The world is not accessible. There are plenty of barriers, beit doors without automatic openers, or stairs to access a door. And unfortunately, not even our homes and/or office are always accessible. However, that rarely stops people from coming up with innovative solutions, aka hacks, to problems. I’ve found that I see the world differently because of my disability, always trying to find ways I can get things done as independently as possible.
There are lots of medical equipment that can help people with limited mobility be more independent, such as the JACO. But those kinds of equipment are expensive and therefore aren’t always something one can get. In this article, we will discuss a few “disability hacks” I have found to help people with physical disabilities and limited mobility be more independent, and for little to no cost. Lots of these products you may already have around your house, or are easily accessible online or at your local shop.
Use a Back Scratcher for More Than Scratching Your Back
A wooden back scratcher was, believe it or not, my inspiration for this article. I’ve had mine for over a decade now and use it every day, rarely for its intended use. The curved “hook” shape on the end is perfect for people with limited mobility to reach things on a table by pulling them closer. I originally bought it with the idea that I could use it to adjust the angle of my laptop screen, which works wonders. The wooden ones, I’ve found, work better than the retractable metal ones because the retractable ones won’t stay extended if you apply too much pressure while pushing. And if you have strength issues like I do, it can be difficult to re-extend it. Wood is also oftentimes lighter-weight, which is nice. I have a ribbon tied to the end of mine so I can keep it on a command hook, which brings us to our next point.
Use a Ribbon/Rope for a More Secure Hold
Having ribbon or a small rope tied to things you use often is great for many reasons! You can have a more secure hold on an item by putting the ribbon/rope around your wrist. You can also hang things on the wall to make them more easily accessible. Or, my favorite use of a ribbon or rope is to tie them around door/drawer pulls to make opening them easier. When I got my service dog, Yogi, we tied braided tugs to just about every door and drawer in the house. I found that it actually made it easier for me to open certain things myself, and couldn’t believe we hadn’t thought of it sooner. I have a friend who strung a ribbon through the camera hole of her phone case so she can grab it easier, which is something I promptly started using myself.
BBQ Tongs to Grab Items Out of Reach
The back scratcher is good for certain things, but what if something is on the ground and you want to pick it up? Or what if there is no place to hook the back scratcher on? There are grabbers, but those are heavy and long. Sometimes you don’t need all that. Or if you’re like me, can’t lift all that weight. BBQ tongs, especially ones with rubber grips on the ends, are fantastic for reaching. They’re light, come in different sizes, and the rubber can come in different colors so they look less like kitchenware.
A Lazy Susan Can Keep Your Office Supplies Within Reach
Okay, this one I found on Pinterest, while not even looking for disability hacks. But it got me thinking: How many times have you been at your desk and gone to reach for a pen, your stapler, or some other supply, only to find it’s not within reach? A lazy susan on your desk can keep all your essentials at your fingertips. There’s even double-decker ones if you’ve got a pen hoarding problem, like me! And why limit this to just your desk? You could also use one in your bathroom to hold soaps, lotions, toothbrush, etc., as well as your kitchen to hold cooking utensils.
I can’t take credit for this, though I wish I could. This one goes to my brother. I’ve since seen it in other places, but I’m going to credit him with this genius idea. I have extremely weak arms and hands, so I can’t hold my phone up while I’m in my chair. Enter the selfie stick, which is retractable and positionable, so it’s perfect for on the go. My dad simply ziptied the stick to my armrest and I was good to go! The only downside for me is that I need help extending/retracting it.
I don’t know about you, but I have a lot of stuff I wish I could reach on my own. Pens, scissors, USBs, headphones, remotes, the list goes on and on. There’s only so much desk and table space in my home, and I need some of it to be usable. What do I have a lot of? Wall space! Hanging a towel rod on a wall is a great place to hang pouches to keep things in. Put it at a good height so you don’t need to reach too high or too low, and you can get all kinds of cute pouches and baskets to hold whatever you might need. The best part? These pouches and baskets are interchangeable so if you decide you don’t like the color/design, it’s a simple change.
These are only a few cheap disability hacks that can make your life easier. A lot of these hacks might be with stuff you already have lying around! It can be so simple to make life more accessible, and doesn’t have to break the bank. What are some disability hacks you have? Leave a comment and let us know!