Levaté Wheelchair Lift

LevateThe top shelf of items at the grocery store is a known nemesis of manual wheelchair users. So tantalizing close, yet so often out of reach. But what if there was a way to change that? What if there was an easy, safe way to boost your chair a foot off the ground? MeetLevaté. The brainchild of a team of students at the University of Oklahoma, Levaté aims to do for manual wheelchair users what seat elevators do for power chair users.

“We’ve seen how big a problem this is in the daily lives of wheelchair users and each time we talk to a different wheelchair user we see different ways they can use it,” he says. “It really motivates and inspires us to keep working on this.”

The idea is a lightweight lift that could be easily attached and detached to the bottom of a manual chair and would use compressed air to boost the user and user’s chair 12 inches. The team is currently working on a heavier aluminum version as proof of concept, but Levaté CEO and Co-Founder Dillon Carroll says they envision using lighter materials to keep the final weight of the actual product under 10 pounds.

Here is a video of the latest prototype:

To help better understand the needs of wheelchair users, the team has enlisted MaryBeth Davis, Ms. Wheelchair Oklahoma 2014, as its community engagement manager. They are also looking to connect with more wheelchair users and for future beta testers. Carroll says they are working on patents and hope to partner with a company that will help them refine their design and make the actual product. He cited late-2015 as the target date to bring the lift to market.

In the meantime, Levaté is planning to launch a Kickstarter campaign any day now. The website says it was expected to launch Oct. 3, but Carroll says to expect it later this month. He encouraged anyone interested in the project, or possibly testing it, to contact Levaté via its website.

Increase Your Independence With Daily Living Aids

We all strive towards an independent way of life but some can face more challenges in daily living than others. If you suffer with restricted mobility, general tasks around the home can become quite daunting. There is of course a huge array of specialised equipment out there that can assist in making life easier, but some items can carry a hefty price tag and can be too cumbersome or unnecessarily complicated.

Here is a quick glance at some of useful and simple to use daily living aids that are available on the market right now.

Kitchen Aids

The kitchen is always one of the busiest rooms of any home and with it comes its own set of challenges. Preparing a meal can be quite tricky if you’re unable to grip things properly but there are some simple kitchen devices that can help along the way.

Food preparation boards come in all shapes and sizes with a wide variety of functions. A good board will always come with non-slip feet to ensure it remains in place during use. These boards can come with spikes for holding fruit and vegetables in place allowing you to work with just one hand. They can also come with built in graters and slicers and a whole manner of gripping devices for holding bigger food stuffs such as bread in place.

Once you have your food stuffs securely in place on your board, you can then also use a slightly different type of utensil to prepare it. Utensils such as a graters, slicers and knives can come with a right angled handle. If you use one of these it gives you maximum grip in a natural position with no need to twist your wrist around too much.

Another area in the kitchen that can prove a challenge to anyone is opening bottles and jars, some lids won’t budge no matter how much pressure you apply. There are a lot of devices to choose from that can address this issue. Some are battery operated and simply require you to attach it to the top of the bottle or jar whilst takes care of the rest. Others are manual openers that attach to the lid or cap, enabling you to have more leverage or a larger surface area to grab hold of. It is quite surprising how effective the simplest of bottle openers can be.

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Grab Rails

Securely fitted grab rails around the home can make a huge difference in giving us more independence. Many tasks involve us having to sit down or stand up, and this is particularly true when it comes to bathing and showering. By fitting and positioning grab rails in areas of your home where you need a little extra strength while manoeuvring about will not only give you more comfort, it will also give you added stability and safety.

Reachers

Some things around the home may seem out of reach. If you have difficulty crouching down or reaching up high it can end up giving you considerable discomfort when performing a task outside of your comfort zone. A handy reacher with a simple grabbing mechanism will certainly aid you as they act as an extension to your arm, enabling you to pick things up from the floor and close top windows with relative ease. Some reachers will also collapse down into a more portable size so that you can take them out and about.

In the Garden

Pottering around in the garden can be quite a relaxing past time especially in the warmer months. You are now able to purchase garden tools and equipment that will give you more stability and comfort whilst weeding and pruning. These tools are based on a similar concept to the kitchen utensils mention earlier in which there is a right angled handle attached to give you maximum grip in a natural position.

Gardening involves a lot of kneeling down and there isn’t always a wall to attach a grab rail to. Garden kneelers are simple devices that are lightweight, have a padded base (for kneeling), and protruding handles that you can grab hold of to give you extra support when getting up and down.

There are many other daily living aids that can help in giving back independence; these are just a few of the simplest and effective ones available today. If you are ever unsure on which products would be right for you, I would always advise consulting an expert or you doctor.

You can find other innovative and simple adaptive living aids at http://www.fireflymobility.com

Disabled Living Aids For Everyone

Taking a shower or a bath is what the majority of most people take for granted. Assistance in the bathroom is critical to independence and a sense of self-worth for someone with a disability. Shower chairs, safety-bars and movable faucets are helpful to many if they are installed correctly.

Whether someone is born with a handicap or their body somehow becomes disabled later, they will need disabled living aids to assist them. Everyday chores, grooming and personal hygiene and cooking duties becomes easier. Without simple assistance devices, people with a handicap may never be able to feel independence and that is an important part of their mental health.

Individuals who use wheelchairs for their mobility have more options today than they did a few decades ago. Electric wheelchairs can be equipped with many different types of assistance. Some individuals may need help with their upper body as well as the movement the wheels provide and therefore the chair could be equipped with various movable armrests.

Technology is also a great aid to individuals who have a disability that limits them in some way. There are many different types and styles of electronic readers for the visually impaired and blind individuals. Talking watches, measuring cups and computer programs help guide visually impaired individuals to more freedom in their own homes.

For the hearing impaired and deaf individuals, there are also several household helpers which use modern technology as their core foundation. A distinct alarm clock to help the hearing impaired wake up on time relies on strong vibrations rather than sound. The clock is attached to a special pad that is placed between the mattress and box spring of the bed and when the time is set to wake up, the vibrations shake the bed to wake its occupants.

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Taking a shower or a bath is a normal part of life most people take for granted. Assistance in the bathroom is critical to independence and a sense of self-worth for someone with a disability. Shower chairs, safety-bars and movable faucets are helpful to many if they are installed correctly.

An individual who cannot reach high places can have all her items places on the lowest shelves of the house’s cabinets. If a unique house is constructed for an individual in a wheelchair, then special accommodations could be incorporated into the designs. Some individuals with disabilities also rely on a much more old-fashioned type of assistance, dogs.

When searching for disabled aids for someone in your care, you will need to keep in mind several things before making your final purchase. Make sure the items are sturdy and are long-lasting. The items should also be comfortable for the individual to wear or use, if not, they will not want to use them and that is no help.

Author of this article is associated with Healthcare.co.uk, an independent disabled living aids.

National Paralympic Day

This Saturday 30th August, the UK is celebrating Paralympic sport.

Events are taking place across the country, to mark two years since London 2012.. and YOU can get involved!

Our sports wheelchairs will be at two of the biggest festivals – in London and Liverpool – to help give people their first taste of sport. Always fancied giving it a go? Well now’s your chance!

In London, the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park will come alive once again. Paralympic athletes will compete in some of the park’s iconic venues, and Motivation’s Multisport wheelchairs will be on hand for aspiring sports stars to get in, and have a go!

So if you’ve always fancied shooting a hoop, serving an ace or just seeing how fast you can spin around the court, then we look forward to seeing you there! More information about the London event can be found here.

And if you’ve always wanted to see how fast you could race 100m, our Flying Start racing wheelchair will be rigged up and ready to go at the Liverpool ONE shopping centre. Attached to rollers, and linked up to a computer, you’ll be able to track your speed against other competitors on the day. It sounds like great fun!

If you manage to get along to either event, please let us know.

For other opportunities to try wheelchair sport, take a look at the Parasport club-finder, to find a sports club near you!

Right Wheelchair, Right Way

Receiving our award from the Secretary of StateExciting news this week at Motivation! We’ll let our president and co-founder David Constantine tell you more…

We were delighted to scoop top prize at the BOND International Development Awards for our partnership with the World Health Organization. The picture shows me receiving the award from Secretary of State Justine Greening. You can watch our award-winning film here

As a small organisation, teaming up with the WHO means we can make a difference on a global scale – by not only giving people the Right Wheelchair, in the Right Way but training others to do the same. This has the power to change thousands of lives.

For a disabled person living in one of the world’s poorest countries, the Right Wheelchair is not just a set of wheels, it’s a vehicle to reach a better future. It creates a route out of poverty. The right wheelchair gets children to school, adults to work and families out into the community. It’s much more than just a wheelchair – it’s a passport to a better life.

It’s particularly poignant to be sharing this news, and the film, with you today – on Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Day.

As many of you will know, I broke my neck in a diving accident when I was 21 and have used a wheelchair ever since. But I am one of the lucky ones…

If I had been born in the developing world, things might have been very different. There’s a high chance I wouldn’t have survived more than 18 months – probably due to secondary complications like urinary tract infections or pressure sores.

So please watch the film, and support us if you can. With your help, we can transform many more lives – Right Wheelchair, Right Way. Thank you.

Putting Mobility First