Staying Safe and Cool: Heat Wave Preparedness for Seniors and People with Disabilities

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Heat waves are becoming more frequent and intense, posing serious health risks to vulnerable populations such as seniors and people with disabilities. These individuals often face unique challenges when it comes to staying safe during extreme heat events. It is imperative to raise awareness about the importance of heat wave preparedness and provide practical tips to ensure the well-being of these individuals during scorching temperatures.

Understanding the Risks

Seniors and people with disabilities are more susceptible to heat-related illnesses due to various factors. Reduced mobility, chronic health conditions, medication side effects, and age-related changes in the body’s ability to regulate temperature can all increase the risk of heat stress and heat-related complications. It is crucial to recognize these vulnerabilities and take proactive measures to safeguard their health during heat waves.

Heat Wave Preparedness Tips

  1. Stay Hydrated: Adequate hydration is paramount during heat waves. Seniors and people with disabilities should aim to drink plenty of water throughout the day, even if they don’t feel thirsty. Avoid alcohol and caffeine, as they can contribute to dehydration.
  2. Keep Cool: Create a cool environment at home by using air conditioning, fans, or open windows during cooler parts of the day. If air conditioning is not available, consider spending time in air-conditioned public spaces like shopping malls, libraries, or community centers.
  3. Dress Appropriately: Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, and light-colored clothing to help regulate body temperature. Wide-brimmed hats and sunglasses provide additional protection from the sun.
  4. Plan Activities Wisely: Avoid outdoor activities during the hottest hours of the day, usually between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. If outdoor activities are necessary, take frequent breaks in shaded areas and pace yourself.
  5. Monitor Medications: Some medications can increase sensitivity to heat or affect the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Consult a healthcare professional to discuss any potential heat-related effects of medications and adjust doses if necessary.
  6. Stay Informed: Keep an eye on weather forecasts and heat advisories. Stay connected with local news and community alerts to be aware of any emergency measures being taken.
  7. Support Network: Seniors and people with disabilities should establish a support network of family, friends, neighbors, or caregivers who can check in regularly, especially during heat waves.
  8. Emergency Plan: Develop an emergency plan that outlines steps to take in case of extreme heat, such as identifying nearby cooling centers and emergency contacts.
  9. Assistive Devices: Ensure that mobility aids, medical equipment, and assistive devices are functioning properly and have backup power sources if needed.
  10. Be Cautious with Fans: While fans can help with air circulation, they may not be sufficient during severe heat waves. Make sure that fans are not blowing hot air around and consider using them in combination with other cooling methods.

Heat waves can be life-threatening for seniors and people with disabilities, but with proper planning and awareness, their risks can be significantly mitigated. By following these heat wave preparedness tips, caregivers, family members, and the community can contribute to the safety and well-being of these vulnerable populations during extreme heat events. As climate change continues to impact our world, it is our responsibility to prioritize the health and comfort of all individuals, regardless of their age or abilities.

Home Accessibility Tips

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Creating a home that is accessible and safe for seniors and people with disabilities can significantly improve their quality of life and allow them to live independently. Here are some home accessibility tips to consider:

  1. Remove Tripping Hazards: Keep floors clear of clutter, loose rugs, and cords to prevent tripping accidents. Secure carpets and rugs with non-slip pads or remove them altogether.
  2. Install Grab Bars and Handrails: Install grab bars and handrails in critical areas like bathrooms, hallways, and stairways to provide stability and support.
  3. Ensure Wide Doorways: Make sure doorways are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers. Aim for a minimum of 32 inches width for doorways.
  4. Ramps or Chair Lifts: If there are stairs leading to the entrance or between floors, consider installing ramps or stairlifts to facilitate easy movement for individuals with mobility challenges.
  5. Non-Slip Flooring: Use non-slip flooring materials in areas that may become slippery, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and entryways.
  6. Accessible Kitchen: Lower countertops and sinks to accommodate individuals using wheelchairs, and organize kitchen items for easy reach. Consider installing pull-out shelves to access items more comfortably.
  7. Lever-Style Handles: Replace doorknobs and faucets with lever-style handles, as they are easier to operate for individuals with limited hand strength or dexterity.
  8. Bathroom Accessibility: Ensure the bathroom is accessible with features like a walk-in or roll-in shower, raised toilet seat, and a shower bench.
  9. Good Lighting: Make sure the home is well-lit, especially in hallways, staircases, and entryways. Consider motion-sensor lights for added convenience.
  10. Smart Home Technology: Utilize smart home devices, such as voice-activated assistants, to control lights, thermostats, and other appliances, making it easier for individuals with mobility challenges to manage their environment.
  11. Height-Adjustable Beds and Chairs: Use beds and chairs that can be adjusted in height to accommodate different needs and preferences.
  12. Accessible Storage: Organize storage areas to be easily accessible, avoiding the need to bend or reach too high. Use pull-out shelves, rotating trays, and drawer organizers.
  13. Emergency Preparedness: Develop an emergency plan and ensure that necessary items like medical supplies, medications, and emergency contacts are easily accessible.
  14. Comfortable Seating Areas: Create comfortable seating areas with supportive chairs and cushions to reduce the risk of fatigue and discomfort.
  15. Visual and Auditory Aids: Install smoke detectors with visual and auditory alarms for individuals with hearing impairments.
  16. Clear Signage: Use clear and easy-to-read signs throughout the home, particularly for bathrooms, exits, and emergency procedures.

Home accessibility is a continuous process, and individual needs may change over time. Regularly assess and adjust the home environment to meet the specific requirements of seniors and people with disabilities to ensure they can continue to live independently and comfortably. Consulting with occupational therapists or accessibility experts can provide valuable insights tailored to the individual's needs.

Ready to learn more?

Wheelchair Ramp Pricing

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Many people want to know how much a wheelchair ramp costs. The price of installing a ramp for accessibility purposes in a house or commercial space can be dependent on a few factors. Materials and configurations for the ramp are two major factors that can change the overall price. Despite these variances, the primary importance is that the ramp is safe and allows easy and secure entrance and exit.

To accurately estimate the cost of a wheelchair ramp for a home or building, a certified home accessibility specialist should perform a comprehensive evaluation. An experienced eye will examine the area for steps or uneven terrain in order to identify the optimal ramp solution for the user’s needs.

Ramp Requirements

In general, the doorway should have a level platform of 5 feet by 5 feet (except for portable ramps) to ensure a secure entryway. This also allows for easy access and movement between the ramp and home without any risks of slipping or rolling backwards due to the incline of the wheelchair ramp. Additionally, all wheelchair ramps should have a minimum width of 3 feet.

Before installation, you must consider the total rise, or vertical height, of the steps or stairs leading to the entrance. To measure the rise, you can count the steps or use a tape measure from ground level to the highest level step. Usually, one step is approximately 7-8 inches, so three steps would amount to 21-24 inches of rise. Furthermore, for each 1 inch of rise, 12 inches of ramp will be required.

Aluminum Ramp Pricing

When in need of a wheelchair ramp, an aluminum modular ramp may be the ideal solution. Not only can these ramps be moved, modified, or sold off, but due to their aluminum makeup, there is no need for painting, rust prevention, or much maintenance. Although, a sweep here and there may be necessary.

Pricing for aluminum modular wheelchair ramps start at around $1,000 and can exceed $10,000, based on the amount of metal needed and complexity of the installation site. Even without the safety addition of handrails, the price of these ramps may not necessarily decrease. The prices of these ramps are often calculated per linear or square foot.

To get a more accurate quote, contact us today.

Tips and Tricks for Caregivers

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Female nurse helding elderly woman in wheelchair at home

Caregiving is a selfless job that usually doesn’t receive all of the accolades it deserves. If you are a caregiver, it can be hard to find the proper balance between work and managing your own life. We know how hard it can be to juggle everything life throws at you. Here are a few tips and tricks that may help you find your happy medium.

Tools for Success

Caregivers can find the right tools to help perform the job safely and easier. Utilizing certain tools will help you work smarter, not harder. Threshold ramps are one way to ease your patient into and out of the house or over difficult thresholds.

Another useful tool is a patient transfer lift. This tool allows you to safely transfer your patient with ease without taking up too much room in the home. Whether you need it in the bedroom or the living room, it allows you to lift without straining yourself.

portable ramp also might be helpful. Whether you are using it for the front porch steps or doctor visits, it’s a valuable asset to have.


More than just making sure you can comfortably help your patient, it is important to take care of yourself as well. While you are with your patient it is important to give them your undivided attention to ensure their happiness and safety. In your alone time however, make plans to do something you enjoy. Whether it’s reading a good book or going for a long walk, these simple activities can go a long way.

It is also important that while you are caring of someone that you take frequent breaks. Exhaustion can cause you to make careless mistakes. For all parties involved, it’s smart and safe to take short breaks to rejuvenate. You can also use this time to plan fun activities for yourself outside of caregiving.

Taking care of someone else, whether it is a relative, friend, or your career, can be a tiring and often times isolating. Don’t forget to give yourself some credit and make sure you follow these tips and tricks to make each day a little better.

Accessibility in Schools

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Many students have special needs, some of those are mobility related. It is easy to make a school more accessible. You know you need to meet codes, but what can you do to really go above and beyond to optimize mobility for students?

Even if a school is on a budget, there are many simple upgrades that can be done over the course of time to create a good space for students.

Any school needs to have ramps for wheelchairs and scooters. When choosing a ramp, keep in mind ADA specifications and the amount of area you are working with. Building a ramp into the building is one way to go about it and will give you a more permanent structure. If you are on a budget, an aluminum ramp is just as effective. If there is limited space or you are working with a tall ledge like a stage, your school may consider a vertical lift. When choosing a vertical lift, be aware of the noise it causes. You don’t want to be disruptive to other students or bring unnecessary and potentially embarrassing attention to the student using the lift.

Desks that can be adjusted for height are also necessary. If a student is uncomfortable in their space, they will have trouble learning at the level they should be. To create a more conducive environment for learning make sure classrooms are easy to navigate, and learning spaces such as desks, group tables, and computers are easily accessible to everyone.

Bathrooms are an area that is easily overlooked. Go beyond just making a bigger stall for handicapped students by adding assistive rails to help with transferring from wheelchairs to toilets. Adding automated features will also help students who have trouble with knobs. Add automated flushing, sinks, soap dispenser, and paper towels or hand driers to make the bathroom a more comfortable place for students with these troubles.

Everyone deserves to have a fun and comfortable learning environment. Here at Mobility Access Options NW, we install mobility solutions in residential and commercial settings. If you are looking to make your space more accessible, call us at 971-304-7464!

Managing Your Arthritis

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While there are many different types, arthritis can be generalized as the inflammation of joints (sometimes other parts of the body too!) that can cause pain and stiffness for those affected. Are you a person who suffers from arthritis? We know pain relief is important. If you are looking for a way to manage the pain from arthritis, here are some helpful tips from Mobility Access Options NW.

Helpful Tools

Many daily tasks that we take for granted can irritate arthritis. Cooking, gardening, doing your hair, even holding a phone can cause flare ups in pain. These pains can be avoided by changing the way you approach these tasks. You don’t have to change much, there are many tools specifically designed to work with your arthritis and avoid pain throughout the day.

Alternative Medicines

If you want to avoid relying on prescribed pain medications because of troubling side effects, you may want to talk to your doctor about different ways to combat pain. Many patients have seen success in acupuncture. If you want to go down this path, it is very important that you talk with your doctor first.

Herbs & Supplements

There are many anti-inflammatory supplements you can add to your diet to help naturally bring down the inflammation that causes arthritis pain. You can find these in herbal teas, add them to meals, or take them as pills.

Some well known anti-inflammatory herbs are:








You can also easily find supplements available with mixtures specifically designed for reducing arthritis pain. These are available where supplements are or online.

If your pain and stiffness is causing you problems with mobility and getting through your life the way you want it, call Mobility Access Options NW at 971-304-7464. We specialize in all types of mobility products. We make sure you get the freedom you deserve.

Vertical Platform Lifts

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Gain easy access to raised entries, decks, or different levels in your home with a Bruno residential vertical platform lift (VPL). Bruno wheelchair lifts are available up to 14 feet and provide a cost-effective access solution to your home. Enjoy a smooth quiet ride, easy operation, and maintenance-free reliability. Bruno vertical platform lifts, also called porch lifts, can be installed indoors or outdoors, are code compliant and offer American-built quality.

Features of a Bruno vertical platform lift:

  • Automatic self-lowering folding ramp
  • Non-skid platform, ramp surfaces
  • Weather-resistant unit coating and controls
  • Continuous pressure rocker switch control
  • Emergency stop switch on platform
  • Safety sensors in platform bottom stop unit if obstruction sensed
  • Quiet, smooth ride
  • Affordable AC power in 4- and 6-ft units
  • Reliable DC battery power available in all travel heights ensure operation even during a power outage (standard in 10-ft and above)
  • Bruno stairlift Gold Warranty: two year major components; one year parts

Having problems accessing raised areas? Decks, raised entryways, and multi leveled homes can all be difficult for those in wheelchairs or scooters. Ramps work well, but sometimes they are not the right fit for the space depending on what your needs are and the amount of room you have to work with.

This is where vertical platform lifts (VPL) can be a huge help. They can take up less space than a ramp and be extremely helpful in helping you gain easy access to higher levels you would not be able to with a ramp alone. They can be easier to use than a stair lift for transporting scooters and wheelchairs.

At Mobility Access Options NW, we like to install Bruno vertical platform lifts or porch lifts. They can be installed indoor or outdoors and are durable and reliable. All surfaces of the platform are non-skid and have safety sensors on the bottom that will safely stop the unit if there is something detected underneath, as well as an emergency stop switch for the user. There is even battery power available in case of a power outage. Contact us today for additional information.

Making Your Home More Wheelchair & Scooter Accessible

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Elderly woman sitting in Pride Mobility Jazzy Select Power Wheelchair

Do you want to be more mobile in your home? There are a few quick things that you can do to make your house more friendly and fit your needs. Mobility Access Options NW is here to help you be comfortable in your home.

Clean Up

It seems simple, but having your home free of clutter can help you navigate around with more safety. It will help keep obstacles out of your way and give you more space and range of motion. It will also help if you have a home with an open floor plan. This will give you more room to move in and is especially helpful if you use a wheelchair or scooter.


There are easy things you can install yourself to make your home more friendly to those with lack of mobility. Putting rails and bars for someone to hold on to in the bathroom is a good example of this. You can also make sure there is designated space for vans and portable ramps.


If you or someone in your home uses a wheelchair, simply lowering certain parts of the house to make them easier to reach. You can have light switches, appliances, thermostats, and other controls lowered or placed in range of the person using the wheelchair. The opposite applies to sinks. If you have a sink with cabinets underneath, you may want to remove those to allow room for a wheelchair to fit under it.

There are many things you can do on your own to make a home more welcoming to people with limited mobility. For the things you can’t do yourself, let us know. Mobility Access Options NW can help you using our years of experience and trained staff.

Choosing Summer Activities

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Ready for some fun in the sun? Don’t let disabilities hinder you. Here are some tips for summer activities from us.

Assess Yourself

What is the activity you are trying to do and what are your limitations? Know your body and what activities could be problematic and harmful. Is it a hike with steep inclines and a lot of elevation gain? How long can you walk without needing to take a break? This also applies to wheelchairs or scooters.

Do Your Research

What kind of accommodations are there at the location? This is especially important at events such as festivals or concerts where you might be severely limited if there aren’t proper standards in place for wheelchairs and your experience might be less than ideal. Make sure the event fits your needs. For example, if you know you probably will not be able to walk around and stand all day, plan times and spots to rest. If you have a wheelchair, pick routes around venues with the least resistance, or pick seating at concerts where your view won’t be blocked by people standing.

Check Reviews of Locations

You can find reviews or trip reports very easily on the Internet. These can be helpful in getting a more personal and realistic account of the location or event you are thinking about going to. If you are really worried, it can help to call someone in charge and ask specific questions. Following along these lines, you yourself should leave a review to help people in your position in the future know what to expect.

A lack of mobility does not have to mean a lack of fun. Just plan ahead and do it! If you need mobility access in your home or want some more helpful advice from experts, get a hold of us here at Mobility Access Options NW! We are happy to assist you in any way we can.

Why make your home more accessible?

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woman in wheelchair exiting Bruno vertical platform lift on the porchLiving with a disability can make regular daily tasks more difficult. Most homes and buildings are not built with accessibility in mind. This makes it a challenge to get around and live your life. Thinking about a renovation for your home can be overwhelming and seem like a lot of work. There are actually a lot of options for making your home more accessible while keeping it safe and doing it right.

According to the last national census, about 56.7 million people in the United States are living with a disability. It’s important to make sure that the home environment for those with disabilities provides the support they need to lead safe and happy lives. Many people need some modification of their home to make sure that they can get around comfortably.

Creating a safe, accessible environment for those who are aging or who have mobility challenges often means structural changes in the living environment. Well thought-out and professionally planned home additions have several benefits.

Benefits of modifications:

  • Add resale value to your home
  • Simplify activities of daily living
  • Create safer surroundings
  • Maintain a normal routine for individuals
  • Keep loved ones in familiar setting
  • Delay expense of residential care or related facilities
  • Increase independence and quality of life
  • Decrease the potential of falling

By seeking professional advice now to evaluate your unique needs, you can prevent costly modifications later. Doing it right the first time may be more of an initial investment but in the long run it will be worth it to have everything you need in order to live comfortable.

Whether you’re in an older home that needs significant changes or are looking for ways to make your newer home more accessible to your needs, we are here to help. At Mobility Access Options, we have a team of experts ready to make your home comfortable and accessible for you. After all, a home is only really a home if it brings comfort to all who live there.