Feature Articles

10 ways to stay stylish as a wheelchair user

  

Just because you’re in a wheelchair doesn’t mean you want to go out every day with a tartan throw over your legs (even if it is cashmere, and from Dolce & Gabbana). You can develop your own style and look and feel amazing. Here are some simple tips on how to stay stylish as a wheelchair user without going overboard. 


1. Do the two-shoe shuffle - Even if you are a full-time wheelchair making shoes largely decorative, don’t overlook them. They are the ultimate accessory and a good shoe will make your outfit pop. 


2. Don’t dismiss skirts - Although some precautions are advised, don’t think you have to give up on skirts. Maxi skirts, especially with a nice pattern, are super flattering. Shorter skirts are possible, but test drive with a friend before buying to check fit, and your modesty. 


3. Make time for make-up - We all have those desert island make-up items that make us look great. If you want a sleek brow or a slick lip, you may not be able to sneak in that extra snooze, but it’ll be worth it to leave the house feeling great. 


4. Smile - No amount of make-up can cover up a lack of confidence. A smile will light up your face and is contagious. 


 5. Accessorize - There is no one happier than me that statement necklaces are still on trend. Fabulous jewelry, scarves and handbags will raise your outfit to another level, and always fit well. 


6. Look at everything in the mirror while sitting - If you’re not a full-time wheelchair user, remember that a lot of outfits work great when you’re standing, but not so much when you’re sitting, which you will be in your wheelchair. Choose outfits that give you the flexibility to wear both ways. 


7. Make it last - Whether it’s a sleek blow-dry or a cute gel mani, go for the style option that’s going to keep you looking good for the longest. 


8. Plan ahead - Make sure you get your clothes out ahead of time. That power suit for a key meeting, or the lavish dress for a decadent party should be selected, and accessorized in plenty of time. 


9. Wear what’s comfortable - I know I might look 2-3lb lighter in Spanx, but if I have to wear them all day I know they’ll cut off my circulation. Compromise and wear things that are flattering but not painful. 


10. Ignore the rules - Okay, so the above are not rules, merely suggestions, but the thing that turns fashion into style is your own personal take on it. Have a go at tearing up the rule book and going out in a onesie and Crocs, or whatever takes your fancy. If you feel good in yourself, that’s all that matters.

 
Read more: https://metro.co.uk/2015/03/30/10-ways-to-stay-stylish-as-a-wheelchair-user-5126617/?ito=cbshare 

Five Tips to Tackle Wheelchair Hiking*

Going for a hike may seem daunting, but for wheelchair riders, the numerous physical & mental benefits of hiking are a powerful motivator.  

There is abundant scientific proof that outdoor hiking and increased time in nature decreases stress and depression, while simultaneously, increasing creativity and happiness. 

1. Do Your Hiking Research

Take away the fear of the unknown by arming yourself with detailed information about the trails in your area. Online resources are being created all the time to share experiences and information regarding trail accessibility, like Traillink.com, AmericanTrails.org

2. Invite Friends to Go Wheelchair Hiking

Make sure you invite a friend who is on the same page about the type of hike you want to take. 

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3. Get the Right Hiking Gear

Not sure what type of off road chair is right for you? Check out The GRIT Freedom Chair https://bit.ly/2HkRTI5 , comes with mountain bike tires, so it’s a great option for riders hoping to test out trails of more varied difficulty.  The Trailrider ( https://bit.ly/2sKbID9 ) is another good option for anyone with more limited arm movement.  Created specifically for accessing the wilderness and affectionately described as “a cross between a wheelbarrow and a rickshaw.”

4. Bring Snacks & Stay Hydrated

Remember, it’s important to start hydrating before – not during – a hike, so your body is prepped and ready.  Experts recommend drinking at least 16 ounces or water prior to leaving the house.

5. Search for Groups in Your Area that Organize Hikes

Participating in group hikes planned by local organizations is a great opportunity to meet like-minded people in your community.

 

*For the complete article originally published in Wheel-Life, click here https://bit.ly/2si0Prf 

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More Featured Articles

Arlen returns home to celebrate book launch

On Tuesday, the 23-year-old Victoria Arlen’s journey from being paralyzed by multiple diseases more than a decade ago to winning gold as a Paralympian, to the final four of ABC’s “Dancing with the Stars,” came full circle when she came home to celebrate the release of her autobiography, “Locked In: The Will to Survive and the Resolve to Live,” at the Exeter Inn. 


Proceeds from the event, which was hosted by Water Street Bookstore, went to Victoria’s Victory Foundation, which helps individuals with mobility challenges and special needs. Attendees were given a signed copy of the book.


Victoria was diagnosed with two rare conditions, transverse myelitis, inflammation of the spinal cord, and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis, swelling of the brain, at age 11. Soon she lost the ability to speak. Eat walk or move. At that time doctors were not positive that she would recover. She spent the next four years in a vegetative state. Two years in, she woke up but could not move and she had to relearn everyday functions; beginning by learning how to blink, and gradually regaining her ability to speak and eat.  Click the button below to review our original Arlen story.

Read Original Story

A&W Canada ‘Burgers to Beat MS’ Campaign Raises $1.9 Million

A&W Food Services of Canada, a chain of hamburger restaurants, in partnership with the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada, raised more than $1.9 million at its 10th annual “Burgers to Beat MS” campaign Aug. 16. This is the largest amount the campaign has raised.


To celebrate Burgers to Beat MS campaign, Christine Sinclair, a two-time Olympic bronze medalist and captain of Canada’s women’s national soccer team, joined Susan Senecal, president and CEO of A&W, and Pamela Valentine, president and CEO, MS Society of Canada, to celebrate with customers, staff, guests, and volunteers in 930 A&W restaurants across Canada.


Sinclair — also a Burgers to Beat MS spokesperson — knows the effects of multiple sclerosis (MS) very well. Her mother and childhood soccer coach, Sandi, was diagnosed with the disease.

“My mom is my hero and watching her struggle with MS makes me want to do anything I can to help find a way to beat this disease,” Sinclair said in a press release. “I want to bring Canadians together to give hope to everyone that has been touched by MS.” Click here to read complete article  

https://bit.ly/2LVofeJ 

Review Complete Article

Choosing to Use a Wheelchair

By: Nerissa Dawn Cannon - 


One of the original GRIT Freedom Chair Trailblazers, Nerissa, now works as GRIT's Administrative Assistant. Her own journey with chronic illness has made her very passionate about helping other people get the most out of life in spite of a disabling condition.


What’s that saying? "You can't choose what happens to you, but you can choose how you react to it." She didn't choose to get sick. She didn't choose to experience chronic pain, widespread inflammation, motor control difficulties, and a lot more. She didn't choose any of that, but she choose to use a wheelchair.


That correct. Most everyone you see in a wheelchair has chosen to use it. Phrases like "wheelchair-bound" have given people the impression that those in wheelchairs are stuck in them with no choice. However, we all have a choice whether or not to utilize one to mitigate our disability. From my point of view, not choosing to use a wheelchair leaves us with little to no quality of life. 


Click the button below to read Nerrisa's complete view.

Review Complete Article

The Complete Guide to Beach Wheelchairs

It's summertime, and many of us want to plan for vacations along ocean beaches and inland rivers. But for those of us in wheelchairs, there's a big question to answer first. Will we have to just sit and watch or can we participate in all the beach frivolity?

 
This article , adapted from an original review by GRIT, lists different wheelchairs that can set our spirits free.


For the complete article, click below . . . 

Review Complete Article

Four Ways to Enjoy Life with a Disability

1. Don’t Give Up On The Things You Love


You do not have to give up doing the things you love. It’s a common misconception that if you have a disability, that you can’t enjoy doing most things. BS! Not true. However, you may have to change the way you participate in those activities. 


For instance, if you once loved painting but you’re bedridden, you can find creative ways to bring the paint brush to you. If you once loved dancing, but now you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you just have to see dancing from a new perspective. Try teaching others, or learn to dance in a new, creative way that doesn’t require too many strenuous moves. I did that the other night at my wife’s 50th High School Reunion – it was a blast. 

Or, do some research. You may discover dance classes specifically designed for us wheelchair-bound folks.


When you begin experimenting and letting yourself have fun, your quality of life will improve.

For the complete article, see below:

Review Complete Article

Sitting's the New Smoking

For yearts, The Standing Company has passionately worked to make people (now stuck in conventional wheelchairs) healthier and stronger --- simply by standing up for ourselves. They manufacture three versions of the Standing Wheelchair: manual, ½ power, and full power. 


There mission is to help walking-challenged folks (like me with TM) increase our mobility, our independence, and even our job opportunities.


They also publish articles illustrating benefits from improved circulation and reduced UTIs (one of my biggest battles) to increased self-esteem and enriching social interaction. Click the button below to review their latest article, “The Dangers of Sitting & Benefits of Frequent Standing.” Or visit  https://bit.ly/2NhTNwD 

Find out more

My Treatment Experiences

As I’ve said in my story, Transverse Myelitis is both rare and somewhat mysterious. That's why we need more tm information. Some causes have been identified. MS is a chief one. However, many others are still unknown. My TM seems to have grown out of my vascular and/or immune systems.

 

Three spinal angiograms failed to find any fistula redirecting blood flow. However, bacteria leading to any urinary track infection will likely trigger some of my antibodies to attack my spine rather than defend against invasion from outside.


One result is that treatments developed for other conditions/ diseases are being used to help us.

 
I had Plasma Exchange (PLEX) twice in July/August 2016. The first time helped, I think, but the second shortly after did not seem to make any difference. However, it was recommended a third time in Feb 2018. It truly gave me a big jumpstart prior to 14 days of inpatient PT/OT. It’s a little grueling to complete the 5-part process, but it was worth it. 


Plasma Exchange (PLEX)


This is often used for those of us with moderate to aggressive forms of TM who don’t show much improvement after being treated with intravenous and oral steroids. For more info, go to https://bit.ly/2IhExAI .

 
Rituximab

 
Rituximab, sold under the brand name Rituxan among others, is a medication used to treat certain autoimmune diseases and types of cancer.

We did the a regime with Rituximab in Sept 2016. Frankly, I could not see any improvement in mobility or otherwise after the four treatments. This one, you really need to understand before going ahead, so look here . . . https://bit.ly/2Igb

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The dangers of sitting & benefits of frequent standing

By: Dr. Joan Vernikos (Former director of NASA’s Life Sciences Division)


Sitting is an independent risk factor to health¹. As the dangerous consequences of too much sitting have been recognized numerous studies in the last seven or eight years have produced the evidence that many of today’s poor health conditions, from diabetes, obesity cardiovascular disease, all forms of cancer, osteoporosis, muscle weakness, poor balance and coordination problems as well as cognitive consequences are directly linked to too much sitting². 


What’s more, exercise once a day does not counteract the damage from sitting whereas frequent low intensity movement such as standing-up – changing posture – throughout the day with or without walking are most effective. Even as little as 30 minutes of sitting increases the blood level of triglycerides, an early indicator of a pre-diabetic state³.


It is clear that it is not so much a matter of how many hours you sit that is so bad for you, but how many times and how often you interrupt your sitting that is good for you. 


It is now recognized that the workplace is changing to accommodate stand-up desks that allow alternating standing and sitting in the office. In the pursuit of better health, the office of tomorrow will probably discourage sitting in cubicles all day altogether.


What about people who cannot stand-up? In addition to losing their independence are persons with spinal cord injury (SCI) doomed to continuing poor health from the same consequences of a sedentary life that able people suffer? Their plight is worse since the interruption of their sitting is absolute, total all-day. 


Conditions have improved over time. At least they sit up now from spending a lifetime in bed. It was believed that SCIs would spend their lifetime in bed because they could not sit up. This was because they would faint. However, it was eventually discovered in the mid 20th century that this did not have to be so. They could overcome this fainting tendency, not unlike able-bodied, bed-ridden patients post-surgery for instance, with repeated changes in posture from lying down to sitting up, speed up their post-operative recovery, better health, resulting also in reduced medical costs. 


SCI patients now can experience the same therapeutic benefits of frequent standing, as well as some mobility using the Standing Chair specially designed for them. Designs that make standing-up easy, encourage users to stand-up as many as 45-60 times per day (minimum required is 36/day). This inevitably frees them from being pinned to the wheelchair all day, bringing the same sense of independence and healing benefits that standing-up does in able-bodied persons.


¹ Vernikos, Joan. Sitting Kills, Moving Heals; Quill Driver Books, Fresno, CA (2011); Levine AJ. Get Up! Why Your Chair is Killing You and What You Can do About It. Palgrave Macmillan, New York 2014.

² Katzmaryk PT, Church TS, Craig CL, Bouchard C. Sitting time and mortality from all causes, cardiovascular disease and cancer. Med Sci Sports Ex, 41:998-1005, (2009).

³ Dunstan DW, Kingwell BA, Larsen R, Healy GN, Cerrin E, Hamilton MT, Shaw JE, Bertovic DA, Zimmet PZ, Salmon J, Owen N. Breaking Up prolonged sitting reduces postprandial glucose and insulin responses. Diabetes Care 35(5):976-983, 2012.



Four Ways to Enjoy Life with a Disability

1. Don’t give up on the things you love

You do not have to give up doing the things you love. It’s a common misconception that if you have a disability, that you can’t enjoy doing most things. BS! Not true. However, you may have to change the way you participate in those activities. 


For instance, if you once loved painting but you’re bedridden, you can find creative ways to bring the paint brush to you. If you once loved dancing, but now you’re stuck in a wheelchair, you just have to see dancing from a new perspective. Try teaching others, or learn to dance in a new, creative way that doesn’t require too many strenuous moves. I did that the other night at my wife’s 50th High School Reunion – it was a blast. Or, do some research. You may discover dance classes specifically designed for us wheelchair-bound folks.


When you begin experimenting and letting yourself have fun, your quality of life will improve.

2. Make life at home easier

The second most important thing . . . make living at home as comfortable as possible. It’s one thing to adapt to a life with a disability, but it’s another to overcome obstacles in your own home every day. Many things can do to improve your quality of life at home. For example, make your home wheelchair/handicap accessible. It may help to install an easy climber elevator so that you can get up and downstairs easily. 


You may need to build a ramp to the driveway from the front door (Look for my future article on DIY ramp building). 

No matter what you need, you have options. The last thing anyone wants to do is to be forced to move from their beloved home to an assisted living facility due to a disability. Start your research. Eliminate added stress due to an easy fix.

3. Stay social

It’s extremely important to stay social, especially if you were always social in the past. It’s very easy to isolate from friends and family due to immobility or pain, but this will quickly lead to depression. So KEEP FIGHTING! Challenge yourself to leave your home at least once or twice a week – but not including doctor appointments - so that you can socialize. Visit friends, go to the library, attend church functions, keep up with any Clubs you belong to, volunteer at your hospital, share your story with others. 


A healthy social life will bring you and your immediate family lot of happiness. If it’s not possible for you to leave the house, then invite people over to visit once or twice a week to visit, and don’t just talk about your disability, find out what’s going on in their lives. Order take-out food or encourage them to bring their favorite dish. A meal is a great excuse to get together with people and laugh and have fun. Be part of all the world and all it has to offer.

4. Just take a walk or go outside

Sunlight and fresh air is both curative and one of nature’s best gifts to us. If the weather permits, ride up the street in your wheelchair, or even just to the backyard. Go hiking on local trails. There are special wheelchairs constructed for all terrains, like the GIRT Freedom Wheelchair. There’s also websites that identify special handicap accessible hiking paths.


Fresh air, sun and wind will all change your mood, guaranteed. Just being outside will rev-up your daily outlook on life. However, if yoy’rere in a place where you can’t go outside, open the shades to the closest window and let the breeze in. This can be just as effective as going outside. Sitting in the dark 24/7 is no way to live. So next time you need an energy boost, just simply get some sun and watch how it positively affects your mood.

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