very colorful signs of creativity, including a stair lift for a dog!

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Posted 12/31/2019

The Right to be Included

The Right to be included

Have you ever had the experience of being bullied, left out or pushed out? The disappointment, shock and sense of betrayal can be extremely painful. For some, the confrontation may leave emotional scars for years! Whether you have been the victim of “the mean girls club” or worse, making a come back and trying to access your right to be included may have been difficult at best. Some people with disabilities deal with this on a regular basis! Over 1 billion people have a disability in the world today. More than 100 million are children. Unfortunately, these kids are victims of violence four times more often than children who are not disabled. The adults with disabilities tend to be victims of violence 1.5 times more often than other adults. Disabled Individuals Are the World’s Largest Minority When blockades prevent the inclusion of every member of society, we all suffer. Some of these barriers exist in the heart and mind, while others are physical obstructions. When these obstacles are gone, those with disabilities are allowed to engage fully in life which brings benefits to everyone. Accessibility is not an option but is critical to the health and well-being of our communities. While public buildings should be following codes of inclusion, accessibility and mobility solutions truly start at home. The very concept of universal design is to make living spaces safe and accommodating for all. The options are endless! Right To Be Included If an individual can’t navigate steps into their home safely, adding handrails can be a great solution. If a little more assistance is needed, the installation of a ramp, threshold, or stair lift can make a world of difference! The safety features in a bathroom for example, can entail the simple installation of grab bars or a tub cut. The tub cut is done in a day using the existing bathtub bringing that hard to manage 14-inch step into the tub, down to a 4-inch step. For those that need more simplified access, perhaps a barrier free shower or complete bathroom remodel is in order. Bedroom safety may include doorways that need to be widened or beautiful handrails added along the walls. For some individuals, an over-head lift may be the best idea yet. Some need an extra boost to go from bed to chair to shower or beyond. Maybe they wish to travel through-out their whole house using the over-head lift tracking system built into their ceiling complete with remote access! Seek The Best Solutions Home elevators are not as extravagant as once thought! Many are seeking solutions like this for all the ages and stages of family members and are surprised at the affordability. Having a consultant come to the home to assess the structure and provide a quote is free of charge. The key of course, is to work with a company that has at least 10 years of experience and one that specializes in universal design. When families go with Lifeway Mobility, they get to experience experts who create designs specific to the needs of that family. We provide options without barriers. No cookie cutter approach here – it’s all about producing life changing results. Isn’t that what it’s all about? We believe everyone has the right to be included. We are doing the unimaginable – breaking barriers and changing lives.

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Posted 12/4/2019

Overhead Lift Installation Process

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Layout and Design Overhead ceiling lifts have been available for many years.  Most people are not aware that such items exists.  Depending on a person’s mobility, an overhead track lift could be a great solution for anyone having difficulty transferring from bed to chair. We normally recommend a lift system over the bed area. In this particular home we installed a lift that travels from the bed into the family room, through the hallway and into a bathroom.  This is not a typical lift layout, but we pride ourselves in creating solutions for our clients. Structural Modifications This two story home has been engineered with TJI joist and multiple ceiling heights.  Most new homes nowadays have such a joist.  TJI Joist and overhead lifts don’t go well together, and here’s why: ceilings are made to hold the floor above, not a hoist from below.  With some design work and modification to the ceiling and door ways, we were able to get this track system installed. Types of Overhead Lifts and Alternatives If one is considering a ShowerBuddy transfer system, it’s good to understand that in most cases this can prevent a rail from traveling throughout the home. We would normally recommend an overhead lift that starts over the bed transferring onto a TubBuddy system. This way the end user can be rolled over a toilet and slide into the tub. There are multiple types of installations available for overhead lifts. We prefer to use a wall mounting system which would prevent modification to the ceiling. Such installations are normally quick and can be removed with very little damage to the walls. If one wishes to travel from room to room, a wall mounted system cannot be used. .   . .       .   .    .   

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Posted 1/4/2019

Misconception #2: Aging in Place is About Aging

Approximately ⅔ of homeowners age 55 or older report that they feel they are proactive when it comes to making aging-in-place home modifications. Nearly 90% say that they are familiar with aging-in-place renovations, additions, or products. However, home modification professionals tell a different story. For example, over half of the experts that HomeAdvisor surveyed say that less than 10% of the projects that they are hired for are related to aging-in-place. Only about 20% of home modification professionals said that their clients reach out to them preemptively before they are in immediate need of aging-in-place renovations. Most specialists stated that the majority of homeowners in need of such modifications sought them out re-actively for a number of reasons.

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by John Burfield  | 

8 Tips to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

At some point, due to age or disability, you or a loved one may be faced with the prospect of having to use a wheelchair to assist in your primary mobility at home. Whether it be a temporary fixture to your home or something that will be more permanent, there are a number of simple modifications that can help improve accessibility and make life easier. If you are like most people, you live in a home that was not designed to accommodate wheelchairs. Below are some simple ideas on how to make sure that you will be able to stay in your home despite the necessity of a wheelchair.

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by Chris Frombach  | 

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