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6 Tips for a Safe and Accessible Halloween

Every October millions of children participate in neighborhood “Trick or Treating” across the country. Most communities do a fantastic job of providing additional safety and resources, however one thing that is often overlooked is the issue of accessibility. Here are 6 helpful tips that can help improve your child’s Halloween experience:

1) Look for Community Events – Travelling through neighborhoods can be difficult, especially when the weather is bad and people sit inside their homes with steps up to a door or front porch. Often times local churches or organizations will host indoor events or parking lot trick or treats where accessibility is easier. If your community doesn’t offer these type of events, now is a great time to start the conversation for next year.

2) Find the Best Route – Plan out the right route for you. Find familiar areas that you know have proper street lighting and bigger sidewalks that can accommodate your needs. Apartments and condominiums will sometimes have their own hours for handing out candy, and often times they will have better accessibility than private homes.

3) Be Safe – Every year safety is at the top of every parent’s mind. Here are few reminders to help keep everyone safe:

  •  Add lights, reflective tape, flashlights or glow sticks to costumes so drivers can see you at night.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Watch for vehicles backing up and look both ways when crossing the street. 
  • Park in safe, well lighted areas that allow you to remove your wheelchair easily. 
  • As a driver, slow down and be on alert during Trick or Treating hours. Build in extra time to get to your destination and anticipate heavy pedestrian traffic.

4) Plan with Your Neighbors – If you live in a large neighborhood there is a good chance that people either won’t know or may forget that there is a possibility their home may be visited Halloween evening by a child in a wheelchair. By just spreading the word your neighbors will be mindful and accommodating.

5) Have your Own Party – For anyone who is really feeling ambitious throwing your own Halloween get together is one of the best options. There are countless ideas online for games, decorations and themed recipes. This also gives the adults a chance to get together and have some fun!

 6) Raise the Issue – If you notice that your community is not doing enough to provide inclusive, family-friendly events, Halloween is a great opportunity to speak up. Often times places like pumpkin patches and haunted houses overlook the need for ramps and accessible options. Contacting owners and organizers can go a long way in improving accessibility in your community when it comes to other events throughout the year.

We hope everyone has a fun and safe Halloween!

5 Tips to Prevent Wheelchair Theft

Unfortunately, wheelchair theft is on the rise in the United States. Sadly, with the Holiday Season also comes a spike in thefts – especially at malls, shopping centers, nursing homes and medical facilities. Everything from specialty wheelchairs to simple transport wheelchairs are being stolen from homes, businesses and hospitals. These criminals are typically disassembling the wheelchairs for scrap metal, just to make a few dollars.

Here are a few tips to help stop these pathetic criminals in their tracks:

  1. Know the Serial and Model Number of Your Wheelchair – This may seem very simple, but having this information ready can help authorities verify that the stolen wheelchair is yours. Keep a picture of your wheelchair on you just in case. Even having a unique sticker or decoration on your wheelchair can be helpful.
  2. Consider a Locking Device – If you ever have to leave your wheelchair unattended, there are anti-fold locking devices similar to what you see on bicycles available online for less than $50. Other types of models are wheelchair specific and have tall bars that would make it impossible for thieves to get the wheelchair into a car without the key.
  3. Electronic Tracking Devices – New products are hitting the market that allow you to track and locate stolen objects directly from your smart phone. Most of these are specifically designed for wallets, keys etc…but are perfect for this as well!
  4. Don’t Leave Spare or Backup Wheelchairs in your Car or Garage – Both of these places can be an easy target for theft. If this is the only place you have room for a spare wheelchair, cover it with a sheet or tarp to avoid someone spotting it (especially if your wheelchair is or looks expensive).
  5. Alert Authorities and Online Community – If your wheelchair is stolen, don’t hesitate to contact the police. Using social media can also be instrumental in your chair’s safe return. Check sites like Craigslist and eBay for someone trying to sell it quickly.

New Online Game for Post-Stroke Mobility Challenges

Mobility Mission

The National Stroke Association provides education and programs to patients, caregivers and the healthcare community.  For over 30 years they have been a trusted and free resource for families and friends of stroke survivors by increasing the awareness of life-saving stroke information. One of the most common myths about strokes is that they cannot be prevented, when actually up to 80% are preventable. The National Stroke Association does everything from publishing newsletters to sponsoring events, and most recently they created a new educational game for their website.

Mobility Missions is a game show-style trivia challenge featuring a robot host named Robby.  The four categories of questions the participant is required to answer are: physical condition, stroke facts, regaining mobility, and safety at home. After answering each question the player has the option to follow a link in order to learn more.  This game will help you gain a better understanding of post-stroke mobility challenges such as spasticity, paralysis, foot drop, as well as management and treatment options you can discuss with your doctor.

Click Here to check out the new game

Click Here for More Information on Strokes. Our Medical Matters Resource section provides helpful information on risk factors, treatment, research, and more.

 

9 Tips for Planning Ahead and Making Your Home More Wheelchair Accessible

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Your home should be a place of comfort and accessibility.

Use Federal and Local Resources to Fund Modifications

Are you planning to purchase a new accessible home or modify your existing one? For obvious reasons, ranch style houses are most often the easiest to retrofit for accessibility. If you need to remodel, check out sites like Disability.gov that can provide services and financial assistance for home modifications. Various programs can help with everything from roll-in showers to entry ramps. Additional resources provided by your state or local county government may also be available.

Clean up the Clutter

An organization system can go a long way to make your home more accessible. Keeping your home clutter-free increases available space for you to roll around in. Putting in lowered shelves and cabinets maximizes accessibility.

Open Floor Plan

Whether remodeling or searching for a new abode, the popular open floor plan allows you more space to roll around in. This type of floor plan also forces you to keep your house clutter-free, further maximizing accessibility.

Lowered lighting

Electrical controls, from light switches, thermostats and more, should be lowered and require little dexterity to operate. Also consider the lighting angle. You don’t want lights to shine in your face, but you don’t want lighting to point too high for you. Motion sensing and voice activated technology are other options to keep in mind.

Higher Sinks

A sink with open space underneath and no intrusive cabinet base allows wheelchair users to roll right up. Even if the sink does have a cabinet base, you may be able to remodel the center part. If you are installing cabinets in the bathroom, you want to take up as little floor space as possible.

Grab Bars

Grab bars installed near toilets in bathrooms can help people in wheelchairs use the restroom as independently as possible.

Roll-In Showers

A shower that lets a wheelchair user roll right in provides privacy for people with disabilities. Consider various options from a vacuum-sealed door, an open shower with no curb or a specialized lift.

Emergency Exit Plan

It’s always best to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure your point of exit is easily accessible. Be sure that your alarms are ready, and consider audio and visual smoke detectors.

Parking

You’ll want to make sure that there is plenty of room on the passenger side of the vehicle, particularly if a wheelchair van with a ramp or lift is being utilized. Flatter driveways are obviously going to be safer and easier. Remove any obstacles like planters that can interfere with wheelchair or scooter use. If the driveway isn’t wide enough, consider adding a concrete pad where exit and entry is the most convenient. If that can’t be done, then you may want to consider a rear entry wheelchair van.

When it comes to leaving your home and exploring your neighborhood, MobilityWorks has you covered with our large inventory of new and used accessible vehicles. We have vehicles to fit every budget, so check out all we offer today!

MobilityWorks Introduces New Brand to Improve Customer Experience

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MobilityWorks is proud to share with you our fresh new look.

MobilityWorks is pleased to announce a fresh new look for our customers. Since 1997, we have used our original branding and logo. Within the next few months, we will be rolling out an updated new look in our stores with new signs and more. You can experience this change online on our website and social media accounts, including Facebook and Twitter. We can’t wait to help you connect with what matters with the same great customer service.

“We have very special customers and we are the leader in a very special industry,” MobilityWorks Vice President of Marketing Chris Paczak said. “At MobilityWorks, we do not empower our clients, we provide solution options to help them empower themselves.”

“We set out to redefine our brand message to our customers, influencers, and industry to speak on behalf of our customers and people with mobility limitations everywhere,” Chris said. “Our journey started with a partner agency, Wyse.  Together, we researched a focus group of 20,000 wheelchairs users. The results of our research have positioned our brand with a persona of ‘Value and Emotion’. At MobilityWorks, we do not just sell products; we change people’s lives and enable them to ‘Connect with what Matters’.  BE THERE was our chosen tagline. The tagline speaks to breaking down barriers, removing obstacles, and living life by having transportation that ensures you will BE THERE! The soft color pallet translates into a very personal and caring approach we have with our customers. The new logo is one that speaks to ‘Motion’ and a modern feel that will resonate with people when they see it.”

“At MobilityWorks, our brand is built from the heart,” Chris said. “Our employees and facilities are designed to make your experience with us as comfortable and valuable as possible. We are not a car dealership. We do not have sales people. We have highly trained Certified Mobility Consultants that will sit down with you, in person, to make sure that we are providing specific solutions for your needs, your lifestyle and your budget. Without this consultation, selecting a vehicle just based on price or sight unseen, adds a great deal of stress and the risk of purchasing the wrong product.  We find our customers the perfect solutions so they can be there.

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