Monthly Archives: September 2014

Technology Series: Ease Mobility Issues

Thomas Day is the Director of the National Care Planning Council (NCPC). Many of you may not know that Tom suffers from an immune demylinating neuropathy — called an anti-MAG neuropathy — which makes it difficult for him to walk and affects the use of his hands. During a discussion, he and I talked briefly about his desires to be more mobile and efficient without requiring extra assistance from his family.  For example, Tom cannot drive himself around. His hands shake and slight muscle weakness in his extremities slow his reflexes.  In many cases, Tom is at the mercy of the family’s schedule to get around town.

This conversation prompted Tom to mention several helpful items that he uses each day to help him function at home and at work. Below are brief descriptions about these items as well as a few additional ideas Tom and others like him can use to maintain their independence and to help ease the burdens their families sometimes bear.

 

Dragon

Dragon is software you can use on your computer, additional it’s also an app you can download on the Google Play or iTunes store that types out text you verbalize.  This makes typing an email or thought a breeze.  This can make online ordering of items easier as well as communication with caregivers and family members easier.

I use dragon to write long drawn out thoughts or emails, dragon understands better than some voice activated software that I have used.

 

Voice Activated Smart Phones

Many smart phones have made it so easy to type, order, and apply commands by having the voice activated ability. This means even those who don’t have mobility issues and are just technologically ignorant can easily learn to operate a smart phone.

I use Siri that comes with my iphone to quickly look up addresses or phone numbers while I’m driving, to dial phone numbers, check weather and what not.  The system is not perfect and I often find that it cannot understand what I am saying even though I do not have an accent.

 

Uber or Lyft

Two great applications you can use on your smart phone or tablet to request a ride to and from. This is a personal taxis service that is done entirely through the app including payment. A great feature of these apps is you can see how much it will cost you to get a lift before you confirm.  These services may not be available in all states depending on the laws in your area.

There are transportation services that are offered through state companies and private companies. Most bus companies have a disability carrier that caters to those with mobility issues and takes you to and from particular addresses and not stops like normal buses.  To find these services please call your state transportation agency. To find a private transportation service in your area: http://longtermcarelink.net/a7-transportation_services.htm

 

Food Apps

Most larger chain restaurants and even some smaller ones who offer food delivery, offering food ordering through apps.

I use apps such as Pizza Hut and Jimmy Johns to order food without having to be on hold.  It also stores my credit card information for future use so I don’t have to type it over and over or give it to someone over the phone.  I can also pay in cash if I wish to.

Grocery stores often offer a delivery service or an ordering service were you can order then pick up the items so you don’t have to wonder through the store. Sam’s club offers this service online, contact your local store for additional services they may offer those with mobility issues.

 

Errand Services

There are errand service companies who can help you get certain things done you need done without having to leave the comfort of your own home. You’ll have to search for these online or grab a phone book.  Pricing varies depending on company and what you need done.

 

Tom has found a few of these things useful, though he doesn’t use all of them just yet, he may include many of them into his life. Technology is continually growing and is an amazing thing, don’t be scared to learn something new, it may help you more than you think.

 

Written by Valerie Michel Buck

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