life hacks for people with disabilities

While most people are familiar with the concept of a “life hack” by now, for those who haven’t heard it yet a life hack is a helpful shortcut designed to make your life easier using inexpensive and/or everyday items.

For people with disabilities, life hacks not only save time and money, but add to quality of life and independence as well.

Here are some easy and inexpensive life hacks that can make your life easier!

Life Hacks for the Home

Lighting: Technology has advanced quickly with sound activated devices, including lights. Use voice or touch activated lights throughout your home to make turning lights on/off as simple as using your voice or fingertip. You can take voice activation technology way beyond lighting, too, and do everything from change the channel to turning on heat or A/C!

Headboard: If you don’t want to install a grab bar over your bed, use a headboard with gaps (like wrought iron) that is both sturdy and easy-to-grip instead.

Faucet Water Flow: While you may want to invest in remodeling a bathroom to be handicapped accessible, a shorter-term solution (works for travel, too!) is to fit a clean, empty plastic water bottle over your sink’s faucet. This extends the reach of running water and makes it easier to reach.

Plastic Bags: Plastic bags come in handy for people with disabilities in many ways. They make handy rain covers for joysticks on wheelchairs, for example. They also help you access items in the refrigerator more easily. With the help of a caregiver, place food items/snacks into plastic bags so all you have to do is loop your hand through the bag’s handle to access it later. This can work for other frequently used items as well!

BONUS HACK: store plastic bags in an empty tissue box for easy access.

Barbeque Tongs: To reach items on the floor, or up too high, a simple life hack is to use barbeque tongs, which are longer than cooking tongs. They are available with rubber tips for easier traction as well.  For people with limited finger dexterity, tongs may be easier to use than trigger-activated “grippers” designed for this purpose.

Closing Doors: It can be difficult to close doors behind you in a wheelchair. A very simple life hack to make this easier is to attach a piece of string to your front door handle or knob. Simply grab the string before you go outside to easily pull the door shut behind you.

Life Hacks for Clothing

Safety Pins: One of the more irritating things wheelchair users deal with is shirts riding up as they move about. Large, quilter-size safety pins can solve this problem! Once dressed, with the assistance of a caregiver if needed, pin your shirt to your pants so it stays safely in place throughout the day. NOTE: to hide the safety pin(s) from view, lie back when attaching them so when you are seated the pins are not visible.

Key Rings: While you can invest in zipper extenders, there is another quick and inexpensive life hack that can help as well! Attach (or ask a caregiver to attach) a simple metal key ring to your zippers to make pulling sweatshirt, pants, and other zippers up and down throughout the day easier.

Putting on Jewelry: Inexpensive and fashionable stretchy bracelets are easier to put on and off. Look for necklaces and bracelets with magnetic clasps for easier clasping as well. Magnetic clasps are sold at most hobby stores, so if a favorite piece of jewelry isn’t available with a magnetic clasp you can purchase them and have a jeweler (or caregiver) change out the clasp.

Pants and Shorts: Pulling up pants and shorts can be difficult for people with disabilities. Sewing a strong fabric loop onto each side of a waistband makes it much easier to pull up and down.

Life Hacks for Travel

Power Bank: When out and about you don’t want to worry about your wheelchair running out of power. A portable power bank can give your wheelchair, cell phone, iPad or other device a charge when and where you need it!

Memory Foam Cushion: This one may seem obvious, but forgetting it can lead to serious discomfort. A portable memory foam cushion makes traveling in a wheelchair – especially when it’s not your usual wheelchair – a lot more comfortable.

Travel Ramp: While this item may not strictly qualify as ‘inexpensive’, it can be a life-saver when traveling. Some travel ramps are available for as little as $100, and there are ultralight versions that weigh only about 8 pounds and can fold into a travel bag that hangs on your wheelchair.

Bed Assist Strap: For people with some upper body strength and mobility, a bed assist strap can be very useful when traveling overnight. It’s a strong, nylon strap that attaches to a bed frame or headboard and has “ladder” rungs to help pull yourself into a sitting position, or change position, in bed. These are inexpensive (available for around $15) and extremely useful.

 

Join the Thrive Community!

The Thrive Community Facebook Group is a private space for any person with a disability, as well as caregivers and healthcare providers that touch their lives.

Our purpose is to provide a safe, educational space for group members to ask every question, connect with their peers, and empower each other through communication and connection. Our conversations are led by incredible individuals who themselves are living and thriving.

For more enlightening resources, information, and discussion, join the Enemeez® Thrive Community today!

 

Disclaimer: The material contained is for reference purposes only. Quest Products, LLC does not assume responsibility for patient care. Consult a physician prior to use. Copyright 2021 Quest Products, LLC.

 

Sources:

  1. https://www.spinalcord.com/blog/5-inexpensive-disability-life-wheelchair-hacks
  2. https://www.braunability.com/us/en/blog/accessible-living/wheelchair-life-hacks.html
  3. https://spintheglobe.net/dir/2017/11/14/travel-hacks-wheelchair-users/
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P9JjiIaR5w0
  5. https://www.trend-able.com/adaptive-fashion-101/
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