Choosing the right wheelchair

Heart-Health-Wheelchair-Stock-Photo-wheelchair-cartoonChoosing the right wheelchair for an elderly relative is a non-trivial activity. Wheelchairs come in many shapes and sizes, in many different materials, and designed for different uses.

Here are 15 questions for which you need to know answers in order to decide on the right wheelchair.

Is it for indoor use or outdoor use?
If it is for outdoor use, ensure that the back wheels are big. This will ensure that the wheelchair can take the ups and downs of Indian roads and platforms.

Is it foldable?
Most wheelchairs are foldable. Since wheelchairs are stored away for much of the day and through out the night (in the case of seniors), a foldable wheelchair will occupy less space when not in use.

Will it fit into my car boot?
Sometimes, you may want to take the wheelchair with you. In such cases, it is important that the wheelchair folds into a compact size so that it can be easily stowed away in the boot or back seat of the car.

Are the armrests removable?
Removable armrests help in sliding from bed to the wheelchair and back. This can help if the user of the wheelchair is capable of moving sideways, and the bed and wheelchair are at almost the same height.

Are the footrests removable?
Removable footrests ensure that the wheelchair folds into a smaller place as well as help in making the wheelchairs less unwieldy while transporting.

How heavy is the wheelchair?
Sometimes, the person helping the user of the wheelchair may also be a senior citizen. In such cases, it is very important that the helper is able to lift and maneuver the chair. where possible, buy a lighter wheelchair.

How much weight can the wheelchair bear?
A typical wheelchair is certified for about 100 kilos. In the case that the user is much heavier, go for a bariatric range wheelchair.

What are the dimensions of the wheelchair?
In many homes, the doorways and passages can be very narrow. The bathroom doors, in particular, are usually only 2 – 2.5 feet wide in many Indian homes. Before purchasing the wheelchair, ensure that the wheelchair is able to go to all the places you plan to take it to.

Self-propelled or attendant chair?
A self-propelled manual wheelchair will have large wheels while an attendant wheelchair may have smaller wheels and brakes for the attendant to use. Choose depending on usage. If the person using the wheelchair does not have enough strength to propel themselves, go for a wheelchair designed for attendant use.

Is it for transit purposes?
If you are planning to use the wheelchair only during travel (at airports and railway stations, etc), then go for one of the very light-weight, compact aluminium transit wheelchair models.

Is reclining an option?
Some wheelchairs allow for reclining. These usually are larger and take up much more space. If a person is going to be sitting in a wheelchair for long periods, the reclining option may be useful.

Will it rust?
Wheelchairs come in different materials from mild steel to high-grade aluminium and other alloys. If you are planning to take the wheelchair into bathrooms and toilets or expect it to come in contact with the elements, go for an aluminium one. Chrome plated wheelchairs tend to rust after a while.

Motorized or manual?
Unless you are living in a high-end gated community with smooth roads and pavements, there is usually very little value in going for a motorized wheelchair in India as most places are not conducive for motorized wheelchair use. Needless to say, Indian roads are not safe for motorized wheelchairs.

Is a commode attached?
A few models of wheelchairs come with commodes attached, so they act as portable commodes as well as wheelchairs. Under most circumstances, it is preferable to keep the wheelchair and the commode separate for various reasons. However, if you need them together, know that such models are available.

What is the cost?
Wheelchairs, like most other things, come in different price brackets. Choose one that fits your budget.

If you have more doubts, write to us at

From a user of Cocoon – Adaptive clothing for seniors

rama murali gmom1I am a Family Caregiver living in Abhiramapuram and my mother and I take care of my elderly grandmother. My grandmother has some challenges with mobility and with moving her right arm as she is a stroke survivor, but she manages quite well and is very lively.

This Diwali, as per the custom each year, we wanted to make sure that my grandmother had a new dress to wear to celebrate the day. She usually wears nightdresses along with a towel or dupatta around her neck. We had purchased a beautifully designed nightdress from the Cocoon collection at the Old is Gold Store before Diwali, and knew we wanted to get her a new one from the same collection.

rama murali gmom2We love this line of clothing for her because the shoulder buttons and roomy size of the dress make it easy for her to put on because she does not need to lift both hands or struggle to have it fit over her healthy frame. The length of the dress is also slightly shorter, so we don’t have to worry about her tripping over it when we are helping her to move from the bed to her chair. Previously we had to hem all nightgowns, but this one seems to really be made with our needs in mind. Sometimes during Diwali we reminisce on how she used to wear beautiful saris and feel a bit sad that we cannot buy her one to wear. But, from our previous experience with a Cocoon nightgown, we know it looks and feels like a high quality garment, so it made us feel like we are giving her something nice in lieu of a sari like the old days.

I was happy to get her one in a bold color for Diwali, because I knew it would be an item we could purchase and use right away, without alteration, and she would be comfortable both putting it on and wearing it. Indeed she was delighted to wear her new dress that day and we had a wonderful celebration.

A nightdress seems like a simple thing to write about, but to us these dresses it allows us to add some variety, convenience and comfort to our lovely grandmother’s life.

Portable, light-weight chair

chair2012A light-weight, portable dark grey-green chair with back support is easy to carry and deploy/fold.  The chair has wide base legs that do not sink into the ground even when kept on sand. At 41 cm high, it allows a high seating comfort. Ideal to take to the beach or temple. The chair comes with 2 years manufacturer warranty and is certified to take up 110kgs of weight.
Weights on 2.4 Kgs. Dimensions : 77 x 50 x 77 cm. Seat: height = 41 cm, width = 41 cm.
To buy, go here.

Products for light incontinence

It has been estimated that light incontinence affects over 30% of people over the age of 18 at some point in time in their lives. Obviously, this problem and the percentage affected increases with age.

For women, if you have had a few children, if you are overweight, if you are athletic, if you are a regular coffee drinker, if you have had a hysterectomy, or suffer from bladder infection, in all likelihood, you will experience light incontinence sooner or later. In fact, studies show that 1 in 3 women suffer from the ocassional “spritz”, sometimes while laughing, or going over a speed bump or some such common daily activity. Many women use sanitary pads for protection, but these pads, not meant for this purpose, obviously are not the most appropriate.

As for men, with age, men too suffer ocassional bouts of mild incontinence. Alcohol, caffiene, overhydration, bladder irritation, certain medicines, prostate issues, urinary tract infections or blockages, bladder stones, can all be causes for mild to moderate incontinence.

What should be used under these circumstances are incontinence pads of various kinds that are available. These are not adult diapers (which are only for people with moderate to heavy incontinence), but smaller, lighter, more comfortable and completely discreet pads that will absorb the ocassional drop and keep you dry and odor-free.

For women, the pads are very similar to sanitary napkins in terms of putting it on, though they are quite different in design. The pictures below show what they look like and how they should be worn.  These come in Normal, Extra and Plus depending on the level of incontinence.

For men, the mild incontinence products are probably nothing like anything you have seen before!

Depending upon how mild (or not), the incontinence, there are several kinds with variations from one brand to another (obviously this is a green field with a lot of fluidity in the design). The only common thing about these pads is that most of them dont work with a boxer type, loose-fitting underwear. So if you are the boxer type, you may want to change to a brief type underwear first.

For seriously mild incontinence (a drop every now and then), the following should work (Seni Man Active).

For slightly greater leakage, the one below should work (Seni Man Normal).

For men with sudden spritzes, but less than moderate incontinence, the super absorbent type (Seni Man Super) shown below should leave you feeling high and dry.

Remember, incontinence is a problem that is only mildly irritating if you can take care of it properly. However, do check with the doctor to ensure that there are no other serious underlying causes for your incontinence.

To buy light incontinence products, go here.


Toothpaste that rebuilds enamel – For people with sensitive teeth

Tough-tooth-enamel-002A dear friend has written in to spread the word about a new toothpaste that can help rebuild enamel.  Read on…

British scientists have developed a toothpaste that they claim contains a liquid form of calcium and can help in treating sensitive teeth by rebuilding the tooth enamel.

People with sensitive teeth experience pain and discomfort after consuming hot or cold food, liquid or breathing cold air. This problem often occurs when gums recede and the tooth roots are exposed. They are not covered by hard enamel, the protective outer layer of the tooth.

Arm and Hammer’s enamel care toothpaste produced by Church and Dwight Co., the world’s leading manufactures of a wide range of personal care, household and specialty products is said to contain a liquid form of calcium, the key component of tooth enamel.

The liquid calcium rebuilds the tooth by plugging microscopic gaps in the enamel. The repair stops dental nerves from becoming exposed thereby preventing pain, reported online edition of Daily Mail.

Dentist Graham Barnby, who tested the new product at his clinics in south England, said, “This is a unique product. Current toothpastes aimed at people with sensitive teeth simply mask the pain while this one solves the problem.”

The toothpaste, which has been five years in the making, will be available in Britain by the end of this month at 3.49 pounds for a 75 ml tube before going on sale in the U.S.

The problem of dental sensitivity increases with age as teeth become more sensitive as a result of gum recession or erosion of the enamel by acidic food and drink

Elegant footwear for diabetics


Old is Gold Store is now dealing with a range of elegant footwear for people with diabetes or those suffering from arthritis, spurs, heel pain, flat feet, foot ulcers, etc.  Manufactured by a company called Dyna, these sandals are elegant, soft, comfortable and easy to slip on and slip off.

They look good and keep your feet protected from getting hurt.  Men sizes range from 6 – 13 and ladies sizes from 2 – 9.  To check out the footwear, click here.

Heel Pain Footwear
Designed with silicone padding at the heel to absorb shock and sheer forces
Specially designed foot bed redistributes plantar pressure

Flat Feet Footwear
Biomechanically designed
Total contact Insole with medial arch support which takes the shape of the foot
Improves the natural alignment and function of the foot and ankle
Moulded insole with thermoplastic reinforcement for rigidity and support
Prevents excess pronation

Arthritic Footwear
Made of total contact MCR insole with built in soft arch support
Increases the surface area of contact and redistributes plantar pressure
Reduce the excess pressure at the leggy prominences
Improves the natural alignment and function of foot and ankle

Foot care for diabetics

Over 60% of diabetics suffer from some form of nerve damage.  This is called diabetic neuropathy. People with diabetes can, over time, develop nerve damage throughout the body. Some people with nerve damage have no symptoms. Others may have symptoms such as pain, tingling, or numbness-loss of feeling-in the hands, arms, feet, and legs. Nerve problems can occur in every organ system, including the digestive tract, heart, and sex organs.

People with diabetes can develop nerve problems at any time, but risk rises with age and longer duration of diabetes. The highest rates of neuropathy are among people who have had diabetes for at least 25 years. Diabetic neuropathies also appear to be more common in people who have problems controlling their blood glucose, also called blood sugar, as well as those with high levels of blood fat and blood pressure and those who are overweight.

The most common type of diabetic neuropathy is peripheral neuropathy, which essentially affects hands, arms, legs, feet and toes.  In many cases people lose sensation in these area and hence injuries to these parts of the body, especially feet and toes go unnoticed, leading to infections which could eventually result in amputation, septicemia and even death.

The importance of foot care for diabetics cannot be stressed enough.  Here are some precautions to take:

1. Inspect your foot daily (Visual surveillance of extremities(VSE))
2. Wash foot in lukewarm water
3. Use correct footwear
4. Do not walk bare foot
5. Do not walk with ulcer in the foot
6. Get periodic foot exams
7. Do not sit with legs crossed
8. Do not trim corns and calluses
9. Do not apply heating and cooling pads on legs
10. Cut nails carefully

In addition, there is whole range of special footwear available today that can keep your foot safe and free of infection.  We have already covered some of the silver yarn based socks.  You can read more about them here.

So what do you look for in footwear (shoes or sandals), if you are a diabetic?  The diagram below gives you a quick overview of some the important features necessary in prophylactic footwear:

Click here to buy prophylactic footwear specially designed for diabetics and people with arthritis.

Anti-bacterial properties of silver yarn

Earlier today I added 3 more products into our catalog.  These are socks made of cotton with a mix of silver yarn (actual 99.9% pure silver, according to the product literature) meant specifically for diabetics who are in general susceptible to infections.

As I read (and wrote) about the special anti-bacterial properties of the silver in these socks, my skeptical nature raised a flag – “Is silver yarn really anti-bacterial in nature? Is this true?”  I had never heard of this before (never having looked for such information before, that is not surprising! :)), and I wanted to make sure that I was not propagating some “woo woo” pseudo-science just to sell a product.  So I did what most lay people do – I google’d it!  And here is what I found:

Silver yarn (usually wool or cotton yarn coated with silver) is actual highly anti-bacterial in nature.  Not only that, it has long-term effectiveness and remains so even after multiple washes of the fabric.  The Journal of Applied Polymer Science has a paper titled “Silver-coated wool yarns with durable antibacterial properties” that effectively states the following:

The use of fabrics with antibacterial properties for commodity applications can provide numerous advantages such as a reduction in the release of odors due to bacterial proliferation in sweat and a reduction in the development of skin hypersensitivity reactions due to microorganisms trapped into the fabrics. Silver is one of the most effective antibacterial agents used for the high degree of biocompatibility and for its long-term antibacterial effectiveness against many different bacterial strains. In this study, an innovative technique for the deposition of nanosilver antibacterial coating on woolen fiber was analyzed. In particular, fabrics woven with different percentages of silver-treated fibers were compared to determine the best ratio preserving the antibacterial activity and optimizing the cost-effectiveness of the final product. Scanning electron microscopy revealed a uniform distribution of silver nanoclusters on the fibers. The impressive silver coating stability and durability were demonstrated after several washing cycles through thermogravimetric analysis. The antimicrobial activity of the silver-treated substrates was evaluated by antibacterial tests on Escherichia coli. A very strong antibacterial activity was found even in presence of the lower silver content; therefore, a blend of coated and uncoated fibers is proposed for practical applications. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Appl Polym Sci, 2012

So if you are a diabetic and want to protect your feet from infection go ahead and buy these socks for constant wear with the firm knowledge that the silver yarn in them truly has significant anti-bacterial properties.  You can buy them here.

As a company with the welfare of the senior citizen being central to our raison d’etre, we are very keen on ensuring that genuine, verifiable information is available on our site at all times.  If you find any matter that seems less than genuine, please write to us at and we will ensure that we will either provide material to support the matter or modify/remove the incorrect/unverifiable matter.  Thanks in advance for all your support.

Don’t wait for your first break – get Anti-slip mats

October 20th was the World Osteoporosis day.  Their slogan is “Stop at one.  Make your first break the last”.   According to some studies, 1 in 5 older people die within a year of their first fracture and 1 in 3 become dependent on others within a year of their first fracture. Since many older people are prone to Osteoporosis, with regular checkups, improved diet, calcium supplements, and care, even the first fall and fracture can be avoided.

One of the most common causes for a fracture we come across among older people is a fall in the bathroom.  This is not very surprising give that Indian bathrooms are perennially wet and slippery.  However, with a little effort this can be changed.   Reviewed below is a product that is fairly inexpensive and easy to install, clean and maintain and will probably give the elders at home several years of independent living.

Anti-slip mats

Called a snake mat or an anti-slip mat, this is a mat that is commonly used in public wet areas such as around swimming pools and is extremely good at keeping the surface dry while letting the water drain away.  The mat comes in rolls 15 mtrs in length and about 4 ft wide, but can be cut to fit most bathrooms.  The material is heavy enough so it does not curl up and trip anyone and light enough to be easily lifted and rolled up for cleaning.  Cleaning the mat is also fairly simple – just spraying water through a nozzle with some pressure should do.  Click here to buy.