A #WheelchairLife Checklist for January
In the lives of wheelchair-users, there's a lot to remember to keep your life running smoothly. Add in your disability and stay healthy, and January is the perfect time to run through all of the things you should be doing on an annual basis to stay healthy, safe, and secure.
You may already know about things such as adding new batteries to your fire alarm or getting a physical each year, but there are several things you likely don't know about, or even think of, that you should be doing as well. Continue reading for the most complete January checklist you'll find for wheelchair users.
The home is where the heart is, quite literally, and when you spend a lot of time in a singular place like a home, it's so important to keep it safe. If your own home, or if you rent a house/condo, one of the most important things you need to do at least twice a year is to change the furnace/AC filter. We recommend replacing/cleaning your filter each January.
As mentioned earlier, the batteries in all smoke detectors in the home need to also be replaced each year. The same goes for CO2 alarms that check for carbon monoxide. Many wheelchair-users use smart thermostats. Many of these batteries last 5-10 years, but if it's been several years since the batteries in your smart thermostat were replaced, this may be the year to test or possibly replace the battery.
Lastly, check batteries in emergency flashlights. You should also check your emergency plan in case of an emergency or natural disaster and how, as a person with a disability, you'll safely get out and away from your home/area.
At the beginning of each year, it's important to look at your medical supplies and durable medical equipment. If you order supplies on a monthly basis, you may not need to do a thorough look over every January, but it is important to think about at beginning of each year. Many people will use this time of year to update their first aid kits in the home too.
But your wheelchair is by far one of the most important pieces of equipment you use, and every January you should think about what needs to be done to maintain your wheelchair for the upcoming year. It is hugely important to get new wheels on your wheelchair each year. Tires can become bald after being used for months on end and should be replaced annually.
The caster wheels on your wheelchair and shower chair should also be looked at each year. Wear and tear on these front smaller wheels happens often, especially with shower chairs since they can rust due to exposure to water.
And if you use any other kind of medical equipment, whether it is some kind of prosthetic, brace, or a walker, you will need to make sure it is maintained on an annual basis as well. You can call your wheelchair repair service company and ask them to look over your wheelchair to see if anything needs updating.
If you drive an adaptive vehicle, you need to have that looked at each year too. This includes having service workers look at your hand controls and any other adaptive equipment in your vehicle, such as a ramp, to make sure it is all in working order.
Lastly, there are things you should think about at the beginning of each year when it comes to your health and body, especially if you have a spinal cord injury. While everyone needs to get a physical on an annual basis, as you should as well, you also need to see a urologist each year to make sure your bladder is healthy.
This includes requesting an ultrasound, to make sure your bladder and kidneys look good without getting high radiation from a CT scan. For those over 40, you should also think about seeing a bone doctor. There is a new annual infusion that many people with spinal cord injuries receive to prevent osteoporosis.
Make sure to get your eyes and ears checked as well, especially if you're getting older.
Many people with chronic illnesses and disabilities will skip things like getting their ears and eyes checked, and will go years with poor vision in their eyes, not getting the glasses they need. Do not neglect your body. Each January is a good time to think about how you can stay as healthy as possible.
Above is just a starter list for your annual look at all of the important things in your life. We hope we made you aware of the most important things that should not be neglected, especially when it comes to your health as a person with a spinal cord injury.
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Spinal Cord Team