Archive for the ‘General’ Category

Amputee News

March 9th 2009 proves that losing a limb does mean limiting your lifestyle. Amputee News is an online forum from around the world about, for and by amputees. Every day amputees are making the news and Amputee News is the place to get that news. Updated every two days, Amputee News is the best way to stay informed, whether you're an amputee yourself, a friend or family of one, or work with amputees, and you know how important it is to stay up to date and connected. Simple in design and easy to find, (just Google "amputee", Amputee News is usually in the top three), Amputee News aggregates news articles into an easy to work with format and maintains a month's worth of links to news articles. Along with a month's worth of news you'll also find links to resources for amputees, reviews of movies staring amputees, the pros and cons of the Proprio foot, and columns from CPO's and an ongoing column from a quad-amputee. Visit Amputee News today and see for yourself why 28,000 to 40,000 people a month make it their go to news site.

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Mobility USA

November 12th 2008

Looking for a truly life-changing continuing education opp and just didn’t know where to look? Check out Mobility International serves a wide cross-section of disabilities and their “mission statement” pretty much says it all;

Empowering people with disabilities around the world to achieve their human rights through international exchange and international development.

MIUSA has served as the National Clearinghouse on Disability and Exchange, sponsored by the Bureau of Education and Cultural Affairs of the US Department of State and managed by MIUSA since 1995.


– inform/educate people with disabilities and related organizations about international exchange opps;

– increase participation in international volunteer, study, work and research programs;

– assist with international exchange organizations with ADA information and develop partnerships with everyone involved.

MIUSA Exchange Program will take you out of this world – well out of the country anyway – for 2-4 weeks.

Choose from80 countries; Live with a home stay family, attend leadership seminars, disability rights workshops, cross-cultural learning, participate in team building exercises like river rafting; develop strategies to change or enhance your life and your community. Special programs are available for all ages and backgrounds.

The International Development and Disability organization focuses their attention on getting everyone involved at all levels including development, beneficiaries, volunteers, trainers, field staff, make policies, use your admin skills or offer technical assistance in any one of 160 organizations world-wide.

Empowerment of women, equal opps and human rights for women and girls with disabilities around the world are the main goals of Women, Disability and Development.

Lastly, there is always an opportunity to volunteer be an intern assisting in virtually every area!

What a perfect excuse to take a trip! Continuing education at it’s best!

Posted by sharon under Fun & General & Travel | No Comments »

Adaptive Equipment – Kitchen

March 24th 2008

Cooking and navigating the kitchen can be a chore for many people who have limited physical abilities. An accessible kitchen may be the answer you are looking for to create an environment that is easy and convenient for all who use this space.

When designing an accessible kitchen, there are several things you should consider:

1. Safety: non-slip floor surfaces, lighting, and non-protruding, rounded-off corner surfaces

2. Mobility: Is there adequate space for movement of a scooter or wheelchair?

3. Accessibility: Can the kitchen be easily accessed from one or more connecting rooms and/or hallways, or are there barriers to prevent access?

4. Function: Can the appliances, counter tops, cabinets, sinks and fixtures be accessed by everyone?

When designing your home, you can create a kitchen to meet your needs by installing ADA compliant cabinets, shelves, kitchen sinks, adjustable height counters, and appliance lifts.

Installing appliances and sinks lower to the ground can make it easier for someone in a wheelchair to access these vital kitchen components. Cabinets that lack handles can be difficult to open, installing easy to grab handles is a great way to improve functionality and is an improvement that will benefit everyone. Take into consideration the location of dishes, cooking utensils and food. Keep items organized and in the same place to eliminate unnecessary time spent looking for them. Additionally Braille, large print or colored labels can aid in locating items.

For more information on accessible kitchens visit:

Posted by Denise under Advice & General | No Comments »

Adaptive Equipment – Bathroom

March 5th 2008

Many homeowners consider altering their home to create a barrier free environment. Now you ask, what is a barrier free home? A barrier free home is a home designed without any limitations to the freedom of movement and offers easier access for the individual.

When you have limited mobility, using a bathroom can become a nightmare especially if you need assistance. As bathing becomes more challenging, many people avoid taking care of their hygiene because they find using the bathroom is too painful for them, causing embarrassment. Needing assistance with bathing can damage a person’s pride and eventually make them avoid using the bathroom.

By creating a barrier-free bathroom, our immediate goal is to present safety features, accessible fixtures and accessories which promote independence while maintaining your decorative style.

If you are in need of a barrier free bathroom, instead of tearing down your existing bathroom, you can do some simple adjustments to suit your individual needs. Barrier free bathrooms should be designed to accommodate the maximum amount of moving space required for a disabled person, their wheelchair, and the possibility of a second person assisting the disabled person.

Examples of modified bathrooms include: roll-in showers, grab bars and shower seats, easy-access bath tubs, slip-proof floors, sinks and toilets.

Links to additional resources:

Posted by Denise under Advice & General | No Comments »

Adaptive Equipment

February 26th 2008

The following blog post is the beginning of a multi-part series on Adaptive Equipment for your home. In the next series of posts we will be discussing different solutions to your access needs for different areas in and around your home.


Using a computer can be quite a challenge depending on your disability. With today’s technology, accessing your computer is easier than ever before with the help of a variety of devices designed to meet your specific needs.

Purchasing adaptive computer equipment made specifically for people who have a difficult time using the traditional computer and mouse will make your time more productive and your efforts less cumbersome.

Adaptive computer technology is the use of special computer software and hardware to aid people with disabilities in accomplishing challenging tasks. Providing adaptive computer equipment to people with disabilities gives disabled people the opportunity to complete an education and have a job.

Examples of computer adaptive equipment that allow individuals with disabilities to have better access to computers include: modified or alternate keyboards, touch screen monitors, and voice to text software.

Using adaptive computer equipment gives people the opportunity to have complete access to computers and the internet, allowing tasks to be completed. Tasks made possible through adaptive equipment include: reading, writing, taking notes, communicating, and accessing on-line information.

For more information on adaptive computer equipment visit:

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Posted by Denise under Advice & General | 1 Comment »

Guidelines for Selecting an Assisted Living Facility

February 13th 2008

Are you considering an assisted living facility for yourself or someone you know? Relocating to an assisted living facility is a difficult decision to make. Before making your final decision, you need to determine if this is the right decision for the individual. Assisted living facilities are perfect for individuals who need help with daily living activities but who want to continue to live their life independently as long as they can. Upon arrival, the facility will meet with the individual and create a service plan to meet your needs including specific services requested by the resident and guaranteed by the facility.

When you have narrowed your choices to 2 or 3 different places, it is time for an on-site visit, to meet with the administrator and medical professionals. While visiting, consider if the facility looks, feels, and smells good. Talk to some of the residents and get feedback on their experiences at the facility. During your appointment, ask yourself if the center:

* Meets your individual needs, including safety measures?

* Is the facility wheelchair and walker friendly?

* What is the availability of the units and their cost?

* How are the residents greeted? Are the resident greeted by their first name?

* What is the temperature and cleanliness of the facility?

* Can the residents choose to eat in their rooms or the dining room?

* Is the food nutritious, appetizing, and prepared according to dietary restrictions?

* Are pets allowed in facility?

* Are the residents content to be living at the facility?

* What are the qualifications and availability of the staff?

* What services are available to meet your needs?

* What types of programs do they offer and what is the availability?

* Does the facility meet local and state licensing requirements?

* Is government, private, or corporate assistance available?

* What are the costs, including any additional fees for extra services?

* Are residents provided with a service plan reviewed on a quarterly basis?

For more information visit:

Posted by Denise under Advice & General | 2 Comments »

Fire Safety Precautions for Disabled People

February 5th 2008

Are you a disabled person living in either a house or apartment? If you are an individual with special needs, you should recognize how your disability will affect your ability to escape from fires in the home. When coordinating your emergency escape plan, make special arrangements for your ability level.

Fire Safety Precautions:

1. If your disability limits your ability to move quickly and efficiently, keep your bedroom on the ground floor.

2. Place a smoke alarm and CO2 detector on every level of the house. If you have difficulty hearing the alarm, consider purchasing one with flashing lights or one with a louder sound made specifically for an individual with special needs.

3. Post emergency phone numbers next to the telephone. If using a teletypewriter (TTY) or telecommunications device for the deaf (TDD), place it next to the bed. Call your fire department if you are unable to escape on your own and inform them of your location. Ask the fire department for advice of what you should do concerning your disability. Purchase a cordless or a cell phone so you can carry it with you.

4. While developing your escape plan, involve everyone in the house. If you are unable to escape independently, plan to escape with a partner to assist you. Practice the emergency escape plan several times so people can determine if they can hear and respond to the smoke alarms. If there is anyone who requires a guide dog or extra warnings, include these in the escape plan.

5. Become familiar with the exits in every room of the house. If using a walker or wheelchair, make sure that you will be able to move comfortably through the doorway. Alter each doorway if you need to by adding an exit ramp or widening a doorway for easy escape.

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Posted by Denise under General & Safety | 2 Comments »

Tuesday Toolmen

January 28th 2008

Tuesday Toolmen is an innovative volunteer program, introduced through RSVP of Northwest Michigan in 2002, that helps low-income seniors in our community with home health and safety repairs. Since its inception the Tuesday Toolmen program has helped more than one hundred seniors with inspections and small home repairs. We presently serve Grand Traverse and Leelanau counties and plan to expand into Benzie, Antrim and Kalkaska counties in the next two years.

Our Tuesday Toolmen volunteers are connected with income eligible seniors through referrals from the Area Agency on Aging and the Grand Traverse and Leelanau Commission on Aging. An advance team is sent to eligible seniors’ homes to complete a 47-point safety inspection, answer questions, assess needs and provide information. Our Toolmen make minor repairs as needed. Among other items, our Toolmen may install grab bars or other barrier-free devices which give seniors in need improved safety and mobility in their homes. Once repairs are done, seniors are asked to complete a client satisfaction survey. We use the survey results to insure that our program is successfully meeting senior needs. An important benefit of Tuesday Toolman is that senior citizens who participate in the program are able to remain in their homes for a longer period of time thus preventing premature placement in a nursing home.

A complete definition of the program includes:

Tuesday Toolmen

Tues•day-Tool•men (also see Angels)

1: A group of skilled and generous volunteer tradesmen, making a difference working together for a common goal within their community. (The Tuesday Toolman of the small home repair program) 2: Tradesmen performing selflessness acts of kindness that benefit the greater good of seniors (mature adults) on the third day of the week. (Tuesday) 3: A camaraderie of unique individuals, enabling mature adults the dignity and safety which they deserve to feel comfortable in their own homes. (To forgo financial compensation for services, to give of their hearts and sense of humanity, rewarded by inner pleasure, doughnuts, coffee and B.S.!)

Synonyms: vigilant volunteers, / Caring Carpenters, / Helpful Handymen, / Friendly Fixers, / Builders of Hope, / Respected Repairmen, / Boys in Blue, / Team of Tradesmen, / Doers of Good, / And All Around Good Guys

Sponsorships and volunteers are being sought to provide essential funds and manpower for our Tuesday Toolmen activities in the upcoming year – 2008. Funds will be utilized to buy lumber and necessary building materials – such as grab bars – to make required repairs. They will also be utilized to cover program administrative costs such as materials for the 47 point inspections, insurance for a year, mileage for our volunteers and recognition for the Toolmen RSVP volunteers.

This successful program was modeled after a similar program in Kalamazoo sponsored by Senior Services, Inc. under the direction of Annie Morgan, BA, CAPS.

For more information on how you can join the Tuesday Toolmen call the United Way of Northwest Michigan Volunteer Center Director, Susan McQuaid at 231-947-3200 Ext. 20 or e-mail

“What we have done for ourselves alone dies with us; what we have done for others and the world remains and is immortal.”
-Albert Pike

Posted by Susan McQuaid under General | No Comments »

Winter Fun for People with Disabilities

January 23rd 2008

Summer is often thought of as the favorite season, but many children and adults look forward to the winter months of December – March. People enjoy winter because of the range of outdoor activities offered such as skiing, sledding, ice skating, and snowboarding. Individuals appreciate these outdoor activities because they are a way to spend time with friends and family while being outdoors doing something they love.

People with limited mobility and disabled individuals find it frustrating because they would like to participate in these sports however their ability to do so is hindered by their disability. There are numerous facilities across the country offering programs making it easier for people with accessibility requirements to participate in outdoor activities. The goal of these programs is to instruct the physically impaired to accomplish the activity independently with their friends and family. Instructors teach adaptive techniques for family and friends so they can assist the disabled person if needed.

These programs allow people with disabilities to be involved in outdoor activities in a safe and enjoyable environment. Teachers work through the physical, emotional, and financial barriers that restrict people with disabilities and special needs from participating in life-enhancing outdoor recreation programs. To best suit individual needs instructors work one-on-one with each individual and their family to provide a program that best suits their needs.

For more information on programs for individuals with disabilities visit:

Posted by Denise under Fun & General | No Comments »

Booking an Accessible Cruise

January 10th 2008

Are you disabled and looking to book a vacation or spring break trip? Vacationing on a cruise ship is the perfect solution if you are looking to be pampered.

Before you book your cruise, one of the most important things you need to do is to research the cruise line and find out what accessibility features are available. Some of the options found on a cruise ship include: public bathrooms and staterooms large enough for a wheelchair or scooter, Braille-coded elevator buttons, room numbers and menus, guide dogs to assist individuals, and TTY kits. Employees working on the ship are available to assist individuals with embarkation, disembarkation and buffet services.

Things to consider before booking your cruise:

1. Are there accessible accommodations in the cabin such as wider doorways, modified bathrooms with roll-in showers and grab bars, toilets, door handles, light switches and closet rods? Are TTY/TDD kits available upon request?

2. Do the lounges, casinos and dining facilities have specific seating areas for guests with wheelchairs and scooters? Do the automatic doors and ramps provide accessible routes throughout the ship, including to the open decks? Is Braille and large-print located on the signs and menus?

3. Can all public rooms and elevators be accessed with a wheelchair or scooter?

4. Are the ports of call accessible? Does your itinerary include tenders? (small boats used to bring passengers to shore from the ship’s anchor point). These boats are usually not wheelchair accessible.

5. Request to view the ship’s deck plans or visit the cruise line’s website. This way you can see how the ship is laid out and what accessibility features are built in, helping you to reserve a room that meets your individual interests and needs.

Before you book your cruise, talk to a travel agent or look online so you can find out if the cruise ship will meet your accessibility needs.

Posted by Denise under General & Travel | No Comments »

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