Isolating at Home: Advice For Those With Limited Mobility

With self-isolation and social distancing being to phrases we’ve now come to know very well, people across the world are being urged to stay at home where possible especially if you are considered to be vulnerable. Following NHS and government guidelines is a must not only for your own safety but those around you and the prevention of COVID-19.

For some, the thought of staying at home is scary but staying at home doesn’t have to be boring, in fact, it’s a great opportunity to spend quality time with your family and practice self-care. For those with mobility-related conditions, staying at home can come with additional challenges as getting out on your scooter or in your wheelchair can help so much when it comes to well-being. However, there are ways that you can adapt and make it easier to cope through isolation.

In this blog, we discuss some of the best top tips for coping during the lockdown, how you can stay safe and what you can do to pass the time. Read on to find out more.

Looking after your health

The most important thing you can do during this pandemic is to stay safe and look after your health. This means taking care of your physical and mental health. Despite being confined indoors, there are still lots of things you can do to protect your health and well-being, including:

Keeping clean

You don’t need to deep clean your house every day to keep things sterile, but you do need to up your sanitary routines. You must keep on top of your personal hygiene, that means washing your hands regularly, using hand gel, and cleaning down touchpoints in your home. Think about how many things you touch every hour. Using antibacterial soap will kill any germs and prevent them from spreading to your face and mouth. If you do go outside, such as going to the shops to buy essential items, when you get home make sure you wash your hands as soon as you can.

If you rely on a stairlift to get to the bathroom or have mobility aids within the bathroom itself, don’t ignore repairs during this time. Here at A Mobility Shop, we will continue to attend to emergency call outs and our engineers have been given hand sanitiser, gloves and masks for our customers and their own safety. If you require a repair, get in touch today and find out how we can help.

Eating well

When you’re stuck indoors it’s even more tempting to snack on biscuits, crisps and sweets and while we all deserve a treat, eating a balanced diet will keep you healthy. Being at home means we are all moving less and fewer calories are being burnt, however, diet can also affect your mood by making you feel sluggish. You don’t need to follow a particular diet, just include a variety of food groups and vitamin-enriched meals.

Now is also the perfect time to experiment in the kitchen and try out new recipes. You can find a whole range of recipes online that can be made using bit and bobs in your cupboard so nothing goes to waste. Eating properly is one of the best ways of keeping healthy, retaining energy levels and stabilising your mood. If you take regular medication, make sure you have arrangements for this to be collected or delivered if needed.

Staying active

As well as eating well, being active is another important factor in staying healthy. Remember, even if you require the use of a wheelchair, walker or have limited mobility, you can still be active. If you usually keep active by going on walks or to the gym, for example, you can still continue this at home. Walking up and down the stairs or around your garden can help your muscles and joints stay flexible so you don’t experience aggravated symptoms.

Alternatively, why not order some hand weights online? 

Depending on your strength and condition, you can stay active with low impact seated exercises that work the upper body. There are plenty of tutorials online that you can follow along to. Incorporating this into your daily routine is a great way of creating some structure and breaking up the day. Exercise also releases endorphins that make us feel good physically and mentally.

How to stay occupied

It’s one thing to have a weekend staying at home but isolation is another level. However, it’s important to stay positive and try to use the additional time at home for something good. Staying occupied can combat feelings of loneliness and of course help pass the time – who knows, you could find a new hobby that you love!

Make a to-do list

Making a list will help you create an agenda for the day or week, so you don’t spend all of your time sitting down watching TV. For some people, the action of ticking off tasks can give them a sense of accomplishment and make them feel a lot more positive. Think about all of the tasks you’ve been meaning to do but just haven’t had time for such as sorting through old clothes, organising your bookcase or tidying a certain room. Your checklist does not need to be filled with extravagant tasks even small simple ideas are just as effective.

Socialising

Just because you can’t meet up with your family and friends doesn’t mean you can’t socialise. Make the most of video calling and set up a group call with all of your friends for a catch-up or quiz! Websites such as Zoom can host video calls with as many as 100 people and many gyms and fitness trainers have been using this platform to host online fitness classes that you can join in with, not just as a way of keeping fit but to socialise too. You must stay connected with your loved ones during these times and supporting each other is essential.

Take up a new hobby

If there’s something you’ve always wanted to try such as learning a new language, painting, blogging and a hobby you want to pick back up, what’s stopping you? With more free time you can immerse yourself in the enjoyable things you otherwise wouldn’t have time for. You can still order online, so why not invest in something that will help pass the time? Finding a new love can improve your outlook on the situation and the new skills you learn or the hobby you start can continue after lockdown is over.

 

A Mobility Shop: High-Quality mobility aids in Liverpool

We understand how important it is to stay safe during this time, so if you require mobility aids within your home A Mobility Shop can help. Our range of products is suitable for all needs, from affordable stairlifts to bathroom aids and personal care items our professional team will help you find something that suits your needs.

With over 30 years of experience in the industry, we’re proud to have helped hundreds of clients feel safe and comfortable in their homes and regain their confidence. With the right installations and mobility aids, you can reduce the risk of accidents and limit strain on your body too.

Get in touch with Liverpool’s best mobility shop today and find out more about our services.

Read more

Manual vs Electric: Which Wheelchair Is Right For Me?

If you suffer with mobility issues, investing in a wheelchair can help you to maintain your independence both in your home and out and about. Participating in normal day to day activities can be difficult if you have limited mobility; however, using a wheelchair can help with this.

When selecting the right wheelchair for you, there are a few things you should take into consideration. Below, we share our top tips for choosing a wheelchair that meets your individual needs.

Do I need a manual or power wheelchair?

Firstly, you should decide whether to opt for a manual wheelchair or electric wheelchair.

 

●      Manual wheelchairs are most suitable for people who require a wheelchair all or most of the time, both indoors and outdoors. They’re also suitable for people who are unable to walk long distances. Manual wheelchairs are lightweight and foldable and can therefore be transported around easily; however, they require sufficient upper body strength and stamina. Alternatively, there are attendant-propelled wheelchairs available.

 

●      Electric wheelchairs are suitable for those who lack the strength or stamina to use a self-propelled wheelchair yet still want to get around without the assistance of others. Electric wheelchairs are generally heavier than manual wheelchairs, however, they can be suitable for both indoor and outdoor use.

Three things to consider when selecting the right wheelchair

Weight

When choosing a wheelchair, you must take weight into consideration, particularly if you are planning to transport it by car. The lighter the frame, the easier it will be to lift and put in the car. As previously mentioned, electric wheelchairs are heavier than manual cheerlchairs as the frame is stronger to support the battery and motors.

Storage

It’s important you have enough space to store your wheelchair. Manual wheelchairs are foldable and lightweight and require little storage space. If you have an electric wheelchair, on the other hand, you’ll need enough space to store and charge your wheelchair in a cool, dry and well-ventilated space.

Speed

If you choose an electric wheelchair, you’ll also need to take speed into consideration when selecting the right one for you. If you want to achieve maximum speed (this is ideal for people who are out and about often), a rear drive power wheelchair is a suitable choice; many models enable you to reach speeds of up to 8.5mph.

At A Mobility Shop, we sell both manual and electric wheelchairs. We also offer a wheelchair rental service in Liverpool. For more information about our products and mobility aids, visit our website.

Read more

Maintaining Good Posture in a Wheelchair: Tips From the Mobility Experts

Having good posture when sitting in a wheelchair is important. Maintaining good posture not only helps us to carry out tasks and activities more effectively, but it’s also essential for our own comfort as it helps to reduce undue stress on the body. Good posture also improves the manoeuvrability of a wheelchair, reducing the risk of injury and helping us to maintain our health.

Achieving good posture in a wheelchair is particularly important as it helps to relieve pressure on different parts of the body, such as the neck, spine, thighs and buttocks. To achieve correct posture, each part of your body needs to be in the correct position in relation to the next, from the top of your head right to your toes. Each part of your body has an effect on the next part and therefore it’s absolutely crucial that your wheelchair provides the best posture support possible.

To optimise the effort required to operate the wheelchair, reduce the risk of repetitive strain injuries and ensure you are as comfortable as possible, maintaining good posture is key.

Below, we share our top tips for maintaining good posture in a wheelchair and ensuring your wheelchair offers you the correct posture support.

Adjust your wheelchair to suit your specific requirements

Firstly, it’s important to note that your wheelchair should be adjusted to ensure the correct positioning and posture is achieved. The height, position and size of the wheels can all be adjusted, as well as the seat height, footrest and armrest. Let’s take a look in closer detail:

Seat

It’s important that the seat of the wheelchair is neither too wide or too narrow. If the seat is too wide, it can cause the user to adopt a non-symmetrical posture; if the seat is too narrow, it can cause great discomfort and sores. Similarly, the seat must not be too short or too long; each can cause pressure and tension. The base of the seat should be firm enough so that the user does not sink.

Footrest

The position of the footrest is again important. It needs to be at the correct angle to ensure both the ankles and knees feel comfortable. If it’s too low, it could alter the position of the hips; however, if it’s too high, it can put too much pressure on the buttocks.

Armrest

It is generally advised that, when sat in a wheelchair, the elbows are supported at 90 degrees. Having the armrests positioned higher can cause stress on the neck and shoulders, whereas having them lower may cause the user to fall to one side. The armrest allows the neck muscles to rest as well as the arms. Depending on the wheelchair user and their lifestyle, the armrests may be replaced by side guards to shield from dirt and splashes.

Ways to ensure good wheelchair posture support

Stabilise the curves of your spine

If the natural curves of your spine are not correctly supported, it can cause discomfort and lead to long-term damage. There are three natural curves in your spine; to stabilise these, make sure you sit upright with your shoulders back and avoid slumping or leaning to one side. If you struggle to maintain this position, this is an indication that your wheelchair is not providing sufficient posture support.

Make sure your feet are supported

If your feet are not properly supported, your body may be pulled out of alignment. Adjusting the height and position of the foot plates will help with this; make sure they are at a height that ensures your weight is evenly distributed and your hips and knees at the right angles.

Centralise your head

It’s important to centralise your head. When sat in a wheelchair, your head should be upright and in the middle, with your chin slightly tucked. If your head does tilt forwards or backwards or to one side, it could pull your spine out of alignment, leading to great discomfort. If you are unable to maintain a central head position, there are additional neck or head supports you can invest in for extra comfort and support.

Make sure your arms are supported

As discussed, the position of your armrests can pull your shoulders down or push them up. This affects the upper curves of your spine and your head position, which is why it’s important to achieve the correct height and ensure your arms are supported. The correct height will support your arms, keep your shoulders level and maintain the natural curves of your neck.

Exercises to improve sitting posture as a wheelchair user

As a wheelchair user, your front chest muscles are working overtime. This can contribute to postural changes and issues, particularly if flexibility and muscle imbalances are not addressed or paid attention to.

Below are three strengthening exercises to help reduce muscle imbalance between the front and back shoulder complex and prevent shoulder aches and pains. Each exercise uses a theraband or resistance band – a latex band that is used for strength training exercises and physical therapy.

Diagonal pull out

Hold the theraband securely in your hands. While sitting tall in your chair and keeping your elbows straight, draw your right hand out and up whilst you move your left hand down to the floor. Then return to the starting position. Complete this exercise ten times (if you are comfortable enough to).

Horizontal pull out (bent elbows)

Hold the theraband in your hands; keeping your elbows bent and close to your torso, draw your hands out to the side using your shoulders. Pay attention to the outside of your hands and your shoulders while completing this exercise. Return to the starting position and repeat ten times.

Horizontal pull out (arms raised and elbows straight)

This exercise is particularly good for strengthening the back and posterior shoulder muscles. It’s similar to the previous exercise, however, you are doing it with your arms raised and elbows straight rather than bent.

Hold the theraband in your hands. Keeping your elbows straight and sitting tall in your chair, draw your hands out to the side using your shoulders. Slowly release, returning to the starting position. Complete ten times.

Looking for an electric or manual wheelchair? Look no further than A Mobility Shop

At A Mobility Shop (NW) Ltd in Liverpool, we have a range of quality, affordable manual and electric wheelchairs. We’re proud to offer a wheelchair rental service in Liverpool should you need it; our hire wheelchairs are quality reconditioned transit wheelchairs, available in a lightweight aluminium frame.

Our experienced and friendly team are dedicated to helping people maintain their independence in their own homes through the installation and help of mobility aids. Whether you’re looking for a stairlift, mobility scooter, reclining chair or wheelchair, we’ve got you covered with our affordable range. We can help you readjust your home to suit your needs, whether that means installing ramps or converting your garage into a bedroom to ensure you can easily access it. Our team will readjust your home to make it comfortable, practical and stylish while meeting your individual needs.

We also specialise in bathroom design and installation, offering a complete disabled bathroom design service. Our helpful team will listen carefully to what you need from your bathroom and offer a free, no obligation consultation. A Mobility Shop (NW) Ltd serve customers throughout the North West, including Southport, Wigan, the Wirral, Warrington and St Helens.

For more information about our products and services, visit our website today.

Read more

A Guide to Building Alterations for Your Home

If you’re living with mobility issues then you may find that moving around your home isn’t as easy as it once was. Reduced mobility can be caused by a number of things, including old age, an illness or a disability, but everyone has the right to feel comfortable and safe in their own home.

You may have long term mobility issues, or perhaps it’s a new adjustment as the result of an accident or injury. Whatever the case, there are plenty of steps that can be taken to ensure you can live in a safe, comfortable home that’s perfectly suited to your needs.

Building alterations are a way of redesigning your home so that it’s safe, practical and stylish too. There are many different ways of adapting a property for those with mobility issues, from installing interior or exterior ramps, to widening doorways or adding a wetroom. If you’d like to know more about how a home can be adapted to the needs of you or a loved one, read on for our handy guide.

Planning to adapt your home

Home adaptations can make it much easier for you to move around safely and easily, but you might not know where to start or what your options are. Before you plan any building alterations, you might want to book a home assessment to help you make decisions.

You can book a home assessment through your local council either on the phone or online here, and the service is free. An occupational therapist will visit your home to carry out the assessment and they will ask you questions about your day to day routine and what you find difficult. You can then start to put together a plan and they can suggest building alterations and home adaptations which might help. These could range from smaller adaptations like adding grab rails in the bathroom, to more permanent alterations like widening doorways or adding an outside ramp.

In most cases your local council should pay for smaller adaptations (usually those that cost less than £1,000). You may also be eligible for financial help for larger adaptations (such as widening doorways) with a grant from Independence at Home or the Disabled Facilities Grant. You can find more information on the government website here.

There may also be building regulations to consider if you’re planning on making a bigger alteration, such as knocking down a wall or adding an extension. If you live in a leasehold property then you’ll need the permission of your landlord and if you live in a listed property you may also need listed building consent.

Building alterations and home adaptations

A home assessment isn’t a necessity, but as stated it can help you with the financial side of alterations and give a better overview of what might help you. Once you’ve worked out what you need, you can start to plan to adapt your home. The type of alterations you choose will depend on your individual requirements, but we will discuss some of the most common types of alterations in more detail below.

Ramps

If you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter, then adding ramps can make it much easier for you to move around your home. These ramps can be indoor or outdoor and either permanent or portable. If you have steps leading up to the front door of your property, consider adding a permanent ramp for easy access. Permanent outdoor ramps can be made of either timber or concrete and you can also add a handrail for extra safety.

You may need planning permission when installing a permanent ramp and their suitability will also depend on how much space you have. If a ramp isn’t feasible, you could install a wheelchair platform lift instead.

There are also many portable ramps available on the market which can be used both indoors and outdoors. These can help you enter and leave your home if your front door is only slightly raised, or they can offer you easier access to your back garden. Portable ramps are also more affordable than permanent models and many can be stored away to save space when not in use.

Wider doorways

Many homes simply aren’t built to accommodate wheelchairs or mobility scooters and you may find it difficult to move easily through doorways. Doors and doorframes which aren’t wide enough can cause issues, especially if wheelchair users have to approach them at an angle. The standard door width used by the majority of builders is 762mm, but widening this to just 800mm could be enough. However, the wider the door, the easier the access, so 900-1,000mm is best if you have the space.

The process of widening a doorway in your home is simpler than you might think and in most cases it can be completed within a few hours.

Mobility bathrooms/Wetrooms

Many people with mobility problems find that their bathroom is the area most difficult to navigate. Slip hazards, smaller spaces and stepping in and out of a bath or shower can all be difficult and make you feel unsafe. Luckily, there’s plenty of alterations you can make to adapt a bathroom to your needs.

Grab rails can be added next to the lavatory or bath for added support and help those with limited mobility to lift themselves up. You could also swap a standard bath or shower unit for a walk-in shower or bath; these remove the need to step into a raised shower or navigate stepping in and out of the bathtub. There are also many smaller adaptations you can add if you can’t afford a full replacement, such as bath lifts or a shower seat.

If you have the budget and space, consider adding a wetroom or converting your existing bathroom. Wetrooms are extremely practical for anyone with mobility issues as they provide a large, self contained shower space that’s completely waterproof. Many are big enough to accommodate a wheelchair, allowing you to bathe in comfort and independence.

Stairlifts

Stairs can pose a problem for those with mobility issues, so one option is for people to move to a flat or bungalow. However, this simply isn’t realistic for many people and there’s no reason why you should have to leave your home. Installing a stairlift can make a big difference and allow people to maintain some independence. Stairlifts can be fitted to either straight or curved stairs and many have seats that can be conveniently folded up when not in use.

As mentioned above, you may be eligible for financial aid to help towards the cost of a stairlift, or there are many models which you can purchase second hand.

A Mobility – Building Alterations and Mobility Aids for Your Home in Liverpool

If you’ve been thinking about adapting your Liverpool home to make it safer and more accessible, get in touch with the experts at A Mobility Shop. We understand how important it is to feel safe and comfortable in your own home, which is why we’re proud to offer a range of building alterations to ensure your home is both stylish and practical.

We can discuss your needs and requirements and then work with you to come up with a solution that’s within your budget. Our expert fitters also pride themselves on a quick turnaround, so there’s minimal disruption to your home. We offer a range of services, including disabled bedroom design, garage conversion, ramp installation and doorway widening. We also design and install mobility bathrooms and stairlifts and have a wide range of mobility scooters and wheelchairs to buy or hire.

For more information about any of our mobility products or services, or to find out how we can help you adapt your home to your needs, give us a call today or visit our website.

Read more