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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™
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.

 

10 July, 2016

Boogie Board LCD eWriters Gives Voice to Those Without Speech

The Boogie Board LCD eWriter enables those without a voice to communicate. People such as Bob Hoagland, a Vietnam Vet diagnosed with ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease).

Boogie Board eWriters were notably featured on NBC News. Their in-depth story focused on the possible connection between veterans and ALS (Lou Gehrig's Disease), highlighting Bob Hoagland, a Vietnam Vet diagnosed with the disease. He relies on the Boogie Board 8.5 as his primary communication tool.

Photo by Ann Johansson for NBC News

Photo by Ann Johansson for NBC News

From the NBC News Report:

"U.S. veterans carry a nearly 60 percent greater risk of contracting ALS than civilians . . . That alarming disparity has prompted the Pentagon to devote $7.5 million annually to hunt for ALS causes and treatments . . . 'When you think about the military, you have intense training, and we all wonder: Is it something to do with extreme exercise and a genetic vulnerability?' says Clive Svendsen, head of the Cedars institute . . . His theory: For veterans born with a rare genetic flaw that predisposes them to ALS, the military’s harsh physical demands perhaps trigger the disease to erupt years later . . .

"'The answer is in stem cell therapy,' Hoaglan writes on his LCD board . . . He scrawls more words with urgency in his eyes: 'I want to get involved in a stem cell study.'"

 

MaxiAids Has Boogie Board LCD eWriters In Stock

MaxiAids chose to carry the Boogie Board LCD eWriter because it is such an innovative and useful assistive technology device. You can choose either the pocket-size Jot 4.5 or the full-size Jot 8.5 model in your favorite color.

The Boogie Board line of Jot LCD eWriters has a reusable writing surface and includes a stylus to quickly jot down notes, messages, phone numbers, or lists – which are easily erased with just the press of a button. Both sizes are terrific to take with you or to keep conveniently at hand in your home or office.

 

Simple and Elegant Assistive Technology Solution

The Boogie Board is a simple and elegant assistive-technology solution for those with a speech impairment to help them communicate their thoughts to others. The Jot LCD eWriters are ideal for anyone who has difficulty with vocal communication, such as the deaf, hard of hearing, stroke victims, etc. In fact, organizations for certain impediments, such as ALS, vocal cord paralysis, stroke victims, etc. endorse them for many different purposes, including to practice memory exercises, as well as to help develop fine motor skills, and communicating.

 

This is not your father’s Etch-a-Sketch

The Boogie Board eWriter may bring back memories of the Etch-a-Sketch. But, as the saying goes, this is not your father’s Etch-a-Sketch. The Boogie Board has a pressure-sensitive, plastic liquid crystal display. You create words and drawings by pressing on the LCD with the included stylus. To clear the screen, you press the erase button. This applies an electric field to completely erase the LCD screen with no fuss or mess.

While the technology employed by both devices is quite different, the major difference is in your experience using them. The Boogie Board eWriter feels very natural, just like when you are writing and drawing by hand with a pen or pencil on a piece of paper – but with the easy-to-erase convenience of a blackboard. It replaces pen and paper, scratch pads, and sticky notes for writing down messages, memos, lists, and ideas. You can even use it to play games like tic-tac-toe and hangman or to draw pictures. Your words and images will remain as long as you want and can be easily erased with the touch of a button. You can create and erase again and again.

 

Boogie Board Jot 4.5 LCD eWriter

The compact-sized Jot 4.5 LCD eWriter is for people on the go. Slip it into your shirt pocket, coat pocket, or purse to take shopping to the drug store, grocery store, or restaurant. It's just what you need for quick notes and brief messages.

 

Boogie Board Jot 8.5 LCD eWriter

The full-size Jot 8.5 LCD eWriter is the flagship Boogie Board product. It has the brightest, highest-contrast LCD. With the Boogie Board Jot 8.5, you are able to save and edit what is written on the display through an app that is available for free on the App Store and Google Play. This free-for-download Jot mobile app allows you to scan, edit, save, and share content that you've created with others.

 

My Primary Communicating Tool

"The Jot 4.5 is great for things like going to the grocery store where I need to use my hands a lot. No need to set it down, just drop it into my shirt pocket. The Original will be my primary communicating tool, and it just looks great.

I have been so impressed with the eWriter ever since I got it and people I talk to say how cool it is when they see it in action."

— Bob Hoaglan

Photo by Ann Johansson for NBC News

Photo by Ann Johansson for NBC News

 

03 March, 2016

Searching For 20/20 Pens

A Tale of Low-Vision Pen Obsession

Lately, we've all gone a bit pen crazy here at MaxiAids . . .

One of our most popular products was unexpectedly discontinued by the manufacturer. Now, aside from our desire to give our customers what they want, no business likes to lose a bestseller. The product was the 20/20 Pen™.

Our Wholesale Purchasing Department could not hunt down any substantial quantity of the product. In fact, even though I'm not in Purchasing, I tried to help out by personally calling the manufacturer to try to score some stock that might have been forgotten in some corner of one of their warehouses. But no luck. Not a single carton.

I confirmed that the manufacturer had no intention to make a new direct replacement. The company decided to streamline their product selection and felt the 20/20 Pen™ unnecessarily duplicated their Sharpie™ line of marker pens.

Now, we love Sharpie™ markers. I mean, who doesn't? They are really super writing instruments. And for some tasks and on some surfaces, they are clearly the best choice – so we stock, sell, and often recommend them.

However, many of our customers prefer to make their appointment entries on our Jumbo Appointment Calendar and write their shopping lists with marker pens that have a bit less bleed through. So our Purchasing Department came to the rescue by contacting all their suppliers and brought in other low-vision pens, like the Pilot Bravo!™ that would meet our customers' needs.

Because most people prefer a variety of choices, we also offer the budget-priced Economy Low Vision Pen™. This is a slimmer-designed, very affordable option.

But we didn't stop there. Oh no. O-as-in-obsession no.

With all this frustrating, laser-focused searching for the 20/20 Pen™ our Owner and Business Manager decided that they never wanted MaxiAids, or our low-vision customers, to be at the mercy of some other company's business decision.

The King (namely the 20/20 Pen™) is dead, long live the King!

MaxiAids, under our proprietary Reizen™ brand, is now the proud manufacturer of the BoldWriter 20 Pen™. 

We believe this will soon become a customer all-time favorite, destined to replace any fond memory of the old 20/20 Pen™. After all, it has to be darned good because it successfully stopped the Must-Get-Low-Vision-Pens OCD Express we all were riding on.

So what's the big deal about low vision pens?

Almost nothing is more frustrating than not being able to read something you yourself have written. If it's a matter of sloppy handwriting, you have no one to get annoyed at but yourself. But when it’s due to the writing looking too faint, light, and thin, it feels like your pen betrayed you.

And for the visually impaired and all those who live with low vision, not being to read the time of your next doctor's appointment on your calendar is a serious issue. That is why a pen that produces deep black, vivid, bold writing, yielding high contrast is so important.

A disability should not be allowed to define us or the life we lead. Every day we see our customers with disabilities choose solutions to make their lives more independently livable. 

Low vision is a very common disability, especially for our aging population. Low vision means that despite all possible medical correction – including prescription eyeglasses – you still need help to see and read. Luckily, there are many assistive and adaptive products available for low vision. This includes illuminated magnifiersvideo magnifiers, talking devices, and so much more. But the least expensive, most useful item – in addition to a handheld magnifier – that you will use every day, is a low-vision pen.

If you have low vision  or know someone who does – check out the end result of our low-vision pen quest:

BoldWriter 20 Pen™ is the easy-to-read pen for those without 20/20 vision

"If you're going to write, write boldly . . . The BoldWriter 20™ is the high-visibility pen for those with low vision."

BoldWriter 20 Pen

Major Features:

  1. Easy-to-see and read with incredibly vivid, high-visibility, black ink
  2. Quick-drying ink doesn't smudge or bleed through paper
  3. Bold point produces highly legible line width – ideal for low vision and the visually impaired
  4. Superior Quality - Made in the USA

 

Visit MaxiAids.com for the largest selection of products for independent living at the lowest prices. 

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27 January, 2016

How To Help Your Nose Do Its Job

You wouldn't think of going even a day without drinking at least a glass of water. After all, the dangers of dehydration are well known and well publicized. However, many of us torture our noses, nasal passages, throats, and lungs for months and months by not providing them with the moisture they require to function properly. 

For most of us, the greatest danger to our health in the winter isn't the headline-grabbing blizzards, snow storms, and floods. And it's not the cold. Not directly, anyway. It's the heat. In wintertime, we all crave our warm, cozy caves. But the problem with coming inside to escape the cold is that breathing heat-dried air is just not healthy. It lacks the moisture level our body needs to stay healthy. And our bodies practically shriek their need for moist air during the cold months by cursing us with dry skin, loud snoring, coughs, and colds.  

The solution is easy and relatively inexpensive. The most convenient way to put water back into the air is with a humidifier.

  • Humidifiers help provide relief from coughing and congestion, whether from a cold, sore throat, or flu.
  • Breathing humidifier-moistened air often alleviates many of the symptoms of asthma, sinusitis, and allergies by promoting good sinus, airway, and lung health.
  • Humidifiers help to lubricate and moisten nasal passages allowing the sinuses to drain more efficiently, which reduces congestion and helps prevent or heal sinus infections.
  • Humidifiers counter the worst of winter's dry-air effect which leads to nosebleeds, chapped lips, and parched skin that can crack, itch, or flake.

As an extra-special bonus for those with spouses who sound like they are sawing wood when they are sleeping, a humidifier helps reduce snoring in some individuals by keeping the throat from drying out.

There are three types of humidifiers: warm mist, cool mist evaporative, and cool mist ultrasonic humidifiers. These days it seems that the latter type has become more popular.

The reasons many choose to use a Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifier are:

1) They are safer than hot-steam producing units, such as Warm Mist Humidifiers, which can be a burn hazard for children and pets;

2) They cost less by requiring less electricity to operate with no need for a heating element to heat up water for evaporation;

3) They are far less noisy than either Cool Mist Evaporative Humidifiers or Warm Mist Humidifiers;

4) They operate without requiring any replaceable filters, saving you the hassle of repeatedly spending more money each time they need to be replaced; and

5) Ultrasonic vibration technology quietly evaporates the liquid water, transforming it into an effective, air-moisturizing, micro-fine mist.

One of the best name brands in humidifiers is HealthSmart. Here's a selection of their most popular Cool Mist Ultrasonic Humidifiers, categorized by room size. 

 

Large Room Humidifier

Large Room Humidifier

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Medium to Large Room Humidifier

Medium to Large Room Humidifier

Medium Room Humidifier

​Medium Room Humidifier

Small Room Humidifier

Small Room Humidifier

 

Visit MaxiAids.com for the largest selection of products for independent living at the lowest prices. 

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21 July, 2015

Popular Products for Back To School!

Maxi-Aids prides itself on delivering the latest back-to-school essentials for those with low visibility or hearing issues. Browse our selection of products today, as well as take a look at a few of our most popular ones below!

Oval Talking Keychain
The Oval Talking Keychain is perfect for anyone with low-vision issues. Large LCD screen, time announcement and alarm, all in one small package. Perfect for the dorms and beyond!

Bold Line Paper
What student doesn't need bold-line paper? When shopping for school supplies, a pack of five pads for the semester should be right at the top. Another great low-vision product!

Heavy Duty Bed Vibrator
For those with hearing issues, this heavy dutybed vibrator might be the best dorm room essential we offer. Getting up early for that calculus class just got so much easier thanks to this bed and pillow vibrator. Place under your pillow and connect to your alarm clock for easy use.

E-Wheels Mobility Scooter
Getting around your school or college campus can be a pain in the butt, especially if you've got mobility issues. Thankfully, Maxi-Aids has got you covered with the E-Wheels jellybean collection of scooters. Available in a bunch of different colors, you'll look fresh as you zip around campus, class to class.