Paul Harlin, Author at Lift and Accessibility Solutions

Spring has arrived and that means it’s time to head to the great outdoors and enjoy the fresh air and warm sunshine. Having a disability certainly won’t limit your fun this spring. There are lots of great activities you can do. Here are a few great ones!

Spring Activities For People With Disabilities


Head outdoors and play your guitar. What better way to enjoy a lovely spring day than a jam session, alone or with others. Put out your hat and you might get a few tips from passersby.



Nothing says “spring” like a new vegetable garden. These days, gardening can be adapted for people with disabilities. Think about planting a vertical garden, and use modified garden tools to do it! Pick any wall in a bright and sunny location, and you can easily convert it into a vertical garden with hanging containers. You’ll love being in the great outdoors, and you’ll have peas and potatoes before you know it!

Have a spring scavenger hunt

Choose a safe, open place and hide goodies. Then, everyone uses a list to find objects on that list. The team with the shortest time finding everything wins! This is a great way to do a fun-filled all-inclusive activity.

Have your own Olympics

We just finished the Winter Olympics and the paralympic games are happening right now. Who says you can’t host your own Games? Have every participant pick his or her own skill—whatever they do best—and have each person perform it. Go to a party supply store or trophy shop to buy medals for awards. Or you can have your own joke Olympics or silly Olympics where the best joke or silly antic wins! This is a great outdoor activity that boosts social interaction.


So many physical activities can be adjusted to your disability, so take advantage of the spring weather to get in gear. Go swimming, play volleyball or take a group exercise class. Whatever you choose, get out there and get active! You might even think about having a good, old-fashioned group tug-of-war competition, just do it on a soft surface to avoid injury.

There is a sea of possibilities out there this spring, and there is also more than one fish in the sea, as they say. Don’t limit yourself to just one activity! Get out there and start having fun! Disabilities don’t have to slow you down.

As we and our loved ones age, mobility begins to become more of an issue with each passing year. Old injuries, the progress of arthritis, loss of balance, and various other aspects of a normal aging process start to limit what we can do and where we can go, even within our own homes. Persons with physical disabilities may also find that they are unable to move freely throughout their home and need some extra help getting around. For many, installing a lift in their multi story home restores a great deal of their mobility and independence. Let’s take a look at the different types of lifts and how each can help seniors and the disabled regain both their mobility and their freedom to move around their home.


Quite possibly the most popular accessibility lift option, stair lifts offer many options and features that allow installers to customize them to the individual needs and home of the user. A sturdy rail support with a folding seat is installed on the wall of a staircase leading to the floor to which the user needs easier access. Powered by an electric motor, these lifts allow anyone to sit on the folding seat and ascend or descend the staircase without needing to climb the steps themselves. Stairlifts and accessories can also be matched to the decor of your home without compromising the style or aesthetic as well. Best of all, in addition to being one of the most versatile home accessibility lift options, stairlifts are also among the most economical options, too.

Wheelchair Lifts

While somewhat bulkier than stairlifts, wheelchair lifts offer the ability to make every floor in your home wheelchair accessible. Like a stairlift, wheelchair lifts have a folding platform mounted to a sturdy rail system installed in the wall of the staircase. Users unfold the platform and maneuver their chair onto it, usually securing themselves and their chair via an installed stability bar or similar mechanism. All that remains is a push of the “up” button, and they can be on the second floor independently in seconds. Wheelchair lifts can also be customized to better suit the decor and  aesthetics of your home, allowing you to make them less visually obtrusive.

Personal Elevators

For those who have stairways too narrow for stair or wheel chair lifts, personal elevators make an excellent option. These unique lifts do not require a shaft to function, and can be installed directly through floors to reach levels of the home above or below them. These are an exceptionally quiet and safe option for users who use a wheelchair or for whom stair climbing and descent are no longer an option. Personal elevators also allow users to place them more discreetly within their home to keep their interior design and decor intact, too. While they are probably the most efficient option that requires the least amount of home renovation, they can be significantly more expensive than stairlifts or wheelchair lifts.

All in all, no senior or person with physical disabilities need limit their independence due to a loss in mobility. A stairlift, wheelchair lift, or personal elevator restores your personal independence and make every floor of your home easily accessible once again.

If you’re looking to get active, don’t let that wheelchair keep you from trying out the sport of basketball. Adaptive basketball, also known as wheelchair basketball, is a great way to get an excellent workout and learn to work as a team with others.

Why You Should Try Adaptive Wheelchair Basketball


Wheelchair basketball was first spotted in the mid-1940’s when World War II Veterans, seeking treatment in hospitals, started playing basketball together. A few years later, Timothy Nugent founded the National Wheelchair Basketball Association. Twenty years later, wheelchair basketball for women surfaced making this sport accessible to all.

How it’s Played

The rules are very similar to traditional basketball with the exception of the classifications each player is given. According to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association, there are 8 classes of players ranging from 1.0 to 4.5.  The higher the classification, the greater the level of mobility. The lower the classification, the lower the level of mobility. Each classification is assigned a point that coincides with their class number. The total number of points present on the court can’t exceed 15 points between 5 players.

Meet Patrick

Meet Patrick Anderson. He’s classified as a 4.5 and is considered by many to be the best wheelchair basketball player in the world. He was born in August 22nd, 1979 with fully functioning legs. At nine years old, he was hit by a drunk driver and lost both of his legs just below the knee as a result. Patrick didn’t allow this tragic event to railroad his future. Patrick starting playing wheelchair basketball in 1990 and went on to win many gold medals both in Paralympics and World Championships.

Join a Team

Although you may not be on your way to the Paralympics like Patrick, you can still use adaptive basketball to push yourself and build friendships. You can find a local team by going to the National Wheelchair Basketball Association’s website.

Special Equipment

There is no special equipment required to play adaptive basketball. An athlete can compete with a traditional wheelchair but over time may choose to purchase a custom wheelchair designed specifically for the sport. Here are three basketball wheelchairs you might consider if you are getting serious.

Adaptive basketball is an incredible sport. If you love basketball, leave the sidelines and give the court a try. You just might be the next Patrick Anderson! Or you may simply improve your mental and physical health.

Across our lifespan, we roll out the excuses not to exercise. We refute the research and claim we are the exception to the rules. As we age, the question becomes “Why bother at this point?” For the benefit of your health (or a senior loved one), let us clear up a few faulty statements about exercise and aging.

Physical Activity Proves Beneficial for Seniors – Exercise Myths Busted

It’s Too Late to Start Exercising at My Age

Beginning a fitness routine at any age offers benefits. The sedentary lifestyle which plagues the senior population raises the risk of cancer, coronary heart disease, depression and anxiety. Muscle integrity decreases, and the risk of injury increases. Plus, physical activity improves mental fitness.

Arthritis (or Osteoporosis) Limits My Ability to Exercise

On the contrary, chronic conditions, like arthritis and osteoporosis, benefit from physical activity. Exercise combats joint pain and fatigue by increasing muscle mass, bone strength and flexibility. While you need to adjust the type of activity you pursue, inactivity worsens symptoms. Furthermore, a sedentary lifestyle correlates with obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer. Getting active reduces the prevalence of such conditions.

I Hate to Workout

Good news: Staying physically active does not require you to “workout”. It simply means you need to move. Finding activities which you enjoy reaps greater benefits than ones you dread. If you are social, try a group exercise class. For water lovers, swim at your local pool. If family is your passion, chase your grandchildren around the backyard. Walking the mall with friends, hiking a local park, gardening, dance and even sex count as exercise.

 The Gym is Expensive (Besides, it is for the Young)

Just as you can choose a physical activity you enjoy, you must find a place you are comfortable getting fit. After all, if you never go, the gym does you no good.

Check out:

  • Gyms with senior class offerings
  • A Silver Sneakers program at your local YMCA or gym
  • Quieter times of day to workout i.e. mid afternoon
  • Classes modified for fitness level, disability or sensory loss

Senior living communities and services departments cater exercise programs to an older population, if you are still uncomfortable at the gym.

Exercise is Unsafe for Me

In addition to chronic conditions, the risk of falls, or the presence of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia keeps seniors from exercising out of concern for safety. However, physical activities decrease the risk of falls by increasing balance and coordination. And, they aid in sleep, cognitive function and appetite, while reducing agitation, memory loss and wandering in people with these conditions.

In short, stop believing the myths and get moving. Physical activity is beneficial for seniors.

It is never an easy day when you find out that one of your family members or loved ones has been involved in an accident or just received a life-changing medical diagnosis. Especially if that accident or medical incident is going to change their ability to live and work independently, so that they are going to need some kind of specialized help or assistance.

Today, we are going to be walking you through some things that you can start doing and some actions that you can start taking when you find out a loved one has been disabled.

Responding Accordingly and Compassionately to New Disabilities

1) Stay Positive

 One of the best things that you can do when you first get word of the news of new disability is to stay positive. Being negative is not going to take you back in time and it is not going to solve your problems, so the best thing that you can do for yourself and your loved one is to stay optimistic. Positivity, encouragement and the strength of the people around them are going to be the best things for keeping their spirits lifted.

 2) Stress Your Willingness to Help

 When a medical or physical condition limits someone’s independence, they are going to need to rely on other people to help them accomplish daily tasks. These may be activities and responsibilities that they were used to doing on their own beforehand, which can be incredibly frustrating for them.

Make sure that you let them know that you are happy to help them. Take action and show them that you are more than happy to help them out with anything that they need. This can be a tough balance in the beginning to know when you are doing tto much, so make sure to keep a balance by asking if they need help.

 3) Adjust their Living Area

 Another great way that you can help your friend or family member with adjusting to their new disability is by making their home more convenient for their condition. Make sure that you rearrange important items like furniture so that they can move around their home with ease.

 4) Add some Tools for Convenience

The chances are, you are going to need to start using tools and incorporating safety precautions and emergency protocols to make sure that they are taken care of.

Common options may include:

  • Wheelchair lifts
  • Grab bars
  • Safety bars
  • Safety ramps
  • Stairlifts
  • And emergency communication methods

If you have any other questions about handling new or rapidly declining disabilities, feel free to contact us today.

Ah, the pleasures of recreational and competitive running! Don’t let a disability stop you from enjoying this invigorating sport. Running relieves stress, boosts confidence and relieves depression. If you’re a beginner in the adaptive running world, here is some advice to get started.

This Is How To Get Into Adaptive Running

The First Step

Work your way up to running. If you haven’t done any adaptive running before, start with a run/walk program – run two minutes, walk one minute and repeat. Rather than setting a goal to go a certain distance, set a goal to run for a certain time. Start with 10 minutes, then 15, then 30 and so on.

Running Right

It is really important to have proper form and good body balance. If you are running on a prosthetic limb that is not properly fitted or designed for running, it can create issues in other parts of your body, particularly your spine. It is crucial for the body to be properly aligned; if it’s not, you’ll hurt most of the time.

Joint range of motion in the hip is also very important. Ideally, you should have the same range in both hips. One hip locking up a bit will cause misalignment. Work with a trainer to do specific exercises to increase your range.


All sports are half physical and half mental, and running is no different. Your head must be in the game, so to speak. If it isn’t, you won’t be successful. Discipline and commitment are key, but persistence is the most important. It will take a while to learn the skills of adaptive running, so hang in there. It will definitely pay off with the health benefits.

Adaptive Running Equipment

Adaptive running requires the proper equipment. Special sport or running prostheses can handle the extra loads and minimize wear and tear on your body. You can do adaptive running in a regular wheelchair, but a sports chair or racing chair might perhaps better suit you. There are several community organizations and national adaptive sports programs that will let you try out a chair.

Whatever you do, give adaptive running a try. You’ll feel better, you’ll be healthier and you’ll love getting out into the great outdoors.

Hello, my name is Paul Harlin with Lift and Accessibility Solutions. I’m here to introduce you something newer to the U.S. market called a personal elevator. This happens to be a Wessex that comes out of England.

What makes something a personal elevator is the fact that it’s an elevator that doesn’t require a shaft. It’s allowing us to travel between two floors here at a home in Pacifica, California. While not happening to wall off the space permanently and either the room it’s up or down. So, as this elevator starts up and moves out of the downstairs level, you’re going to see that we can actually see the walls behind this space. And use the space, we could actually stand under that space. The volume of that air is available in the room. In a minute we’ll I’ll join you upstairs to show you what it looks like as it’s coming up.

Now we’re on the second floor of the elevator. Showing you what it looks like in the room as the elevators coming up. You can see pictures on the wall, you can see where the room had plenty of room in it. As the elevator is starting up, the elevator is going to come in and fill in a corner of the room. Allowing someone to bring a wheelchair, a scooter, maybe it’s just the suitcase that’s coming back from a trip. Coming up into that second level and just having free motion between two floors in a home. Once the elevators up we open the door and someone is able to exit.

Once that is complete if you want more room at this level you’re just going to send the elevator back down again. And, have the room to use how you would like.

If you have any questions about this that we could answer. Please feel free to contact us at the information below at the addresses below. My name is Paul Harlin with lift and Accessibility Solutions.

In a children’s hospital in Greenville, South Carolina, there’s a therapy dog, named Harley, who visits sick children in the hospital. Although this is a common practice for therapy dogs, this particular puppy is quite extraordinary because Harley is blind. Going room to room, this sweet doggy brings smiles and hope to children. Her success story fuels their successes. “If Harley can do it, I can do it!,” they say.

Hearing about the great good that this animal is doing in the lives of children prompted this question.  “What if these extraordinary pets, like Harley, were matched with extraordinary owners; owners who had limitations themselves?” Would it make a difference for their pet? Would it affect the owner? Yes!

Here are 3 results that having a pet with disabilities can provide for both the pet and its owner!

Sense of Purpose

While most owners of blind dogs are googling “what to do with a blind dog”, Harley’s owner was looking into therapy training because she knew there was a greater purpose for her pup.  You can do the same for your pet. Whether it’s bringing joy to children in a hospital room or learning to walk with only three limbs, focusing on the challenges the pet faces can provide a greater sense of purpose and some pretty incredible stories for both you and your pet. 


According to an article by Huffington Post, helping others makes you thankful. Not all who face a disability can combat the emotional strain and setbacks that come with it. What if a woman who has been home-bound was paired with a cat who desperately needed sunshine and snuggles? Would this pairing change the outcome of this woman and her new pet? Yes.

This gratitude can extend beyond the pet and owner as well. This fish enamored the online community when his owner crafted him a wheelchair to help him float upright.

Longer Life

According to this article, helping others gives you longer life.  It makes sense. Caring for another is life-giving. Not to mention pets needs plenty of exercise and sunshine which means you’re getting a healthy dose of vitamin D as well.

If you’ve been thinking about getting a pet, consider looking for one with a disability. You’ve already tackled the extraordinary for yourself. Now it’s time to pair up with an animal doing the same!

Finding the right wheelchair is like finding the right type of tires for your jeep. There’s so much to consider. The size, the level of support, the tread, the look, the purpose and use. Off-road or highway? Snowy or muddy terrain? So many options!

Let us make the process of finding your next wheelchair a little less stressful with these simple tips!

The Options

There are so many options out there but only three types of wheelchairs:  Manual, Scooters, and Power.

Manual wheelchairs are self propelled meaning they only move if you move them with your arms or someone pushes you. They are typically lightweight and smaller. Most fold up making car transport a simple step.

Scooters tend to be a little more aesthetically pleasing to the eye and a less expensive option. Unfortunately, they are a little more difficult to transport and do not provide proper back support.

Power wheelchairs are more expensive, heavier, and more difficult to transport. They are, however, powered, so there is no manual work required to make them move. Non-manual wheelchairs also come in standing varieties.

Here are few things to consider when deciding what wheelchair is best for you.

Do your research.

Look at reviews from those who have purchased the wheelchairs you are considering. This website lists their top five manual wheelchairs and gives great unbiased information on why they chose these particular models.

Seek out the advice of an occupational therapist.

Having someone in your corner who helps fit clients in wheelchairs for a living can be extremely helpful; just like having an expert at the tire store fit your jeep with snow tires.

Think through your needs and abilities.

Are you able to self propel a wheelchair? Do you have the space in your vehicle for a larger wheelchair or scooter? Would a motorized wheelchair increase your quality of life? We found this video quite helpful in breaking down all the details involved in fitting yourself for a good chair.

Know your budget.

Insurance will only cover so much. Determine what you can spend if what you want, or need, is not provided through your insurance.

Try before you buy.

Once you’ve narrowed it down, rent the prospective wheelchair. See if it’s right for you before you make the purchase. Your doctor can help you find a rental establishment.

Don’t be afraid to return it.

Your wheelchair affects your physical health and your emotional well being. It needs to be a great fit. Be sure to know the return policy for your wheelchair to save yourself some trouble!

Finding the right chair requires a lot of research and consideration. But we are confident you can find the right one for you and your needs!

Have you dreamed of a ski vacation this winter, but you need to find a destination that offers adaptive skiing? Don’t worry, you are in luck. Adaptive skiing is now offered more places. Let’s explore.

Where To Go?

There are over 65 resorts in the U.S and Canada that offer adaptive skiing and great ski runs for all abilities. From the Colorado Rockies to the mountains of New Hampshire, you’ll be able a great winter sports destination.

What Sports Are Offered?

Most destinations offer alpine skiing, Nordic skiing, and snowboarding for anyone with a physical, developmental or cognitive disability.


Most resorts offer lessons so that people can learn the basics and become familiar with the adaptive equipment. Look for lessons offered by certified PSIA instructors from the Professional Ski Instructors Association. Many instructors for adaptive sports have backgrounds in medicine or physical therapy, so be sure to ask if you’d like to know more information about the instructors before you book your trip.

Many resorts offer week-long camps or clinics, which can be really fun. You can meet and learn with other people seeking adaptive sport opportunities. If you absolutely just love skiing, you can join an adaptive sports club and go to events and competitions. These clubs are a great way to meet up and compete with new friends.


Bring the usual—gloves, hat, goggles, parka and ski pants, but you can get the rest of the gear once you get to the resort. Adaptive resorts have all the specialized gear you need. They offer monoskis and snowboards that are specially engineered to absorb the extra force and evenly distribute your weight on a sit-ski. Some resorts even offer a special track system that can be added to your wheelchair. It looks like the track on a tank and allows the wheelchair to navigate snowy terrain. It’s great—you can go explore the great outdoors. Most places do offer mono-skis, bi-skis, outriggers, sit-skis and ski-bikes, but call ahead. Some resorts don’t stock these devices but can arrange for them with enough advance notice. Also call ahead if you’d like special equipment. These resorts really strive to offer everyone the full ski experience, and are generally very accommodating.

It’s hard to find a more fun and exhilarating winter experience than adaptive snow sports. These ski runs are open to people with just about any disability, so what are you waiting for? Make that phone call!

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