COLLEGE STATION Little things really do mean a lot especially for those who are disabled or who have other physical challenges due to health, age or injury.
“There are many simple, inexpensive devices that can make daily activities easier and safer for anyone who has some type of physical challenge,” said Janie Harris, Texas Cooperative Extension housing and environment specialist. “It could be as little as a broken arm, or it could be somebody who has had a stroke and can’t use their arm.”
She suggested these:
- For easier dressing, a button-hook to help close zippers, an extra-long shoe horn for those who can’t easily bend over, a sock aid for putting socks on easier, a needle threader and scissors with large loops that fit the whole hand, not just the fingers.
- In the kitchen, try “reachers” for getting items off high shelves, large-handled cups and glasses that are easy to grip, jar and bottle openers that attach to the underside of cabinets, a tab-grabber for opening tab-top cans, a rocking T-knife for those with lessened strength and dexterity, mixing bowls with rubber grips on the bottom and easy-grip handles, and illuminating tape to mark light switches, stairs, etc.
- In the bathroom, install bath safety treads in the bottom of the tub and/or shower, and grab bars in the tub/shower’s wall. Try back scrubbers, easy-pull hairbrushes, a mesh zippered laundry bag, a magnifying mirror, a wash mitt and a toilet paper dispenser that can be changed with one hand.
- For fun and games, get some playing cards with large numbers and a holder for them, telephones and television remote controls with large, easy-to-identify numbers, and a lighted magnifying glass to make reading easier.
And for added safety, use night lights or motion-sensor lights that come on when triggered by motion in the room.
“Many simple assistive devices can be found at discount department stores or medical supply stores or in medical catalogs,” Harris said. “Your physician may also have information about sources of these devices in your area.
“Or contact a physical therapist or occupational therapist through a home health agency or your local hospital.”
For more information contact a county Extension agent and ask for publication L-5396.
Harris also suggested the following Web sites for more information: