In my own experience of living with disability, I have found tips from disabled friends and online webpages invaluable. I thought I would share some here that have been useful for myself, friends or callers to our helpline. This is not intended to be an extensive guide to what is available but just a taste of what might be helpful.
You may be like me and enjoy cooking at least some of your meals but have limited energy and dexterity for preparing food. I’ve found frozen garlic, or tubes of garlic, have made a massive difference as crushing garlic is always difficult. Frozen ginger is another wonderful innovation but, of course, ginger is also available dried. I combine that with bags of frozen veg or sometimes the stir-fry veg bags that you get fresh and ready to use in many supermarkets and I have close to fresh produce for my own recipes. I also buy ready grated cheese and freeze it. All of these make preparing meals much easier and this means I’m able to cook some of my meals from scratch on days when I might otherwise eat ready meals.
When I do chop any veg I use a saw handled knife as these put less strain on the finger joints. There are many places you can purchase these. Here is one website that sells a wide range of aids including these:
You’ll find some of these tips and many more online. Instagram has a number of accounts by and for disabled people. This is one of my favourites:
Cleaning is one of those areas that can be hard for disabled people. It’s not funded through Personal Independence Payment and it can be both difficult and daunting to keep your home clean. Here are some examples of the tools I use which include things that are mostly on sticks to help me not bend.
When I have neglected my kitchen floor and realised it needs more than a damp mop, this is a valuable tool:
Similarly, for the bath and tiles, I use another long handled device:
For the cooker and for any particularly difficult places I use a handheld steamer. One day I may invest in a steam mop. I’ve not tried one but again it may remove the need for much in the way of “elbow grease” when cleaning floors.
There are a number of dressing aids available. These are ones I find particularly useful.
The dressing stick is usually comprised of a shoe horn pole and hook. I find this invaluable – especially the long shoehorn but the hooks help with pulling on pants and trousers. This is the one I use.
This is probably the dressing tool I use most.
One other area I have a lot of difficulty with is putting on socks or tights. I’ve not found all sock devices equal for this task. The one I actually use for both socks and tights is one designed for compression stockings. In general, I find the fixed frame kind of sock aids easier for me to use than the one with bendy plastic that you fit inside the sock. You can see some of what’s available here:
There are a number of other dressing aids that can be useful and you can see some of them here:
Sometimes bathing or showering can be daunting especially if you live alone and do not have all the adaptations that may be useful to make your bathroom more accessible. Some of the things that can be useful on a particularly bad day is just postponing that bath or shower for a day or even just until someone comes in the evening. Tools which can be useful for this include wet wipes which can be flushable or not flushable.
These ones are not perfumed and are flushable:
You can also get dry shampoo caps to make your hair presentable when you are unable to wash it:
Another issue for many of us can be accessing toilets especially when out and about. One thing I only recently discovered and have suggested to people who were having trouble out and about during lockdown when many disabled toilets were closed, is that many outdoor shops now sell camping urinals designed for men and women. These are bags which have a spill proof gel and which can be easily and hygeinically disposed of in a bin after use.
If you have found these suggestions useful then do have a look at some other links below.
This one is a favourite of mine and it’s worth setting up an Instagram account just to access this and some and the disabled meals link mentioned in the cooking section above:
The Complete Careshop has been linked to for a few of the devices mentioned here. It has a wide range of disability related products:
Here is another page I have just discovered with life hacks and tips for people with low vision:
If you have other tools or hacks you’ve found useful and want to share then do let me know and they can be included in other articles about aids and hacks in our future newsletters. I am particularly interested in hearing from disabled parents about things that you have found valuable. I am not a parent myself but we speak to many disabled parents on our helpline and I am planning a future newsletter article dedicated to parents so please share any advice or tools you have found valuable.
You can email me on email@example.com