About 8 million people suffer from disabilities requiring the use of wheelchairs. Transporting these devices, however, can be cumbersome—something you can overcome through these practical suggestions.
If you are lifting the wheelchair into the vehicle, follow the safety tips below.
If you are loading the wheelchair with a ramp, follow the tips below.
If you need a little help keeping your balance while walking, a rollator might be just what you need. Here are some tips on using a wheeled rollator for walking.
This month’s caregiving story comes from Michelle Tell, whose mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002. The inability to find adequate homecare later influenced Michelle’s decision to start her own caregiving business, Seniors Helping Seniors. Read her story and the interview below.
“My mother was diagnosed with brain cancer in 2002. I had a 15 month old daughter at the time, and lived in a different city, so she and I would travel each week 5 hours to see her and help my dad take care of her. We would leave on Sunday and come home on Tuesday or Wednesday. Mind you, I also had a full time job at the time and was lucky enough to be able to work remotely, but still it was a challenge.
I did this for 6 months, at which time I became pregnant again. As I couldn’t keep up the pace, we began looking for professional caregivers to assist my dad. At that time, there were a lot of people in the business for the wrong reasons, and we couldn’t find caring, compassionate people. We ended up making the heart-wrenching decision to place her in a nursing community.
After she died, my husband and I decided we wanted to do something in her memory to help the senior community in our area. As a result, we bought a franchise in Seniors Helping Seniors, because my mom would have loved to have someone her own age there to help. So the end result is positive, and her memory lives on for all of us.”
How did you find the support that you need as a caregiver?
“We were unable to find professional support, and we turned to friends for support. They were always there and willing to help, but my dad’s pride wouldn’t allow him to reach out for them. Again, this was back in 2002, and today there is a lot more support in the community for people in the same situation.”
What brought you joy in caregiving?
“Seeing my mom’s face light up when she saw my daughter made everything worth it. That little girl was her single source of enjoyment and allowed her to forget, if only for a moment, the horrors going on in her brain.”
What were the biggest obstacles that you faced in caring for your loved one?
“The cancer robbed my mother of her motor skills, however her mind was fine. The problem with this is, she knew exactly what was happening to her and it scared her. To see a once strong person reduced to tears and literally scared for her life was difficult.”
What is the most helpful caregiving tip that you could share with another caregiver?
“Don’t be afraid to seek help. If the caregiver gets sick, she can’t help anyone.”
Checking your blood oxygen level is important for athletes, high altitude climbers, and individuals dealing with asthma, respiratory illness, high blood pressure, and other medical conditions.
With advanced technology, anyone can check their blood oxygen level anywhere, any time. Finger pulse oximeters are small enough to fit in your pocket or purse.
To use the pulse oximeter, follow these instructions:
After pressing the power button to turn on the unit, pinch open the finger pulse oximeter like a clothespin and attach it to your finger (typically the index finger is used).
Nail polish, excessive movement, hypothermia or extremely cold fingers, incorrect attachment, restricted blood flow due to pressure on the arms or fingers, anemia, carbon monoxide poisoning, shock, and other factors can result in a faulty reading.
To find out of the reading is accurate, test your pulse manually and compare it to the pulse rate reading on the oximeter.
If the readings show dangerous blood oxygen levels, test yourself again on a different finger to make sure the readings are correct.
Also, it’s a good idea to keep a spare set of batteries on hand in case of battery failure.
Too much movement can disrupt the accuracy of the finger oximeter. Try to keep as still as possible while the oximeter is detecting your pulse and blood oxygen level.
The normal range for blood oxygen saturation is between 96% and 100%. If your oxygen saturation level is below 90%, seek medical help immediately, as these levels could quickly lead to life-threatening complications. Levels between 90% and 95% may signify a less severe hypoxia and require immediate action to prevent a more severe case of hypoxia.