We’ve talked about your frustrations: from difficulties with personal care and cooking to barriers to working. Now it’s time for some solutions. We asked you about your favourite disability products and once again we were inundated with responses!
It was a big ego boost for us to learn how many of you value our gripping aids above any other assistive products – we’re honoured. Lots more of you love products in your kitchens, your bathrooms, in the office and more generally around the home and out and about.
In the Kitchen
Cooking and eating are tasks many of you find frustrating, so it was no surprise that a lot of you already have kitchen products designed to make your lives easier. Opening things is certainly a theme:
“I have a battery operated jar opener – it helps so much. It works great although it is slow. I have a few other gadgets, but I think that day to day that is the most used.”
“Opening food in cans: used to be impossible, until a friend gave me a battery-operated can-opener.”
“A handheld sealer and cutter as it seals bags and cuts them open for easy access.”
We have a great range of tried and tested kitchen devices, designed to make your cooking experience as easy as possible. Rob used the Kitchen Pack Deluxe, along with a new addition: the Food Preparation Board, to make a pasta bake for his family.
Then, there is the matter of eating.
“I use all “fat” handled rubber coated utensils when I prepare meals, I cannot use “skinny” silverware when eating. I bought thicker stainless eating utensils… This has somewhat changed my social life. I daily dine with my husband who knows my disability, I only eat soup with him!! I eat with family and close friends, I would never go to a formal function again!! But to tell the truth, I never did like those formal dinners anyway. We have a more laid back life-style in Colorado rather than the East Coast. We have BBQ!!”
For personal care
Personal care is just that: personal. It was great to hear about your favourite tools: ones we sell and ones we’d never heard of!
From washing your hair to putting on your shoes, it’s nice to be able to get ready independently. You had a few favourite products for this:
“My new Revlon brush hair dryer can be used with one hand”
“Currently [my] shoe funnel is the most helpful tool in my life. Having most of my spine fused recently has made it impossible to reach my feet. This tool along with a grabber helps me to be able to put my shoes on independently again.”
A lot of you mentioned that going to the toilet, and wiping afterwards, was a particular struggle. One customer thinks big to solve this problem: “Highly recommend bidet attachments for all bathrooms.”
Check out the personal care section of our website for more great tools.
In the Office
For office-type work you guys valued both things to assist your grip (“my ungrip”!) and technological tools.
“The EazyHold Straps are becoming a new favorite because they are quick and allow me to use many things I can’t hold on my own.”
We have been staggered by the popularity of the EazyHold straps. Great for use in the office, the bathroom… or anywhere really!
“For most of my life, DragonDictate has been an extremely helpful substitute for typing, not only because manual typing means I hit a lot of keys involuntarily, but since I am not bogged down with making a lot of corrections, I can accomplish my writing tasks faster. When I do manually use a computer keyboard and mouse, a cock up splint increases the control over my fingers. An occupational therapist customized this for me 2 years ago.”
Around the Home
You guys are the pros at living with reduced hand function. A lot of your most useful products for around the home were bigger things like a walking trolley, or lever door knobs. A few of you use robots…
“My self emptying IRobot vacuum!” To which someone else replied… “Damn right best investment I ever made in just about anything I think.”
When it comes to smaller tasks, just being able to grip objects or trust that they won’t move is key:
“Nonslip material on surfaces help hold things stationary. Dycem matting has been helpful through the years, however, Cat Tongue tape has proved superior to that. The grips made for cell phone and my iPad tablet offered through Active Hands has given me 100% better gripping ability than when I had to grip these smooth surfaces without the gripping material. Now I grip with confidence, rather than feeling like I am going to drop what I am attempting to pick up.”
Out and About
It’s great to get your home to a point where you feel you can get around and do everyday tasks independently, but independence is important to have when you’re out and about as well… whether you’re out kayaking on a lake or walking the dog!
“If I am 100% honest, my very favorite is the kayak paddle wrist adaptation that you carry…. it allows me to do something that I love but would otherwise be unable to do.”
“For me it’s the dog lead I got from you guys. It allows me independently hold and control my new rescue dogs lead without fear of dropping it or him pulling it from my hand. The fact it’s adjustable too means we can adjust it to my chair or to a better length for my PA to hold the lead.”
Active Hands Gripping Aids
We had hoped to get a few mentions when we asked you about your favourite products. But you guys spoilt us with more than a few! Here’s what you said…
“I am very fond of the hand grip. It helps me to exercise and use my three-wheeled bicycle.”
“The most useful aids I found are the Active Hands Aids (activehands.com), especially because I do bodybuilding… these help me everyday when I workout so I don’t damage my hands anymore.”
“Your product with the hooks for pull-ups is great.”
“I love the active hand grip – I can now do dumbbell weights with it and even hit a tennis ball.”
“The limb difference aid I purchased last year is really useful and helps me with fixed weight machines.”
“The aid he uses the most is the Active Hands general purpose Glove. He works out with a trainer at the gym & they use it to Get a complete workout on equipment. He was told about the glove at Shirley Ryan Ability Lab in Chicago when he was in outpatient rehabilitation.”
“The hand grip aid has definitely levelled the playing field for me as adaptive crossfitter. However I do wish it had a quick release option for getting attached & unattended from the bar quicker. I still love it and use it everyday.”
“Outside of a wheelchair, I honestly have to say ActiveHands. They allow me to continue to workout inside on my rowing machine in this snowy and cold weather. And once warmer weather is here, I’ll enjoy my freedom on the river while rowing – once again with ActiveHands. Best product… ever? Close to it! Thank you!”
One lovely commenter was just incredibly grateful that companies like ours exist:
“For me. It is being actually educated on the constant battle that people with any type [of] paralysis face. Watching my dad get denied care is very frustrating. Being told by the hospital staff that companies like yours don’t exist. I am grateful you stepped up to lend a hand to the next person struggling. I mentioned your company to Shirley Ryan Ability Lab. The nurses were impressed. So knowing there is real help available has made a huge difference in our lives.”
We’re blushing! Remember: if you have any comments about our gripping aids – or any tasks you can’t seem to get a grip on – you can always contact us with feedback or for advice!
A big thank you to everyone who got in touch to tell us about their most essential mobility products. If you missed it, check out the first article in this series: ‘What do you find most frustrating due to your lack of hand function?’ Watch this space for the final article: ‘What would you like a device to help you with? (Invented or not!)’.