Archive for the ‘Life hacks’ Category


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


I am always been warned to watch out for pressure sores. Fortunately, knock on wood, I have not experienced any severe issues. I like to think that perhaps it is a result of precautions I take. Padding where bones impact hard surfaces is  key. My favorite cushions are made by a company called Roho. They have air bladders in them which can be inflated or deflated as needed. They also come with a pump. While these may be a little pricier than other cushions … they are worth it.. I will include a link  to the ones I use , in the sidebar

A simple device mounted to your wheelchair or table will keep liquids accessible. I have found this  device helpful as it also can act as a holder for the sip-n-puff straw attached to a vent such as the trilogy. You need to add your own clamp or strap to attach. The ability to bend it makes it possible to adjust it for your needs
Check the link in the sidebar for details.

Part of the good, the bad and the ugly of ALS is that the mind is unaffected. Using your mind to control your body without the help of muscles is a big dilemma. Thoughts of helplessness can increase stress which is picked up by the heart and results in increasing heart-rate, blood pressure and body temperature. It becomes a vicious cycle.

If you still have control of speech, the “hey Siri” function of an iPhone or iPad is a lifesaver. My husband mounted an old iPad near the bed so that I can call out in an emergency and get help from anyone on my list of contacts. This does not require a Sim card or a cellular service plan. It does require access to the Internet. Calls can be made through FaceTime audio as one example or text-type messages sent via the message function. 
* “Hey Siri” is supported on iPhone SE, iPhone 6s or later, and iPad Pro (9.7-inch) without being plugged into power. “Hey Siri” is supported on iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch with iOS 8 or later while plugged in. Not supported on first-generation iPad, iPad 2, and first-generation iPad mini.

Siri is available on iPhone 4s or later, iPad Pro, iPad Air or later, iPad (3rd generation) or later, iPad mini or later, and iPod touch (5th generation or later) and requires Internet access. Siri may not be available in all languages or in all areas, and features may vary by area. Cellular data charges may apply.

Some features may not be available for all countries or all areas. 

… Staying connected to the  Internet becomes a lifeline when you can’t get out and about as you would like. Hours seem to melt away when you can explore the web. YouTube, Facebook, Amazon… The possibilities are endless.  

Having limitations on the use of your arms and hands make it seem impossible. I am able to stay connected to my iPad by adding a simple sling to the overhead patient lift I was already using for transfers.. By using the sling to suspend my arm from the lift, I can position my hand over the iPad sitting on my lap. The lift makes my arm weightless which allows it to float above my iPad. I can move my hand around and use my finger to navigate. I use an inexpensive glove with the index finger cut out, so that I can still place my other fingers on the glass for stability

Click the picture in the sidebar under ‘arm sling’ for a link to purchasing options.

Bed controls

Posted: April 1, 2017 in Life hacks
Tags: ,

The ability to change positions is very important especially to someone who cannot walk and move regularly. Movement is essential to preventing bedsores and skin breakdown as well as comfort. In a hospital bed, there are bed controls that allow you to raise and lower your legs as well as the upper portion of your body. Having limited arm and hand function such as those with ALS or other neurological conditions, makes operating the controls very difficult.
On an Internet search, I found a device , created using micro light switches allowing a very light touch to control one function of hospital bed motion. My husband created this box, using the micro light switches, wired directly into the hospital bed controller . The original hospital bed controller is still functional and can be used by caregivers to control the bed. Using the alternate controller, with a very slight movement of my hand, I can raise and lower the head of the bed allowing comfort and positioning for activities such as watching TV. I have found this to be invaluable. More information can be found here…




Phone communications

Posted: March 27, 2017 in Life hacks

The hands-free , BlueAnt button- free , Bluetooth earpiece for my phone allows me to make and receive phone calls purely by voice. A lot of hands-free earpieces make you push a button to activate a phone call which I can no longer do. This device is activated by the use of turning my head to connect my earpiece to within 1 inch of a magnet. My husband installed the magnet in the headrest of my wheelchair. To answer an incoming phone call, you simply say “answer”.
I feel much safer with this device now as if there were an emergency and I needed to call 911, I have that ability. I feel connected to my friends and family also as it’s easy to call and respond when they call.