Assistive Devices for the Home by fjzhangweiqun



Assistive                         If you were to become impaired or disabled from an
                                  accident or illness, how “user-friendly” would your
                                  home be? There are many simple, inexpensive devices

Devices for                       that can make daily activities easier and safer for the
                                  elderly and those who have physical disabilities.

                                  Products for Living and Sleeping Areas
the Home                          q   Playing cards with extra large numbers.
                                  q   Holder for playing cards.
                                  q   Talking clock. Tells you the time at preset times or
                                      at the push of a button.
                                  q   Dressing aid. A button hook at one end makes it
                                      easy for people with one hand or little finger dex-
                                      terity to fasten garments. At the other end is a hook
                                      to catch a zipper tab and open or close zippers on
                                      clothing, luggage, etc.

Janie Harris
                                  q   Extra long shoe horn for people who can’t reach
Extension Specialist,                 and bend easily. A small notch helps in removing
Housing and Environment               socks.
The Texas A&M University System
                                  q   Sock aid to help in putting on socks.
q   Games with large, easy-to-grasp shapes of     q   Needle threader.
    various kinds.                                q   Pill box with a digital alarm clock which
q   Rubber grips that slide onto pens and pen-        can be set to remind you it is time to take
    cils.                                             your medicine.
q   Hi-lighter with a large, rubber comfort       q   Scissors with large loops so that the whole
    grip.                                             hand can be used.
q   Lamp converter. Converts regular lamps        q   Telephone with giant push buttons, hear-
    to touch lamps. This eliminates the need          ing amplifier, and light that flashes when
    to manipulate small, difficult switches.          phone rings. Frequently called or emer-
    Simply touch the lamp base to turn it on          gency numbers can be programmed to
    or off. The converter screws into existing        dial with one button.
    lamps, but will not fit all lamps and lamp    q   Telephone ring alerter. When a phone and
    frames.                                           lamp are plugged into the device, the
q   Calculator with large numbers and but-            lamp will flash with each ring of the
    tons.                                             phone.
q   Lever handles for door knobs. Can be          q   Television remote control with large but-
    installed without removing, replacing or          tons easily differentiated by shape.
    modifying conventional knobs. The lever       q   Writing guides. Sturdy plastic templates
    handle makes opening and closing doors            with openings for filling out a standard
    easier. Some handles glow in the dark.            check or addressing an envelope.
q   Pneumatic lift cushion. Helps raise one
    from a sitting to a standing position. The    Products for the Kitchen
    lift cushion is portable and can be used on
    a variety of chairs (but only those with      q   Reacher. These are 22 to 30 inches long.
    arms). Can be adjusted for the user’s             Some fold conveniently. Some have suc-
    weight.                                           tion cups and lock-in-place features.
                                                      Useful for taking down lightweight items
q   Adapter that makes your lights and appli-         from shelves or picking up items from the
    ances sound-activated. Turn them off or           floor.
    on by clapping your hands or hitting an
    object on a hard surface. The adapter         q   Portable bread slice holder with non-skid
    plugs into the wall, and the appliance            bottom surface and L-shaped, raised edge
    plugs into the adapter.                           on top surface. Holds a slice of bread in
                                                      the corner for easy buttering or cutting.
q   Liquid paper correction pen.
                                                  q   Cordless can opener that can be operated
q   Locator dots. These easily installed refer-       with only one hand. It is rechargeable and
    ence points can be used on computer key-          can be mounted to a wall or under a
    boards, tape recorders, dashboards, clocks,       counter.
    oven controls, knobs, buttons and type-
    writers.                                      q   Cups and glasses with large handles.
q   Lightweight magnifier with adjustable         q   Dycem® pad for counter. Dycem® keeps
    cord leaves your hands free for crafts,           plates or bowls from slipping and makes it
    sewing or other activities.                       possible to use a mixing bowl with one
q   Lighted magnifying glass for help in read-
    ing fine print.                               q   Flatware and utensils with extra large
                                                      handles and movable grip rings.
q   Rocking T knife. Pressure is applied from      q   Tab grabber. Opens all tab-top cans and
    directly above the object to be cut, so less       removes twist-off caps.
    strength and dexterity are needed. Meat        q   Timer. Some are as large as 8 inches
    and other foods do not shift or move               across, with bold black numerals on a
    around on the plate. Good for use with             white background to make it easy to read
    one hand.                                          from distances. Large knob to set time.
q   Foam tubing to put around tool and uten-           Use for cooking, exercising or any activity
    sil handles for easier grasping and hold-          you want to time. Can be used on a count-
    ing. It is slip- and water-resistant.              er or mounted on a wall.
q   Jar and bottle opener. Attaches to the bot-    q   Talking microwave. Tells what setting you
    tom of an overhead cabinet. This makes it          have selected.
    easy to open bottles and jars with one
    hand.                                          Products for the Bathroom
q   Dycem® jar opener. A nonslip plastic           q   Back scrubber. Most are brushes about 22
    dome easily removes jar and bottle lids.           inches long, angled to reach the back.
q   Uni-turner knobs can be clamped onto               Some bath brushes are curved to fit over
    knobs and handles of different shapes,             the shoulder and are designed for people
    converting them into lever handles.                who can not lift their arms far.
q   Liquid level indicator. Helps the blind        q   Bath safety treads. Rubber strips about 8 x
    determine when a glass, cup or other con-          18 inches reduce the danger of slips and
    tainer is filled. The indicator hangs over         falls in the bathtub or shower.
    the lip of the container with two prongs       q   Long-handled comb. A 20-inch shaft with
    on the inside and the battery outside. The         plastic coated grip allows people with lim-
    liquid is then poured into the container.          ited arm and wrist movement to comb
    When the liquid reaches the prongs the             their hair.
    buzzer sounds and the unit gently
    vibrates.                                      q   Grab bars. Three-level, zigzag grab bars in
                                                       the shower or tub provide support while
q   Illuminating tape. Can be used to mark             standing or when getting in or out. Bars
    light switches, stairs, doorknobs, etc. For        must be mounted securely into studs or
    outdoor use, cover the tape with clear             walls backed with woodblocking. Zigzag
    plastic.                                           bars help keep wet hands from slipping
q   Measuring cups and spoons with large,              and provide various gripping heights for
    easy-to-grasp handles and large, color-            children and adults.
    coded numbers on the handles.                  q   Easy pull hairbrush. Has a hand strap to
q   Milk carton holder. The plastic handle             aid those with limited gripping ability.
    slips over a half-gallon milk carton, mak-     q   Laundry bag. A mesh, zippered bag holds
    ing it easier to hold and pour.                    many small laundry items and makes it
q   Vegetable peeler with a large, round, non-         easier to transfer them from washer to
    slip handle that nestles comfortably in the        dryer.
    palm of your hand.                             q   Magnifying mirror. Can be used on a
q   Plate with inner lip. Allows the user to           counter or hung on a wall.
    place food onto a fork or spoon by sliding     q   Scrub brush. Brush holds securely to sur-
    it up against the inner lip. Good for poor         face and is ideal for one-handed use in the
    coordination or for use with one hand.             bath or kitchen.
q   Sock clips. Six pairs of clips marked by                                physician may also have information about
    color and raised dots help keep matching                                sources of these devices in your area. Or,
    clothes grouped together in the wash or in                              contact a physical therapist or occupational
    the closet.                                                             therapist through a home health agency or
                                                                            your local hospital.
q   Toilet paper dispenser. Allows rolls to be
    changed with one hand.                                                  The following Web sites have information
                                                                            about devices that can make your home
q   Wash mitt. Terry cloth or mesh mitts can
                                                                            safer and more functional:
    be used with liquid or bar soap. Good for
    shower, bath or washing dishes. Elastic at                    
    wrist makes a snug fit. Mitt can be turned                              resources.html
    inside out for use with the other hand.                       
Many simple assistive devices can be found                        
at discount department stores or medical
supply stores, or in medical catalogs. Your

                     This fact sheet was adapted from information on the Iowa State University
                     Extension Web site.

                                 Produced by AgriLife Communications and Marketing, The Texas A&M University System
                                  Extension publications can be found on the Web at:

Educational programs of Texas AgriLife Extension are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics, Acts of Congress of May 8, 1914, as amended, and
June 30, 1914, in cooperation with the United States Department of Agriculture. Chester P. Fehlis, Deputy Director, Texas Cooperative Extension,
The Texas A&M University System.
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