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Blog for Independent Living, Blind, Low Vision, Deaf

Discover the latest innovations in the low-vision, low-hearing, and mobility industry, as well as those must-have products to enhance your day-to-day life. Our Independent-Living Blog will help make daily life a little less of a struggle and a bit more pleasurable with assistive products, suggestions, and advice. MaxiAids Helps You Do It . . . Yourself™
12 February, 2017

How To Survive the 2017 Flu Season

Here's What You Need to Know to Survive Flu Season

This year's flu season is still going strong. 

As reported today by Dr. Tara Narula on CBS This Morning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated:

  1. The flu virus is widespread in 43 states.
  2. There are approximately 14,000 new flu cases a week.
  3. This year's flu is mostly from the more severe H3N2 strain.

Influenza Flu Virus

FEBRUARY 13, 2017, 7:16 AM| The number of flu cases is surging across the country. The latest figures from the CDC show the virus is "widespread" in 43 states. There are 14,000 new cases a week, and at least 20 children have reportedly died from the virus since late 2016. Dr. Tara Narula joins "CBS This Morning" to discuss the threat.

3 Steps to Help You Beat the Flu

1) It's Not Too Late To Get A Flu Shot!

The CDC states, "...seasonal flu activity can begin as early as October and continue to occur as late as May. Flu activity most commonly peaks in the United States between December and March."    

Last year "...influenza activity peaked in mid-March, 2016..." 

"CDC recommends a yearly flu vaccine for everyone 6 months of age and older as the first and most important step in protecting against this serious disease." 

Flu Shot

People at High Risk for Developing Flu-Related Complications

  • Children younger than 5, but especially children younger than 2 years old
  • Adults 65 years of age and older
  • Pregnant women (and women up to two weeks postpartum)
  • Residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities
  • Also, American Indians and Alaskan Natives seem to be at higher risk of flu complications
  • People who have medical conditions including:

Asthma; Neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions [including disorders of the brain, spinal cord, peripheral nerve, and muscle such as cerebral palsy, epilepsy (seizure disorders), stroke, intellectual disability (mental retardation), moderate to severe developmental delay, muscular dystrophy, or spinal cord injury]; Chronic lung disease (such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD] and cystic fibrosis); Heart disease (such as congenital heart disease, congestive heart failure and coronary artery disease); Blood disorders (such as sickle cell disease); Endocrine disorders (such as diabetes mellitus); Kidney disorders; Liver disorders; Metabolic disorders (such as inherited metabolic disorders and mitochondrial disorders); Weakened immune system due to disease or medication (such as people with HIV or AIDS, or cancer, or those on chronic steroids); People younger than 19 years of age who are receiving long-term aspirin therapy; People with extreme obesity (body mass index [BMI] of 40 or more). 

https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/disease/high_risk.htm 

Hand Sanitizer Disinfectant Hygiene

2) Employ Good Health Habits To Help Stop Germs

CDC Recommendations:

1. Avoid close contact with people who are sick.

When you are sick, keep your distance from others to protect them from getting sick too.

2. Stay home when you are sick.

This will help prevent spreading your illness to others.

3. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.

It may prevent those around you from getting sick.

4. Clean your hands.

Washing your hands often will help protect you from germs.

If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.

Germs are often spread when a person touches something that is contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

6. Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces at home, work or school, especially when someone is ill.

Routinely use disposable disinfectant wipes to clean frequently touched objects and surfaces, including doorknobs, keyboards, and phones, to help remove germs.

7. Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

 

3) If You Do Get The Flu – Go See Your Doctor Promptly!

What Are the Symptoms for Influenza (also known as the Flu)?

Flu Symptoms Runny Nose

People who have the flu often have some or all of these symptoms which usually come on suddenly:

  • Fever* or feeling feverish and getting the chills
  • Cough
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle or body aches
  • Headaches
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults.

* It's important to note that not everyone with flu will have a fever. 

 

People at high risk of serious flu complications (such as children younger than 5 years, adults 65 years of age and older, pregnant women, people with certain medical conditions, and residents of nursing homes and other long-term care facilities) and people who are very sick with flu (such as those hospitalized because of flu) should get treatment with antiviral drugs as early as possible after illness begins.

Treatment with antivirals works best when begun within 48 hours of getting sick, but can still be beneficial when given later in the course of illness. Antiviral drugs are effective across all age and risk groups. https://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/season/flu-season-2016-2017.htm

There are three FDA-approved influenza antiviral drugs recommended by the CDC this season to treat influenza:

  • oseltamivir (available as a generic version or under the trade name Tamiflu®)
  • zanamivir (trade name Relenza®)
  • peramivir (trade name Rapivab®)

MaxiAids wishes good health to all. Take care of yourself and your loved ones. Remember, health is the greatest treasure of all. 


 

06 February, 2017

Prisms May Be the Light at the End of "Tunnel Vision"

Research Solutions for Peripheral Field Loss (PFL) of Vision

 

Prisms are a fascinating scientific invention with almost magical properties which most people find amazing.

Why?

Because an optical prism, made of transparent glass or plastic, refracts light rays resulting in dispersion of its component colors into that gorgeous "ROY G BIV" (Red-Orange-Yellow-Green-Blue-Indigo-Violet) spectrum which we call a rainbow.

Prism Rainbow

However, as with most technological tools, there are many applications for prisms. In corrective lenses, a prism displaces images off axis, causing the image to be moved in such a way so as to allow it to be seen by those with certain vision impairments.

For example, prism lenses can correct some instances when a person has a misalignment of their two eyes relative to each other that results in binocular diplopia ("double vision"), also called "crossed eyes" or "cross-eyed."

In recent low-vision research news, it was reported that scientists designed new prism-based eyewear to help patients suffering from peripheral vision loss ("tunnel vision") avoid collisions with other pedestrians.

Some medical conditions which cause Peripheral Field Loss (PFL) of vision still retain good central visual acuity. On other words, they can still see what's in the center of their field of vision. Prism-based eyewear can serve as a "visual field expansion device" by creating artificial peripheral islands of vision at an angle making them visible to the unaffected central field of vision of the eye.

(Plain English Translation: Prism eyeglasses can redirect previously unseen peripheral images to the center of vision where they can be seen.)

Tunnel Vision

In a number of cases, optic nerve damage from glaucoma may cause someone to lose their peripheral vision. However, because there are so many other diseases and accidents that can result in tunnel vision, a comprehensive eye exam by a qualified eye doctor is absolutely necessary.

Among the risks associated with peripheral vision loss are pedestrian collisions while walking. The new prism-based eyeglasses are meant to eliminate the risk of collision with other people in crowded locations such as malls, bus terminals or city streets. The study, "The risk of pedestrian collisions with peripheral visual field loss," was published in the Journal of Vision involving 42 retinitis pigmentosa patients with low vision.

Eye Examination

Vision researchers set out to find out which direction these collisions usually occur, which led them to discover that collisions typically occur at a 45-degree angle. The study’s lead author, Eli Peli, OD, professor of ophthalmology with the Schepens Eye Research Institute, at the Massachusetts Eye and Ear, Harvard Medical School, said, "This means that any visual-field expanding device will be most effective if it can cover that angle."

Unfortunately, at present, commercial prisms are limited to 30-degrees. The research scientists made prototypes of high-power prism eyewear closer to the desired 45-degree mark to utilize the viewer's sighted area.

Patients who will require these glasses to expand peripheral vision, including those with retinitis pigmentosa (RP), Usher syndrome, choroideremia, advanced glaucoma, hemianopia, and similar diseases affecting eyesight, usually have good central vision.

The vision scientists, who conducted this study, used prism-based eyewear they developed, based on a mathematical model they created, that determined the risk of collision for those they studied. Experimentally, this new eyeglass design manipulated light to hit areas of the eye that still provide sight, thereby helping those experiencing peripheral visual field loss avoid collisions with other people while walking.


MaxiAids has been serving those with low vision and the blind, as well as seniors, the deaf, the hard of hearing, and the disabled for the past 30 years as a leader in providing assistive devices for independent living. Browse our Low Vision Store.


 

30 November, 2016

To Have A Wonderful Life, Live A Maximum Life

 

Over the past thirty years, the men and women at MaxiAids have put the most helpful assistive products into the hands of people with special needs to help them live their Maximum Life. This is because their sincere belief is that everyone deserves to live their Maximum Life.

Want to live a Maximum Life?

So, what exactly is a "Maximum Life"?

Our definition is:

"A Maximum Life is the best, most independent, daily life possible – given one's present circumstance and current physical condition – with help from assistive, daily living aids."

That's what we mean when we say:

Live Your Maximum Life with MaxiAids™

— and —

Give Loved Ones A Maximum Life with MaxiAids™

 

In order to achieve this goal, MaxiAids offers an amazing assortment of thousands of assistive products for the blind and those with low vision; the deaf and hard of hearingseniors; as well as the physically challenged and disabled.

How to Launch a Maximum Life

Launch a Maximum Life

"What time is it?"

You look at your watch and the hour and minute hands are a bit blurry. And then a glance at the numerals makes you wonder when they shrunk to get so tiny?

Perhaps it's time to consider a Large-Dial Wristwatch, a Talking Watch, or maybe an Atomic Talking Watch.

 

"What did you say? Can you repeat that?"

If your average phone call includes a lot of this type of frustrating conversation, then it might be a good idea to check out an Amplified Telephone and make your phone conversations enjoyable again.

 

"Why do they make the print so small on prescription bottle labels, clothes tags, menus, and bills?"

If this is a bothersome issue for you, kick yourself for putting your poor eyes through the unnecessary torture of squinting day in and day out. There are probably more magnifying devices available than any other assistive aid out there. There's Pocket Handheld MagnifiersIlluminated LED Magnifiers, Portable Video Magnifiers, etc. You'll be amazed how a quality magnifier will change the quality of your day-to-day life.

 

"But I have eyeglasses, why can't I see as clearly as before?"

You may have eyeglasses, but you also may have "Low Vision." Yes, there is a name for this – you are not alone, it's a relatively common condition.

Now, first things first. Go to an Ophthalmologist for a thorough eye exam. If they verify that your prescription is correct and that there are no other medical causes, there's a host of low-vision products to help you.

 

"Oops! I tripped and almost fell on the way to the bathroom when I woke up last night."

If you've had a heart-stopping fright like that, you know one close call is all you ever want to have. In the light of day, clear every obstruction along your path; make certain there's no throw rugs, or wires, or anything else to trip over; and get a stick-on Motion-Sensor Night Light or plug-in Motion-Sensor Night Light so you can see where you're walking!

 

You get the idea...

There are so many solutions available to you once you ask the right questions. Don't just accept how things are. Ask what's needed to make your situation better. As has been said, "Ask and you shall receive."

The answer, like the truth, is out there – and right here on MaxiAids.

elephant in the room

The elephant in the room is asking a question, isn't it?

And that question is, "Has MaxiAids done a good job helping people live a Maximum Life?"

Well, what does this wall of plaques, awards, testimonials, commendations, and customer thank you letters tell you?

MaxiAids Plaques Awards Testimonials Commendations Thank You Letters

What you see is the happy ending of so many stories where MaxiAids provided charitable donations of products and funds to those in need and outpourings of gratitude directly resulting from our customers purchasing helpful products that enabled them to live their Maximum Life.

As you can see by the evidence on our walls, not only is MaxiAids doing something right – but it's doing some real good in this world. And that good is measured by our success in helping people live better daily lives.

Going forward, MaxiAids is fully committed to a future of continuing to assist men, women, and children live their Maximum Life by specializing in "gifts that matter...products that make a difference" because we continue to hope that everyone can have a wonderful life.


28 September, 2016

How A Parent Becomes A Champion: Protect Your Baby's Hearing

When most of us think of earmuffs, we probably think of headgear with fur or fleece to keep ears warm in winter. Nowadays, however, the term, "earmuffs," doesn't just refer to an article of clothing that protects ears from the cold but also to a device to shield ears from hearing loss.

Technically, cold weather earmuffs are called thermal earmuffs; while noise protection earmuffs are referred to as acoustic earmuffs.

Ems 4 Kids makes the acoustic type of earmuffs which prevents hearing loss from excessive noise for babies (newborn to 18 months old) and children (older than 6 months old).

Previously, you may not have heard about acoustic earmuffs for babies but you may have caught them on TV this past August while watching the 2016 Rio Olympics. Michael Phelps's son, Boomer, was sporting an appropriately patriotic pair, the Ems 4 Bubs Baby Hearing Protection White Earmuffs with Stars-n-Stripes Headband

"Aside from being generally adorable . . . Boomer Phelps is getting major attention for his awesome super-stylish earmuffs! He's a baby trendsetter and we can definitely see him single-handedly bringing ear-muffs back into fashion . . ."

"Michael Phelps' Baby Son Boomer Stole the Show at the Olympics with His Stylish Look" by Hamish Kilburn for Pretty52.com.

Image Credits: PA

His conscientious and thoughtful parents decided that four-month-old Boomer will have to wait until he's older before he gets to hear the deafening cheers of the crowd for his record-breaking father, Michael Phelps, the winner of 28 Olympic swimming medals (23 of them Gold).

However, you should not wait to check out the Ems 4 Hearing Protection Earmuffs. After all, you don't have to be an Olympic Gold Medal Champion to protect your baby or child from noise-induced hearing loss.

 

For Newborn Babies to 18-month-old Babies: 

Be Your Baby's Hearing Champion with Ems 4 Bubs Baby Hearing Protection Earmuffs.

 

For Children Older than 6 Months Old:

Be Your Child's Hearing Champion with Ems 4 Kids Hearing Protection Earmuffs.

 


 

27 September, 2016

How To Live A Long & Healthy Life

Recipe for Longevity

► Every hour:

If you're sitting down, stand up

  • [Repeat]*

 

* Number of repetitions determined by physical condition and health care professional

 

 

 


 

22 September, 2016

10 Tips to Prevent Dangerous Falls at Home

A Fall Can Destroy Your Health

You make your way to the bathroom. It’s not totally dark but not very well lit.

No thought is involved.

Legs and feet know the way.

Then something happens.

You’ve tripped or slipped or maybe caught your heel on something . . . the floor rushes toward you as you hear your mind silently scream, "Oh no!"

What’s worse than that horrible feeling of inevitable doom as you fall?

How about that cold-fingered, clenched fist of fear in your belly when you hear your mom, dad, grandma, or grandpa has fallen and gotten hurt.

The possibility of a loved one experiencing a dangerous fall at home is one of the most worrisome predicaments we find ourselves in as the years pass and we see our parents, grandparents, relatives, and friends get older and older. Considering the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has declared falls at home the No. 1 cause of injuries for seniors, we need to be proactive to decrease the risk of this happening to our loved ones. Falls can cause health issues ranging anywhere from brain damage and hip fractures to bruised limbs resulting in limited mobility and restricted range of motion. They can be caused by anything from wet floors, unsafe stairs, or seemingly innocent clutter in the home.

Here are 10 measures we can act on to decrease the likelihood of our loved ones falling and getting injured at home. Consider it an insurance checklist for their well-being and your peace of mind.

❑  1. Lighting

Inadequate lighting can cause dangerous falls for obvious reasons but it is often overlooked as being "good enough." Make sure proper lighting is everywhere in the home to help prevent falls. Keep in mind that as we get older our night vision gets worse. While it's a natural part of aging, it also makes darkness more dangerous for the elderly. Install nightlights in the bedroom and bathrooms to help avoid falls at night. Placing a lamp within easy reach by the bedside will make those middle-of-the-night bathroom trips much safer.

❑  2. Eliminate Clutter and Hazards

Decrease the chances of a fall by getting rid of any home hazards. Be a ruthless safety inspector. Eliminate any and all clutter on or near stairs, in hallways, and everywhere in their walking path. Poorly placed pieces of furniture and home fixtures, such as standalone lamps, can also lead to a fall -- so make certain the home is as clutter-free as possible.

❑  3. Nonslip Mats

Place nonslip mats in bathtubs and showers to help prevent a fall in these especially risky places. Even agile people can slip on slippery wet surfaces, so this is a major fall prevention tip.

❑  4. Handrails, Grab Bars, and Armrests

Install handrails on both sides of the staircase, grab bars for the shower or bathtub, and armrests for the toilet to make sure seniors are getting as much help as they need to safely live their day-to-day life.

❑  5. Talk to Your Doctor

Talk to their physicians about any health condition your elderly loved one has that might make them more susceptible to a fall. This will enable you to make a plan of action for fall-prevention strategies based on their specific health needs.

❑  6. Stay Active

Staying as active as possible will increase confidence, strength, agility, balance, and coordination. With the green light from their doctor, activities such as walking, indoor cycling on an exercise bike, resistance training with light dumbbells, yoga, physical therapy, or gentle stretching and exercise classes can contribute to their overall health and prevent falls.

❑  7. Wear Safe Shoes

Wearing sturdy shoes and sneakers can decrease the risk of dangerous falls by providing more traction when walking. While at home, seniors should particularly avoid wearing heels, flimsy flip-flops, or loose slippers. Walking around in just stocking feet can also contribute to slipping and falling unless the socks or stockings have bottoms with gripping material for traction.

❑  8. No Loose Carpeting

Secure loose rugs and mats with non-slip backing, double-sided tape or tacks. Also, avoid tripping hazards by removing loose floorboards or worn carpeting. It’s dangerously easy to get a toe or heel caught underneath the edge of a rug, a patch of threads in the carpet, or uneven floorboards, so make sure everything is secure and level.

❑  9. Make Often-Used Items More Accessible

Everyday items seniors use often, such as medications, toothbrushes, books, etc. should be made easily accessible and at a height suitable for them.

❑  10. Live on One Level

Living on one level is the easiest way to ensure fall prevention for the elderly. Staircases can be a dangerous hazard when walking is no longer quite as easy as it used to be. If living on one level isn’t possible, figure out how to limit trips up and down the stairs.

 

In terms of exercise, going up and down steps in a controlled manner can be very beneficial, hence the popularity of step aerobics. Just like picking up a 1 lb. object can send you groaning to a chiropractor, while you regularly workout with 10 lb. dumbbells without incident. The danger lies in the casual, unmindful manner we all tend to move through our daily lives.

 

So, here's a final tip you may want to pass along... 

Our bodies are safer when our mind is consciously focused on what we are doing. Every step is important because a single misstep can destroy your health. 

Don't just "be careful out there," be careful at home as well.

 

To browse our selection of Home Safety products click here


 

 

30 August, 2016

Five Common Misconceptions About the Hearing Impaired

 

5 Common Misconceptions about Hearing Loss:

 

1. Sign of Aging

It’s commonly believed that only older or elderly people suffer from hearing loss.

In reality, while hearing loss does become more common with age, 40 percent of the 48 million Americans with impaired hearing are under 60.

 

2. Speaking Louder Helps

Hearing aids do increase the sound level a hearing impaired person hears, but they also work to eliminate background noise. So if you’re having a conversation with someone with hearing loss and think raising the sound of your voice will guarantee them to hear you better, you’re mistaken.

The clarity of your speech and environment you’re in are the factors to focus on.

 

3. If I Had a Hearing Impairment, My Doctor Would Tell Me

Not all doctors perform hearing tests during routine physicals, so if you haven’t been to a doctor that specializes in hearing, you might not know you are hearing impaired.

If you suspect your hearing is impaired, schedule an appointment with a doctor who has been trained in hearing health.

 

4. Hearing Loss Can’t Be Treated

As modern medicine continues to improve, new procedures and treatments are being developed to treat hearing impaired people.

There are plenty of options to choose from, depending on your specific level of impairment, such as hearing aids, surgery, medication and other possibilities.

 

5. Hearing Loss in One Ear Isn’t a Big Deal

Since your “good” ear will be working overtime to compensate for the one that is impaired, you might not even realize there’s a problem with the other ear.

Talk to your doctor about making sure your “better ear” isn’t affected by your hearing loss.

 

When In Doubt, Go Check It Out

Some people tell themselves that "it" will get better on its own.

Your good health is your most valuable possession. When in doubt, go check it out.

Do right by yourself and always visit a qualified Healthcare Professional to get their informed opinion about the true state of your health.

 

For access to a wide range of hearing-loss related products, including amplified aids, alerting signalers, assistive speech devices, telephone flashers, and more, please click here.

 

 

 

01 August, 2016

Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Appreciates MaxiAids

Over the years, MaxiAids – and its owner, Eliot Zaretsky – have been recognized by many organizations for good works. Among those prestigious institutions, none is more renowned than the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Two letters of their appreciation are shown here in their entirety.

 

"Because of the great work of organizations like yours, our Huntington office is able to provide much needed services, free of charge, to blind and/or visually impaired individuals in Suffolk County."

— Helen Keller Services For The Blind

 

"…we would like to thank you for your many years of on-going support and dedication helping our agency provide vocational work experiences and job opportunities to individuals who are deaf-blind."

— Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

26 July, 2016

What Are They Saying About MaxiAids?

Of course, you're curious what people are saying about MaxiAids.

Everyone wants to know the buzz; the scuttlebutt; the 411; the verdict of the court of public opinion; customer experiences and reviews; the gossip; the real story – the truth about MaxiAids.

What is the truth about MaxiAids?

There are many untold stories about MaxiAids throughout our thirty-year history of serving the blind, the deaf, those with low vision, the hard of hearing, the disabled, those over 50, and aging seniors.

Over time, customers have had a lot to say about us. While there aren't quite eight million stories about MaxiAids, there are many. Here's one of the myriad letters and emails exposing the naked truth of how our customers feel about MaxiAids.

We hope you will feel the same way.

 

21 July, 2016

Mom Raises Enough Money for Special Eyeglasses That Allow Blind Son To See

 

The Gift of a Lifetime

Chris Ward from Lynchburg, Virginia has been given the gift of a lifetime thanks to his mother, Marquita Hackley, and a pair of special-vision glasses called eSight. Hackley’s efforts raised $25,000 to give her son glasses that allow him to see. The 12-year-old was born blind and has relied on his other five senses to get to know his loved ones up until now.

 

He Can Now Perform Daily Tasks With Vision

Chris’ story was first introduced to the world back in April, when a video of him using the glasses for the first time surfaced. ABC aired a special on Chris and within minutes Hackley exceeded her goal of raising $15,000 for the glasses. Gone are the days that Ward has to do his homework on a braille typewriter. He can now wear the electronic glasses and perform daily tasks with vision; a gift most of us take for granted.

Hackley told Virginia’s WDBJ7 about surpassing her fundraising goal, “Most of them don't even know us and that's just -- it means a lot to me.”

Not only does Chris get the life-changing gift of vision, he’s also enjoying the benefits of 15 minutes of fame. “People are always telling me I want your autograph,” he said.

 

eSight Has Changed the Course of his Life Forever

Although the electronic glasses don’t work for all types of blindness, Hackley decided to try eSight for Chris. Chris was born with an optic nerve that never fully developed. He was only able to see the outline of shapes and colors by getting extremely close to what he was looking at, suffice to say eSight has changed the course of his life forever. The electronic glasses provide LED screens for Chris to see, which are operated by a high-speed camera that records live video.

Hackley told the Daily News in April, “As a mother going 12 years with your child not being able to clearly see — I don’t really have words for it.”

 

" . . . there you are"

Perhaps the most touching moment the mother and son shared throughout this experience are the first words Chris uttered upon trying on the eSight glasses for the first time; “Oh Mommy, there you are.