Archive for the ‘Life hacks’ Category

“Weighing” the options…

Posted: July 6, 2018 in Life hacks

If there were only one measurement of overall health, what would it be? It seems that every doctor, nurse, dietitian, at Cetera wants to know my weight. It seems like an easy question however not so easy to answer. When you cannot step on the scale, the options are limited. Some of my doctors offices have a large scale where you can drive up onto it if you are in a wheelchair. Problem is, it weighs you plus the wheelchair so now you need to know The weight of the wheelchair.

My husband came up with a much better solution. He purchased two fish scales. These are relatively inexpensive compared to that $1000 plus cost of adding this feature to an overhead lift. We now attached the fish scale between the lift and my sling. One on each side. The two weights together add up to exactly my weight. This simple solution cost about $50. Much easier and very accurate!

Switch control….

Posted: May 17, 2018 in Life hacks

I recently received an updated controller for my wheelchair. This device is pretty slick as it has Bluetooth which allows me to use the controller to access my iPad via the joystick. This new controller is called an R-Net iDevice Bluetooth controller.It opens up a whole new world of “switch control”. It is remarkable how Apple has included this technology in their i-devices. Who knew? Once you install the controller onto the wheelchair, you activate the mode which shows a laptop on your information screen. This then allows you to pair with your iPad, iPhone or whatever device you use.It takes a bit of work to set up switches which essentially are shortcuts for your joystick. It’s not that difficult… Especially if you have someone who can show you. I was on the phone with the Apple assistive technology help desk a few times. They were most helpful.

A new feature of Alexa/echo is the Drop in future. This allows you to turn your echo dot into an intercom for use within the house. You can say “drop in ‘ and talk to others within your house that have an echo dot also connected to the network. In addition, other friends and family can use this single “drop in ‘ feature to call you and check in. You do not need any device other than your voice to answer a call or hang up. The set up was fairly easy. You create a group of allowed users. It is a pleasant surprise to hear your loved ones voice just dropping in to say hello.

I am fortunate to have a good OT who outfit my wheelchair with all the bells and whistles for comfort and control.  The foot rests have a gel pad covering to make a nice cushion for my feet. They are comfortable however, the outer covering is made of vinyl. Any slight moisture due to sweat can cause my feet to stick to the gel pad.   This can be frustrating as it fights against my limited muscle control of my legs.   As I tend to go barefoot most of the time, Especially in the summer, I needed a way to free up my legs for some limited movement.
My daughter cleverly found a way to solve this problem. She found some old stockings and cut them and wrapped each foot rest with the stockings. This now allowed me some limited movement of my feet and legs. My son-in-law suggested finding cute colorful stockings to change up the look now and then.  Way to go guys. Simplest solutions are often the best.

One of the frustrating issues I face is the inability to blow my nose. Having a nose run and needing help mopping up the drips is no fun.

My daughter recently gave me a gift which I had no idea would help solve this problem…she had read many five star reviews (there are thousands) and decided to purchase it for me. It is a Himalayan salt lamp. This lamp sits on a shelf next to my chair in a small room where I sit most days. You can read the scientific facts as to how this works… Something to do with ions and negative charge particles in the air. All I know is it keeps my nose dry enough to not need constant attention, and it is pretty. I can breathe easy (With my trusty trilogy, of course) when I am in the room with this lamp. I have included a picture with the link in the sidebar if you want more info…

Remarkable advancements in artificial intelligence and voice control devices, make me thankful that , dealing with diseases that definitely suck  comes at a time where I can take full advantage of these relatively inexpensive and easily obtained technology devices.  Recently my husband got me A “smart plug” to be used with a standard desk fan. Having issues controlling my body temperature, especially during these hot summer days, would force me to ask someone for help turning on and off a fan as needed. Now, with the use of the smart plug device, and the Amazon Alexa (echo dot), I can easily control the fan with my voice. See the sidebar for links to the device I use…. The set up is minimal and done through an app.  It is helpful to search for a fan that is not overly loud as you need to be able to be heard by the Alexa to voice command it off.


Posted: June 17, 2017 in Life hacks
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To maintain independence in the home, it is important to allow easy transitions throughout the house. With the use of ramps, this is entirely possible. There are many different types of ramps on the market. If you are using a manual wheelchair, it is good to stick to the guidelines of 1 foot of ramp for every 1 inch of rise. If using a power wheelchair, this rise ratio is not as important as you can power through steeper inclines.  

Of the many types of ramps on the market, The traditional “suitcase” ramps are easy to store, unfold and use for smaller rises such as a single or double step up. These also have the advantage of being portable which can be good for visiting family and friends who otherwise do not have accessible homes.  They are made of aluminum and have a more industrial look then custom made ramps.

   I particularly like ramp adapters, which are a good alternative if you have someone handy with a saw and screwdriver.. By attaching these to wood boards, you can build ramps of any size and easily customize them to various locations in the house. I have included a link to where these may be purchased in the sidebar