Sunday, March 30, 2008

Carman's Corner

We so enjoy introducing you to the great people we meet and get to know in the course of our business. This week we introduce you to Carman Keene, whom we met first as a customer. She and her husband, Sam, came into our store and over the course of the past year have collaborated with us quite a bit. Carman and Sam lived and raised their three daughters in Colorado, Coal Creek Canyon, for thirty-two years, while Carman and Sam both worked at Coors. Her position at Coors was in Community Affairs which led her into the position she now holds with Medical Transportation Management (MTM) as Motivational Speaker and Education Manager. Carman plans on writing a regular blog for us, Carman’s Corner, we call it, where she speaks personally about how she and Sam live with his disability, MS. She will also review events going on around Colorado with an aim to encouraging folks with disabilities to stay active and involved, to explore and discover, to meet and greet people everywhere. So, she arrives on our website this week with her own introduction and musings. Please let us all know what you think and how Carman can be part of finding out what you want to know, too. We thank Carman and Sam for their great support of Capabilities and their generosity in collaborating with us to bring ideas to the fore for all of you! Take it away, Carman.

Do we share some of the same obstacles and challenges in our disabled lives...? We want to have fun but it is often hard.

As you and I, perhaps, become better acquainted through this vehicle, we will share entertainment ideas and critiquing. Let’s build a discussion sharing helpful hints and answers to questions. With your material, this regular “Carman’s Corner” might resemble a combination of “Entertainment Weekly”, “Dear Abby” and/or “Heloise’s Hints”. Will you try with me?


Leonardo da Vinci said these words:
Every now and then – go away. Have a little fun. For when you come back to your work, your judgment will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose the power of judgment…. Go away for some relaxation, because then the work appears smaller and a lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.

Easier said than done!

The disability my husband and I share is Multiple Sclerosis. My husband, Sam, hasn’t walked in years and years. Loving him with all my heart, it is then, vicariously, my disability, too. We are fortunate now to have a traveling scooter and a hoist in the back of our jeep which unlocks many more doors for fun.

On one of our first attempts at eating out, years ago, we joined in a gathering with many people and many tables with white table clothes. Rather than casually drive the scooter under the table in position, the scooter lurched. The gear had stuck “on” by something underneath the table and Sam drove pushing the whole thing across the room with chairs crashing. People were scattering, things were falling, and Sam’s face showed so much embarrassment. My face was filled with pain for him. Through it though, we quickly learned how caring and kind people are to the handicapped. What we often want most is not to be noticed. However, it is true; in this ole world people can be very, very kind.

Please share with us one of your episodes. It could be humorous or an embarrassing moment which you experienced. Explain how you overcame it and what you learned from it. We’ll talk about these and so much more in the series ahead.

Back to da Vinci. Let’s have a little fun.

Carman will suggest local Colorado events from time to time that she and Sam have looked into. They often do advance planning to be sure the event is accessible for them. Here is something fun coming up in our area to consider as a Saturday date, perhaps.

If you would like to suggest events that you find enjoyable and accessible, whether you are here in Colorado or anywhere, please send your ideas to us.

The Sixth Annual Kite Festival

The skies should be filled with gorgeous colors on Saturday, April 5th at Robby Ferrufino Park in Arvada. There are paved paths everywhere if you have a scooter, walker or forearm crutches or canes. Or, you can even watch this entertainment from your car. There should be exotic flying creatures, dancing kites, a kite flying contest, food and other vendors from 10:00 A.M. – 4:00 P.M. Among the activities will be jumping castles, face painting and balloon animal maker and caricatures for those little ones in your life.

The Jeffco Brass Band will be playing for our enjoyment between Non and 1:00 P.M. The kite contest will be from 11:00 A.M. until 1:00 P.M. There will be two age groups, including adults.

Sam and I traveled over to the park to check out accessible parking and were pleasantly surprised by the large parking area for this small park.

The park is located at 74th and Carr in Arvada. Don’t get confused, though. Carr Street, traveling north, turns to the west and becomes 74th. At that point the park is on your north side. We found it easier to reach, from our home, traveling on Kipling and then turning east on 74th. The park, on the north is then about ten blocks off of Kipling on 74th.

We can fool our minds but we can’t fool our bodies…. Go out there and have some fun!

PS ….. Please also let me know entertainment you’ve experienced and ways we can all add more color to our lives! Email me!


Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Winter's Last Hurrah

There’s a reason they say April is the cruelest month. You know it well. The sun warms things, tiny and glorious flowers peak out, the new green of spring is everywhere, and…eight inches of snow falls on Tuesday, making a mess of your morning commute. Did you cover the flowering bush? And the wind chops at your face while you run into the grocery store.

There is nothing like it, though. Science reinforces that most people report feeling better in spring. Whether it’s the light that final combats seasonal affective disorder which we wrote about last time, or the fact that we spend more time outdoors perhaps getting a bit more exercise than during the winter months, or the signs of new life infusing us with a sense of renewal, there is often just more energy when the days get longer.

I know some folks, though, who hate to see the passing of winter, who thrive on the early darkness, who give themselves permission to stay inside, sipping tea and catching up on their reading. One, in particular, tells me that she makes herself go into her room early in the evening during April, pulling the shades so she can draw out the last bits of winter. She likes it when a surprise storm lands on her day and uses it as an excuse not to go to work. Far from a melancholy type, she warms up any gathering, having figured out how to eek out the best parts of winter. She is joined by the countless others who live for winter sports, especially here in Colorado’s mountains.

So, celebrate winter’s last hurrah! Do your own tea tasting before it’s too hot to enjoy them. Whether you’re the gourmet tea or the herbal tea type, you’ll love it in a steeping mug you can wrap your hands around. Read hands free with the book peeramid poised on your lap. And wrap yourself in some of Janska’s soft Polartec easy-to-wear clothing!

Then, open the shades, put on your light jacket and let winter go. It’s going to be a great spring!

Post your spring rituals here and we’ll write about them next time.

Monday, March 24, 2008


After last year’s incredibly successful New Product Showcase, Capabilities announces a reprise of the event! In May, we are planning to host another great evening where products and consumers come together. Where you get to check out the latest things and give us your feedback as we make buying decisions for the next six months. Get your information to us now as we plan for May (specific date still to be determined).

If you are an inventor, product supplier, or know of a great product we should absolutely look at for our collection at Capabilities, please contact us. If you are a curious consumer always looking for the chance to get the inside scoop, or if you would simply enjoy seeing products up close and influencing our decision-making process, please send us an email now. We’ll even finalize the date around your availability if you get to us soon!

Be Unlimited!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Angels Everywhere

Sr. Georgeann Quinlan writes this week as our guest blogger about what inspires her. She leads interactive workshops, Angels Everywhere, which offer an invitation to everyone, regardless of religious belief or affiliation, to talk about what inspires them and gives them hope. Sr. Georgeann offers her workshops throughout the Denver Metro area and comes a couple of times a year to Capabilities with her stories. Last year’s session brought rave reviews and the most amazing stories of everyday situations. We hope you will join Sr. Georgeann on Monday, March 24, at 6 p.m. Please see Events for details and to RSVP.

This program is indeed a little miracle in itself! It first started when I was asked to work at a nursing home where the whole staff believed in angels! I did. So I applied. Little did I know that it would start me on a path which would bring great inspiration, creativity, fulfillment and joy in my semi-retirement years. It is about the many forms in which angels work in our lives.

I have led some 96 programs in the past three years and have heard the most amazing stories! No, I’m not writing a book! I would rather carry the stories to the other groups who want to hear and share their stories. So far, no one has been disappointed. Rather, they leave the session with a feeling of hope and inspiration. The sessions have indeed been blessed with the presence of angels! Do come, hear, share.

Thank you, Sister!

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Capabilities Is...

If you’re a customer, friend or supporter of Capabilities, you already know that we offer a unique shopping experience for mobility, comfort and independence. Our enormous array of products range from high end mobility equipment to the smallest of aids that help you stay comfortable no matter the situation. You have found, no doubt, that Capabilities is also a treasure trove of unique gift ideas, a place you can poke around for an hour or two and still not see everything.

It’s a place where you can try things out – test drive an electric scooter, relax on a luxurious adjustable bed, imagine your kitchen transformed with cabinets and countertops that rise and lower to meet the needs of everyone in your household. If you’ve ever wondered about a stairlift or a tub lift, come try them out. You’ll find some of the nicest people you’ll ever want to meet on our staff. Not only do they know a lot about all the products, they listen to what is going on with you, what you’re envisioning as a possible solution or gift, what you or someone you love needs to be comfortable or independent.

If you’ve worked with Capabilities, you also know that we are “more than a store,” offering educational events (and some that are just plain fun) as well as links to the community, resources that provide the glue that many families need when temporary or permanent illness or injury change lives forever.

“Discovering Capabilities has made all the difference for my family,” one of our customers told me the other day. A health care professional referred her to us as she faced the difficult choice of placing her mother in an assisted living facility or bringing her home. As she worked with us to figure out what it would take to bring mom home, the choice became clearer for her and less daunting somehow. With our many relationships in the community, we also provided her with numerous options for additional services to help her and her family adjust to the changes and still imagine living their lives while being caregivers.

Capabilities is grateful, too, for you, for letting us be part of your lives as you look for solutions and ideas as you solve problems, face challenges, seek comfort and independence for yourselves or those around you.

As always, we invite your ideas for products, additional services, workshop or seminar topics, and any other idea you might have that would improve your experience at Capabilities or meet your needs more fully. In fact, we are in the midst of updating our web site. We would love your suggestions as we build a more robust shopping experience online. Please email your suggestions and ideas. We’ll put your name into a drawing for a coupon you can use at your leisure.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Fibromyalgia: You’re Not Alone

It is estimated that two percent of the population suffers with the myriad of symptoms that is fibromyalgia. In fact, more recent studies suggest it could be closer to four or five percent. Those with this disease will describe the frustration they feel often with having a disease that is difficult to diagnose, that often is not recognized by family and some medical professionals, that causes widespread pain difficult to treat.

The symptoms of fibromyalgia are better known than the causes. Fatigue is the hallmark, deep, muscle-aching fatigue. Some have compared it to a bad case of the flu…that just does not end. Sleeplessness, another symptom, might also be one of the potential causes of the disease. Headaches, hyper-sensitivity to light, temperature and touch. Numbing and tingling sensations, anxiety, and sometimes digestive problems may also be indicative of the fibromyalgia.

There is no single test to determine whether you have this disease or not. Instead there are a series of tests designed to eliminate other diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis or rheumatoid arthritis. The American College of Rheumatology recently established a set of general guidelines that even many physicians do not agree with. Because the range and variety of symptoms with fibromyalgia are so broad, progress with diagnostic techniques will continue to develop over time.

As for causes, the theories are as diverse as the symptoms. Current theory suggests that there is a lower pain threshold in those with the symptoms of fibromyalgia. Researchers believe that there is greater nerve sensitivity in the pain centers of the brain, caused perhaps by abnormalities in the sympathetic nervous system (the part of the nervous system that controls processes we don’t consciously control (e.g., sweating, heart rate) a trauma of some kind, viral infection, hormonal changes, and perhaps even sleep disturbance itself. While considered a symptom, some researchers suggest that it is the disruption of sleep that causes over-stimulation of the brain’s nerve endings.

Fibromyalgia occurs more frequently in women in early or middle age. Occurrence of the disease is more prevalent when someone else in the family has been diagnosed. People with a rheumatic condition such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus are more likely to suffer from fibromyalgia. The disease is not progressive, however, nor is it life-threatening.

It does impact the quality of life for many, however. Therefore, self-care is critical. Follow our series on fibromyalgia next time when we will talk more specifically about treatments and self-care.

Do you know someone with fibromyalgia? Please post your thoughts and ideas about this confounding disease that wreaks havoc for so many.

Monday, March 3, 2008

What’s That You Say? Hearing Loss and You

Is there someone in your life who is hard of hearing? Most likely you do, since an estimated one-quarter of Americans between the ages of 65 and 75 have hearing loss. The number jumps to three-quarters of those over 75. Nothing seems to highlight the aging process more quickly than hearing loss left unattended. And yet, you probably know someone who won’t acknowledge his or her hearing loss, or who adamantly denies it, or has simply withdrawn from social situations so as not to be faced with the reality of the loss.

While the natural wear and tear of the aging process is one of the more predictable causes of hearing loss, it can occur at any age, however. Build up of ear wax is often one of the causes of diminished hearing levels. For some, the situation is chronic. Heredity can also play a role in whether suffers hearing loss. The preponderance of loud noises in our culture is a big contributor to early hearing loss more and more prevalent among people of all ages. Listening to loud music for long periods of time or participating in certain activities that produce high decibel levels (i.e., snowmobiling, shooting firearms, motorcycling) adversely affect hearing levels, leading often to hearing loss. Taking high doses of aspirin or other non-steroid anti-inflammatory (NSAID) drugs can cause temporary hearing problems such as tinnitus, ringing in the ears, or more permanent hearing loss.

Sometimes we aggravate hearing loss by developing bad habits. Think about being in a crowded, noisy room. Having a meaningful conversation is often difficult under these circumstances. Therefore, many folks at a party, for example, float around, chit chatting, tuning in and out of conversations. When hearing loss develops, the reaction is similar. Dealing with muffled or missed sound can cause some to stop listening altogether. Not paying attention further exacerbates the situation and eventually the individual has created a worse situation.

Brain research calls this “negative brain plasticity.” In other words, we unwittingly shape the brain in negative ways, becoming less attentive, and therefore, worsen our ability to listen and hear with speed, accuracy and memory. Be sure to read more about the brain’s plasticity in our earlier blogs on brain fitness.

To learn more about hearing loss, plan on attending our upcoming seminar on the topic, “Broken Sound Connections & Advanced Hearing Technologies: The Impact of Untreated Hearing Loss and New Solutions.” Dr. Christopher Schweitzer, Chairman of the Family Hearing Centers, will speak on hearing loss and some state-of-the-art treatments and technologies. Staff from the Family Hearing Centers will provide free hearing screenings after the workshop. See details and RSVP in our Events section.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

In Search of Arvada & Westminster’s Biggest Losers

Here's something fun and healthful happening at Capabilities.

In Search of Arvada & Westminster’s Biggest Losers: Join Kathy Davis, RN, Chris Welch, RN, Cliff Russell, and their assistants as they hold another of their 12-week non-profit course that offers tips on nutrition and exercise, paired with some competition.

This local group of personal Health Coaches considers the course a chance to fight obesity by educating people about a better overall lifestyle. “Our goal is for people to feel good and look great. The course will give us accountability. Together, we can pull through on this.”
Course participants can use any weight-loss program they’d like, whether it is Jenny Craig, the South Beach Diet, Weight Watchers or a customized plan.” We’ll work with each person to find what works best for them.” They will also sell herbal weight-loss products. Davis & Welch, both nurses, have over 10 years of experience in the Weight Loss Industry.

Participants will weigh-in each week, and the three people with the highest percentage of pounds lost at the end of the course will win prize money. The Health Coaches are shooting for 15 students per class, which would allow for a $250 first-place prize, $150 second-place prize and $75 third-place prize.

For every pound a participant sheds, he or she will receive a raffle ticket for chances to win recipe books, workout handbooks and healthy snacks.

The group will charge a participant $1 for each pound gained during the course, and $5 for if a participant misses two or more class sessions. This money will be given to the person who loses the most inches at the end of the 12 week session.

“A fun competition like this is a good motivator.” Davis said. “Soon participants are feeling better and they’ve just got more energy.”

The competition runs from March 11 – May 27 at each Tuesday at 12:45 – 2:00 p.m.

The cost for the 12-week course is $29. All the money will go into the pot for the prize money. Please contact 303-421-5643 for registration.