Whether you’re injured, disabled, or have an illness which leaves you with limited mobility, you can still reap the full benefits that come with regular exercise. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. In this article we’ll go over a number of limited mobility exercises which you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
These limited mobility exercises are designed for anyone to be able to accomplish — regardless of age, physical condition, or prior exercise experience. After reading this, we’re confident you’ll have the guidance and motivation you need to overcome your physical limitations and enjoy an active lifestyle.
Benefits of Regular Exercise
We realize we may not be preaching to the converted here. While some of you may be used to an active routine and are looking for limited mobility alternatives, we understand most reading this are likely looking to begin an exercise routine for the first time. Perhaps your doctor recommended it, and you’re left wondering why bother with limited mobility exercises in the first place.
In addition to the numerous physical health benefits — such as weight loss, improved strength, and healthier cardiovascular system — the mental health benefits are just as prevalent. In fact, exercise can be as effective as antidepressant medication at treating mild to moderate depression. It can also reduce stress and anxiety, boost self-esteem, and enhance your overall outlook on life.
What Types of Limited Mobility Exercises are Possible?
First off, let’s preface this section by stating your exercise routine should be suited to your current level of fitness. The beauty of regular exercise is, no matter where you start, you can always improve. So even if you have to start with low impact workouts for now, you can always increase the intensity later as you get more comfortable.
Knowing that, here’s a look at the types of limited mobility exercises you should strive to fit into your weekly regimen.
- Cardiovascular: This involves exercises which raise your heart rate over an extended period of time. Even if you’re confined to a wheelchair, you can still fit cardio workouts into your routine — such as doing laps around a track or water aerobics.
- Strength Training: This involves exercises which use weights and/or other types of resistance to strengthen muscles. Again, if you’re confined to a wheelchair, there are plenty of upper body strength training exercises you can perform.
- Flexibility: This involves exercises which are designed to improve your range of motion. Flexibility exercises could include anything from basic stretching, to chair yoga and Tai Chi.
Before You Begin: Getting the Right Equipment for Limited Mobility Exercises
Set yourself up for success right from the start by ensuring you have the right limited mobility exercise equipment. You’ll need these in order to perform the limited mobility exercises we’ll go over later in this article.
- A stable armless chair: It’s paramount that you have an armless chair without wheels which allows for stability and unrestricted upper body movement. That is, of course, unless the exercise itself calls for a wheelchair
- Resistance band: Begin your strength training using a resistance band until you’re able to move up to higher intensity exercises.
- Weights: If and when you’re ready to increase the intensity of your workouts make sure you’re prepared by having small hand weights, or wrist and ankle weights.
- Clothing: Don’t underestimate the importance of wearing the right exercise clothing. Breathable, unrestrictive clothing will allow you to move about more freely and make your workout more enjoyable overall.
How to Perform Limited Mobility Exercises
Now we’re starting to get into the nitty gritty details of this article. The section you’ve been waiting for. It’s time to discuss types of limited mobility exercises and how to perform them. First, let’s go over how much exercise you should aim for per session and how frequently you should exercise throughout the week.
How Much and How Often?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends adults with disabilities should aim for:
- At least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity cardiovascular training.
- Or 75 minutes per week of vigorous-intensity cardiovascular training.
- Cardiovascular workout sessions should be at least 10-minutes in length.
- Two or more sessions per week of moderate to high-intensity strength training.
- Incorporate all major muscle groups (if possible).
If you’re not able to meet these guidelines, do not get discouraged. Fit in as much physical activity each week as you’re able to. Remember, the main goal is to avoid inactivity as much as possible.
Types of Limited Mobility Chair Exercises
Limited mobility chair exercises are ideal if your disability or injury involves limited mobility in your lower body. Cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility exercises can all be performed from a seated position.
Cardiovascular Chair Exercises
Repetitive seated movements, otherwise known as chair aerobics, will raise your heart rate and engage your cardiovascular system. In addition, strength training exercises with light weight and high repetitions can also make for good cardio exercise.
Here are some more specific examples of limited mobility exercises you can try:
- Resistance band exercises: Secure a resistance band to your chair and perform rapid movements, such as arm curls or chest presses, for a count of one second up and two seconds down.
- Incorporate a variety of movements, with at least 20-30 repetitions per exercise.
- As fitness levels improve, incorporate more exercises, more reps, and extend total workout time.
- Resistance band exercises: Secure a resistance band to your chair and perform rapid movements, such as arm curls or chest presses, for a count of one second up and two seconds down.
- Air Punching: This might look and/or sound funny to you, but simply punching the air repeatedly can be a good cardio exercise. This is particularly ideal if you’re just starting out and building up your cardio fitness levels.
- Laps: Look into finding an accessible gym or outdoor track which will allow you to do laps in your wheelchair. Go at your own pace to start, and increase your speed as your fitness levels improve.
- Water Aerobics: If your physical ability permits, look into joining water aerobics classes which are offered by many swimming pools and health clubs.
- Arm-Based Cardio Machines: Most gyms offer arm-based cardio machines which are well suited for wheelchair users. This includes equipment like arm-bicycling and rowing machines.
- Wheelchair Sports: You can add some competition to your workouts by joining an organization which offers wheelchair sports, such as basketball and volleyball.
Strength Training Chair Exercises
You can engage most upper body muscle groups with limited mobility exercises from a seated position. This will require equipment such as hand weights and resistance bands. Here are some examples of types of limited mobility exercises you can incorporate into a strength training routine:
- Overhead presses
- Bicep curls
- Tricep extensions
- Lateral raises
- Pull downs
- Chest presses
- For more ideas, see About.com’s page on seated upper body workouts.
In order to build strength you must aim for using heavier weight, or stronger resistance bands, than you would for cardio exercises. Ideally your muscle group should feel like it’s been sufficiently worked out after 3 sets of 8-12 repetitions.
Flexibility Chair Exercises
Flexibility exercises involve anything which is designed to improve your range of motion. Depending on your level of fitness this can include anything from basic stretching, to more advanced exercises like seated yoga or Tai Chi. For more inspiration please see our article on wheelchair yoga, which describes a number of poses you can do from a seated position.
Finding the Motivation for a Regular Workout Routine
If this sounds like a lot of work so far, well, no one ever said exercise was easy. Whether of limited mobility or not, everyone faces the same challenge when beginning a workout routine — finding the motivation!
We completely empathize with the fact that there may be a number of mental barriers weighing you down at the beginning. Don’t let this stop you from beginning a routine of limited mobility exercises. The important thing is that you put in the effort. Just do something, even if it’s only a little bit at first. We promise it will get easier and more rewarding over time.
Here is some further advice on how to find the motivation to break through those mental barriers:
- If you’re feeling self-conscious, you can stick to working out at home in the beginning. Going to the gym during non-peak hours also helps, or joining a class with other individuals who have the same physical limitations.
- If you’re scared of injury, begin with low-risk activities.
- If you’re not experienced, begin with exercises that require the least amount of skill and work your way up.
- If you miss a day or two, don’t get discouraged. It happens to everyone, so just pick up where you left off. It takes roughly a month for any kind of new activity to become a habit.
Final Words of Advice
It’s time to leave you with some parting advice before you embark on your fitness journey. You’re almost ready to begin, there’s just a few more things you need to know. Remember, no matter what, you need to listen to your body at all times. You’re probably familiar with the phrase “no pain, no gain”, but try not to take it too literally.
On the contrary, it’s highly recommended that you stop exercising if you feel pain. Some muscle soreness is to be expected, but if the pain becomes excruciating, or you experience pain in your bones or joints, this is a cause for you to stop, take a break, and reevaluate. Trying to power through a workout when you’re in pain can only lead to injury.
Speaking of preventing injury, it’s a good idea to begin each workout with a quick warm up and stretch, and end each workout with a brief cool down period. Warming up with some light activity and stretching will prepare your body for what’s to come, while a cool down period will help return your heart rate back to its regular resting pace.
Lastly, drink lots of water. You lose a lot of fluid through sweat, so drinking plenty of water will help prevent dehydration while helping your body perform at its best.
Remember that it’s never too late to start exercising. Do what you can, when you can, and the results will come. Start by setting small, achievable goals and you’ll be amazed as you watch yourself progress from week to week.
For more information about limited mobility exercises, we recommend reading some of our previous articles:
At Williams Lifts we understand post-surgery pain can be debilitating. The discomfort could turn something as easy as getting in and out of a favorite chair into a challenge. That’s why we offer individuals the option to rent a recliner after surgery.
A reclining lift chair is a specially designed chair that takes the effort out of sitting down and standing up. They’re perfect for when you’re experiencing a period of limited mobility.
If there’s one positive thing to say about post-surgery pain it’s that you can look forward to it going away eventually. Speaking from previous successes with our clients, reclining lift chairs are known to speed up the rehabilitation process. In other words, a lift chair can help make that temporary pain go away even faster.
With that being said, while it will help to get a reclining lift chair into your home, it might not make economical sense to purchase one outright. Purchasing a reclining lift chair is a considerable investment, especially if you’ll only end up needing it for a short period of time. Since you’ll eventually be able to get back up on your feet on your own accord, you may be more inclined to rent a recliner as opposed to buying one.
Our rental options allow you to turn an expensive investment into affordable monthly payments. Moreover, you’ll have the freedom to return it whenever you please. You will not be locked into a contract which requires you to keep the chair for a set number of months. Although it can be said that after sitting in one you may be reluctant to give it up.
In addition, it helps to think of reclining lift chairs as more than just rehabilitation devices. They are designed to provide the peace of mind that comes with making it easier to get up and down on one’s own.
Rent a Recliner After Surgery to Speed Up Recovery
As previously mentioned, a reclining lift chair can aid in the recovery process. Not only does it make it easier for you to sit down and relax, but a lot of people who rent a recliner after surgery also use it as an alternative to their own bed.
After a major operation it can be difficult to get a good night’s sleep in the average bed. A reclining lift chair allows patients to optimize their sleeping position in ways that wouldn’t otherwise be possible. Similar to a hospital bed, a reclining lift chair can be adjusted to minimize pain and maximize comfort. This will make it easier to get to sleep and stay asleep throughout the night, which is important because sleep is essential for recovery after surgery.
Rent a Recliner After Surgery from Williams Lifts
When you rent a recliner from Williams Lifts you can be assured you’re getting the same quality chair as if you were to purchase one outright. Our name is built on quality, and we can personally vouch for all of our rental chairs because they have been with us throughout their entire lifespan. Each one is inspected and serviced before and after each rental to ensure maximum customer satisfaction.
Just as we are committed to easing the pain of our customers, we are equally as dedicated to make it as pain-free as possible to rent a recliner after surgery.
We invite you to visit our showroom where we always have at least 4-5 power recliners on display for you to try before you rent. After finding the one that’s right for you, we’ll deliver it direct to your living room. When it’s no longer needed we’ll pick it up and transport it back to our warehouse.
If you’d like to learn more about how to rent a recliner please call us today at 908-322-7070 for more information.
If you’re looking for ADA handrail specifications for wheelchair ramps, please see this post. The following article discusses ADA specifications for handrails used inside the home — specifically in the bathtub and near the toilet.
ADA handrail specifications are a set of guidelines established by the Americans with Disabilities Act, which installers are encouraged to follow when adding handicap handrails inside a residential dwelling or commercial establishment.
In this post we will clearly outline the specifications recommended by the ADA for installing handrails in and around the bathroom.
ADA Handrail Specifications: In and Around the Bathroom
Handrails Near the Toilet
When installing handicap handrails near the toilet, it is recommended to have one on the side wall as well as the rear wall. The handrail on the side wall should be a minimum length of 42 inches, and placed 12 inches from the rear wall. The distance from the rear wall to the end of the side rail should be 54 inches minimum. The handrail on the rear wall behind the toilet should be a minimum of 36 inches long, with a minimum distance of 12 inches from the water closet.
Roll-in Type Shower Compartments
Roll-in shower compartments are specially modified showers where the individual can roll-in and comfortably transfer themselves to a seated position within the shower. These types of shower compartments should be a minimum 36 inches by 36 inches inside, with a 36 inch opening. Handrails are required on the back wall and the side wall opposite the seat. Handrails are not required to be installed above the seat. The space between the wall and the handrail should be 1.5 inches. The space between the handrail and projecting objects below and at the ends should also be a minimum of 1.5 inches. The space between the handrail and projecting objects above should be a minimum of 12 inches.
Bathtubs With Permanent Seats
Handrails are required on both the back wall and control end wall within a bathtub with permanent seats. Two handrails should be installed horizontally on the back wall. The first handrail should be 33 inches minimum and 36 inches maximum above the floor, while the other should be installed 8 inches minimum and 10 inches maximum above the rim of the bathtub. On the control end wall, the handrail should be a minimum 24 inches in length at the front end of the bathtub (the side with the faucets).
Bathtubs Without Permanent Seats
A bathtub without permanent seats requires handrails on the back wall, control end wall, and head end wall. The ADA handrail specifications for the back wall are identical to the back wall specifications for bathtubs with permanent seats. Specifications are also identical for the handrail installed on the control end wall. On the head end wall the handrail should be a minimum 12 inches in length and installed at the front edge of the bathtub.
Adhering to ADA handrail specifications is necessary to ensure the safety of individuals not only in the bathroom, but anywhere handrails need to be installed. For more information about ADA specifications, you can see the organization’s official documentation here.
There are numerous handicap aids for the home which can make it easier to get around and regain that feeling of independence. We’re confident you can find the right tool to assist you in this list of handicap aids we have put together.
Handicap Aids: Around The House
These handicap aids are designed to assist you in your daily home life. Whether it’s getting around or performing tasks, these tools can help you accomplish more with less effort.
If stairs have become and obstacle, you can overcome them with a stairlift. Stairlifts help you travel up and down stairs on a mechanical track in a seated position. This eliminates the effort involved with walking up and down the stairs, and greatly reduces the risk of injuries that can be sustained from falling down stairs. Stairlifts can be installed to fit just about any stairwell with minimal modifications. For more information, please inquire here.
For wheelchair bound individuals, wheelchair ramps are one of the most essential handicap aids available. Modular wheelchair ramps can help you get in and out of your home with ease, while threshold ramps can help you get through doors and other raised ledges.
Reclining Lift Chairs
When leisure time is no longer as relaxing as it once was, it may be time to look into a reclining lift chair. Even the best La-Z-Boy on the market is a struggle to get in and out of if it’s not powered. With reclining lift chairs being electronically powered, you can use a remote control to raise the seat height to a comfortable level. Then gently ease yourself into the chair, and use the remote to lower it again. This helps take pressure off the muscles and joints when sitting and standing.
You’ve just settled into your favorite power recliner and are ready to relax for the evening. Hold on a minute, the remote is just out of arm’s reach. Not to worry, with a reaching aid by your side you won’t have to get up! Reaching aids can help you reach, lift, and move things closer to you while exerting minimal effort. They’re also great for grabbing items from tall shelves.
We spend roughly a third of our lives sleeping. Our beds should be as comfortable, safe, and secure as possible. In other words, a place where you can look forward to laying down at the end of a long day. A simple over-the-bed table is a versatile tool that can be used however you need it. Anything you need to have accessible from your bed can be placed on the table and rolled away when you’re done. Bedside rails are also recommended for those with limited mobility who may be at risk of injury.
Pill organizers help to reduce the stress and anxiety that comes with taking your medication. Modern day pill organizers can not only separate your medication by date and time, they can sound an alarm when it’s time to take your next dose. In order for medication to be effective it has to be taken as prescribed, and you can help ensure that happens by having a tool for keeping it all organized.
Handicap Aids: In the Bathroom
A list of handicap aids for the home would not be complete without taking into consideration something as crucial as the bathroom. The potential for slips, falls, and injuries in the bathroom are greater than perhaps any other room in the house. Tools, like handicap toilet aids and others, will help reduce those risks.
Safety grab bars are one of the most essential bathroom aids. They can be installed anywhere there’s a potential for for someone to fall, or wherever an individual needs extra assistance with getting up and down. These places tend to include the inside of a shower, the side of a bathtub, or on the wall beside a toilet. Safety bars provide people with limited mobility something grab onto if they slip, or assistance if they just need help getting out of the tub after a warm bath.
Bath and Shower Chairs
These bathroom aids almost go hand in hand with safety bars, because if you need one there’s a probability you’ll also need the other. Safety bars can help you get into the bathtub or shower, they provide something to hold onto in the event of a slip and fall, but shower chairs can help prevent falls altogether. These are especially recommended if the individual has difficulty standing for long periods of time. Instead, they can sit comfortably as they freshen up in the morning.
Long Handle Bath/Shower Brushes
Long handle brushes provide assistance to those with limited mobility by giving them the ability to wash difficult-to-reach parts of the body without overexerting themselves. Places like the back of the neck, lower back, legs, and feet can be a challenge to wash if you can’t reach them on your own. Long handle brushes help ensure that a person can bathe independently and stay clean from head to toe.
Handicap Toilet Aids
Raised toilet seats are common handicap toilet aids. They increase the height of a toilet seat, making it easier for a person to sit or stand. The standard height of a toilet seat is around 14 inches, handicap toilet aids increase the height to about 18 inches. This height is more optimal for the average adult, and will reduce stress on the knees when sitting and standing. Other handicap toilet aids we recommend are the previously mentioned safety bars, which provide something to hold onto as the person is in the process of sitting or standing.
With assistance in common areas of the home, as well as private areas like the bedroom and bathroom, handicap aids can help a person stay independent all throughout their day.
New Jersey is an excellent wheelchair accessible state, with plenty of locations and attractions built to meet the unique needs of all its visitors. In this post we will go over a few of those attractions, and discuss what there is to do in NJ during the winter months.
Finding the Best Wheelchair Accessible Locations
Finding the best wheelchair accessible locations is challenging at any time of the year. Even more so during winter when the weather is colder, the ground is wetter, and spending time outdoors is less desirable.
Although no one wants to spend their time cooped up inside either. So what we have done is rounded up some of the best wheelchair accessible locations to visit around the city as the weather gets colder.
Best Indoor Locations
New Jersey State Museum
This accessible location is in the state’s capital city of Trenton. It’s easy to spend an afternoon or an entire day exploring the contents of the museum. Its state-of-the-art facility is host to a planetarium, sculptures and photographs, over 12 thousand paintings, cultural history exhibits, and an archaeological exhibit. General admission entry into the museum is free.
This accessible location located in Camden is formerly known as the New Jersey State Aquarium. It is a for-profit educational entertainment attraction. Visitors to the aquarium can explore nearly 200,000 square feet of sea life and wildlife. Staying open during the winter months, this is an NJ attraction worth keeping on your list for repeat visits. There’s so much to see, you couldn’t possibly do it the first time around.
Liberty Science Center
New Jersey’s largest museum is fully ADA-compliant, which makes this an ideal attraction to add to your list of places to visit in NJ in the winter. Liberty Science Center is an interactive science museum and learning center located in Liberty State Park in Jersey City.
Best Outdoor Locations
Anywhere you go looks a little bit nicer this time of year thanks to the fall colors in the sky, the leaves on the ground, and the minimal amounts of snow tying everything together. New Jersey has many state parks which can be just as well maintained in the winter months as they are in the spring and summer months.
Many locals and tourists alike visit these parks at all times of the year to relax and take in the scenery. Witnessing the change of seasons from summer-to-fall-to-winter in NJ is something that should be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
We find that the more you look for wheelchair accessible locations in NJ, the more you find that it’s harder to come up with locations that do not meet today’s accessibility standards. NJ is an accommodating city, both indoors and outdoors, which is why we have always been proud to do business here. Certainly don’t let the worry of accessibility keep you from enjoying all the city has to offer in the coming seasons.
Holiday tips for caregivers can never be too plentiful this time of year. Additional stress and demands are placed on caregivers during the holidays, not only from clients but from the caregivers themselves.
As a caregiver, there’s a tendency to feel as though you need to keep doing more, which could lead to you pushing yourself to a point where it starts to become detrimental to your own health.
We have put together a list of holiday tips for caregivers that are intended to help you de-stress and even enjoy what the season has to offer.
Top Holiday Tips for Caregivers
Avoid Burnout With Time Management
This may be difficult with the many holiday parties and social gatherings going on, but try not to schedule too many events one day after another. Give yourself time to rest when you feel like you need it. This may mean having to miss some events, but in the long run you’ll be doing what’s best for yourself.
It’s also important to be mindful of the one you’re caring for and their stress levels. Watch for and take note of any changes in personality or behavior. Unusual irritability and fatigue are key signs of holiday burnout. Keep their schedule light during the holidays, and don’t feel guilty about having to turn down the occasional invite from a friend or family member.
Don’t Let Shopping Create Stress
Shopping is an unavoidable expectation of the holiday season, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful one. Simplify the process by buying online from the comfort of your own home whenever possible. If you have multiple friends and family members to buy for, but are not sure what to get them, there’s no rule against getting them all the same thing. Find a great gift basket that anyone would enjoy, and buy one for multiple people on your list instead of stressing about what to buy for each individual person.
Don’t Try to Do Everything / Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help
In past years you may have worked yourself to the bone preparing Christmas dinner for the one you’re caring for and up to 20 or so guests. Try to start a new tradition by getting others involved in the process, or perhaps having guests bring their own dishes potluck-style. At the very least, do not be afraid to ask for help when you genuinely need it. You’re only capable of so much, and friends and family members are usually more than happy to lend a hand during the holiday season.
Do Something Good For Yourself
Whether you realize it or not, as a caregiver you’re so busy meeting others’ needs that you end up neglecting your own. Enjoy a completely self-indulgent treat this season to reward yourself for the hard work you’ve been putting in not only during the holidays, but all year long. Think about what you’ve been longing for — maybe it’s a day at the spa, or laying in bed all day binge watching Netflix. Whatever it is, do “you” for a full day because you deserve it.
Effective time management can avoid stress and holiday burnout. Streamlining the shopping experience can lead to a much more pleasant season. Ask for help when necessary, and top off the season by doing something good for yourself. If you have additional holiday tips for caregivers, please share them in the comment box below.
Aging in place, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, refers to the ability of an individual to live independently in their own home and community. Being able to age in place also means living safely and comfortably regardless of age, income, or level of ability.
Aging in Place Means Planning Ahead
Planning ahead will prepare you for the challenges to come — challenges such as changes in your health, ability level, or social supports. In order to plan ahead you must start with the end goal in mind. Visualize what you want your lifestyle to look like as you get older, then work backward outlining the steps you need to take to achieve that goal.
Planning ahead means planning for the unexpected as well. It’s wise to have a fallback plan in case any unforeseen emergencies occur. This can include the sudden development of a chronic illness or disability, or a change in income. The more smart choices you make now, the greater control you will have over your independence and quality of life as you get older.
Here are the key things to consider as you plan for aging in place.
What to Consider as You Age in Place
The first thing to consider is your home, and whether or not it is equipped to meet the needs and challenges of someone who is aging in place. Here are some questions to ask yourself:
- “What modifications are needed to help me remain safe in my home?” These can include stair lifts, ramps, emergency response systems, security alarms, and so on.
- “If I have to leave my home temporarily, who will maintain it in my absence?” Depending on where you live, there might be community services available. Otherwise, you’ll need to have some emergency funds saved away to pay for the services.
- “What are some alternative options if my home does not adequately serve my needs?” Consider the costs and whether or not you have enough money to move if you need to.
Aging in place does not literally mean staying in one place all the time. Getting out and becoming engaged in your local community is highly encouraged. You should learn as much as you can about the community you live in, because it could have a profound impact on your ability to age in place. Ask yourself the following questions:
- Is my community age-friendly?
- Does my community have supports and services in place to help me stay independent as I get older?
- Are there any neighboring communities that offer more of the supports and services I need?
- What kinds of government assistance are available where I live?
Having all the supports and services available at your fingertips means precious little if you don’t feel safe in your own community. Unfortunately, older adults are among the most vulnerable to fraud and financial abuse. To ensure your safety, ask yourself the following questions:
- How safe do I feel in my own community?
- Do I feel confident about being able to protect myself from fraud and financial abuse?
- What do I do if I feel as though my safety is being compromised?
Where to Find More Information about Aging in Place
Williams Lifts Company is dedicated to providing individuals with the equipment they need to maintain their safety and independence in their own home. We recommend looking into our stairlifts, ramps, and reclining lift chairs. For any other questions, you’re always welcome to contact us anytime.
Traveling is an arduous task for anyone, even those who travel frequently for work or pleasure run into stressful situations from time to time. When it comes to traveling with a wheelchair that stress is multiplied, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have an enjoyable time.
Wheelchair travel can be made less stressful with proper planning. In this post we’re going to go over some of the most helpful tips wheelchair-bound travelers can follow to make their next trip go as smooth as possible.
Top 4 Tips for Wheelchair Travel
There’s no such thing as too much planning when you’re traveling with a wheelchair. If you have a destination in mind for your next trip, do your homework and look up as much information as you can about the location. Research how accessible the location is in general and make note of the spots that offer full wheelchair accessibility. This way, when you’re out sightseeing or grabbing a bite to eat, you’ll know exactly where to go.
With that said, it’s also a good idea to plan accessible routes to get to the places you want to visit. Before embarking on your trip, know where you’re going, when you’re going, and how you’re going to get there. This also applies to getting to your hotel from the airport. It’s a good idea to have transportation arrangements made in advance because there’s no guarantee there will be wheelchair accessible vehicles there for you.
Planes & Airports
A pro tip for wheelchair travel is to ask for a seat behind the bulkhead when booking your flights. These seats offer extra leg room, which makes getting in and out of your seat much easier. The majority of major airlines offer pre-boarding for passengers with disabilities, so getting on the plane should not be a hassle. Having a comfortable seat once you get on the plane is the major concern. It’s a good idea to book direct flights whenever possible, it will be a much more pleasant trip since you won’t be boarding and unboarding multiple planes throughout the day.
Another little known fact about wheelchair travel is that the airline will ask for the dimensions of your wheelchair, as well as what type of battery is in it (if it’s powered). Airlines need this information to determine whether or not your wheelchair will fit in the cargo hold. Have this information ready at the time of booking so you can provide it right away, instead of having to call back and complete the booking later. It’s also good to have this information on you while you’re at the airport, because you might be asked for it again when you check in.
When planning for wheelchair travel, it’s a must that your home base (i.e., hotel, Airbnb, etc.) be completely wheelchair accessible. Once you have decided where you’re going, make your hotel booking as soon as you can because it’s not uncommon for accessible rooms to get booked fast. If you’re unsure of where to book, look on some travel websites to see if any disabled travelers have left a review for the hotel. If you still have specific concerns in mind, there’s no harm in contacting the hotel by phone and asking them what you need to know. Ideally an accessible hotel should have a ramp at the front entrance, an elevator, and roll-in showers. If possible, opt for a hotel that’s relatively close to the places you will be visiting. This will make getting around the city a lot easier.
Have a Backup Plan
In addition to planning for what you expect to do on the trip, plan for the unexpected as well. What happens if your wheelchair malfunctions, breaks down, or just plain stops working? You don’t want to be stuck in that kind of situation without a plan, so keep those kinds of things in mind when planning your trip. To solve issues you might have with your wheelchair while traveling, it’s a good idea to bring a small repair kit with you. Also look into repair shops nearby that deal with mobility devices. We hope that’s not somewhere you’ll ever have to go on a trip, but it’s better to plan ahead than be stuck without a working wheelchair.
If there’s one takeaway to walk away with after reading this post it’s to have a well organized plan for your next trip. Traveling with a wheelchair doesn’t have to be a challenge. If you plan for everything in advance you’ll be prepared to make the most out of your trip. If you have any other tips for traveling with a wheelchair that we didn’t cover in this post, please share by leaving a comment below.
Mobility aids are typically reserved for one or two purposes: either the person needs them as part of a rehabilitation program when recovering from an injury, or they’re needed for long-term assistance when an individual has a difficulty with walking that’s more permanent.
Mobility aids are designed to perform one or more of the following functions:
- Allow for greater stability and balance through providing a wider base for support.
- Assist an individual with maintaining an even walking pattern.
- Help with maintaining an upright posture.
- Restore confidence in one’s walking ability.
- Redistribute weight carried by the legs to reduce joint and muscle pain.
In this post, we’ll provide information on the types of mobility aids that are available, beyond what’s available at Williams Lifts. We know you may need assistance throughout the day beyond what a stair lift and ramp can provide, and we want to help point you in the right direction.
Types of Mobility Aids
Walking sticks are well suited for those with slightly reduced balance. How it’s held will depend on the individual and whether they have one leg or one side stronger than the other. Walking sticks are available in metal, wooden, and folded varieties. There are even some walking sticks that can fold out in a seat so breaks can be taken when needed.
Tripod Cane and Quad Canes
These mobility aids are similar to walking sticks, but they have a three or four point base on the bottom for added stability. Because of this, they are able to stand on their own and are overall more stable than your standard walking stick. They are all made of some type of metal, usually aluminum or steel, and are fully adjustable thanks to spring-loaded catches on the shaft.
Crutches are usually used after being recommended by a medical professional. In fact, we wouldn’t recommend the use of crutches unless you have spoken with your doctor or another healthcare professional about it first. These mobility aids are designed to be used in pairs, which means you need good coordination in order to use them correctly.
These mobility aids are typically used by individuals with poor balance and/or weak legs. Walkers can transfer 64% of a person’s body weight throughout the arms of the frame, while a walking stick can only transfer 24% of the person’s body weight. Walkers are available in a wide variety of models, including models with 4 wheels, 2 wheels, or no wheels. For more information about walkers we recommend, please read our blog post on all the different types of walkers.
In addition to stair lifts, ramps, and power lift recliners, these are some of the major types of mobility aids available. If you’re still not sure which one is right for you, you can always visit a medical equipment supply store to try the various types of equipment for yourself.
Keep in mind that no matter what type of equipment you buy, regular maintenance of the equipment is highly recommended. We also recommend that you make sure your home is equipped for safe use of the equipment before bringing it home — that includes removing all potential hazards that might get in the way.
If you have questions about any of the mobility aids mentioned in this post, please contact us or leave a comment below.
A handicap parking permit can be issued to eligible individuals by the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission. You’re eligible to apply for a permit that allows you to park in handicap spaces if you have a permanent or temporary disability.
You Are Eligible to Apply for a Handicap Parking Permit If:
- You can no longer use one of your limbs, either because of paralysis, amputation, or another permanent disability.
- You cannot walk without the use of, or assistance from a brace, cane, crutch, another person, prosthetic device, wheelchair or other assistive device.
- You have a heart condition in which your ability to function is classified in severity as Class III or Class IV according to standards set by the American Heart Association.
- You have an arthritic, neurological, or orthopedic condition that limits your ability to walk.
- You are unable to walk 200 feet without needing to rest.
Types of Handicap Parking Permits
If you meet one or more of the eligibility requirements above, you can apply for either a permanent or temporary parking permit. These are easily identified with the permanent placard being blue, and the temporary placard being red. Keep in mind that before applying for a permit you must provide certification from a medical professional regarding your disability.
Here is some more information about the two types of parking permits:
- Temporary Parking Permit
Those with temporary injuries or disabilities are best off applying for a temporary permit. It’s important to note that when applying you must do so in person to your local New Jersey police chief, not at the Motor Vehicle Commission as many would assume.
To apply, you must submit a completed Application for Temporary Placard (Form SP-68). With this application you must include the certification from your medical professional. There is also a $4 fee involved with submitting the application.
The temporary permit is valid for six months. If after that time you feel as though you’ll still need the permit, you can apply for another temporary permit for another six months. To do this you will need to have your doctor re-certify your injury, complete another application, and pay another $4 fee. If you lose or need to replace your temporary permit for any reason you must contact your local police chief in order to do so.
- Permanent Parking Permit
Those with long-term disabilities are best off applying for a permanent permit. There are a few key differences between applying for a temporary permit and applying for a permanent permit. First off, the permit is issued by the Motor Vehicle Commission, not the local police chief. In addition, when applying for the permit you can do so either in person or by mail.
When you apply for a permanent parking permit you will also receive a “Person with a Disability” ID card, which is just as important to keep with you as the permit itself. To apply for the permit, you’ll need to submit The Application for Vehicle License Plates and/or Placard for Persons with a Disability (Form SP-41). With this application you’ll also need to attach the certification from your medical professional. If you’re applying for a wheelchair symbol license plate you will also need to provide a copy of your vehicle registration.
When everything is completed and put together, take it all to your local NJ MVC office or mail it to:
Special Plate Unit
P.O. Box 015
Trenton, NJ 08666
The benefit of applying in person is that you will receive the handicap parking permit on the same day. A mailed-in application could take up to 6 weeks to process.
Permanent permits are valid for up to 3 years. After 3 years you must renew your certification, which is completely free to do. All you have to do is get re-certified from your medical professional, complete another application, and submit it to your local NJ MVC office.
Applying for a handicap parking permit is so easy there’s no excuse not to do it. If you’re of limited mobility you deserve one of these permits to make parking one less obstacle in your life. If you have any other questions about how to apply for a handicap parking permit in NJ, please leave a comment below.