Tips for around the home

I know it sounds daft but a carrier bag has become my best friend!

Placed on the sofa or a dining chair, it makes turning and manoeuvring so much easier and it only costs 5p! My hips and lower back were really bad and painful in pregnancy and my obstetrician gave me this tip and I swear it works! Now with my arthritis, it helps so much, give it a try!

Opening jars

If you cannot find or do not have a jar lid rubber opener but you have latex gloves wrap those round and twist instead :) in some instances they work better! :)

Funk up the aids that aren't pretty

I now have a little frame around the toilet in our flat. At first, I refused to use it as it looked so chunky and sterile compared the rest of the bathroom that we've colourfully decorated. So, one evening, my boyfriend, a friend, and I used some little model paints and completely redesigned the toilet frame together. There's now multi-coloured flowers, suns, and reindeers on it, and it looks so cool to the extent that people comment on it, and I feel much happier using it. It was also a great way for my boyfriend and I to still feel connected through change in a really light-hearted way.

Sick towels

Keep a set of old towels just for your child in their room if they suffer from reflux/sickness. We call them "the sick towels" so we don't muddle them with the normal ones.

Red cloth

If the person you look after is upset by the sight of blood, keep a red face cloth in your first aid kit - makes cleaning up after nose bleeds less scary.

Magnetic locks

We put magnet locks on the cupboards around our flat so they cannot be easily opened.

Protect your knees

Use cheap gardening mats to protect your knees. Keep them in the bathroom and anywhere you find you are on your knees.

Soft covers

Use foam or rubber tubing (available from Fledglings) and cut to make soft chunky handles for holding musical beaters or utensils.

Keep the car clean

We bought a mattress protector which we cut and hemmed to shape to fit the car so that when Jonny’s pad leaks we don’t have the trouble of cleaning the seat as well.

Special address book

We keep a separate address book for all Jordan's information and contacts.

Visually impaired

When we decorated Natalie’s flat we made sure to use contrasting colours so items such as plug sockets, door frames and sofas all stand out. For example if you have a dark carpet or flooring have a lighter coloured sofa/arm chair so the sofa/armchair doesn't blend into the carpet.

Magic whiteboard

Magic whiteboard is great for all sorts of uses around the home - write-on, wipe-off sheets of static plastic. Creates a whiteboard from a roll - anywhere in seconds. I use it for visual timetables.

Padding the edges

We bought foam pipe lagging which already has a split down it to put on the edge of the glass shelves on our TV stand.

Using what you've got

We covered our solid wood coffee table in a sheet of foam and a plastic table cloth to make a big therapy bench for John to stand on and play without hurting himself.

Love Velcro

Liz enjoys pulling curtains down, which was a pain for us as it was such a fiddle to put them back up. So we hang up the curtains with industrial-size Velcro, which makes it much easier to put them up again.

Carpet fitting

If you are having a new carpet fitted and there is a wheelchair user in the house, ask about double sticking. It’s a way of sealing the underlay to the floor and the carpet to the underlay. Prevents stretching and bobbling of the carpet and much better with the wear.

Digital photo frame

A digital photo frame is a great way to go through snaps. My mother in law has very little fine motor skills and loves viewing her favourite old photos like this.

Coloured remote control

We have used coloured nail varnish to paint certain buttons on the DVD player's remote control, the menu button is now pink, so you don't need to be able to read to find it.

Day clock

You can get clocks that tell you what day it is, brilliant for reassuring people who need to remind themselves - as they don't have to ask!

Sponge hair rollers

Sponge hair rollers are a fantastic and cheap way to help improve grip on tricky objects. Just slot the sponge hair roller through a fork, toothbrush or whatever.

Install a fob door entry system

If you’ve got limited use of one or both hands, or have impaired motor skills, unlocking and opening doors can prove difficult. Fortunately it is possible to install a wireless fob entry system, so that all you need to do is press a button on your keyring to open the door.

Convert your lights and appliances to work via remote light control

For people who have difficulty operating switches or who have mobility issues, remote control-operated power sockets and light switches can be very useful. These are often sold as ‘eco’ solutions or standby savers, but can make life easier for people who find getting up to turn the TV or other appliances off difficult.

Use environmental control products to assist you

Possum offer a range of control panels which can enable you to control many different aspects of your home (from the door to your phone or hi-fi) from a single source. These solutions can be configured to be table-mounted, wheelchair-mounted or floor-standing, as needed.

Get to grips with your TV remote

If you struggle to operate regular TV remotes, there are more accessible versions on offer. Living Made Easy’s website offers information and links to a range of non-standard remote controls, including switch-operated versions, extra-large button remotes and simplified remote controls.

You can also find a handy buyers guide on eBay, while Sky offer an accessible remote on request which is suitable for people with limited dexterity and for people with visual impairments.

DIY it!

“Save your money and see if there’s a way to repurpose household items or make something from scratch to suit your needs, you might even find it works better than something you buy in a shop. Cracked-it.org has lots of DIY assistive technology ideas and you can challenge the community to solve a new challenge or submit your own idea.” DEMAND Design and Manufacture for Disability

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