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title graphic - Evolving Public Spaces: The Impact of Accessibility Solutions on Inclusive Design

In today’s world, inclusive design in public spaces is not just a trend; it’s a necessity. These spaces, ranging from parks to retail storefronts, play a pivotal role in our communities. They are the arenas where social interactions flourish and communal bonds strengthen.

graphic - inclusive design in public spaces is not just a trend; it's a necessity

However, to truly harness their potential, we must design these spaces with everyone in mind. Inclusive design ensures that public spaces provide accessibility solutions to the diverse needs of the entire community.

Geographic Accessibility Standards

Around the world, countries are taking different steps to make public spaces more inclusive. In Canada, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) sets rules to make sure businesses and retail spaces are open to everyone, including those with disabilities. These rules are similar to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in the United States. For example, the AODA requires that by 2025, every public place in Ontario must be accessible. This includes their physical layout, how they serve customers, and their hiring practices.

Ontario has been a leader in setting strict accessibility standards for businesses. The creation of Accessibility Standards Canada (ASC) was a big move towards making national accessibility standards. ASC has many committees working on standards to break down barriers in various areas. While it’s initially optional to follow ASC’s standards, they often become required once they’re part of the law.

graphic of two hands holding each other

This approach in Ontario has become a model for others. In the United States, there’s a growing movement towards making public spaces more accessible. This change shows a wider understanding that accessible design is not just about meeting legal needs. It’s also about creating communities that are more inclusive, active, and full of life.

Incorporating Inclusive Design in Your Community

The significance of inclusive design becomes even more apparent when we consider public spaces for community engagement. Well-designed, accessible spaces invite participation from all community members, creating a sense of belonging and connectedness. They become places where barriers are broken down and inclusivity is celebrated. This encourages people from all walks of life to come together, interact, and engage with one another.

graphic showing examples of public spaces

One of the most significant advantages of inclusive design is its universality. By integrating thoughtful accessibility solutions, it crafts more comfortable and safer spaces for all users. For instance, a ramp designed for wheelchair users is also helpful for a traveler with a heavy suitcase.

graphic showing vehicle ramps

Well-lit pathways in a park will aid people with visual impairments and also enhance safety for everyone during the evening. Clear and simple signage in public buildings assists individuals with cognitive disabilities and supports visitors unfamiliar with the language or layout.

graphic showing examples of clear and simple signage

Even the availability of mobility scooters and wheelchairs on-site allows visitors to comfortably navigate larger areas, enhancing the overall experience for everyone. 

graphic of woman on scooter

Inclusive design also fosters belonging and community. When people feel welcome and accommodated in a space, they are more likely to use it, return to it, and recommend it to others. This increased usage brings more vibrant and active public spaces, which in turn strengthens community ties and engagement.

Creating Spaces for Everyone to Thrive

Inclusive design in a park allows man to ride scooter along path

Building inclusive public spaces is a comprehensive approach to design that considers the diverse needs of all individuals, ensuring that public spaces like parks, museums, business buildings, retail storefronts, and restaurants are not only accessible but also enjoyable for everyone.

Adding these elements to public design improves the experience for everyone. Whether it’s a parent pushing a stroller, a teenager recovering from a sports injury, or an elderly person enjoying a walk, these features prove beneficial. Designing public spaces with everyone in mind allows us to create environments that serve the entire community effectively. Below is a snapshot of standards and recommended inclusive design principles for various public spaces.

Inclusive Design in Parks

graphic of park
  • Accessible Pathways and Ramps: Crucial for easy navigation, especially for those using mobility aids. The AODA requires recreational trails and beach access routes to be accessible.
  • Sensory Elements: Enhance the experience for individuals with sensory processing disorders or visual impairments.
  • Universal Design Principles: Advocate for environments usable by all, including seating accommodating various body sizes and abilities.
  • Mobility Products: Portable ramps and on-site mobility aids like scooters or wheelchairs, as recommended by both ADA and AODA, help visitors explore larger areas without fatigue.

Inclusive Design in Museums and Restaurants

graphic of museum
  • Accessible Entrances and Pathways: Include ramps, elevators, and wide corridors as per ADA and AODA guidelines.
  • Multi-Sensory Experiences: Offer audio descriptions and tactile models, aligning with ADA’s and AODA’s focus on multi-sensory accessibility.
  • Lighting and Contrast: Ensure visibility for all visitors, a key aspect of both ADA and AODA compliance.

Inclusive Design in Business Buildings

graphic of business buildings
  • Accessible Entrances and Layouts: Follow ADA’s minimum aisle width of 36 inches and AODA’s requirements for accessible routes.
  • Inclusive Restroom Facilities: Equip restrooms with ADA-compliant features like grab bars and wider stalls, also reflected in AODA standards.
  • Effective Signage and Wayfinding: Use large, clear signage with high contrast, incorporating Braille and tactile signs as per both ADA and AODA.
  • Sensory Considerations: Implement noise reduction strategies and comfortable lighting, important under both ADA and AODA.

Inclusive Design in Sports Arenas

graphic of sports arena
  • Seating Options: Provide varied seating arrangements, as required by ADA and AODA, to accommodate wheelchairs and ensure unobstructed views.
  • Accessible Concessions: Ensure concession stands are reachable and usable by all guests, aligning with ADA and AODA standards.
  • Assistive Listening Devices: Offer devices for guests with hearing impairments, a requirement under both ADA and AODA.

Universal Design Principles

Universal Design Principles are fundamental guidelines that aim to create environments accessible and usable by all people, regardless of their age, size, ability, or disability. These principles are crucial to shaping more inclusive public spaces. Here’s a breakdown of these principles and their impact:

  • Equitable Use: This principle ensures that the design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities. For instance, a ramp alongside stairs in a public building serves both wheelchair users and those who prefer or require a gradual incline, ensuring equitable use.
  • Flexibility in Use: Design should accommodate a wide range of individual preferences and abilities. An example is the installation of adjustable lighting in a museum, allowing visitors with varying visual needs to adjust the brightness as needed.
  • Simple and Intuitive Use: The design should be easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. Public spaces with straightforward, intuitive navigation systems exemplify this principle.
  • Perceptible Information: The design should communicate necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or sensory abilities. Audible pedestrian signals at crosswalks are a practical application, providing necessary information through sound for those who cannot rely on visual cues.
  • Tolerance for Error: This principle minimizes hazards and adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions. For example, slip-resistant surfaces and grab bars in public restrooms reduce falls risk.
graphic of universal design principles

By adhering to these universal design principles, public spaces become more than just physically accessible; they become spaces where inclusivity is woven into the very fabric of their design. This approach both benefits individuals with disabilities and also creates a more comfortable, safe, and welcoming environment for everyone in the community.

Challenges and Solutions in Inclusive Design

Implementing inclusive design in public spaces can be a complex undertaking, facing various challenges. However, with strategic approaches and collaborative efforts, these challenges can be overcome. Here are some common issues encountered and solutions that can be applied:

  • Understanding Diverse Needs:
    • Challenge: Recognizing and addressing the wide range of disabilities and how they impact accessibility.
    • Solution: Engaging with experts and advocacy groups helps gain a comprehensive understanding of diverse needs, ensuring designs are truly inclusive.
  • Balancing Aesthetics and Functionality:
    • Challenge: Integrating accessibility features without compromising aesthetic appeal.
    • Solution: Collaborating with designers who specialize in blending functionality with style can ensure accessibility solutions enhance the overall design.
  • Budget Constraints:
    • Challenge: Allocating sufficient funds for inclusive design is a common issue for small businesses or public entities with limited budgets.
    • Solution: Exploring cost-effective solutions and identifying potential funding sources or grants can alleviate financial pressures.
  • Staying Updated with Regulations:
    • Challenge: Keeping up with evolving accessibility laws and standards.
    • Solution: Regularly updating knowledge of the latest regulations ensures designs meet current legal requirements and are forward-thinking.
  • Training and Awareness:
    • Challenge: Ensuring staff and stakeholders understand the importance of inclusive design and how to maintain it.
    • Solution: Provide training and resources to educate about inclusive design benefits and its effective utilization and maintenance.
  • Customization for Specific Needs:
    • Challenge: Creating designs that cater to specific needs without resorting to one-size-fits-all solutions.
    • Solution: Engaging directly with end-users to tailor designs that address specific requirements can lead to more effective outcomes.

Next Day Access helps play a pivotal role in addressing these challenges. With expertise in accessibility solutions, our team partners with organizations to offer valuable insights and assistance in creating public spaces that are inclusive and welcoming to all. This collaborative approach not only ensures compliance with legal standards but also fosters a more inclusive community, benefiting everyone who uses these spaces.

The Economic and Social Benefits of Inclusive Design

graphic - The Economic and Social Benefits of Inclusive Design

Inclusive design not only fosters a more accessible environment but also brings significant economic and social benefits to businesses and communities. Understanding these advantages highlights why inclusive design is a smart investment.

  • Economic Advantages for Businesses:
    • Increased Customer Base: By making spaces accessible, businesses can attract a wider range of customers, including those with disabilities and the elderly, effectively expanding their market.
    • Enhanced Brand Image: Companies that prioritize inclusivity often see an improvement in brand perception, leading to increased customer loyalty and a positive reputation.
    • Reduced Legal Risks: Implementing inclusive design can help businesses avoid costly legal challenges related to accessibility laws non-compliance.
  • Economic Benefits for Communities:
    • Boost in Local Economy: Accessible public spaces and businesses encourage more people to participate in local activities, leading to increased spending in the community.
    • Job Creation: The process of redesigning spaces for accessibility can create new jobs in the design, construction, and maintenance sectors.
  • Social Benefits:
    • Increased Engagement: Inclusive design removes barriers to participation, allowing more people to engage in social, cultural, and recreational activities.
    • Improved Quality of Life: When people can access and enjoy public spaces and services without hindrance, it enhances their overall quality of life.
    • Fostering Diversity and Inclusion: Inclusive spaces reflect and support the community’s diversity, promoting a sense of belonging and acceptance.

Community Involvement in Design

community putting hands together

Involving the community in the design of public spaces is essential for ensuring they meet all users’ needs. Here are some strategies for effective community engagement:

  • Public Consultations and Workshops: These forums are vital for gathering diverse opinions and insights. They provide a platform for community members to directly influence public space design.
  • Surveys and Feedback Forms: Collecting data through surveys allows for a broader range of input. Online platforms like SurveyMonkey can facilitate this process, reaching a wider audience.
  • Collaboration with Disability Advocacy Groups: Partnering with organizations like the Council for Disability Rights ensures that people with disabilities’ voices are heard and considered in the design process.
  • Pilot Projects and Prototypes: Testing design concepts on a small scale allows real-time feedback and adjustments. This approach ensures a well-informed and user-centric approach.
  • Digital Engagement Platforms: Utilizing social media and online forums can significantly increase participation, especially from those unable to attend physical meetings.

By actively involving the community, public spaces can become more inclusive and reflective of diverse needs. This collaborative approach fosters community ownership but also leads to more innovative and effective design solutions.

The Role of Technology in Inclusive Design

graphic of laptop

Technology is reshaping how we make public spaces accessible and inclusive. Innovative solutions create environments that everyone can use and enjoy, no matter their abilities.

Take assistive technologies, for example. Voice-activated systems and augmented reality are making it easier for people with disabilities to get around. Microsoft’s Soundscape app is an excellent example. It uses 3D audio cues to help visually impaired people navigate cities on their own.

Smart design is also key. Things like sensor-based lighting and automated doors add more than convenience. They’re essential for people with physical limitations. These smart features ensure public spaces are open to everyone, improving the experience for all users.

Information accessibility is another area where technology is making a big difference. Digital platforms are vital for sharing information in different ways. More and more, mobile apps provide audio descriptions and sign language. Apps like AccessNow, which maps out accessible locations worldwide, show how technology can spread critical information.

Looking ahead, AI and wearable technologies are set to take inclusive design even further. They promise personalized help and immersive experiences in public spaces. This means these places will be more accessible and engaging for everyone. This shift towards technology-driven inclusivity is paving the way for a future where public spaces are truly for all.

Moving Towards Accessibility Solutions for All

inclusive design: Church ramp

The journey towards creating inclusive public spaces is both a challenge and an opportunity. Inclusive design is a testament to society’s commitment to equality and accessibility. It’s not just about adhering to legal standards; it’s about reshaping our environments to be welcoming and usable for everyone, regardless of their abilities. This approach enriches communities, enhances quality of life for all citizens, and paves the way for a more equitable future.

Next Day Access becomes a key partner for businesses and communities. Specializing in accessibility solutions, Next Day Access contributes to transforming public spaces and businesses to be more inclusive. Our expertise ranges from providing essential mobility solutions to consulting on comprehensive accessibility projects.

Next Day Access teams in both the US and Canada have helped numerous businesses and public entities create environments that are not just compliant with accessibility standards but truly inclusive. From installing ramps and lifts to consulting on large-scale design projects, our work consistently shows how practical solutions can create more accessible and welcoming spaces.

Next Day Access wheelchair ramp

It’s a continuous journey, and one that requires the collaboration, innovation, and dedication of all stakeholders – from designers and businesses to the very communities they serve. With each step forward, we move closer to a world where inclusivity is not just an aspiration but a reality.

How Increased Mobility Promotes Positive Mental Health

In a world where physical mobility is often taken for granted, it’s easy to overlook the profound impact it has on our mental health and well-being. For many individuals, the ability to move freely, navigate their surroundings, and maintain a sense of independence is not just a convenience; it’s a fundamental aspect of their quality of life. This is particularly true for those who have discovered the life-changing potential of mobility solutions.

As we explore the relationship between mobility and mental health, we uncover a story of empowerment, resilience, and transformation. Mobility solutions provide people with a sense of autonomy and control over their lives. They can give people with disabilities access to previously inaccessible places and help them feel independent. Mobility solutions can also provide a sense of liberation, allowing people to explore new places and make their own choices.

Graphic showing some of NDA's many solutions: car lifts, stair lifts, pool lifts, and vertical lifts

Dedicated to improving accessibility and independence through innovative solutions, Next Day Access plays a pivotal role in this narrative. Next Day Access provides a variety of products and services, including wheelchair ramps, wheelchair lifts, and other products that enable those who are physically or mentally disabled to lead more independent lives. Their commitment to creating accessible environments is inspiring and is making a difference in the lives of those with disabilities.

This article explains the psychological benefits of increased mobility, shedding light on how mobility solutions can improve mental health and overall well-being. In addition, we explore the intersection of mobility and mental health, highlighting World Mental Health Day.

Graphic of 2 sets of hands being held for World Mental Health Day
Graphic of a less mobile person being helped out of bed

In order to understand how mobility affects mental health, you need to first understand their intricate connection. Individuals with limited mobility, whether due to aging, disability, or injury, face challenges far beyond their physical limitations. Limited movement can cause emotional and psychological distress, which can manifest in a variety of ways.

Graphic that says adults with physical disabilities were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression

Researchers consistently show that people with limited mobility are more likely to experience mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. For instance, a study by the University of East Anglia found that adults with physical disabilities were twice as likely to be diagnosed with anxiety or depression. As a result of reduced mobility, people can feel isolated, frustrated, and dependent, all of which can negatively affect their mental health.

Graphic that shows 2 seniors and says depressive symptoms are more common among seniors with mobility limitations

It is crucial to address reduced mobility as it is associated with mental health challenges. For example, depressive symptoms are more common among seniors with mobility limitations, according to a study in the Journal of Aging and Health. Likewise, research in the Journal of Health Psychology shows limited mobility negatively impacts self-esteem and overall life satisfaction.

Independence: A Key Driver of Psychological Well-being

Independence is a fundamental human need that impacts our psychological health beyond the physical realm. Our sense of self-worth and happiness are intrinsically tied to our ability to make choices, move freely, and engage with the world. Having limited mobility can compromise this autonomy, which can contribute to mental health issues.

The concept of independence encompasses not only the absence of physical barriers but also the restoration of choice and control over one’s life. For many individuals facing mobility challenges, a loss of independence can result in helplessness and frustration. Tasks that were once routine become daunting, and the world feels increasingly inaccessible.

This is where mobility solutions step in as powerful tools in the quest to enhance independence. By providing individuals with the means to overcome physical obstacles and regain control over their movements, these solutions nurture psychological well-being. It’s not just about facilitating physical mobility; it’s about empowering individuals to lead more fulfilling lives.

Mobility Solutions: A Path to Independence

In order to achieve independence, people with mobility challenges can choose from a wide array of mobility solutions, each tailored to specific needs. Whether it’s a stair lift for getting up and down stairs or a wheelchair ramp that bridges gaps between spaces, these solutions empower people and remove barriers.

Here are several of the most influential mobility solutions:


Mobility and Mental Health Graphic showing a stair lift

Monte-escaliers provide a safe and efficient way for people with mobility limitations to get up and down stairs. Getting up and down stairs can be a challenge, whether you’re old, injured, or disabled. Stair lifts remove this obstacle, allowing people to move up and down stairs easily without others’ assistance.

Rampes pour fauteuils roulants

Mobility and Mental Health graphic for wheelchair ramps

Another important part of increasing mobility and independence is Rampes pour fauteuils roulants. By smoothing transitions between uneven surfaces, wheelchair users can easily navigate steps, thresholds, and curbs. Besides being physically accessible, ramps give people a sense of freedom and confidence.

Accessibility Equipment

Mobility and Mental Health graphic showing a Vertical Platform Lift
Mobility and Mental Health graphic showing a grab bar being used

Modern accessibility equipment for specific needs goes beyond stair lifts and wheelchair ramps. You can get access to elevated areas with vertical platform lifts, and you can make your house more accessible with widened doors and Barres d'appui in bathrooms. The diversity of accessibility equipment in today’s market ensures that individuals with mobility challenges can find the customized support they need to regain independence.

The Psychological Benefits of Accessibility

Graphic showing 3 cartoon heads representing reduced anxiety, improved self-esteem, & enhanced well-being

The psychological benefits of increased mobility and accessibility are wide-ranging, impacting many aspects of mental health.

Reduced Anxiety

For people with limited mobility, everyday tasks can become a source of anxiety and stress. It’s easy to get anxious when you’re nervous about falling on the stairs or unable to get to essential spaces. This chronic stress can have a negative impact on mental health over time.

Accessibility solutions like stair lifts and wheelchair ramps alleviate these anxieties by providing a safe and reliable means of movement. Stair lifts, for instance, eliminate the fear of falling on stairs, providing security and peace of mind. Wheelchair ramps remove the stress associated with navigating obstacles, ensuring individuals can access spaces without worry.

Studies have shown that increased mobility through such solutions can reduce anxiety levels. A study published in the Journal of Applied Gerontology found that seniors who used mobility aids like stair lifts reported lower anxiety and improved overall well-being compared to those who did not have such aids.

Improved Self-Esteem

One of the less-discussed but still significant psychological benefits of accessibility solutions is the positive impact on self-esteem. Limited mobility often leads to independence loss, making individuals dependent on others for assistance. This dependency can lower self-esteem over time, leading to feelings of inadequacy and helplessness.

Accessibility solutions empower individuals to regain control over their lives, fostering self-worth and competence. When individuals can independently access different levels of their homes or navigate their surroundings, they gain confidence in their abilities. This newfound self-esteem has a ripple effect, influencing other aspects of their lives positively.

Enhanced Overall Well-being

Increased mobility has psychological benefits beyond reducing anxiety and improving self-esteem. They are part of a broader concept of overall well-being. When individuals have the freedom to move without limitations, it positively impacts their mood, outlook on life, and sense of fulfillment.

Studies have shown that individuals with greater mobility report higher life satisfaction and happiness. Improved mobility allows people to engage in social activities, pursue hobbies, and maintain an active lifestyle, all of which contribute to a more fulfilling life.

Individuals with access to mobility solutions not only experience better psychological well-being but also tend to have stronger social networks. This social connection further bolsters their overall well-being.

Journal of Health and Social Behavior

Celebrating World Mental Health Day

Graphic of a globe that says octobre 10: World Mental Health Day

Observed on octobre 10 of each year, World Mental Health Day serves as a global platform to raise awareness about mental health issues and promote mental well-being. Its theme this year is “mental health is a universal human right.” This day aims to enhance understanding, elevate consciousness, and inspire initiatives aimed at advocating for and safeguarding mental health as an inherent and universal human entitlement.

World Mental Health Day is more than just a date on the calendar. It represents a collective effort to break the stigma surrounding mental health and foster a more compassionate and understanding society. Established by the World Federation for Mental Health in 1992, this day has grown in importance, with governments, organizations, and communities worldwide coming together to address mental health.

World Mental Health Day is marked by a wide array of events and initiatives aimed at promoting mental well-being. Public events about mental health are being held on octobre 10 by various organizations and advocacy groups. There are workshops, webinars, and seminars to help people learn and get support.

Improving Mental Health Through Independence

This year’s theme is “Mental health is a universal human right”. The theme aims to address the fundamental notion that mental health should be regarded as an inalienable entitlement for all individuals. It underscores the importance of ensuring that mental well-being is not just a privilege but a right accessible to everyone on this planet. This theme resonates with the core values of Next Day Access, which is dedicated to making accessibility and independence a reality for everyone.

Individuals with mobility challenges often face physical barriers, but mental and emotional hurdles due to their limited mobility. This year’s theme emphasizes the importance of breaking down these barriers. It focuses on ensuring that individuals with mobility limitations have equitable access to mental health resources, support, and a sense of well-being.

Accessibility solutions, including stair lifts and wheelchair ramps, play a critical role in realizing this universal human right. By providing individuals with the means to overcome physical obstacles and regain independence, these solutions contribute significantly to their mental health and overall quality of life.

World Mental Health Day serves as a pivotal moment to recognize and address mental health issues. There are initiatives like the “Let’s Talk” campaign, which encourage open discussions about mental health. World Mental Health Day is global. Individuals and communities worldwide have the opportunity to participate and contribute to the cause.

Promoting Mental Health Through Accessibility

Accessibility solutions don’t stop at just one person; they can actually boost mental health across an entire society. When we talk about promoting accessibility, especially in terms of mobility solutions, we’re not just talking about a few benefits. It’s a game-changer for mental well-being on a broader scale. By creating environments that welcome everyone, we’re building a culture of empathy, understanding, and support. And this leads to some pretty great stuff:

  1. Less Stigma: When we make places more accessible, like adding ramps or elevators, we’re basically saying, “Hey, everyone’s welcome here!” This helps break the stigma often linked to disabilities. Imagine a world where everyone feels they belong, no matter their abilities.
  2. More Empathy: Picture this: You’re in a wheelchair, and you roll into a place where everything’s easy to access, thanks to ramps and wide doorways. It makes you think about what others might experience. That kind of insight can lead to people being more understanding and supportive.
  3. Happier Caregivers: Taking care of someone with mobility challenges can be tough. But when we have accessible solutions in place, like stair lifts or home modifications, it lightens the load for caregivers. They can breathe easier knowing their loved ones have the mobility support they need. That’s helpful for everyone’s mental well-being.
  4. Tighter Communities: Think of a neighborhood where everyone can join in on the fun because there are wheelchair ramps and accessible public spaces. Accessible spaces help build a sense of community. When people are able to easily participate in social activities, it makes the whole community stronger. It makes the community feel like a big, welcoming family.

Initiatives, Organizations, and Campaigns

Beyond Mental Health Day, a significant number of initiatives, organizations, and campaigns are dedicated to advocating for increased mobility. They raise awareness about the intersection of mobility and mental health. These entities play a vital role in driving positive change in society. 

Accessible Cities

Many cities and urban planners are actively working to create accessible environments. Initiatives like “Age-Friendly Cities” and “Universal Design” focus on making public spaces and transportation systems inclusive for individuals of all ages and abilities.

Nonprofit Organizations

Various nonprofit organizations are committed to improving accessibility and mental health. Organizations like The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) work tirelessly to raise awareness. They also provide resources and advocate for individuals with mobility challenges and mental health concerns.

Awareness Campaigns

Campaigns like “Accessibility Matters” and “Mobility for All” leverage social media, educational programs, and community engagement to highlight the importance of accessibility and its positive impact on mental health.

Research and Education

Academic institutions and research centers conduct studies exploring the relationship between mobility, accessibility, and mental health. They provide valuable insights and contribute to evidence-based practices in these fields.

By shedding light on these initiatives, organizations, and campaigns, we recognize the collective efforts to promote mental health through enhanced accessibility. These efforts not only benefit individuals with mobility challenges but also contribute to a more compassionate and inclusive society where mental well-being is prioritized for all.

Improve Mental Health With Increased Accessibility

Graphic of a cartoon head representing psychological well-being that says independent living plays a huge role in psychological well-being

Independent living plays a huge role in psychological well-being. When this basic need is met, it has a profound positive impact on mental health, as it allows people to move freely and access spaces without obstacles.

Inclusion and accessibility go beyond individual well-being; they foster a society that’s empathic, supportive, and understanding. Accessibility and mental health awareness are at the forefront of societal change thanks to a variety of initiatives, organizations, and campaigns.

Graphic stating NDA believes in a more inclusive and compassionate society where accessibility and well-being are accessible to all

Having access to mobility solutions should be a basic human right, not just a fancy extra. In doing so, we’re able to make a big difference in mental well-being for people with mobility challenges, as well as society at large. We encourage our readers to get involved! Whether it’s finding mobility solutions for themselves, or supporting mental health initiatives in their communities. As a result, we make the world a better place for everyone to live with increased mobility, independence, and mental health. Together, we can create a more inclusive and compassionate society where accessibility and well-being are accessible to all.

Next Day Access National Preparedness Month title graphic

If the COVID-19 pandemic, wildfires, hurricanes, and other recent calamities have taught us anything, it’s that emergencies can happen unexpectedly and have devastating impacts on communities. National Preparedness Month is an annual campaign held every September.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), National Preparedness Month educates and empowers the American public to prepare for, respond to, and mitigate emergencies, including natural and man-made disasters. One often overlooked aspect is the importance of addressing mobility challenges and ensuring elderly are safe, whether it’s ensuring accessible evacuation routes or integrating mobility solutions that can facilitate quicker and more efficient disaster response.The primary objective is to promote family and community disaster planning, emphasizing the need for improvement now and throughout the year.

The yearly average of such events has increased, with the last five years averaging 18 costly disasters compared to an older average of 8.1 events. So far in 2023, the U.S. has experienced 23 major weather and climate disasters, each costing over $1 billion. These disasters led to 253 deaths and had substantial economic impacts.

National Centers for Environmental Information
National Disasters 2023

The brunt of these emergencies is often felt by vulnerable populations, such as the elderly and individuals with mobility challenges. This makes it all the more crucial to be prepared, not just to weather the storm but to recover and rebuild in its aftermath. 

Next Day Access offers invaluable resources for those facing mobility challenges, providing an extra layer of security and peace of mind in times of disaster. Being prepared is a collective responsibility, and it’s essential that we take steps to protect all members of our community. Keep reading for easy at-home emergency preparedness tips and innovative solutions that cater to specific needs of those with mobility challenges, along with practical advice on how to take control of your safety in “1, 2, 3” easy steps.

National Preparedness Month Starts at Home

While government agencies like FEMA provide invaluable resources and guidelines, real preparedness starts at home. It begins with small steps, like creating a disaster supplies kit, knowing your evacuation route, having a plan in place for pets and family members, and ensuring anyone facing mobility challenges has the proper accessibility solutions.

In a world increasingly prone to emergency and disasters, preparedness is a shared responsibility that requires us all to take proactive steps. Imagine needing to evacuate a home swiftly when someone has limited mobility; a stair lift can be a lifeline. Also consider the benefits of home elevators during situations that might make stairs impassable. For older adults, features like fall prevention can make a critical difference in their ability to stay safe and mobile during chaotic circumstances.

Mobility Solutions and National Preparedness Month

In an emergency or disaster, mobility is crucial. Whether it’s a flood, fire, or other form of disaster, moving quickly can be a matter of life and death. Below are several accessibility solutions designed to aid in quick and safe mobility.

Lift Chair National Preparedness Month

Lift Chairs: Ensuring Movement Ease During Emergencies

Lift chairs are not just comfort furniture; they facilitate vertical movement for seniors or those with limited mobility. During an emergency, these chairs can help users rise to their feet faster and with less pain, making evacuation faster.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults. Having a lift chair can aid in prevention and offer a safer way to stand up during critical times.

Learn more about Lift Chairs:

Vertical Platform Lift: An Essential Tool for Quick Evacuation

Vertical Platform Lift National Preparedness Month

These lifts can be invaluable for wheelchair users in multi-story homes or buildings. In the event of a disaster where elevators are non-operational, a vertical platform lift can serve as a quick and safe alternative to descending floors.

Vertical platform lifts are usually ADA-compliant and meet safety regulations, making them a secure choice for emergency preparedness.

Learn more about Vertical Platform Lifts:

Wheelchair Car Lift: How it Simplifies Emergency Transportation

Wheelchair Car Lift National Preparedness Month

In an emergency, evacuating an area by car may be necessary. A wheelchair car lift simplifies the process of getting a wheelchair into and out of a vehicle. This makes it quicker to leave an area under threat.

Wheelchair car lifts are not just for personal vehicles; they can be integrated into community emergency vehicles or transport services, providing a comprehensive solution for those with mobility challenges.

Learn More about Vehicle Lifts:

By integrating Next Day Access mobility products into an emergency preparedness plan, individuals and communities can greatly enhance their ability to respond effectively when disasters strike.

ADA Accessibility and Fall Prevention: Making Safe Spaces in Emergencies

When it comes to emergency-be it natural disasters like hurricanes and floods or other urgent situations— National Preparedness Month reminds us that preparedness is key. Among the many considerations of preparation, ADA compliance and fall prevention stand out as particularly crucial. Not only are these aspects mandated by law, but they serve the practical purpose of making spaces safer and more accessible during times of crisis.

The Role of ADA Accessibility in Emergency Preparedness

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) sets forth a variety of guidelines to make public and commercial spaces accessible for individuals with disabilities. These guidelines cover everything from door widths and ramp inclines to elevator controls and bathroom setups.

According to the CDC, one in four adults in the United States has some type of disability. For these individuals, ADA-compliant spaces can mean the difference between life and death during emergencies.

1 in 4 adults in the United States has some type of disability

During an emergency, adhering to ADA guidelines can have immediate safety implications. For instance, wider doorways and ramps facilitate quicker and smoother evacuations for wheelchair users. Properly marked and easily accessible exits can make all the difference in panic times.

Next Day Access offers a range of ADA-compliant products such as wheelchair ramps, home elevators, and stair lifts. 

Fall Prevention: A Necessity During Stressful Times

Fall Prevention: National Preparedness Month

Falls are one of the leading causes of injury, especially among the elderly. During an emergency, the risk of falls increases due to hurried movements, unfamiliar environments, or temporary setups like evacuation centers.

Fall Prevention Techniques and Products

  • Non-Slip Mats: Simple solutions like placing non-slip mats can provide added safety during emergencies.
  • Lift Chairs: Next Day Access’s range of lift chairs can help those with mobility challenges move more safely and comfortably during urgent situations, reducing falls risk.
  • Handrails and Grab Bars: Installing these in crucial areas like bathrooms and staircases can provide necessary support during hurried movements.
35 Next Day Access National Preparedness Month

The National Council on Aging reports that every 19 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Fall prevention measures are not just comfort features; they are life-saving necessities.

Make a Plan: 1, 2, 3 Easy Steps for Emergency Preparedness

In light of the escalating frequency and magnitude of natural disasters, the urgency to prepare ourselves and our families has never been greater. Ever since its inception in 2003, National Preparedness Month serves as a reminder of the unpredictability of emergencies. 

This year, the spotlight is on older adults, with the theme “Take Control in 1, 2, 3,” focusing on three pivotal steps: assessing individual needs, developing an actionable plan, and building a robust support network. 

Step 1 – Assess Your Unique Needs

Begin by assessing the mobility requirements of each family member. Take note of limitations such as difficulty walking, wheelchair usage, or assisted lifts. Create a list of essential medications, specialized equipment, or services you need. The CDC recommends an assessment as the first step in emergency preparedness.

Self-Assessment Questions:

  • What is the likelihood of natural hazards in your region?
  • What channels will you use for emergency warnings and alerts?
  • Do you have viable options for evacuating?
  • Have you amassed sufficient supplies to last during extended power outages?
  • Do you have dependents, pets, or medical needs that warrant special attention?

With a range of products like lift chairs, vertical lifts, and wheelchair ramps, Next Day Access can tailor your home to meet your mobility needs. Customizing your home in this way ensures that you can exit quickly in an emergency. This is vital given that FEMA says you might only have 2-3 minutes to escape a fire.

Step 2 – Build a Customized Plan

After assessing your needs, your next move is to craft a plan tailored to those unique requirements. Your plan is your lifeline; it dictates your actions when disaster strikes.

Essential Elements of an Emergency Plan

Essential Elements of an Emergency Plan:

  • Custom Emergency Kit: Alongside basics like sustenance and hydration, your kit should include prescription medicine, backup power for essential medical devices, and crucial family documents. The Department of Homeland Security suggests keeping enough supplies to last for at least 72 hours.
  • Evacuation and Meeting Points: Identify and practice using all potential exits from your home. For example, practice opening windows and doors, and practicing using an escape ladder if necessary. Utilize community resources or local fire departments to ensure your routes are viable. Pre-arrange a gathering spot for your family if you’re separated during a disaster.
  • Emergency Contacts: Make a thorough list of family, friends, and emergency service numbers. Store them in multiple formats—printed, digital, and even handwritten.
  • If you own a cell phone download the FEMA app for real-time alerts from the National Weather Service, emergency tips, and disaster resources. It also provides the location of emergency shelters and has the functionality to help you contact emergency services.
  • A NOAA Weather Radio is a must-have to monitor severe weather conditions in your area. It can operate on batteries, hand-crank, or solar power, ensuring you stay informed even if the power goes out.

Step 3 – Leverage Your Support Network

Your third critical step involves establishing a reliable support network. These are the people you can count on when the unexpected occurs. Identify a network of neighbors, friends, and family who can assist you in an emergency. According to the American Red Cross, 48% of Americans lack a designated meeting spot, which is a crucial component of a robust support network.

Building and Utilizing Your Support Network:

  • Identify reliable individuals who can assist you during an emergency.
  • Make sure they’re aware of your unique needs and equipped to help.
  • Share emergency supplies and key information with trustworthy contacts.

Did you know? Products like patient lifts can be operated by non-medical members of your support network, making it easier to receive help during an emergency. This also encourages more people to be part of your support network, knowing they can effectively assist you without specialized training.

Preparedness for Pet and Service Animal Owners During Emergencies

Preparedness for Pet and Service Animal Owners During Emergencies

This National Preparedness Month, it’s important to remember that emergencies don’t discriminate; they impact everyone in their path, human and animal alike. Pets and service animals are more than just companions; they are lifelines for many. Incorporating their needs into your emergency preparedness plan is not an option—it’s a necessity.

Given this, Next Day Access extends its scope to spotlight our four-legged family members, who often double as life-changing service animals. Here’s how to ensure their safety with a simple three-step plan.

Step 1 – Identify and Tag: The First Line of Defense

Pet and service animal preparedness begins with indisputable identification. Consider microchipping your animal and ensure ID tags are updated. This is particularly critical as, according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, microchipped dogs are more than twice as likely to be reunited with their families.

Key Identification Questions:

  • Is the microchip information updated?
  • Are the ID tags current and secure?

Step 2 – Equip and Prepare: Tailor-Made Emergency Kits

Just as you assemble emergency kits for family members, pets and service animals should have their own. These should include food, water, leashes, and medicines.

Key Considerations:

  • How much food and water will your pet need?
  • Are there any specific medications or medical supplies?

Next Day Access provides a range of mobility solutions that are pet-friendly, like platform lifts, ensuring that your service animals can assist you efficiently during an emergency.

Step 3 – Build a Resilient Support Ecosystem

Pre-plan with neighbors, friends, and relatives to ensure that someone can take care of your pet if you are unable.

Accessible Safe Havens:
Make a list of pet-friendly, accessible shelters or hotels. The U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency suggests having a list prepared as it can make all the difference.

Did you know? According to the CDC, preparedness for pets is often overlooked, making them vulnerable during crises. By adopting this three-step plan, you’re contributing to a safer, more resilient future for everyone in your household, four-legged members included.

Additional Prep for the Elderly & Mobility-Impaired

Emergencies can be unsettling for anyone, but they’re especially precarious for seniors and individuals with mobility challenges. These populations are often the most vulnerable and may require specialized planning. Here’s how to improve your emergency preparedness by focusing on three primary areas.

Step 1 – Identify and Prioritize Specialized Needs

Additional Prep for the Elderly & Mobility-Impaired

An evaluation of any special needs or challenges is the first step. Whether it is medical equipment, mobility assistance, or essential medications, these should be documented and planned.

Key Questions for Assessment:

  • What specific medical equipment or medications are critical?
  • Is special transportation needed in case of an emergency?

Next Day Access offers a wide range of mobility solutions, like stairlifts and portable ramps. These solutions can be essential in emergency situations where quick mobility is crucial.

Step 2 – Create an Individualized Emergency Plan

Your emergency kit should include personalized items, such as prescription medications, power backups for medical devices, and crucial documentation. Develop a comprehensive list of emergency contacts, doctors, and healthcare providers and ensure it’s accessible in multiple formats—digital, printed, and even handwritten for ease of access.

How Next Day Access Can Help:
Products can be customizable to individual needs, such as adjustable beds that can quickly be moved in the event of an emergency, providing more than just comfort but potentially lifesaving utility.

Step 3 – Strengthen Your Support Network

Beyond your inner circle, for those with mobility challenges it’s vital to inform neighbors, caregivers, and local emergency services about the special needs in your household.

Regular Drills:
Practice makes perfect. Regular emergency drills will ensure that everyone knows what to do and how to use specialized equipment. From bathroom accessibility solutions to barrier-free showers, Next Day Access helps ensure that your home remains safe and accessible, even when circumstances are not.

Did you know? A study published by the National Institute of Health suggests that older adults who are prepared for emergencies experience less anxiety and better health outcomes post-disaster.

A New Era for National Preparedness Month 

President Joe Biden’s proclamation of septembre 2023 as National Preparedness Month represents a pivotal moment in how the United States addresses emergency readiness. The White House is now formally recognizing the value and necessity of preparedness at the community, state, and national levels. It’s not just about government agencies being ready, but also about empowering every citizen, specifically elderly, to take control of their own safety.

With the renewed emphasis on empowering older adults and vulnerable communities, the responsibility is on each of us to prioritize preparedness. This is not just for ourselves but for those who need it the most.

Next Day Access stands as a vital partner in this effort, aiming to make safety accessible to everyone. Providing tangible solutions for those with mobility challenges in order to execute on FEMA’s ‘Take Control in 1, 2, 3’ framework —from vertical platform lifts to patient lifts—this is not just about everyday convenience; it’s about creating an environment of readiness, especially crucial for those with mobility challenges.

Let’s not wait for the next disaster to catch us off guard. Take control today and make emergency preparedness a lifestyle, not just a one-off task. Your safety, and the safety of those you care about, depends on it.

Contact Next Day Access to help in preparing for emergencies for loved ones in your life with mobility challenges.

4 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors to Live Independently at Home

For seniors, being able to live independently at home remains a common choice. According to a report from Harvard University’s Joint Center for Housing Studies, the vast majority of adults 65 years and older live in detached, single family housing. If you are part of this population, you are nearly as likely to live alone as with a spouse, child, or other family member. Put another way, 50% of seniors live at home alone.

9 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors

Whatever your living situation at home looks like, you should know the vital importance of a strong support system. Many studies show that strong interpersonal and social connections benefit nearly every dimension of a senior’s life, including:

  • Physical function
  • Mental health
  • Life satisfaction
  • Managing chronic conditions
  • Navigating stress
  • Recovering from injury or illness
  • Longevity

The truth is, you’ll have better chances of long-term success if you stay informed and prepared. This article is part of a series focused on living independently as an older adult–also called “staying in place” or “aging in place.” Part 1 covered tips to prepare yourself and your home.

Welcome to Part 2!

This article is Part 2 in the series, and covers 4 MORE tips for seniors who want to live at home–with a focus on strengthening your support system:

  1. Learn the benefits of belonging
  2. Use technology to connect
  3. Make primary care a habit
  4. Record your preferences

We hope this series is a helpful resource for you. Please note that these articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice. If you have health-related questions or concerns about living at home, we recommend you consult with your medical provider.

Our expertise is focused on accessibility solutions for your home. Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a FREE in-home consultation. We’ll conduct a safety assessment and offer recommendations based on years of experience and thousands of happy customers served.

Customer Review: “Unable to return to my home of 35 years, my wife found us a home that was very close to being totally accessible. A friend recommended Next Day Access and was very happy with their service. I appreciated that I was not pressured, the prices were fair, and there was no haggling. It’s good to have competent workmen in your home who have your best interests in mind.” Steve, Minnesota

1. Learn the benefits of belonging.

Tip #1 to Live Independently at Home

There are many reasons why staying in place is the most common choice for seniors. Perhaps you’ve lived in your home for decades and want to stay where your favorite memories were made. Maybe you feel more comfortable living in a familiar house and neighborhood. Or maybe you downsized recently and want life to continue as normally as possible, for as long as possible.

live independently at home - elderly friends smiling

Whatever your reasons, a major advantage of being able to live independently at home is keeping your connections with friends, family, and neighbors. Social connections provide strong protections for seniors who live at home including:

  • Less loneliness
  • Higher quality of life
  • Better outcomes

For example, a recent study published in Frontiers in Psychology found that loneliness contributed strongly toward higher depression rates and lower self-ratings of health in older adults. The report associates loneliness with social isolation as a result of “having a smaller social network, more functional limitations, and limitations in engaging meaningful activities.”

Another report published in American Psychologist describes the health benefits of social integration for seniors, including “reduced risks for infectious illness, cardiovascular disease, overall cognitive and physical decline, and both cancer-specific and overall mortality.”

At the same time, loneliness is a serious issue for older adults in the U.S. Polling data from the University of Michigan shows that 1 in 3 adults between 50 and 80 years old experience isolation. Loneliness rates have doubled since the 1980s, resulting in serious, widespread effects on public health–enough for former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to identify loneliness as an “epidemic.”

21 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors

Strenthen Your Connections.

If you want to strengthen your social connections, check out resources from the Administration for Community Living or consider the following:

  • The Friendship Line is a phone “warm” line operated by staff and volunteers from the Institute on Aging. The line offers a variety of services including well-being telephone check-ins, grief counseling, bereavement support, home visits, and crisis intervention.
  • The AARP Virtual Community Center offers free online events and classes for “education, self-improvement, and fun.”
  • The Senior Center Directory can help you locate the nearest senior center to your home. Senior centers are a great place to meet people in-person and get involved in activities, classes, volunteering, and other programs. Many centers also facilitate counseling, support groups, meals, transportation, and other social services.

If your social life is limited by accessibility issues, please reach out to us. Your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access can work with you to find solutions based on your unique needs.

“Competitively priced, quality materials, and professional installation: what more can one ask for? The ramp is super and it enables my Mum to safely come and go from her home. Many thanks! Best in class client service and work.”

Paula, Toronto

2. Use technology to connect.

Tip #2 to Live Independently at Home

Recent developments in technology have revolutionized life for older adults. From the comfort of home you can visit with friends and family, attend medical appointments, schedule transportation–the possibilities are almost endless. As the U.S. population ages, technology is being adapted specifically for use by older adults.

You can use smart technology in your home for security, smoke alarms, lighting, appliance monitoring–even alerts when your milk expires! Both in and out of your home, technology can also be a powerful tool to connect you with your support system.

Below are some innovations that keep you safe and connected while you live independently at home:

Smart Alert Graphic

Smart monitoring.

In Part 1 we introduced Smart Alert Tech plugs and sensors that protect your privacy while monitoring your safety. You can also use smart plugs to improve safety in other ways. For instance, you can set a timer and stop worrying that you’ve forgotten to turn off your space heater. Or you can pair your smart plug with an app on your mobile device to control lights remotely–reducing the risk of losing your balance or tripping in the dark.

Online technology training.

Most people know about technology like smartphones, social media, and video calls by now. According to surveys by Pew Research Center and MetaFacts, a growing number of adults 65 years and older use these technologies to stay connected, engaged, and informed:

27 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors
  • 61% use a smartphone
  • 45% use social media
  • 39% use one-to-one video calls
  • 36% use multi-person video calls/conferences

Even so, many seniors have questions about how to use technology. You might have questions about the basics, or want to know which platforms are best to connect with others. Or you might want to know how to protect yourself while using online technology.

You can find support for your questions by reaching out to organizations like Cyber-Seniors. Cyber-Seniors is a nonprofit organization that pairs seniors with volunteer technology trainers who can help you learn a wide range of skills. Below are a few recent webinars that share how you can use technology to connect with others:

Another option is Senior Planet, a nonprofit organization founded by AARP and Older Adults Technology Services (OATS). Senior Planet describes their purpose as helping “older adults to come together and find ways to learn, work, create, exercise, and thrive in today’s digital age.” 

The organization’s technology training focuses on five “impact areas”: financial security, social engagement, creative expression, health and wellness, and civic participation. Check out Senior Planet’s free online offerings including:


Since the COVID-19 pandemic, remote technology has become an increasingly popular option to access physical and mental health care. Depending on the services you access virtually, you might hear the terms “telemedicine,” “telehealth,” “virtual care,” or “e-visits” when getting healthcare online.

While each of these terms has a slightly different meaning, they can all be considered forms of telehealth. The Health Resources and Services Administration defines telehealth as “the use of electronic information and telecommunication technologies to support long-distance clinical health care, patient and professional health-related education, health administration, and public health.”

29 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors

Like other demographics, older adults are using telehealth more since 2020. According to a recent research from AARP, 50% of adults aged 50 and older reported they or someone in their family has attended telehealth appointments within the past two years.

Survey respondents reported a variety of reasons for using telehealth including:

  • Regular doctor’s visits
  • Prescription renewals
  • Talking about new medical issues
  • Diagnosing illnesses
  • Getting care for a family member

If you have questions about using telehealth as an older adult, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has online resources that you may find helpful. You may also find support by contacting your medical provider or local senior center.

Of course, technology can help you stay connected both inside and out of the home. Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for more information on technology that keeps you safe, connected, and empowered while on-the-go.

“The entire process was much quicker than we had hoped for and the work was exemplary. All of the individuals involved in the process are in A+.”

Keith, California

3. Make primary care a habit when you live independently at home.

Tip #3 to Live Independently at Home

You can maintain relationships with doctors you trust.

You can also improve your chances of staying safe and healthy when you live independently at home by actively partnering with your doctor to build continuity of care. Continuity of care is defined as consistent healthcare services that are appropriate to your needs over time.

live independently at home - female doctor assisting woman in using digital tab ZP2QAT8

Primary care serves as one of the most important components of continuity. Consider findings from recent research published in Scientifica about the benefits for seniors who receive primary care:

  • Less healthcare costs
  • Reduced risk of hospitalization
  • Improved health outcomes
  • Lower morbidity

By seeing a primary care provider regularly, you can access an array of beneficial services including preventative care, early detection, and management of chronic diseases. 

33 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors

Plus, your primary care physician can effectively coordinate with specialists or other providers if you need support from another department or facility. Consider this: a recent Profile of Older Americans survey reports that 26% of people 65 years and older visited a hospital emergency department in the past year.

With emergency room visits more common amongst seniors, having continuity of care can make an important difference when the unexpected happens. By building a good relationship with your doctor, you’ll have better support from a professional who knows your medical history, needs, and preferences.

If you need safe, reliable access to in-person medical appointments, Nous contacter. Your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access can meet you at home and hear about your accessibility needs. We’ll work with you to find a solution that fits your specific situation.

“I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and Parkinson’s Disease, with severe mobility issues. Next Day Access was extremely flexible: on the day of installation, they showed up on time…the installers were professional, courteous, and knowledgeable. They took the time to answer all my questions, were in and out of here in no time, and the job was completed in a very timely manner. Would recommend them to anyone needing this type of help with access around your home, and for those with loved ones who need the freedom of mobility that this provides.”

Monty, Colorado

4. Maintain physical accessibility outside of your home.

Tip #4 to Live Independently at Home

Many older adults experience mobility limitations–and barriers when they live independently at home.

If you choose to live independently at home, you can make a big difference in your quality of life by ensuring physical accessibility outside of your home–also known as “outdoor mobility.” In the context of outdoor mobility, physical accessibility involves removing barriers that would others reduce or prohibit your movement outside of the home to access things like:

  • Goods and services
  • Employment opportunities
  • State and local programs
39 Next Day Access 4 More Tips for Seniors

According to research published in Frontiers of Physiology, more than 1 in 3 people aged 70 years and older reports limited mobility.

You might have a mobility limitation, impairment, or disability related to any one or more of the following:

  • Muscle weakness or stiffness
  • Weight concerns
  • History of falls or balance issues
  • Injuries
  • Surgeries
  • Chronic health conditions
  • Weight concerns

Additional studies from The International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health underscores the importance of outdoor mobility for older adults’ health and wellbeing. Researchers say that mobility “goes beyond accessibility” in affecting people’s sense of “independence, control, status retention, integration, and ‘normalcy.’” Outdoor mobility is a big deal!

Even with federal civil rights protections like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), many people face barriers based on mobility limitations, impairments, or disabilities–particularly older adults. 

Researchers identified the following common barriers to outdoor mobility for older adults:

  • Lack of accessible transportation alternatives
  • Environmental factors like hills, stairs, and available parking
  • Sense of isolation while living alone
  • Extreme weather conditions

There are health risks associated with limited outdoor mobility.

Seniors who face barriers to outdoor mobility may be at risk of a status known as “homebound.” Homebound status is defined by researchers at Mount Sinai as leaving the home once per week or less. Research shows that homebound adults may face worse outcomes in physical, mental, or social health, as well and increased mortality rates.

Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the prevalence of homebound adults has risen significantly. According to recent research published in JAMA Internal Medicine, the number of U.S. adults who qualify as homebound has more than doubled since 2020.

Research published in BMC Geriartric identifies potential factors associated with an increased risk of being homebound including:

  • Older adults
  • Females
  • Mobility device users
  • Anyone with dementia
  • Those with prior history of falls
  • People living with anxiety or depression
  • Individuals experiencing social isolation

As you can see, some of the above risk factors cannot be changed. However, many of the factors above can be mitigated by removing barriers and restoring outdoor mobility.

You can get professional support right away by contacting your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We’ll schedule a free in-home consultation that simplifies your process, identifies barriers, and offers relevant solutions.

“Next Day Access has been exceptional in every part of the process. From my first inquiry, all questions along the way to the final installment. Their prices and warranty are very competitive, but most importantly to me I have confidence in their service and professionalism. I know if I have any issues, I’m in good hands with Next Day Access.”

Randy, Maryland

Let us help you remove barriers to outdoor mobility–quickly and safely.

For more than 25 years, Next Day Access has helped thousands of older adults remove barriers to their mobility–both in and out of the home. Your local accessibility experts keep your needs and goals both front and center–you are our priority from the first point of contact to the end of installation.

For help right away, you can Nous contacter to get started. You can also read on to learn about a few of the accessibility solutions we offer that restore outdoor mobility quickly and safely:

Transportation solutions to live independently at home.

Wheelchairs Power Wheelchairs

We can help you to restore access to pathways, vehicles, and transportation alternatives based on your specific needs. With Next Day Access, you can enjoy a customized wheelchair, power chair, or scooter that gives you exactly what you need and gets you exactly where you need to go.

Auto Vehicle Lifts 1

Our wheelchair car and vehicle lifts restore access that allows you to use your mobility device while driving–or secure it outside for maximum interior space.

For another space-saving solution, portable ramps provide vehicle access and can also be used on-the-go for accessing businesses, homes, and other destinations. 

Environmental solutions.

Rampes pour fauteuils roulants can restore your access over steps, hills, and other changes in elevation. We install customizable modular systems that offer quick installation, lasting durability, and trustworthy traction.

Porch Lifts mobility products accessibility ADA

For exterior spaces that are too small or steep for a ramp, consider solutions like Ascenseurs de porche or outdoor stairway lifts. You may prefer a porch lift if you use a mobility device like walkers, scooters, or wheelchairs. If you walk unassisted or use a smaller device like a cane, you might prefer an outdoor stairway lift.

If you’re not sure about which solution is best for your home, just ask us. We’re happy to help you.

Connection solutions.

For some people who live alone, leaving the home may feel like a risk. You can keep friends, family members, or caregivers informed through a variety of means–including Smart Alert Tech. Earlier we shared how this technology can help you stay connected while you live independently at home.

You can also use Smart Alert Tech to keep others informed of when you leave and return from the home:

  • Use the Smart Alert Tech plug on your porch lift or stair lift
  • Add a Smart Alert Tech sensor at your front door

By using Smart Alert Tech, you can give yourself and others greater peace of mind when you’re out and about.

Weather solutions to live independently at home.

All of the products we just mentioned are designed to protect your safety in hazardous weather conditions. 

open-weave wheelchair ramps ada compliant mobility products

For example, open weave aluminum wheelchair ramps provide ample drainage to avoid buildup of snow, ice, or water. We can install Ascenseurs de porche that operate in extremely cold weather conditions, so you can have peace of mind when you leave the home.

Many customers love our mobility ramp and wheelchair rental program that provides affordable, seasonal access to wheelchairs, ramps, lifts, and other mobility products. All products in our rental line are ADA-compliant and installed by factory-trained experts.

With the right resources, you can live independently at home and have a safe and empowering experience. We hope this article has offered helpful information about staying connected to your support system–virtually and physically.

Remember: if you need help, we’re here for you. Schedule a free in-home consultation by contacting your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We will bring the industry’s best knowledge, skills, and products to your front door.

“I was totally amazed and so appreciative of the rapid response, professionalism, and workmanship that was provided. I will be referring Next Day Access to everyone. It was truly a superb experience…getting the ramp was the one thing I was dreading, but of all the work that had to be done Next Day Access made it the best experience of all….thank you so very much!!!”

Constance, Tennessee
Live Independently: 4 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

If you are a senior who wants to stay in your home, you’re not alone. A recent poll from the University of Michigan found that 88% of seniors want to stay in their homes as they age.

13 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

The popular decision to stay in your home as an older adult is sometimes called “staying in place” or “aging in place.” There are many reasons why you would choose to live independently, ranging from finances to relationships and personal preference.

If you are a senior who wants to live independently, we have good news. With the right information and support, you very well can! In this two-part series, we’ll share advice for seniors who want to live at home as they age.

This article is Part 1, and covers 4 tips focused on preparing yourself and your home to live independently as a senior:

  1. Know the benefits
  2. Define your values
  3. Maximize safety
  4. Ensure accessibility

Part 2 will focus on tips to stay connected with your community as you live at home.

We hope this series is a helpful resource for you. Please note that these articles are intended for informational purposes only and should not substitute medical advice. If you have health-related questions or concerns about living at home, we recommend you consult with your medical provider.

Live Independently with Next Day Access

If you need home modifications, you’ve found the right team. Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access to schedule a free in-home consultation. We’ll help you identify potential barriers to your safety and independence, along with solutions that meet your needs.

“Words can’t express how wonderful Next Day Access was for our family. It is not an easy time to see parents age and need assistance, but Next Day Access was patient, respectful, extremely responsive, and attentive. The product, customer appreciation and attention from this company is beyond 5 stars!”

Kelly, Ohio

1. Know the benefits of choosing to live independently at home compared with other senior housing options.

Live Independently: Tip #1 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

The first thing you can do when preparing to live independently is to learn the benefits compared with other housing options for seniors. Knowing this information might give you greater peace of mind about your decision to live independently. More importantly, staying informed will help you to prepare a safer, more supportive, and sustainable home for years to come.

Being able to live independently is good for your health.

For many people, living at home preserves a sense of independence. Independence involves the freedom to make decisions about your life. Your decisions can include big picture considerations like housing, medical care, and relationships, as well as smaller choices that meet your daily needs including food, hygiene, and recreation.

Your independence is about more than feeling free. It also involves your sense of agency: a belief that you are capable of influencing your circumstances. Most of us have spent our entire adult lives feeling free and capable. As we age, protecting our sense of independence may help us to navigate profound changes associated with this season of life.

Older adults may navigate several significant life stressors at once, including:

  • Housing decisions
  • Adjusting to life after retirement
  • Financial stress
  • Caregiving for a spouse or loved one
  • Loss of friends who move or pass away
  • Unexpected illness or injury
  • Changes in mobility or functioning
Live independently - Financing for accessibility and mobility products for elderly and mobile impaired

Research shows that seniors who feel empowered have better outcomes in response to stress. Research published by The Journal on Aging and Human Development showed that seniors who responded to their challenges through positive reframing or problem-solving experienced better outcomes in health, relationships, and finances. By contrast, those who coped through avoidance or emotional discharge experience higher rates of depression, substance abuse, and distress.

“Research shows that seniors who feel empowered in their responses to stress experience better outcomes in health, relationships, and finances.”

Your sense of independence can be a powerful asset in navigating the stresses of older adulthood. While housing might be an important factor, make sure you also maintain good physical activity, nutrition, and regular medical care. By taking care of yourself, you’ll further improve your quality of life at home, not to mention your chances of living independently for as long as possible.

Choosing in-home care can save you money.

17 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

Whether or not you currently need caregiving support, you should understand the costs of care when living at home. In-home care is common, with AARP reporting that 1 in 4 care recipients live at home. The rate of in-home care recipients increases with age. At 65 years old, 27% of people receive support from informal and/or formal caregivers. The rate of caregiving support increases with age, with 54% of adults 85 years and older receiving paid support–and much higher rates of unpaid support at 90%.

21 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

The good news is that in-home care often costs less than other options. Depending on your location and level of care, in-home care from homemaker services or home health aides can cost significantly less than care at residential facilities. In fact, a recent survey from Genworth on the “Cost of Care” reports that the median cost of in-home care for seniors is about half the cost of nursing home facilities.

“The median cost of in-home care for seniors is about half the cost of nursing home facilities.”

Median annual costs for care vary based on your living situation.

If you need full-time in-home care, your costs may be comparable to assisted living facilities. Below is a list of median annual costs for care in various living situations for seniors.

  • In-home care includes homemaker and home health aide services, with median annual costs for full-time services ranging from $59,488 to $61,776.
  • Retirement communities include senior apartments and independent living communities that offer low levels of care, with a median annual cost of $30,624.*
  • Community and assisted living includes Adult Day Health Care (ADC) and Assisted Living Facilities (ALF), with median annual costs ranging from $20,280* to $54,000.
  • Nursing home facilities include varying levels of care in semi-private and private rooms, with median annual costs ranging from $94,900 to $108,405.

While senior living communities and Adult Day Health Care (ADC) appear lower in cost, it is important to remember that services are limited and additional at-home care coverage might significantly increase your cost of living.

To find more information about median costs of care in your state, check out this report from Genworth. Additionally, if you want to explore housing options beyond living at home in more detail, start by consulting the Senior Housing Options & Retirement Guide from SeniorLiving.org.

Being able to live independently can limit your risk of illness.

Since 2020, COVID-19 has raised public awareness about the increased health risks for seniors who live in residential care facilities. According to a study published in JAMA Network Open, nursing home residents were at a significantly higher risk of COVID-19 infection and mortality compared to seniors who lived in the community. The study found a mortality rate 13 times higher for seniors living in nursing homes compared with those who lived in their own homes.

Studies have also found that seniors who age in place face lower risks of infection beyond coronavirus. A study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases reports that older adults living in residential care facilities face an “increased risk of common community-acquired infections including pneumonia, UTI, prosthetic joint infection, and infected endovascular foreign bodies with bacteremia.”

Overall, these studies suggest that living at home may be associated with better health outcomes than residential care facilities. By staying in your home, you may have better control over your environment and activities–along with your risk of infection.

31 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors 1

While living at home can support your independence, finances, and health, it is important to be proactive about safety modifications. The truth is, a single accident can undermine your ability to stay in your home–not to mention cause you a lot of pain and stress.

For fast, professional help, contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We’ll meet you for a free in-home consultation and make sure your home is ready to support the benefits of living independently.

“We contacted Next Day Access after suddenly needing to arrange for my parents to be able to have a ramp into their home and access throughout the house for a walker. They set up an appointment for a quote almost immediately, and had the ramp and other equipment in within a week from the quote. The ramp looks great and is very functional. The staff was very friendly and professional. The services are very reasonably priced.  I liked working with a company that takes care of our veterans, too.  I highly recommend them!”

Amy, Virginia

2. Define your standard of living and make choices based on your values and priorities.

Live Independently: Tip #2 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

The next step in preparing for living independently at home involves identifying your values and priorities. What is most important to you in the long-term?

  • Autonomy
  • Relationships with family and friends
  • Keeping your current residence
  • Affordability
  • Access to medical care or other services

Your personal priorities might include one or more of the above–or something else entirely. Whatever your reasons for staying in place, you deserve a living arrangement that best supports your health and happiness.

It is important to make sure your choices align as closely as possible with what matters most to you. It can be tempting to focus on logistics first, especially if you are facing limitations on your budget, support system, or available services.

If you do not know how to answer these questions, don’t worry. For over 25 years, our team has worked with thousands of individuals in the midst of unexpected or uncertain circumstances. Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access and let us help you.

29 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

3. Maximize safety to live independently in your home and prevent accidents before they happen.

Live Independently: Tip #3 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

One of the most important steps you can take to maximize safety is to accommodate your changing needs by modifying your home. This includes making changes to high-risk areas such as bathrooms and staircases, where accidents are more likely to occur. Installing Barres d'appui, safety poles, and non-slip flooring in these areas can significantly reduce the risk of falls and other injuries. 

For example, an article published by the American Journal of Occupational Therapy reports “strong evidence” that home modifications “improve function for people with a variety of health conditions…[and] reduce the rate and risk of falls among older adults.” A study published by The Journal of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society found that the use of a grab bar when exiting the shower improved chances of recovery from a loss of balance by 75.8%.

35 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

Reducing fall risks is especially important for seniors. One-third of seniors who fall require hospitalization, with medical costs averaging $36,671.

Whether you self-assess your home safety needs or ask for professional help, make sure you pay attention to the following areas of your home:

  • Bathroom slip-and-fall accidents
  • Stairs, uneven surfaces, and cluttered or poorly lit areas
  • Outdoor walkways impacted by ice or snow

If you are interested in a free in-home consultation, Nous contacter now or read on to learn about some of our most popular home safety solutions:

Grab Bars Safety Poles mobility products accessibility ADA

Grab bars and safety poles.

Our professionals can install grab bars and safety poles quickly and easily–often in a matter of hours. These products take up minimal space but offer a big boost to your stability and safety in the bathroom. 

We commonly install grab bars and safety poles for use near the toilet, when stepping in and out of the bathtub or shower, and during bathing. You can choose from options designed to remain stationary, adjust and lock, or fold on a hinge.

Our grab bars and safety poles are made of high-quality materials like stainless steel and anti-microbial vinyl for hygiene and easy cleaning. If you want to match your existing bathroom hardware, you’ll find options with finishes like polished chrome, brushed chrome, matte black, and oil rubbed bronze.

Bathroom Products mobility products accessibility ADA

Bathroom products.

In addition to grab bars and safety poles, we carry Produits de salle de bain like commode chairs, folding shower seats, bidets, and accessible wash basins. All of our bathroom products are ADA-compliant, meeting the highest standards for accessibility and safety.

Ready to schedule your free in-home consultation? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We’ll draw on our expertise and experience in helping you to identify safety risks and recommend solutions.

Smart Alert Graphic

Smart Alert Tech Monitoring System.

For added peace of mind, consider purchasing Smart Alert Tech. This little piece of technology protects your privacy while making sure you are safe.

There are two simple options for Smart Alert Tech.

  • Plug-in device: Simply plug in your Smart Alert Tech to any household electronic device that you use regularly. Some people choose a small device like their coffee maker, while others opt for something bigger like a stair lift.
  • Sensor: Just mount your sensor in a room where you have a daily routine. Common choices include the bathroom or kitchen.

You can set an alarm for a specific time of day. For instance, you might set your alarm for 9am if you make coffee in the mornings. Friends or caregivers will receive alerts if your Smart Alert Tech notices you’ve missed your routine, or if there is a disruption to power in your home.

There are no subscriptions with Smart Alert Tech devices. After your one-time purchase, simply download the app, pair your device, and grant access to the people you choose.

15 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

4. Review your home accessibility needs regularly.

Live Independently: Tip #4 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors

If you want to live independently at home as you age, maximizing accessibility is essential. Accessibility involves making the rooms in your home usable for you. Your accessibility needs may change over time, so make plans to review your accessibility needs regularly.

Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for professional help. We offer free in-home consultations with specific recommendations to create a safe, accessible home. You can also check out some of our favorite accessibility solutions below:

Stair lifts.

39 Next Day Access 4 Tips for Seniors 1

Monte-escaliers can restore access to upper story bedrooms, bathrooms, and other living spaces. This is especially important if your home is 1 of every 4 in the U.S. that lacks a bedroom or bathroom on the main floor. We can build custom stair lifts that fit your stairwell with a variety of designs and features based on your needs and preferences.

Portable showers.

Portable Showers mobility products accessibility ADA

Douches portatives are a great option for a variety of situations including:

  • Temporary changes in mobility, such as during recovery or rehabilitation from surgery
  • As an affordable alternative to major bathroom remodeling projects
  • During travel when an accessible shower is not available 

There is a range of sizes to choose from, including options large enough for wheelchairs and caregivers. Our portable showers are easy to set up and use. Just connect your shower to a sink faucet for hot water access, and direct wastewater tubing into a nearby drain like a sink, toilet, or shower.

When you’re finished, your portable shower can fold down to a size just slightly larger than an umbrella for easy storage in your closet or car.

Walk In Tubs mobility products accessibility ADA

Walk-in tubs.

Every home walk-in tub from Next Day Access contains the same quality materials and construction as those used in healthcare facilities. You can choose tubs with a variety features including:

  • Doors that swing outwards or inwards
  • Step-in or walk-through
  • Ergonomic seating
  • Wheelchair and lift accessibility
  • Design for bariatric patients
  • Built-in or freestanding
  • Add-on accessories for hydrotherapy, aromatherapy, and chromatherapy

We also carry kits that allow you to convert an existing shower or tub for a fraction of the price.

Ready for a free in-home consultation? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We can help you clear barriers to accessibility so you can continue to live comfortably in your home.

“Next Day Access was awesome!  I had a ramp to my specifications installed for my mothers house in a time period that exceeded my expectations. Quality product and quality company! I would highly recommend them.”

Mike, Iowa

If you want help to live independently, we’re here for you.

As local accessibility experts, our role is to help you have the best possible outcomes with the best possible experience. You can expect rock-solid customer service and unconditional support from your first phone call to final installation.

We’ve helped thousands of older adults adapt their homes to be able to live independently with respect to their budget, timeline, and goals. We’d be glad to help you, too. Nous contacter today to get started.

For more tips on senior living, check Part 2 of this series coming next month.

1 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

When it comes to navigating winter weather conditions, wheelchair users face a unique set of challenges. Hazards like slippery surfaces, reduced visibility, and mobility barriers can limit access and even lead to life-threatening emergencies.

The good news is that you can protect yourself and your mobility with the right information and preparation. Below are 8 tips to help wheelchair users stay safe and protected in the midst of winter’s worst.

Do you have a winter safety issue that needs help right away? Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access. We’ll meet with you for a FREE in-home consultation to understand your needs and offer solutions based on 25 years in the business.

12 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

1. Prepare your home for both the expected and the unexpected

Preparation is one of the most important actions you can take to stay safe during winter weather, beginning with your home. Home is the place where you’ll warm up from the cold after time spent outside. It might even become your shelter during an emergency.

Home is the place where you’ll warm up from the cold after time spent outside in winter weather. It might even become your shelter during an emergency.

You should make an emergency plan in case you lose access to power and transportation for an extended amount of time. The truth is, there are news reports every year describing power outages that impact millions of people. Winter storms can also disrupt heating, communications services, and transportation access for days or weeks at a time. 

Consider the following questions:

  • In the event of a power outage, is your home insulated enough to retain heat?
  • Do you know how to keep your pipes from freezing?
  • Are your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors installed, tested, and equipped with battery backups?
  • Do you have an emergency plan and kits for your house, vehicle, and wheelchair?

The ADA National Network recommends preparing home emergency kits with enough supplies to last two weeks. This is especially important for wheelchair users who may experience longer delays as a result of disruptions to accessible routes, transportation, and home delivery services.

For more information on home emergency preparedness, check out this article from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) Ready campaign.

You can also contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a FREE in-home consultation. We’ll help you to identify safety issues in the event of severe winter weather, and provide options that support your safety and wellbeing.

16 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

2. Keep your paths, ramps, and lifts free of ice and snow

winter weather snowy ramp

It is very important to maintain a clear route and access point to your home. First, an accessible route allows you to leave your home if necessary. If your home is losing heat or you need medical attention, it will make all the difference to have paths, ramps, and lifts cleared of ice and snow.

Make snow and ice removal part of your winter weather emergency plan.

As part of your winter weather emergency plan, decide how you will manage snow removal on your property. If you handle snow removal yourself, how will you handle a loss of traction on ice or getting stuck in the snow? Will you hire a snow plow driver? Will you ask a relative, neighbor, or attendant to help? 

By planning in advance, you can avoid the frustration of being stuck at home–not to mention the safety risks. Whatever approach you choose, make sure to clear all mobility barriers from your door to your mode of transportation.

Aluminum ramps require little maintenance and offer durable, non-skid surfaces to access your home.

The good news is that our modular ramps require little maintenance–if any. We’re proud to offer ramp systems that comply with ADA guidelines. According to the ADA, ramps should be “designed to prevent the accumulation of water” and “firm, stable, and slip-resistant.”

Our ramps are made of aluminum, which allows the tread to surface to warm at a quicker rate than other materials. This makes aluminum a smart choice in colder climates with snow and ice accumulation. Our ramps feature a unique extruded non-skid surface that helps maintain traction, whether on foot or wheels.

Aluminum is an ultra durable material. Our 100% aluminum ramps will withstand routine shoveling and maintenance without damage.

Our 100% aluminum ramps will withstand routine shoveling and maintenance without damage.

We recommend that you remove any snow and ice that accumulates on your ramp after each snowfall. With light accumulation, you can simply sweep the tread surface clean. During heavier snowfalls, you can shovel the snow before sweeping.

If you still need to remove residual snow or ice, our ramps will tolerate a sparing amount of ice melting products. Depending on your needs, you can find multiple options advertised to be both vegetation and pet-friendly.

Vertical platform lifts (VPL) will work through winter weather with routine maintenance.

Vertical platform lifts (VPL)–also called porch lifts–offer vertical access as an alternative to ramp systems. Our VPLs will work through cold and wet weather conditions and include the following features:

  • All-weather controls
  • Non-slip surfaces
  • Specialized coating
  • Heating kits for improved functioning in extreme cold

In the event of a power outage at home, our VPLs include emergency backup power sources that maintain access to your home. Emergency stop switches can be triggered automatically or manually in case your VPL comes into contact with an unexpected snow drift or other obstruction.

If your ramp is outdoors, we recommend that you remove accumulated snow and ice with a shovel or broom after each snowfall. You should also clear snow and ice on the path and beneath the lift to prevent obstruction sensors from triggering.

You might also consider installing your VPL in a protected space such as your garage or under an overhang to limit snow and ice accumulation.

The safest wheelchair ramp or VPL is installed and serviced by a professional.

Whether you use a ramp or VPL, make sure you choose a professional for installation. Your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access are factory-trained and know exactly how to build your ramp or lift so that it lasts.

If you use a VPL, ask a professional to service your lift at least once per year. We can help you identify potential safety issues and create a maintenance plan that keeps you moving all year round.

For more information on maintaining your wheelchair ramps and lifts (VPLs), contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access.

18 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

3. Winterize your car

During a severe winter storm, road conditions can deteriorate rapidly. Every winter motorists are stranded when they become stuck in ice or snow, traffic pileups, or whiteout conditions. In more serious cases, help can take days to arrive.

Assemble a car emergency kit with supplies that last at least 72 hours, and make sure you have at least a half tank of gas at all times.

Assemble a car emergency kit for winter weather with supplies that last at least 72 hours, and make sure you have at least a half tank of gas at all times.

While assembling your car emergency kit, you should also prepare your car for a winter weather emergency. Before the start of the winter season, ask a mechanic to make sure your car is winter ready. Ask mechanics to check out the following:

  • Antifreeze
  • Tires
  • Battery
  • Oil
  • Ignition and exhaust systems
  • Fuel and air filters
  • Heater and defroster
  • Lights, including emergency flashers
  • Thermostat
  • Windshield wipers and fluid
  • Auto lift or ramp

For more information on car emergency preparedness, check out this article from the Ready campaign.

24 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

4. Make your wheelchair winter weather-ready

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Preparing your wheelchair for winter weather goes beyond the threat of severe weather. Even everyday wintertime occurrences like precipitation, cold, and ice can lead to an emergency.

Fortunately, some basic precautions can help you to navigate winter wonderlands, headline-making storms, and anything in between.

Prepare a carry-with-you emergency kit that lasts at least 24 hours. Additionally, make sure your wheelchair is winter ready with a tune up. Check your power connectors, brakes, and hardware to verify everything is working as it should.

Make sure your wheelchair is winter weather-ready with a tune up. Check your power connectors, brakes, and hardware to verify everything is working as it should.

You can also consider the following modifications to improve accessibility and safety in winter weather:

  • Increase visibility on your chair by adding lights or reflective tape
  • Boost traction by installing winter tires or all-terrain tires
  • Improve your grip with snow chains, studs, wheel blades, or removable tire covers
  • Fully charge your battery and take shorter trips–batteries drain faster in cold and slippery conditions
  • Protect your joystick from water damage with a joystick cover or plastic bag
  • Strengthen stability with anti-tip devices

When you go outside in your wheelchair, make sure to avoid standing water that might cause damage to your electronics. If your wheelchair has been exposed to water while outside, make sure to dry off your chair thoroughly once indoors.

For more information on preparing your wheelchair for winter, check out this great article from the ADA National Network. The ADA National Network offers an emergency kit checklist that is specific to people with disabilities.

28 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

5. Stay vigilant against hypothermia and frostbite–no matter where you live

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), hypothermia and frostbite are types of cold-related illnesses and injuries that occur as a result of exposure to cold and/or water.

Winter Weather US Temperature Map
US Temperature Map

Most people associate these conditions with freezing temperatures. The truth is, you can experience cold-related illnesses and injuries in environments as warm as 60°F. Since nearly every part of the country sees these temperatures during the year, it is important to understand cold-related illnesses and injuries.

The risks for cold-related illnesses and injuries will increase when the following conditions apply:

  • Longer exposure times
  • Getting wet from rain, sleet, snow, or sweat
  • Lack of food, clothing, or shelter
  • Limited physical mobility

What should wheelchair users know about hypothermia?

Hypothermia is a potentially life-threatening condition in which your body cannot generate heat faster than the rate of heat loss. Defined as a body temperature lower than 96°F, hypothermia can disrupt the normal functioning of multiple organs and systems.

Symptoms of hypothermia can include:

  • Severe shivering
  • Slurred speech
  • Drowsiness
  • Confusion
  • Loss of coordination
  • Feeling overheated

Wheelchair users face increased risks of hypothermia for several reasons. Due to limited physical mobility, you may generate less heat and subsequently lose heat at a faster rate.

If you have a spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), and other central nervous system disorder (CNS), your body may struggle to warm up, cool down, or maintain a stable core body temperature. This process is called “thermoregulation.”

Typically, thermoregulation helps the body to maintain a core temperature around 98.6°F. That’s the reason people will sweat when it’s hot, and shiver when it’s cold.

However, this process might be impaired if you have a SCI, TBI, or CNS disorder. Signals between your body and brain may work differently. For example, you might shiver when the room doesn’t feel cold or touch a hot surface without feeling burned. 

The same concept applies to your vascular system. Your brain might not tell your blood vessels to constrict in the cold, especially below the site of an injury. As a result, you may experience a faster rate of body heat loss and lower core body temperatures.

Impaired regulation is a significant reason why many wheelchair users face an increased risk of hypothermia.

Impaired regulation is a significant reason why many wheelchair users face an increased risk of hypothermia.

In suspected cases of hypothermia, seek medical help immediately.

What should wheelchair users know about frostbite?

Frostbite is a condition in which your skin becomes damaged by exposure to freezing air.

The Mayo Clinic lists three stages of frostbite:

  • Frostnip: this is a reversible condition in which the superficial levels of skin experience freezing. Symptoms may include numbness, skin discoloration, and tingling or pain when the skin warms.
  • Superficial frostbite: this is an injury to superficial levels of the skin that may involve symptoms associated with frostnip as well as burning and swelling. Your skin might look discolored and even develop a blister within a day or two of the injury.
  • Severe frostbite: this is an injury to deep levels of the skin and underlying tissues. Your skin might turn white or blue gray and you may lose sensation entirely. You may develop blisters after the injury, as well as tissue death and loss.

Frostbite is connected to the wind chill. According to the National Weather Service (NWS), wind chill is a measurement that factors both temperature and wind speed to describe how a person “feels” in cold weather. Weather experts use wind chills to identify the “rate of heat loss from exposed skin” and make the public aware of potential hazards and threats during cold weather.

The NWS has three types of wind chill alerts:

  • Wind chill watches signal “seasonably cold” weather. During a wind chill watch, the NWS recommends people dress warm and cover exposed skin.
  • Wind chill advisories signal the potential for “dangerously cold” weather. During a wind chill advisory, the NWS recommends people avoid the outdoors during the coldest times of day, keep their gas tanks half full at a minimum, and double check their emergency supply kits.
  • Wind chill warnings signal “expected or occurring” life-threatening cold weather. During a wind chill warning, NWS recommends people stay inside and avoid travel altogether. If travel cannot be avoided, the NWS recommends that people dress warm, cover exposed skin, and inform at least one other person of their whereabouts.

Dangerously low wind chills can cause both hypothermia and frostbite. When wind chills are low, stay vigilant against symptoms of frostbite and pay careful attention to your extremities. Fingers, toes, cheeks, and ears are especially susceptible to frostbite.

When wind chills are low, stay vigilant against symptoms of frostbite and pay careful attention to your extremities.

This is especially important if you have sensory loss, as you might not feel tingling or burning in affected areas. Frostbitten skin may also feel cold and hard to the touch.

In the event of frostbite, seek medical attention immediately. Frostbite can result in irreversible damage to nerves and tissues, as well as infection. Frostbite can also be associated with cases of hypothermia.

Check out the CDC’s helpful infographic for more information on spotting, avoiding, and treating both hypothermia and frostbite.

The CDC also lists immersion foot and chilblains as cold-related injuries that can occur in temperatures up to 60°F.

Immersion foot, formerly called trench foot, occurs when feet are exposed to cold, wet conditions for an extended length of time. According to Cleveland Clinic, immersion foot typically requires 1 to 3 days of exposure but can occur in as little as 10 to 14 hours.

Symptoms of immersion foot include:

  • Reddened or discolored skin
  • Numbness
  • Tingling
  • Swelling
  • Blisters
  • Leg cramps

Chilblains is a condition that occurs when skin is exposed repeatedly to cold, above-freezing temperatures. The result is permanent damage to skin that is prone to redness, itching, and inflammation.

For more information on treating immersion foot and chilblains, check out this article by the CDC.

30 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

6. Understand the connection between cold temperatures and autonomic dysreflexia (AD)

What is AD and what are the symptoms?

If you have a spinal cord injury (SCI), you should be aware of the connection between extremely cold weather and autonomic dysreflexia (AD). AD is a potentially life-threatening episode of hypertension that requires immediate medical attention. The condition usually occurs in people with SCIs above level T6, as the result of stimuli below the injury site.

Symptoms of AD may include:

  • Severe headache
  • Spike in blood pressure
  • Change in heart rate
  • Profuse sweating
  • Nausea or vomiting

What should wheelchair users know about AD and winter weather?

While the vast majority of AD episodes occur as a result of “noxious stimulus” like a full bladder, blocked catheter, or UTI, cold temperatures are a known risk factor for AD.

Cold temperatures are a known risk factor for autonomic dysreflexia (AD).

“Nurse Linda” Schulz from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation offers the following insights about how wheelchair users at risk for AD can protect themselves in winter weather:

  • Dress appropriately indoors and outdoors
  • Limit your time in cold weather
  • Stay in temperature-controlled environments as much as possible

What should I do if I think I have AD?

In suspected cases of AD, call 911 or seek medical help immediately. A fast response is very important. You can learn more about the treatment for AD from the Reeve Foundation, including steps to take when medical help is not immediately available.

34 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

7. Protect yourself by staying warm, dry, and hydrated

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself during winter weather. While inside, make sure you’re dressed warm, eating well, and staying hydrated. While clothing, food, and water are necessities for everyone, wheelchair users will especially benefit by making heat production and retention easier.

While clothing, food, and water are necessities for everyone, wheelchair users will especially benefit by making heat production and retention easier.

If you spend time outdoors, take care to limit your time outside. Wheelchair batteries drain more quickly in the cold–you don’t want to get stuck! Make sure you’re dressed in appropriate clothes for the cold, and even consider additional layering like blankets.

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Once you’re back inside, make sure to remove extra layers so your body can adjust to the indoor temperature. If you have any wet clothes, remove them and replace them with dry clothes. If your chair was exposed to water, make sure you give yourself and your chair time to dry out fully–including your cushion, if applicable.

If you get chilled or wet outside, consider the following steps:

  • Get into a warm environment
  • Warm affected areas using boyd heat or warm (not hot!) water
  • Remove wet clothing and dry off
  • Layer up in warm clothes or blankets
  • Drink a warm beverage
  • Exercise, including passive range of motion
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible
  • DO NOT walk, stand, or apply pressure to injured feet or toes
  • DO NOT massage or rub injured areas
  • DO NOT use electric blankets, heaters, or any other heat source that could cause a burn

Please note: these tips are not a substitute for medical advice and are meant for informational purposes only. If you suspect you might have hypothermia, frostbite, or another cold-related condition, seek medical attention immediately.

38 Next Day Access Winter Wheelchair Tips

8. Make a winter weather emergency plan

Your winter weather emergency plan covers your bases for a variety of circumstances. By having a strong plan in place, you can better protect yourself and respond in the event of an emergency.

By having a strong plan in place, you can better protect yourself and respond in the event of an emergency.

An emergency plan should outline responses to the following:

  • Regular snow and ice accumulation
  • Shelter-in-place orders
  • Power outages
  • Evacuation orders
  • Vehicle emergencies
  • Wheelchair emergencies, indoors and outdoors

The Ready campaign recommends you prepare an emergency plan that may include:

  • Emergency supplies
  • Support network of people who will help you
  • Accessible transportation options
  • Identifying yourself on voluntary registries for targeted assistance during disasters and power restoration during outages
  • Alternative medical facilities that can help you if your primary choice is unavailable
  • Storing medical information on your mobile phone or printed out in a waterproof bag
  • Wearing a medical device tag or bracelet
  • Alternative assistive devices if you lose or damage your primary devices
  • Storing copies of important documents in a waterproof bag
  • Plans for household members, including pets or support animals

For more information on emergency preparedness for people with disabilities, check out this article from the Ready campaign.

Want help? Don’t hesitate to ask

We hope this article has provided helpful information about winter safety! Please note that this article is intended for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for medical advice. We advise you to consult with your healthcare provider about recommended winter safety approaches to your home, vehicle, and wheelchair–as well as yourself.

If you want help deciding how to improve winter safety at your home, we’re here for you. 

Contact your local accessibility experts at Next Day Access for a free consultation and estimate. We’ll help you to identify safety solutions that offer you peace of mind and protection all winter long.

A new study by researchers at the University of Virginia found that people with type 2 diabetes who attend an annual wellness check are significantly less likely to require a major lower extremity amputation within the same year. 

The research involved Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, who are now entitled to a free yearly healthcare visit. The research found that 36% of people with diabetes had decreased odds of amputation just by attending this free check-up. 

Jennifer Lobo, a researcher from the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, USA, presented findings at the 82nd American Diabetes Association’s Scientific Session in New Orleans, Louisiana. She said that “People who made use of the new free annual wellness checks had diabetic foot issues diagnosed earlier than those who did not attend the wellness check.”  She also suggested that, “Policymakers should prioritize incentives for having patients participate in annual wellness visits to improve preventative care and reduce major lower extremity amputations, particularly in the Diabetes Belt.”  

The Diabetes Belt, where the study took place, is made up of 644 counties in the Southeastern and Appalachian USA. The study showed that people in the Diabetes Belt had a 27% higher risk of requiring a major lower extremity amputation when compared with surrounding counties.

Previous research from the team found that precisely one additional major lower extremity amputation per 1000 people was needed in the Diabetes Belt compared to other counties. 

The study also found that there are significantly increased rates of diabetes-related amputations among non-Hispanic Black patients in comparison to non-Hispanic White patients. This is true for inside and outside the Diabetes Belt. Researchers suggest the discrepancy could be due to relatively low available resources in the Diabetes Belt area. In order to boost preventative care in this area, more resources need to be available soon. 

“While Annual Wellness Visits are a free visit for qualified Medicare beneficiaries, additional incentives or resources to overcome systematic access to care barriers are needed to support patient attendance,” says Jennifer Lobo. “Patient education about the value of Annual Wellness Visits and preventative care could also help improve utilization of Annual Wellness Visits, hopefully reducing the rate of major amputations.” 

The new FREE Annual Wellness Visits provided by Medicare will benefit millions of people with Type 2 Diabetes, but only if they take advantage of the free visit.  

At Next Day Access, we encourage you to take advantage of this wellness visit. However, if you have recently had an amputation, we encourage you to visit your nearest Accès le lendemain. We provide many types of mobility equipment to help you get around safely and independently after an amputation. We sincerely hope you will never find yourself needing an amputation, but we are here for you if you do.  

Many aging adults cannot wait for retirement. Then when retirement comes along, many often complain that they find themselves bored. Fortunately, there are many volunteer activities you can do to help you lead a more fulfilling life. 

In some cases, when an aging adult has recently lost a spouse or companion, this boredom can turn into depression. A recent article in AARP describes a woman in this exact situation. Her spouse passed away, and at 81 years old, she was still vivacious and active even though her diabetes wasn’t improving.

She talked of how she soon developed depression and began looking for a way to improve her situation. After looking at different available options, she decided to start volunteering. She researched available volunteer opportunities in her community using the Corporation for National Community & Service resource.

She states that once she began volunteering, it gave her a new lease on life. She felt essential to those she helped and began to enjoy life again. 

This woman is one of the millions of aging adults, age 65 and older, who transformed their life by volunteering. There is something for everyone. 

According to the Corporation for National Community & Service, some of the most popular volunteer activities for aging adults include: 

  • Making or collecting blankets or clothing. 
  • Mentoring youth or young couples. 
  • Teaching a trade or skill, or even working with individuals learning to read by teaching them. 
  • General labor including cleaning up portions of a street or park, working with Habitat for Humanity, and helping build homes. 
  • Fundraising for various charities. 
  • Serving, preparing, or distributing food to sheltered adults or low-income families. 

The list above is just a few examples of how aging adults choose to volunteer. It seems that volunteering is not only about helping others, but, in many ways, it also helps the volunteer. 

Why Aging Adults Should Consider Volunteering 

According to multiple studies aging adults who volunteer even tend to live longer. It turns out that volunteering has mental, physical, and social benefits for those that choose to volunteer. 

Social benefits 

Aging adults tend to isolate themselves. According to AARP, studies estimate that 17% of Americans aged 55 and older feel isolated from society. When we separate ourselves, we could have a greater likelihood of developing an illness. It takes courage but pulling yourself out of isolation can be very beneficial for physical and mental health. 

Physically good for you 

When you volunteer, you are getting out and being far more active than sitting at home. Inactivity, as you age, promotes the advancement of serious illnesses such as heart issues, joint pain, bone loss, and more. 

Help give back to the community 

Of course, giving back to the community seems the most obvious benefit, but currently, many communities have been harshly affected by bad weather, Covid, job loss, and more.

Many people are struggling and being able to help even one person means a lot to the community as it is often a trickle-down effect. Once people get back on their feet, they can help others, and so on. You may never know the impact you have while volunteering! 

“People are not confined to their wheelchairs. They are, in fact, liberated by their wheels. A person with paralysis can get around as quickly in a wheelchair as a non-disabled person can walking,” said the Christopher Reeve Foundation. When you have the perfect wheelchair for you, you have better mobility and are more comfortable, and your chair is more accessible for you to use. 

Many factors go into choosing the perfect wheelchair, such as your abilities, types of usage, and cost. To help you choose, here is a list of available wheelchair options. 

Manual Wheelchair Options 

You could find a manual chair more comfortable if you have more upper body strength. The manual chairs are propelled by using your arms and hands to push the wheels forward. 

Today’s wheelchairs weigh significantly less and come in a variety of styles. These lightweight versions are easier to fold and put in and out of cars. You can now find manual chairs with a suspension option that gives a much smoother ride. 

If you choose, you can add products to these chairs like “frog legs”. The frog legs also aid in suspension. Another invention for manual chairs is the super-light titanium chairs that aim to be easier on the user’s shoulders. 

You can also change out the tires so that they can work easier over harder terrain. For example, if you want to go off-road, some tires accommodate the rough and rocky roads. There are rims for tires called FlexRim tires that help create a more accessible, low-impact push, which helps protect arms and hands. 

Power Chairs 

If a person finds it difficult to push a wheelchair, there are power wheelchairs and scooters that will do the work for them. The power chair uses a joystick controlled by an electric motor.  

There are many different styles of power chairs. A traditional power chair resembles a manual wheelchair but carries the bulk of the batteries, motor, and control system. However, you can also find them with a captain’s chair-style seat on top of a power base. 

Innovation has given a wider choice for power chairs. You can find light, fast and powerful power chairs these days. New models can be off-road ready, can fold for travel, and be customized for the most complex needs of people using a wheelchair.

Specialized Wheelchairs 

There are wheelchairs for children, wheelchairs that tilt or recline, and standing wheelchairs for people to put themselves in a standing position to prevent pressure sores and improve circulation. 

Special chairs are also designed for sports and leisure, such as basketball or tennis. There are even beach wheelchairs with tires to navigate the sandy beach terrain. 

We hope that sharing these available wheelchair choices can help you determine the best wheelchair for your scenario. If you cannot choose the right chair, Next Day Access is here to help. Do not hesitate to contact your nearest Next Day Access location to schedule a consultation. We will work with you by presenting our various models and sharing the information you need to determine which wheelchair suits you best. 

Curious about wheelchair ramps? Watch this quick video to learn 5 common types of wheelchair ramps.

An estimated 40 million Americans are living with arthritis and suffer side effects from the disease daily. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, yet rheumatoid and osteoarthritis are the most common. Arthritis is an inflammatory condition that affects joints. It is a chronic pain condition and, if left untreated, can cause disabilities. 

Maintaining a happy, active lifestyle can be difficult due to the joint pain, stiffness, and swelling caused by arthritis. We’ve listed some helpful tips and techniques to help make everyday tasks more manageable. 

4 Tips for Living with Arthritis

Eat a Diet Rich in Anti-Inflammatory Foods 

Arthritis can cause severe inflammation. Foods such as nuts, beans, fish, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, or high-fiber bread help reduce inflammation. 

Exercise Regularly 

Low-impact exercises can help prevent stiffness and pain. Some great forms of exercising include swimming, cycling, or walking. You can also consider a low-impact yoga class incorporating gentle stretching into your routine. Stretching can move your joints through their full range of motion. 

Stop Smoking 

There are a variety of reasons smoking is bad for your health. One of those reasons is that if you live with arthritis pain, the toxins from cigarette smoke can make the pain worse. The toxins directly harm the connective tissue around joints, potentially leading to more pain. 

Assistive Devices

Assistive devices such as a cane, walker, wrist cast, or even shoe inserts can make daily life easier on your joints. 

At Next Day Access, we offer several assistive devices, including walkers, Barres d'appui, railings, and more. Our goal is to help people find solutions when they have issues with mobility by providing accessibility devices and mobility equipment.

When you use assistive devices, it can make it easier for you to perform your everyday tasks. We hope the devices will improve your quality of life and help you better manage your condition. Don’t hesitate to contact your nearest Next Day Access if you have questions about our products and services. 

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