Here at Active Hands, our aim has always been to improve people’s quality of life and encourage independence. We have done this by creating products that remove disability related barriers, giving the user access to equipment, apparatus and tools that they may have struggled with otherwise. We like to think that by offering these unique products, we are helping people all over the world to overcome obstacles, increase their confidence and reach their potential.
However, we are also aware that we are not the only company doing this and that there are countless other products out there, similarly designed to improve the lives of those with a disability, illness or impairment. And so we have made the decision to branch out and offer what we believe to be the best and most useful of these products in our store, alongside our own Active Hands aids. Some of them are brand new products, some have been around for a while, but we believe all of them to be worth sharing with you guys.
So, without further ado, here is a list of the exciting, new range of products found and sold by Active Hands:
This is a simple yet revolutionary invention that can be of benefit to anyone. Sugru is a mouldable, self-setting putty that can be shaped and bonded to almost anything, giving it a virtually infinite number of possible uses. Initially feeling like play dough, it can be used for anything, from repairing cables to fixing broken toys, replacing missing parts to creating comfier grips. And once it has been left to set for 24 hours, it becomes a permanent, flexible rubber. I use mine on my games console control pad to give me trigger buttons that I can grip and press without my fingers slipping off, on kitchen utensils that I struggle to adequately grip and also on my bedside table as a handy slot to put my phone charging cable in so it doesn’t fall on the floor where I can’t reach it. I always keep some spare in the drawer too, as I never know when I’ll next need it! Available in packs of 3 or 8 and in a variety of colours.
For people with little or no finger movement such as myself, pressing buttons on a remote control, typing on a keyboard or using a touchscreen device can be a bit hit or miss. I often find myself hitting wrong or multiple buttons, meaning I’m forever having to correct myself. But as soon as I slip the Sixth Digit onto one or both of my little fingers, I can press every key and button I need without having to worry about my other fingers getting in the way, a lifesaver when it comes to writing articles such as this! The replaceable stylus tips also allow me to use them in conjunction with the touchscreens on my mobile and tablet, and their unobtrusive design means I can even leave them on as I push my chair! Sold in pairs, with two spare tips and a handy storage pouch.
I must admit, I do enjoy the occasional game of poker, both at home with friends and at a casino. The problem I’ve had since my injury though is that I struggle to hold my cards firmly in my hands and struggle even more to fan them out. This can often result in me dropping them, giving opponents a chance to see my hand and call my bluff. However, with this nifty card holder I can slot my cards between the two wheels and then twist them so that they fan out perfectly, allowing me to hold up to 14 cards in one hand and eliminating the risk of scattering them all over the table. Can be used in conjunction with a multitude of card games and is an ideal accessory for any aspiring card sharks!
Table Top Scissors
As someone with no discernible hand function or finger movement, using regular scissors can be an absolute nightmare, requiring both my hands to open and close the blades. This, more often than not, results in me making a bit of a mess of whatever I’m trying to cut and can leave me reliant on others to help. However, with the Table Top Scissors I am able to easily cut using one hand, whilst guiding whatever I’m cutting with the other. Their large T-shaped handles mean that they balance comfortably on any flat surface and all you need do is push down on them to close the blades, then release and the hidden spring opens the blades up again. Each pair comes with a blade guard to ensure safe storage and transport. Available in both adult and child sizes.
Table Top Nail Clippers
Without the hand function necessary to squeeze and release, regular nail clippers become virtually impossible to use, as I quickly found out after my injury. This meant that I either had to rely on someone else to clip my nails for me or I could attempt to cut them myself by balancing scissors on a lap-tray and attempting to insert each fingernail between the blades, a process that often ended in cursing and bloodshed! These Table Top Nail Clippers have thankfully put an end to all that though. The stable, plastic base and rubber feet mean that they can be used on any flat surface, and the large lever pad makes applying pressure to close the blades a thing of ease. It also has a handy nail file attached if you require any finishing touches.
If you suffer with arthritis or poor hand function, then you will understand what a nuisance opening a drink, sauce or pill bottle can be, especially if the seal has yet to be broken. And I’m sure I can’t be the only one who, many a time, has resorted to clamping down on the bottle top with their teeth and twisting it off that way. Thankfully, I now have one of these silicone bottle openers that can be placed over the top of almost any bottle, gripping the lid firmly, and then twisted off with relative ease. This inexpensive piece of kit is a much more hygienic way of getting into bottles and could save you a fortune in dentist bills!
For items you can’t even get your teeth around, the Jar Opener is similar to the Bottle Opener but larger in size and is designed to fit over and provide ease of access to any twist-lid jar. I use mine to get into jam jars, cooking pastes and larger multi-vitamin bottles, and it has often been the difference between cooking for myself and reaching for the takeaway menu!
When pushing my chair around whilst balancing a tray of food or drink on my knee, it’s not uncommon for the contents of the tray to slide about, often resulting in spillage. Similarly, when using a chopping board or mixing ingredients in a bowl, I have to use both hands to hold the knife whilst chopping and both hands to hold the spoon whilst mixing. This can mean that the board or bowl often take on a life of their own and move around all over the place, leaving me more than a little frustrated! However, by placing this circular piece of anti-slip silicone on the tray or table first, it means that whatever I place on it afterwards, stays on it. So I can now push around, chop and mix without fear of calamity, and afterwards can just peel it off and put it away until next time. I also find it handy to use in conjunction with the Bottle and Jar Openers, as it provides the perfect base to grip whatever I’m opening.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m fiercely independent and when it comes to meals, I’m determined to cut and manage my own food. However, due to my inability to firmly grip cutlery, this can lead to me constantly dropping them whilst struggling to cut through food, and I end up finishing my meal twenty minutes after everyone else, with more gravy left on my fingers than on the plate! However, once I slid my knife, fork and spoon into these Cutlery Grips I found it became instantly easier to hold them steadily in my hands, cut food and feed myself without the usual struggle or fear of dropping them. The chunky, silicone design means that they fit firmly yet comfortably into your hands, gripping to them and allowing you to enjoy mealtimes without feeling stressed or self-conscious and without having to ask others for help. They can fit over most standard cutlery and can be used in conjunction with other household items such as pens, toothbrushes etc. Also these silicone grips are completely dishwasher safe.
Another handy cutlery aid, the S’up Spoon is perfect for people who have spasms or tremors in their hands. The hollowed out handle means you can hold the contents of the spoon inside it and then tip it into your mouth without fear of losing it should a tremor begin. I’m prone to the occasional spasm in my fingers and so I find this particularly useful when it comes to eating soup and cereal. It’s a real confidence booster to be able to eat with others and not have to worry about potential spillages.
Sweets, crisps, cereal, ham, cheese, microwave meals, boxes, letters, magazines…the list of things I’ve had trouble getting into could go on and on. And more often than not I’ve had to resort to using my teeth to gain access, a process that, whilst looking fairly ridiculous, can also be on the risky side, especially when opening microwave meals and trying to avoid a potentially boiling steam blast to the face! But these problems have all been eliminated thanks to the Nimble. It slips onto your finger with ease and the tiny ceramic blade sticking out of it will instantly slice open whatever you run it across, without the potential to cause serious harm. Its compact size means you can carry it with you wherever you go and slip it onto your finger whenever it is needed. I use mine on a daily basis and it really does *ahem* cut out the frustration that can come with opening packaging when you have limited finger movement or suffer from any other hand, arm or strength related afflictions. Its brightly coloured, one size fits all design also means that you don’t need to worry about losing it or about which size is best for you.
So there you have it, our new range of disability aids, each aimed at overcoming a different potential barrier. We intend to keep our eyes open and hopefully, if these prove popular, add more products over time that we believe would be of use to our customers. And of course we are working on new Active Hands designs and products all the time, so it’s always worth checking back to see if anything new has been added. You never know, we may have the answer to a problem you’ve been struggling with for years!
About me: In 2005 I was involved in a road traffic accident in which I broke my neck and damaged my spinal cord at a C5/6 level. This resulted in me being paralysed from the chest down, with weakened arms and very little hand function. I live independently thanks to the numerous aids and inventions that are available for people with disabilities.