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When it comes to navigating winter weather conditions, wheelchair users face a unique set of challenges. Hazards like slippery surfaces, reduced visibility, and mobility barriers can limit access and even lead to life-threatening emergencies.

The good news is that you can protect yourself and your mobility with the right information and preparation. Below are 8 tips to help wheelchair users stay safe and protected in the midst of winter’s worst.

Do you have a winter safety issue that needs help right away? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We’ll meet with you for a FREE in-home consultation to understand your needs and offer solutions based on 25 years in the business.

1. Prepare your home for both the expected and the unexpected

Preparation is one of the most important actions you can take to stay safe during winter weather, beginning with your home. Home is the place where you’ll warm up from the cold after time spent outside. It might even become your shelter during an emergency.

Home is the place where you’ll warm up from the cold after time spent outside in winter weather. It might even become your shelter during an emergency.

You should make an emergency plan in case you lose access to power and transportation for an extended amount of time. The truth is, there are news reports every year describing power outages that impact millions of people. Winter storms can also disrupt heating, communications services, and transportation access for days or weeks at a time. 

Consider the following questions:

  • In the event of a power outage, is your home insulated enough to retain heat?
  • Do you know how to keep your pipes from freezing?
  • Are your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed, tested, and equipped with battery backups?
  • Do you have an emergency plan and kits for your house, vehicle, and wheelchair?

The ADA National Network recommends preparing home emergency kits with enough supplies to last two weeks. This is especially important for wheelchair users who may experience longer delays as a result of disruptions to accessible routes, transportation, and home delivery services.

For more information on home emergency preparedness, check out this article from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Ready campaign.

You can also contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a FREE in-home consultation. We’ll help you to identify safety issues in the event of severe winter weather, and provide options that support your safety and wellbeing.

2. Keep your paths, ramps, and lifts free of ice and snow

winter weather snowy ramp

It is very important to maintain a clear route and access point to your home. First, an accessible route allows you to leave your home if necessary. If your home is losing heat or you need medical attention, it will make all the difference to have paths, ramps, and lifts cleared of ice and snow.

Make snow and ice removal part of your winter weather emergency plan.

As part of your winter weather emergency plan, decide how you will manage snow removal on your property. If you handle snow removal yourself, how will you handle a loss of traction on ice or getting stuck in the snow? Will you hire a snow plow driver? Will you ask a relative, neighbor, or attendant to help? 

By planning in advance, you can avoid the frustration of being stuck at home–not to mention the safety risks. Whatever approach you choose, make sure to clear all mobility barriers from your door to your mode of transportation.

Aluminum ramps require little maintenance and offer durable, non-skid surfaces to access your home.

The good news is that our modular ramps require little maintenance–if any. We’re proud to offer ramp systems that comply with ADA guidelines. According to the ADA, ramps should be “designed to prevent the accumulation of water” and “firm, stable, and slip-resistant.”

Our ramps are made of aluminum, which allows the tread to surface to warm at a quicker rate than other materials. This makes aluminum a smart choice in colder climates with snow and ice accumulation. Our ramps feature a unique extruded non-skid surface that helps maintain traction, whether on foot or wheels.

Aluminum is an ultra durable material. Our 100% aluminum ramps will withstand routine shoveling and maintenance without damage.

Our 100% aluminum ramps will withstand routine shoveling and maintenance without damage.

We recommend that you remove any snow and ice that accumulates on your ramp after each snowfall. With light accumulation, you can simply sweep the tread surface clean. During heavier snowfalls, you can shovel the snow before sweeping.

If you still need to remove residual snow or ice, our ramps will tolerate a sparing amount of ice melting products. Depending on your needs, you can find multiple options advertised to be both vegetation and pet-friendly.

Vertical platform lifts (VPL) will work through winter weather with routine maintenance.

Vertical platform lifts (VPL)–also called porch lifts–offer vertical access as an alternative to ramp systems. Our VPLs will work through cold and wet weather conditions and include the following features:

  • All-weather controls
  • Non-slip surfaces
  • Specialized coating
  • Heating kits for improved functioning in extreme cold

In the event of a power outage at home, our VPLs include emergency backup power sources that maintain access to your home. Emergency stop switches can be triggered automatically or manually in case your VPL comes into contact with an unexpected snow drift or other obstruction.

If your ramp is outdoors, we recommend that you remove accumulated snow and ice with a shovel or broom after each snowfall. You should also clear snow and ice on the path and beneath the lift to prevent obstruction sensors from triggering.

You might also consider installing your VPL in a protected space such as your garage or under an overhang to limit snow and ice accumulation.

The safest wheelchair ramp or VPL is installed and serviced by a professional.

Whether you use a ramp or VPL, make sure you choose a professional for installation. Your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access are factory-trained and know exactly how to build your ramp or lift so that it lasts.

If you use a VPL, ask a professional to service your lift at least once per year. We can help you identify potential safety issues and create a maintenance plan that keeps you moving all year round.

For more information on maintaining your wheelchair ramps and lifts (VPLs), contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access.

3. Winterize your car

During a severe winter storm, road conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Every winter motorists are stranded when they become stuck in ice or snow, traffic pileups, or whiteout conditions. In more serious cases, help can take days to arrive.

Assemble a car emergency kit with supplies that last at least 72 hours, and make sure you have at least a half tank of gas at all times.

Assemble a car emergency kit for winter weather with supplies that last at least 72 hours, and make sure you have at least a half tank of gas at all times.

While assembling your car emergency kit, you should also prepare your car for a winter weather emergency. Before the start of the winter season, ask a mechanic to make sure your car is winter ready. Ask mechanics to check out the following:

  • Antifreeze
  • Tires
  • Battery
  • Oil
  • Ignition and exhaust systems
  • Fuel and air filters
  • Heater and defroster
  • Lights, including emergency flashers
  • Thermostat
  • Windshield wipers and fluid
  • Auto lift or ramp

For more information on car emergency preparedness, check out this article from the Ready campaign.

4. Make your wheelchair winter weather-ready

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Preparing your wheelchair for winter weather goes beyond the threat of severe weather. Even everyday wintertime occurrences like precipitation, cold, and ice can lead to an emergency.

Fortunately, some basic precautions can help you to navigate winter wonderlands, headline-making storms, and anything in between.

Prepare a carry-with-you emergency kit that lasts at least 24 hours. Additionally, make sure your wheelchair is winter ready with a tune up. Check your power connectors, brakes, and hardware to verify everything is working as it should.

Make sure your wheelchair is winter weather-ready with a tune up. Check your power connectors, brakes, and hardware to verify everything is working as it should.

You can also consider the following modifications to improve accessibility and safety in winter weather:

  • Increase visibility on your chair by adding lights or reflective tape
  • Boost traction by installing winter tires or all-terrain tires
  • Improve your grip with snow chains, studs, wheel blades, or removable tire covers
  • Fully charge your battery and take shorter trips–batteries drain faster in cold and slippery conditions
  • Protect your joystick from water damage with a joystick cover or plastic bag
  • Strengthen stability with anti-tip devices

When you go outside in your wheelchair, make sure to avoid standing water that might cause damage to your electronics. If your wheelchair has been exposed to water while outside, make sure to dry off your chair thoroughly once indoors.

For more information on preparing your wheelchair for winter, check out this great article from the ADA National Network. The ADA National Network offers an emergency kit checklist that is specific to people with disabilities.

5. Stay vigilant against hypothermia and frostbite–no matter where you live

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia and frostbite are types of cold-related illnesses and injuries that occur as a result of exposure to cold and/or water.

Winter Weather US Temperature Map
US Temperature Map

Most people associate these conditions with freezing temperatures. The truth is, you can experience cold-related illnesses and injuries in environments as warm as 60°F. Since nearly every part of the country sees these temperatures during the year, it is important to understand cold-related illnesses and injuries.

The truth is, you can experience cold-related illnesses and injuries from winter weather in environments as warm as 60°F.

The risks for cold-related illnesses and injuries will increase when the following conditions apply:

  • Longer exposure times
  • Getting wet from rain, sleet, snow, or sweat
  • Lack of food, clothing, or shelter
  • Limited physical mobility

What should wheelchair users know about hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition in which your body cannot generate heat faster than the rate of heat loss. Defined as a body temperature lower than 96°F, hypothermia can disrupt the normal functioning of multiple organs and systems.

Symptoms of hypothermia can include:

  • Severe shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Feeling overheated

Wheelchair users face increased risks of hypothermia for several reasons. Due to limited physical mobility, you may generate less heat and subsequently lose heat at a faster rate.

If you have a spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other central nervous system disorder (CNS), your body may struggle to warm up, cool down, or maintain a stable core body temperature. This process is called “thermoregulation.”

Typically, thermoregulation helps the body to maintain a core temperature around 98.6°F. That’s the reason people will sweat when it’s hot, and shiver when it’s cold.

However, this process might be impaired if you have a SCI, TBI, or CNS disorder. Signals between your body and brain may work differently. For example, you might shiver when the room doesn’t feel cold or touch a hot surface without feeling burned. 

The same concept applies to your vascular system. Your brain might not tell your blood vessels to constrict in the cold, especially below the site of an injury. As a result, you may experience a faster rate of body heat loss and lower core body temperatures.

Impaired regulation is a significant reason why many wheelchair users face an increased risk of hypothermia.

Impaired regulation is a significant reason why many wheelchair users face an increased risk of hypothermia.

In suspected cases of hypothermia, seek medical help immediately.

What should wheelchair users know about frostbite?

Frostbite is a condition in which your skin becomes damaged by exposure to freezing air.

The Mayo Clinic lists three stages of frostbite:

  • Frostnip: this is a reversible condition in which the superficial levels of skin experience freezing. Symptoms may include numbness, skin discoloration, and tingling or pain when the skin warms.
  • Superficial frostbite: this is an injury to superficial levels of the skin that may involve symptoms associated with frostnip as well as burning and swelling. Your skin might look discolored and even develop a blister within a day or two of the injury.
  • Severe frostbite: this is an injury to deep levels of the skin and underlying tissues. Your skin might turn white or blue gray and you may lose sensation entirely. You may develop blisters after the injury, as well as tissue death and loss.

Frostbite is connected to the wind chill. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), wind chill is a measurement that factors both temperature and wind speed to describe how a person “feels” in cold weather. Weather experts use wind chills to identify the “rate of heat loss from exposed skin” and make the public aware of potential hazards and threats during cold weather.

The NWS has three types of wind chill alerts:

  • Wind chill watches signal “seasonably cold” weather. During a wind chill watch, the NWS recommends people dress warm and cover exposed skin.
  • Wind chill advisories signal the potential for “dangerously cold” weather. During a wind chill advisory, the NWS recommends people avoid the outdoors during the coldest times of day, keep their gas tanks half full at a minimum, and double check their emergency supply kits.
  • Wind chill warnings signal “expected or occurring” life-threatening cold weather. During a wind chill warning, NWS recommends people stay inside and avoid travel altogether. If travel cannot be avoided, the NWS recommends that people dress warm, cover exposed skin, and inform at least one other person of their whereabouts.

Dangerously low wind chills can cause both hypothermia and frostbite. When wind chills are low, stay vigilant against symptoms of frostbite and pay careful attention to your extremities. Fingers, toes, cheeks, and ears are especially susceptible to frostbite.

When wind chills are low, stay vigilant against symptoms of frostbite and pay careful attention to your extremities.

This is especially important if you have sensory loss, as you might not feel tingling or burning in affected areas. Frostbitten skin may also feel cold and hard to the touch.

In the event of frostbite, seek medical attention immediately. Frostbite can result in irreversible damage to nerves and tissues, as well as infection. Frostbite can also be associated with cases of hypothermia.

Check out the CDC’s helpful infographic for more information on spotting, avoiding, and treating both hypothermia and frostbite.

What should wheelchair users know about other cold-related injuries and illnesses?

The CDC also lists immersion foot and chilblains as cold-related injuries that can occur in temperatures up to 60°F.

Immersion foot, formerly called trench foot, occurs when feet are exposed to cold, wet conditions for an extended length of time. According to Cleveland Clinic, immersion foot typically requires 1 to 3 days of exposure but can occur in as little as 10 to 14 hours.

Symptoms of immersion foot include:

  • Reddened or discolored skin
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Leg cramps

Chilblains is a condition that occurs when skin is exposed repeatedly to cold, above-freezing temperatures. The result is permanent damage to skin that is prone to redness, itching, and inflammation.

For more information on treating immersion foot and chilblains, check out this article by the CDC.

6. Understand the connection between cold temperatures and autonomic dysreflexia (AD)

What is AD and what are the symptoms?

If you have a spinal cord injury (SCI), you should be aware of the connection between extremely cold weather and autonomic dysreflexia (AD). AD is a potentially life-threatening episode of hypertension that requires immediate medical attention. The condition usually occurs in people with SCIs above level T6, as the result of stimuli below the injury site.

Symptoms of AD may include:

  • Severe headache
  • Spike in blood pressure
  • Change in heart rate
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

What should wheelchair users know about AD and winter weather?

While the vast majority of AD episodes occur as a result of “noxious stimulus” like a full bladder, blocked catheter, or UTI, cold temperatures are a known risk factor for AD.

Cold temperatures are a known risk factor for autonomic dysreflexia (AD).

“Nurse Linda” Schulz from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation offers the following insights about how wheelchair users at risk for AD can protect themselves in winter weather:

  • Dress appropriately indoors and outdoors
  • Limit your time in cold weather
  • Stay in temperature-controlled environments as much as possible

What should I do if I think I have AD?

In suspected cases of AD, call 911 or seek medical help immediately. A fast response is very important. You can learn more about the treatment for AD from the Reeve Foundation, including steps to take when medical help is not immediately available.

7. Protect yourself by staying warm, dry, and hydrated

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself during winter weather. While inside, make sure you’re dressed warm, eating well, and staying hydrated. While clothing, food, and water are necessities for everyone, wheelchair users will especially benefit by making heat production and retention easier.

While clothing, food, and water are necessities for everyone, wheelchair users will especially benefit by making heat production and retention easier.

If you spend time outdoors, take care to limit your time outside. Wheelchair batteries drain more quickly in the cold–you don’t want to get stuck! Make sure you’re dressed in appropriate clothes for the cold, and even consider additional layering like blankets.

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Once you’re back inside, make sure to remove extra layers so your body can adjust to the indoor temperature. If you have any wet clothes, remove them and replace them with dry clothes. If your chair was exposed to water, make sure you give yourself and your chair time to dry out fully–including your cushion, if applicable.

If you get chilled or wet outside, consider the following steps:

  • Get into a warm environment
  • Warm affected areas using boyd heat or warm (not hot!) water
  • Remove wet clothing and dry off
  • Layer up in warm clothes or blankets
  • Drink a warm beverage
  • Exercise, including passive range of motion
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • DO NOT walk, stand, or apply pressure to injured feet or toes
  • DO NOT massage or rub injured areas
  • DO NOT use electric blankets, heaters, or any other heat source that could cause a burn

Please note: these tips are not a substitute for medical advice and are meant for informational purposes only. If you suspect you might have hypothermia, frostbite, or another cold-related condition, seek medical attention immediately.

8. Make a winter weather emergency plan

Your winter weather emergency plan covers your bases for a variety of circumstances. By having a strong plan in place, you can better protect yourself and respond in the event of an emergency.

By having a strong plan in place, you can better protect yourself and respond in the event of an emergency.

An emergency plan should outline responses to the following:

  • Regular snow and ice accumulation
  • Shelter-in-place orders
  • Power outages
  • Evacuation orders
  • Vehicle emergencies
  • Wheelchair emergencies, indoors and outdoors

The Ready campaign recommends you prepare an emergency plan that may include:

  • Emergency supplies
  • Support network of people who will help you
  • Accessible transportation options
  • Identifying yourself on voluntary registries for targeted assistance during disasters and power restoration during outages
  • Alternative medical facilities that can help you if your primary choice is unavailable
  • Storing medical information on your mobile phone or printed out in a waterproof bag
  • Wearing a medical device tag or bracelet
  • Alternative assistive devices if you lose or damage your primary devices
  • Storing copies of important documents in a waterproof bag
  • Plans for household members, including pets or support animals

For more information on emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, check out this article from the Ready campaign.

Want help? Don’t hesitate to ask

We hope this article has provided helpful information about winter safety! Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. We advise you to consult with your healthcare provider about recommended winter safety approaches to your home, vehicle, and wheelchair–as well as yourself.

If you want help deciding how to improve winter safety at your home, we’re here for you. 

Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a free consultation and estimate. We’ll help you to identify safety solutions that offer you peace of mind and protection all winter long.

A new study by researchers at the University of Virginia found that people with type 2 diabetes who attend an annual wellness check are significantly less likely to require a major lower extremity amputation within the same year. 

The research involved Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, who are now entitled to a free yearly healthcare visit. The research found that 36% of people with diabetes had decreased odds of amputation just by attending this free check-up. 

Jennifer Lobo, a researcher from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, presented findings at the 82nd American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Session in New Orleans, Louisiana. She said that “People who made use of the new free annual wellness checks had diabetic foot issues diagnosed earlier than those who did not attend the wellness check.”  She also suggested that, “Policymakers should prioritize incentives for having patients participate in annual wellness visits to improve preventative care and reduce major lower extremity amputations, particularly in the Diabetes Belt.”  

The Diabetes Belt, where the study took place, is made up of 644 counties in the Southeastern and Appalachian USA. The study showed that people in the Diabetes Belt had a 27% higher risk of requiring a major lower extremity amputation when compared with surrounding counties.

Previous research from the team found that precisely one additional major lower extremity amputation per 1000 people was needed in the Diabetes Belt compared to other counties. 

The study also found that there are significantly increased rates of diabetes-related amputations among non-Hispanic Black patients in comparison to non-Hispanic White patients. This is true for inside and outside the Diabetes Belt. Researchers suggest the discrepancy could be due to relatively low available resources in the Diabetes Belt area. In order to boost preventative care in this area, more resources need to be available soon. 

“While Annual Wellness Visits are a free visit for qualified Medicare beneficiaries, additional incentives or resources to overcome systematic access to care barriers are needed to support patient attendance,” says Jennifer Lobo. “Patient education about the value of Annual Wellness Visits and preventative care could also help improve utilization of Annual Wellness Visits, hopefully reducing the rate of major amputations.” 

The new FREE Annual Wellness Visits provided by Medicare will benefit millions of people with Type 2 Diabetes, but only if they take advantage of the free visit.  

At Next Day Access, we encourage you to take advantage of this wellness visit. However, if you have recently had an amputation, we encourage you to visit your nearest Next Day Access. We provide many types of mobility equipment to help you get around safely and independently after an amputation. We sincerely hope you will never find yourself needing an amputation, but we are here for you if you do.  

Many aging adults cannot wait for retirement. Then when retirement comes along, many often complain that they find themselves bored. Fortunately, there are many volunteer activities you can do to help you lead a more fulfilling life. 

In some cases, when an aging adult has recently lost a spouse or companion, this boredom can turn into depression. A recent article in AARP describes a woman in this exact situation. Her spouse passed away, and at 81 years old, she was still vivacious and active even though her diabetes wasn’t improving.

She talked of how she soon developed depression and began looking for a way to improve her situation. After looking at different available options, she decided to start volunteering. She researched available volunteer opportunities in her community using the Corporation for National Community & Service resource.

She states that once she began volunteering, it gave her a new lease on life. She felt essential to those she helped and began to enjoy life again. 

This woman is one of the millions of aging adults, age 65 and older, who transformed their life by volunteering. There is something for everyone. 

According to the Corporation for National Community & Service, some of the most popular volunteer activities for aging adults include: 

  • Making or collecting blankets or clothing. 
  • Mentoring youth or young couples. 
  • Teaching a trade or skill, or even working with individuals learning to read by teaching them. 
  • General labor including cleaning up portions of a street or park, working with Habitat for Humanity, and helping build homes. 
  • Fundraising for various charities. 
  • Serving, preparing, or distributing food to sheltered adults or low-income families. 

The list above is just a few examples of how aging adults choose to volunteer. It seems that volunteering is not only about helping others, but, in many ways, it also helps the volunteer. 

Why Aging Adults Should Consider Volunteering 

According to multiple studies aging adults who volunteer even tend to live longer. It turns out that volunteering has mental, physical, and social benefits for those that choose to volunteer. 

Social benefits 

Aging adults tend to isolate themselves. According to AARP, studies estimate that 17% of Americans aged 55 and older feel isolated from society. When we separate ourselves, we could have a greater likelihood of developing an illness. It takes courage but pulling yourself out of isolation can be very beneficial for physical and mental health. 

Physically good for you 

When you volunteer, you are getting out and being far more active than sitting at home. Inactivity, as you age, promotes the advancement of serious illnesses such as heart issues, joint pain, bone loss, and more. 

Help give back to the community 

Of course, giving back to the community seems the most obvious benefit, but currently, many communities have been harshly affected by bad weather, Covid, job loss, and more.

Many people are struggling and being able to help even one person means a lot to the community as it is often a trickle-down effect. Once people get back on their feet, they can help others, and so on. You may never know the impact you have while volunteering! 

“People are not confined to their wheelchairs. They are, in fact, liberated by their wheels. A person with paralysis can get around as quickly in a wheelchair as a non-disabled person can walking,” said the Christopher Reeve Foundation. When you have the perfect wheelchair for you, you have better mobility and are more comfortable, and your chair is more accessible for you to use. 

Many factors go into choosing the perfect wheelchair, such as your abilities, types of usage, and cost. To help you choose, here is a list of available wheelchair options. 

Manual Wheelchair Options 

You could find a manual chair more comfortable if you have more upper body strength. The manual chairs are propelled by using your arms and hands to push the wheels forward. 

Today’s wheelchairs weigh significantly less and come in a variety of styles. These lightweight versions are easier to fold and put in and out of cars. You can now find manual chairs with a suspension option that gives a much smoother ride. 

If you choose, you can add products to these chairs like “frog legs”. The frog legs also aid in suspension. Another invention for manual chairs is the super-light titanium chairs that aim to be easier on the user’s shoulders. 

You can also change out the tires so that they can work easier over harder terrain. For example, if you want to go off-road, some tires accommodate the rough and rocky roads. There are rims for tires called FlexRim tires that help create a more accessible, low-impact push, which helps protect arms and hands. 

Power Chairs 

If a person finds it difficult to push a wheelchair, there are power wheelchairs and scooters that will do the work for them. The power chair uses a joystick controlled by an electric motor.  

There are many different styles of power chairs. A traditional power chair resembles a manual wheelchair but carries the bulk of the batteries, motor, and control system. However, you can also find them with a captain’s chair-style seat on top of a power base. 

Innovation has given a wider choice for power chairs. You can find light, fast and powerful power chairs these days. New models can be off-road ready, can fold for travel, and be customized for the most complex needs of people using a wheelchair.

Specialized Wheelchairs 

There are wheelchairs for children, wheelchairs that tilt or recline, and standing wheelchairs for people to put themselves in a standing position to prevent pressure sores and improve circulation. 

Special chairs are also designed for sports and leisure, such as basketball or tennis. There are even beach wheelchairs with tires to navigate the sandy beach terrain. 

We hope that sharing these available wheelchair choices can help you determine the best wheelchair for your scenario. If you cannot choose the right chair, Next Day Access is here to help. Do not hesitate to contact your nearest Next Day Access location to schedule a consultation. We will work with you by presenting our various models and sharing the information you need to determine which wheelchair suits you best. 

An estimated 40 million Americans are living with arthritis and suffer side effects from the disease daily. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, yet rheumatoid and osteoarthritis are the most common. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects joints. It is a chronic pain condition and, if left untreated, can cause disabilities. 

Maintaining a happy, active lifestyle can be difficult due to the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by arthritis. We’ve listed some helpful tips and techniques to help make everyday tasks more manageable. 

4 Tips for Living with Arthritis

Eat a Diet Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods 

Arthritis can cause severe inflammation. Foods such as nuts, beans, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or high-fiber bread help reduce inflammation. 

Exercise Regularly 

Low-impact exercises can help prevent stiffness and pain. Some great forms of exercising include swimming, cycling, or walking. You can also consider a low-impact yoga class incorporating gentle stretching into your routine. Stretching can move your joints through their full range of motion. 

Stop Smoking 

There are a variety of reasons smoking is bad for your health. One of those reasons is that if you live with arthritis pain, the toxins from cigarette smoke can make the pain worse. The toxins directly harm the connective tissue around joints, potentially leading to more pain. 

Assistive Devices

Assistive devices such as a cane, walker, wrist cast, or even shoe inserts can make daily life easier on your joints. 

At Next Day Access, we offer several assistive devices, including walkers, grab bars, railings, and more. Our goal is to help people find solutions when they have issues with mobility by providing accessibility devices and mobility equipment.

When you use assistive devices, it can make it easier for you to perform your everyday tasks. We hope the devices will improve your quality of life and help you better manage your condition. Don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Next Day Access if you have questions about our products and services. 

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), over 130 million people in the United States have diabetes or are pre-diabetic. Nearly 50% of adults over the age of 65 are pre-diabetic. If you are a caregiver, there is a chance you are helping manage diabetes in aging adults or needing to learn about pre-diabetes.

If it is not controlled, long-term complications can include:

  • Nerve Damage 
  • Stroke 
  • Blindness 
  • Hearing Impairment 
  • Heart Attack 
  • Kidney Failure 
  • Need for Amputation 
  • Skin Infections 

We have made an essential checklist for caregivers supporting someone with diabetes. This checklist will hopefully give them a better quality of life by leading a healthier lifestyle.

5 Ways to Help Manage Diabetes in Aging Adults

Learn about Diabetes

To ensure you give the best care it is important you educate yourself on diabetes. So, what is diabetes? 

According to the World Health Organization, “Diabetes is a chronic, metabolic disease characterized by elevated levels of blood glucose (or blood sugar) which leads over time to serious damage to the heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, and nerves.”.  

There are three types of diabetes: 

Type 1 – Where the pancreas produces little to no insulin. 

Type 2 – Affects the way the body processes blood sugar. 

Pre-diabetes – A condition in which blood sugar is high, yet not high enough to be classified as Type 2 diabetes. 

For more information on diabetes, visit these online resources, American Diabetes Association or Mayo Clinic.

Help Aging Adults with Exercise

Being physically active helps keep blood sugar levels down and aids in weight loss. However, it’s important to know the best time to exercise. If the blood sugar is low, it could be dangerous to exercise. It is best after a meal, when blood sugar levels are generally higher. 

Determine Stress Relieving Techniques

Blood sugar levels rise when a person is agitated, frustrated, and stressed. People that do not have diabetes have a fight or flight mechanism when stress increases. This mechanism does not work for people with diabetes—instead, their blood sugar spikes. Teach your aging loved one positive stress relieving techniques such as yoga and meditation. 

Ensure the Aging Adult has a Medical ID

With diabetes, you can have diabetic emergencies at any time. These emergencies include fainting from low blood sugar, going into shock from diabetic ketoacidosis, or even developing a wound that turns into a severe infection.

When you cannot be with your loved one a Medical ID tag can be a helpful tool for anyone coming to your loved one’s aid. You could also consider purchasing a medical alert piece of jewelry that sends a message to 911 with the push of a button. 

Help with Self-Monitoring

There are at-home blood sugar monitors that track accurate blood glucose levels. Teach them how to use this device properly and record how their diet, physical activity, and stress are being controlled over time.  

There are support groups available for caregivers of aging adults with diabetes. At Next Day Access, we are also here to lend a hand. We offer accessibility devices like grab bars and handles or mobility equipment such as wheelchairs and scooters.

Sometimes your loved one will feel weak as they battle diabetes, and we have solutions to help them in those times. Don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Next Day Access if you have questions about our products and services. 

According to the CDC, millions of people over 65 have horrible falls that result in hospital visits every year. One out of four aging adults falls each year. These statistics are staggering.

When an older adult falls, it is nowhere close to the same as someone younger falling because our bones become more brittle as we age. If an aging adult falls, they are more likely to break a bone or worse. Not to mention if someone older falls once, the likelihood of them falling again increases.

Falls can happen at any moment. Even simple movements like reaching into an overhead cabinet can trigger a fall. Luckily, there are simple exercises that help with balance and strength which ultimately help reduce falls by making you steadier on your feet. These exercises can be done in the comfort of your home. 

We found these exercises on YouTube from a channel titled Bob and Brad. Bob and Brand, both former physical therapists, have many videos on YouTube where they work together, using their physical therapy training, to create videos of exercises specifically geared for aging adults. 

Exercise 1

Grab a tissue box and remote control for this exercise. Then stand between two high tables or countertops. Put the remote on one table and the tissue box on the other. Use one arm to pick up the larger object and move it across your body to the other table.

Then pick it up again and move it back to its original location. Do the same with the remote control using the other arm. As for how many repetitions the aging adult should do, Bob and Brad recommend doing it until tired. However, if you find the exercise easy, you can increase the distance from the countertop or table or increase repetitions.  

Exercise 2

You can use the same tissue box and remote control for this exercise. This time place the objects on the countertop/table. Your loved one should be standing far enough away, so they must lean forward and reach for the items.

Have them lean forward to pick up the larger item with one arm and bring it to them while standing up straight again. Next, lean forward and put it back on the table/countertop. If that is too easy, move to the smaller object and have them put it down further away from where they are standing. 

Preventing Falls While Exercising

The last thing you want is for your loved one to fall while exercising. Make sure to be nearby while they exercise so you can provide instant stability if they get off balance. It is also a good idea to have them wear a gait belt for extra safety. 

When it comes to ensuring your loved one remains safe and comfortable at home, contact us at Next Day Access. We offer many accessibility devices to keep your loved one safe and independent at home. 

Aging adults need to be cognizant of heat stroke since their bodies do not adjust to high temperatures like they once did. This causes them to be more susceptible to dehydration. It is especially critical for adults with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease because they may not realize that they are overheating and need to cool down. Sadly, 36% of heat-related deaths reported in the United States were of people over 65. To keep aging adults comfortable and safe, here are some ways to help them stay cool. 

  1. Make sure they drink plenty of cold water throughout the day. It is also a good idea for them to avoid caffeine or alcohol. 
  2. Cook them light cold meals, such as chicken or pasta salad, instead of heavy, greasy meals. 
  3. For a snack, give them popsicles low in sugar; you could even make the popsicles yourself or use frozen fruits like berries or grapes. 
  4. If their house does not cool down enough, take them to a place you know the air conditioning will be cool, such as a mall, senior center, or library. 
  5. Keep a cool washcloth on the back of their neck and a bowl of ice-cold water nearby to replenish the towel’s coolness. You could also have them keep their feet in a basin of cool water. 
  6. If the washcloth method is not working, put them in a cool shower or bath. For optimal cooling, the recommended water temperature should be right below the body temperature.
  7. If there is not already an air conditioning unit in the adult’s primary sitting area, check into investing in one. You can also find places that will rent them if that is a better financial decision. This will have a tremendous impact on cooling them down. 
  8. If you cannot afford an air conditioning unit, check into neighboring senior centers to see if any have been donated. During sweltering months, cities will often have donation drives specifically so aging adults can receive a unit. 
  9. Keep the shades drawn during the hottest parts of the day. Also, look into inexpensive curtains called mylar solar curtains. These curtains keep UV rays from penetrating through the glass as harshly. 
  10. Dress them in lightweight, breathable fabrics. 

At Next Day Access, we specialize in keeping aging adults and people with disabilities comfortable and safe in their homes. We offer products specifically designed to make life easier for them. We encourage you to contact a Next Day Access near you to see the many ways we can help. 

Looking out at a gorgeous garden filled with plants and flowers can do wonders for the mind. A garden in full bloom is pleasing to the eyes and the nose. It is even better when you plant those flowers and plants. Perhaps you enjoy growing your own fruits and vegetables?

A homegrown tomato can taste drastically better than a store-bought tomato. Gardening boasts many benefits beyond the beauty, taste, and smells of the garden itself. In fact, there are many health benefits. Here are a few health benefits you can achieve from gardening. 

Stress Reliever

Gardening relieves anxiety and stress. A study from the Journal of Health Psychology found that gardening can lower cortisol levels in the brain. Cortisol is considered the “stress hormone.” Your body needs it to function, but too much of it can cause higher blood pressure or fluctuating glucose levels. So go ahead and dig in the dirt and feel relaxed while doing it. 

Good Exercise

Gardening is good exercise. Your heart rate goes up when you garden. Gardening isn’t as rigorous as a run-around the block, but any physical activity is good for your body. It has been proven that even daily light exercise increases your lifespan. Just be careful you stretch your arms, shoulders, and hands often as you work so you do not end up with tendonitis or carpal tunnel syndrome. 

Improves Immune System

Gardening can improve your immune system. Believe it or not, spending time digging in the dirt can improve immune health. A bacteria found in garden soil called Mycobacterium vaccae is considered a “friendly” bacterium because it helps improve the immune system. The bacteria have even been known to alleviate symptoms of asthma, psoriasis, and allergies. 

Lowers Dementia Risk

Gardening could lower the risk of dementia. An article on the website fivestarseniorliving.com mentions a study that found gardening may reduce the risk of dementia by up to 36 percent. Scientists believe it is because gardening requires many critical functions, such as sensory awareness and dexterity. Spending even a short time gardening, you are more likely to maintain motor skills and improve your strength and endurance. 

Source of Vitamin D

Gardening provides much-needed vitamin D. We have already mentioned how gardening decreases anxiety, but gardening also improves your mood. The sunshine causes your body to produce vitamin D and raises the serotonin levels in your brain. Serotonin is a chemical in your body that helps you feel calm and happy. Be sure to wear sunscreen and a hat while you garden. The sun does have its benefits, but you need to protect yourself from sunburn and the sun’s harmful UV rays.

With all of these benefits from gardening, you should consider stopping and smelling the roses and maybe even plant a few of your own. If you need help getting to your garden, consider calling us at Next Day Access, and we can install a modular or threshold ramp at your home. Contact us today for a free estimate.

Exercise is important during all phases of life, but it’s especially important for aging adults. It is essential for maintaining independence and flexibility among other benefits. To determine the best exercises for you, focus on activities that help with strength, mobility, balance, and breaking a sweat by increasing your heart rate. However, the best exercises for you are the ones you will want to do habitually. Here are 4 of the best exercises to break a sweat this summer. 


Walking is one of the best ways older adults can achieve cardio. You can modify your speed to a comfortable pace and go a distance that feels right for you. Walking requires good balance but can still be done if you need the assistance of a walker or a cane. Spending time outside also promotes positive mental well-being by reducing anxiety and improving mood.

Swimming or Water Aerobics

For many reasons, swimming and water activities are considered the best exercise for aging adults. Swimming expands the heart and lungs, making them stronger and more efficient at pumping blood through the body. In Water Aerobics, there is a lesser chance of injury since water reduces strain on your body’s joints. Swimming also decreases overall inflammation and boosts the immune system while improving metabolic efficiency. 


You can start yoga at a beginner’s level and work your way up to a more strenuous yoga class; starting out, you will focus more on different breathing techniques and balance. You can still break a sweat in the beginner’s class, however! Moving through the various poses will help improve flexibility, balance, and strength. 


According to Forbes Health, cycling is one of the best aerobic exercises for aging adults due to its many health benefits. “Whether you choose to use a stationary bike or an outdoor bicycle, cycling requires using your larger muscles such as hamstrings and quadriceps. Cycling leads to increased blood flow and demand for the heart and lungs. With any form of cardio, when this demand is repeated, the body adapts by increasing its capacity to tolerate the added load making the exercise beneficial for the heart and the lungs.” An additional benefit to cycling is that it is a non-impact exercise that helps people who need to reduce ground reaction forces during workouts due to muscle or joint pain.

It is never too late to start exercising. Even if you start slowly by just lifting 3-pound dumbbells daily. You are increasing your vitality and getting on track for healthier living. A recent Swedish study found that physical activity was the number one contributor to adding extra years to your life. However, getting active is not just about adding years to your life. It’s about adding life to your years. 

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