At the Museum of Liverpool there’s a small, unassuming exhibition which looks like the recreation of a normal house. When you get inside you realise it has been setup with every possible gadget and gizmo to support independence. The Mi Smarthouse is a project put together by More Independent (Mi).
More Independent is a Government-funded initiative that is being piloted across four UK regions. As there website says the scheme exists to:
enable you to take charge of your health, wellbeing and lifestyle
use technology to allow you to feel safer and live more independently in your own home
give peace of mind to yourself and your family
reduce the amount of time you have to spend on appointments, by supporting you to manage better at home
The Mi Smarthouse at the museum is kitted out with a wide range of equipment covering all the key areas of the home. Here we’re taking a look at some of the gadgets they’ve highlighted and used in their perfect, accessible home.
These gadgets could be useful at any place in your home and can make it feel more safe and secure.
A fall detector can be worn around your neck and it connected to a system which will alert your carer if you do fall even if they’re not on the premises.
Large Buttons Picture Telephone
Phone keypads can be hard to use and it can also be difficult to remember phone numbers. This phone has spaces for photographs of those people you call regularly as well as large, clear numbers for when you need to dial out.
Home Safety Alert
The Mi Smarthouse has a bonus caller panic button installed by the front door, giving the residents the chance to press the button if anyone arrives at the door who they’re not comfortable with. Similar home safety alarm system can be found elsewhere too.
The Supra KeySafe is the UK’s first police approved key safe and is the perfect place to store your emergency keys. You choose a combination number and you can share this number only with somebody you trust implicitly.
Carbon Monoxide Sensor
Carbon monoxide can kill. It’s odourless and can’t be seen so the only way to sense it before it is too late is with a dedicated carbon monoxide sensor. Sensors can be easily installed and can save your life.
A fingerprint lock is a great option if you struggle with keys. You can add the details of your carer and friends as authorised ‘pad-pressers’ so they can get in and out with ease when necessary too.
We’ve talked regularly about the importance of gadgets to make access to the kitchen easier. It’s potentially a dangerous environment so anything to make it less so is a good invention in our book. In the Mi Smarthouse they demonstrated a range of kitchen-specific gadgets.
The controls on a microwave oven can be difficult if you have difficulties with your vision or dexterity. A Talking Microwave Oven can help guide you to the buttons you need and it will also tell you when the door is open or closed and let you know whether the food needs stirring or left to stand.
An induction hob only cooks the pot upon it. There is next to no danger of being burned by it and they’re becoming a common installation in supported living environments to aid independence. This type of hob is also energy efficient and reaches top temperatures in record time. In the Mi House the hob was fitted but they can also be bought as separate electric units .
One cup Kettle
We’ve talked before about how useful the one cup kettle can be. Never worry about spilling boiling water as the kettle will dispense the exact amount you need with the simple pressing of a button.
Entertainment and Living Area
Many of these items listed below could be used all around the house but are most useful when you’re relaxing in front of the TV or lounging on the sofa.
If speech has always been or is becoming difficult then these small voice recorder switches can be used to record key phrases. They can have messages such as ‘I’m hungry’ or ‘I want to go home’ ready recorded for when you’re home or out and about when speech has become difficult.
Chair Occupancy Alert
This item is extremely useful if you have an outside care team supporting you as it allows them to monitor the time spent out of your chair. If it seems exceptionally long they may phone you or come around the check everything is OK.
Big Jack Controller
Big Jack Multi-Controller
The Big Jack can replace all your smaller, fiddly remotes and switches. It can be programmes for a whole range of jobs and can be used to change channels on the TV, switch off lights and even use the telephone.
The personal care element of the home is the most private. Both the bedroom and bathroom are places where you want to maintain as much independence as possible and some of these gadgets are designed to guarantee this as well as ensure you can get the help you need, when you need it.
Living with any form of epilepsy or convulsions can be extremely frightening – especially if you’re alone when one occurs. This epilepsy sensor will alert an outdoor care team if a seizure is taking place, allowing them to provide the right support ASAP.
Designed to fit comfortable under the top sheet, an enuresis sensor will alert your carer to the fight signs of dampness whilst in bed – ensuring you’re not left uncomfortable for a long period of time. We have looked at these aids previously for helping children but they can be equally useful later in life.
A flood detector will guarantee you never forget about another bath. It’s very easy to forget the bath is running but with the installation of a simple detector, it will be safe and you can avoid the risks of damage to your home and the even higher risk of slipping.
The Mi Smarthouse in Liverpool is one of the first examples of how all this technology can come together and successfully be used to help people remain in their own homes independently. You can take a virtual tour of the Smarthouse here. We recently visited the £D printing exhibition at the London Science Museum and will cover the potential benefits in a future post.
An endorsement of Greepers shoelaces has appeared in Your Autism Magazine. A brand new review of a top product for children with autism.
Your Autism Magazine
At Living with Disability we have some products we consider our absolute favourites. One of these is Greepers shoelaces. This innovative product range should be celebrated and that’s why we’re glad to see them featured in Your Autism Magazine. We believe in this product and we’re glad to see others do.
Greeper Shoelaces for Autism
Greepers Laces Review
Your Autism Magazine is the quarterly publication of The National Autistic Society for their members. Their latest issue includes a fantastic, helpful review of Greepers. We firmly agree they are a great investment for children and even adults living with an Autistic Spectrum Disorder.
Your Autimsn Magazine’s review shows off the funky red Greepers Laces but the range is much wider than that. All colours from black to purple to neon green are available. Wearers can match their laces to their personality or simply choose those that complement their outfit best.
The review in the magazine highlights how beneficial Greepers can be for children with autism. It explains that, “one parent said, “these laces are absolutely invaluable, especially as my son – who has autism – gets older. They mean we can choose any shoes he likes and can be confident that he can manage them.”
The review also says “Greeper is a special type of shoelace, it looks like a regular bow-type shoelace, but will never come undone. The laces are threaded through a central aperture with four stoppers positioned in strategic places. They can easily be loosened or tightened by the wearer or their parents”.
With glowing reviews it’s clear that Greepers are on the up. Hopefully this feature in Your Autism Magazine will further their uptake and widen their appeal.
Benefits of Greepers for Children
Greepers Laces Full Page
Greepers Laces can be great for children who have difficulty getting to grips with regular laces. They appear identical so there’s no stigma and they give children with disabilities much-needed independence when choosing footwear.
Greepers are universal as the parent above said, they can be used with any shoes of your choosing. They’re also a great solution for children who have that annoying habit of repeatedly untying their shoes. With Greepers it simply isn’t possible.
Your morning routine rush will be halved as the stress of shoelaces is removed. They are a better option than Velcro or elastic-laced shoes as the level of support is much better. We’ve looked previously at the differences between Greepers and Elastic Laces and it is pretty clear which comes out on top.
We’re always pleased when one of our favourite brands receives media coverage. Therefore we are really happy for Greepers and their appearance in Your Autism Magazine.
These are fantastic I bought them for my son who is partially sighted and has Asperger’s syndrome so getting dressed can be tricky for him but tying laces impossible! Now I have found these he had more choice for shoes and trainers and these were for his beloved boots he wears to Uni all through the winter! Fantastic invention thank-you x
As we have said before, the great thing about Greepers is that they are also used by top sports people, so children can emulate their heroes too! This month also saw Greepers worn by Lucy Gossage winning Ironman UK in a pair of purple ones! This is such a fab pic we had to share it here!
Lucy Gossage winning Ironman UK wearing a pair of purple greeper laces!
UPDATE: Greepers Still in the Lead Triathlon 220 Magazine
As we mentioned above, Greepers are the best laces for athletes and have just been recommended again in the 220 Triathlon Magazine’s new edition (April 2014). They have a feature “Race Day Kit” essentials and Greeper Laces are one of the chosen products and given the top rating and the award BEST ON TEST.
Greeper Laces in Triathalon 220 Magazine
Greeper Review BEST on TEST feature in Triathalon 220 magazine
The review reads:
“We’ve tested Greeper Laces before and, despite fierce competition from French outfit Xtenex and their bobbly efforts, in our eyes – and on our feet – the UK product continues to lead the way.For those new to tri or 220, the traditional lacing system is replaced with a brilliant mechanism that requires no tying. Simply guide the Greeper through eyelets in reverse before clamping in place at the toe end via a miniature plastic connector. Back at the tongue end the ingenious toggle requires a gentle tug of its protruding loops to tighten. Pull the toggle to ease pressure.
Sprinkling your shoe with talc and a modicum of practice will have you T2-ing faster than ever before. But, more importantly, your foot feels secure – unlike other systems that can leave your foot slipping about like Bambi on ice.
Verdict: Still the leader of the triathlon lacing pack. 93%.”
Final top tip. Buy some @GREEPER_LACES. Cheap, keeps your feet secure, won't come undone & % goes to charity!
The new key has been revealed. It is not electronic and will still be compatible with existing locks but has an improved grip made of silicon. It also has embedded braille symbols.
* New Tactile Covering for improved sensory grip
* Easy Turn Bow shape
* Embossed with International Disability Logo
* NKI markings – National Key Scheme Identification to show genuine key
* Loop for Key Ring
* Braille for Visual Impaired Users
* Strong Red Colour for easy and quick identification on a key ring!
The New NKS key
UPDATE! CORRECTION, The RED KEY is not a RADAR key after all!
Just received this email from Tom at RADAR.
The red plastic headed key that you show on is not a Radar key at all.
It is an inferior Chinese knock off, poorly manufactured, poorly cut and with sharp edges to boot -everything that you would expect of a cheap Chinese knock off.
Despite being refused permission for many good reasons, they shamelessly tried launching it as a Radar key-until they were instantly forced to remove from their showstand, all literature and signage which described it as a Radar key.
Please inform firstname.lastname@example.org of anyone trying to sell it as a “Radar key”.
The new Radar key is still under development.
Unless it says Radar on it, it isn’t!
Genuine Radar keys genuinely open all the locks.
We still have stocks of the Genuine keys at a market leading price including postage of £4.95
Click below to buy:
Buy with confidence: call 0800 567 7812 for questions.
RADAR Key to be relaunched
The RADAR key scheme has just been reviewed on the BBC ouch blog. It also subtly mentions that RADAR key is getting a relaunch this year (2013). The RADAR key scheme is administered by Disability Rights UK (formed through the merger of Disability Alliance, National Centre for Independent Living (NCIL) and The Royal Association for Disability Rights – Radar). There are few details yet on their website about what the relaunch entails. The reasons cited are the number of fake keys on the market. The RADAR key is obviously a good income source for the charity, and every fake key means they are losing revenue with which to advertise and administer the scheme. There is also the frustration and bad publicity for the scheme when someone finds they have been sold a fake key that does not work. If you look on ebay, Amazon or google you can find many fake keys. There are even unscrupulous online retailers who sell them, without always making it obvious in the listing that they are not selling genuine RADAR keys. Some people choose to buy the fakes because they are £2-3 cheaper, but personally it does not seem worth taking the risk!
Electronic RADAR keys
An electronic entry fob. Could this be the future of the RADAR key?
A key that could not be faked would be welcomed. If the key is to be relaunched with a more complicated mechanism or one that is harder to copy, I would guess that it will have some sort of electronic element to it. Any change to the key itself would mean the locks would have to be changed on 9000 toilets and that would cause uproar for the many cash strapped disability organisations, businesses and Councils that own the toilets.
I think they will introduce some sort of ‘disability oyster card’ or an electronic entry fob to supplement the existing key. An electronic pass card or key fob that will work on all new toilets, The mechanism could be retro fitted to existing toilets as and when they are refurbished. This would mean that existing users can still use the keys they have in most toilets and a card or ‘disability key fob’ would be reasonably cheap to produce. I doubt they will distribute them free to existing owners though, they are probably hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions in circulation.
Easier to Use – A more ‘Accessible’ RADAR Key!
The old keys are quite big and heavy. They are difficult to turn for people with arthritis or poor grip. The existing locks being frequently used and having secure 5-lever mortice locks, can get very stiff to turn. The large headed keys have helped a bit with this but an almost ‘contactless’ key would obviously be a huge improvement for accessibility. I assume the ideal would be to have the new electronic RADAR key electrically open the existing locks so that people who only have old keys could still use them. Perhaps they will operate a tandem scheme for a number of years until the old locks are all gone replaced.
How exactly will the new scheme work and what about existing key owners?
How the new scheme and keys will work for new and existing key owners needs to made clear as soon as possible as it leaves a lot of uncertainty for people who want to buy a key now, or for retailers like myself who have purchased them for sale. I will update this blog as soon as I know more. If you have any ideas or insider knowledge (!) please leave a comment below the post.
For more information about the existing scheme and to buy a key, read on:
Essential Items: The RADAR Key
For access to disabled toilets carry a RADAR key at all times. This handy key unlocks 9,000 wheelchair and disability toilets nationwide.
There are some items that you need when you’re out and about and they become an essential item to keep about your person at all times. To aid independence and keep yourself to yourself whilst out and about, a RADAR Key can be a great little investment.
This tweeter agrees that the RADAR key is a great disability gadget:
A RADAR Key is a specifically designed key which fits the majority of locks for disabled toilets around most city and town centres. Statistics suggest you should have access to over 9,000 locked public and disabled toilets around the country and with your own RADAR key, you can avoid the inconvenience of finding someone to unlock the door for you. You can access locked toilets immediately. It’s easy to appreciate that having to ask permission to use the public toilet can feel embarrassing and so, with your own RADAR key, this will not have to happen in many of the places you may visit on a regular basis.
Why lock a public toilet with a RADAR key?
As many disabled people will have experienced, disabled toilets are often used by ignorant members of the public who have no idea of the need to keep them free for people who need them. Even Ian Duncan Smith MP was caught out in this way! They can be used for drugs, people sleeping rough, ‘liasons’ and all manner of other activities if not kept locked! As this comment on the linked blog above states “For many of us waiting outside the door of the disabled toilet, because some oaf thinks his convenience comes first, means acute pain, while many more of us have almost no warning of needing to use the toilet. Disabled toilets are not simply there for our convenience when the ladies or gents are inaccessible, they are there to meet the often urgent needs of our disabilities. They are not there for you to abuse because you lack any sense of personal responsibility.”
Finding a RADAR Key holder
Unfortunately it can extremely demeaning to have to ask for the staff to get you a key and walk with you to the bathroom, especially as in many establishments they cannot hand the key over to you and therefore they may even wait outside for you to finish. This can make the whole experience quite embarrassing but with your own key, you can visit the bathroom at your own leisure and not feel restricted. The same can be applied to shopping trips, visits to public parks and attractions, so that there is no need to track down a key holder or wait until you get home, you can avoid that discomfort by having personal access via your key.
Avoid Fake RADAR keys
There are many fake keys for sale that do not have the engraved RADAR words on the key handle. We must advise you not to buy a fake RADAR key. Most are only 2 lever locks that may not fit all toilets. For the peace of mind and a small amount of money you should only buy official RADAR keys. These are 5 level mortice locks and are guaranteed to fit all disabled toilet locks across the country. Also the money raised from fake keys does not help RADAR publicise and support the scheme. It is not worth saving £2 if you can’t spend a penny!
RADAR keys can be purchased on Amazon clicking the link above. We now have a limited number of RADAR Keys that we can sell to you directly at a market leading price of £4.95 including P + P
Having to bend to tie shoe laces can cause pain and difficulty
Tying shoelaces can be a daily struggle for many people. Having to bend and stretch can be uncomfortable and cause pain, whilst also taking an inconvenient amount of time to do so. However, there are gadgets and types of shoe laces to help you avoid this. Elasticated and stretchy laces are the best known solutions, they help you transform your everyday lace-up shoes into slip-ons, to provide comfort and ease of use. How do they work and what are the alternatives?
How Do Elastic Laces for Shoes Work?
The stretch lace fabric of these shoe laces are threaded and tied in exactly the same way as ordinary laces. However, the elasticated fabric provides tension once tied, and it it this that makes sure your shoes remain tight and secure whilst wearing them.
When using elastic shoelaces, you only ever have to tie your shoelaces once the first time you apply them. After this your lace-ups work as slip-ons, permanently removing the need for you to bend and stretch. Eventually they may still come undone though.
Greeper Shoe Laces for Disability
Average elasticated shoe laces can easily break
There are many simplified versions of the elastic shoe lace on the market, most of which offer a temporary solution to the problem.
Cheaper elastic laces can lose their stretch over a short amount of time. Most importantly elastic laces often come undone whilst you’re wearing your shoes. This can make shoes uncomfortable and give you a less secure feeling whilst being worn as well as being a trip hazard!
This is why Greeper have designed an innovative and inclusive alternative to elastic shoe laces. Greepers are designed using high quality traditional polyester laces but have a simple fitting system that provides toggle that prevent the laces ever coming undone “Once applied, always tied”.
Greeper laces are ultimately more durable and comfortable than elastic shoe laces, they give better support as they use traditional laces that do not stretch.
After the initial application, Greeper shoelaces are forever tied. Unlike elasticated laces Greeper shoe laces do not rely on the tension of elastic to keep the shoes fastened. Instead an ingenious toggle system allows you to tighten or loosen the laces quickly and easily, whilst giving you piece of mind that they will always stay fastened.
Greeper Easy Fasten Shoelaces Vs Elasticated Shoe Laces
Reviewers the world over have made comparisons between elasticated laces and the innovative design of the Greeper shoelace. “220 Triathlon” magazine recently voted the Greeper Lace as “editors choice” and many world-renowned athletes champion the Greeper lace over other elasticated brands. It’s fair to say that when elasticated laces are pitted-against Greeper Laces, Greeper “out-run” the competition every time!
The benefits of Greeper laces vs elasticated shoe laces:
Greeper Laces never come undone – ensuring complete shoe support and comfort, reducing the risk of injury, increasing performance.
Quick and easy to fasten – Simple toggle system allows you to loosen and tighten your shoes in seconds, without ever untying your laces.
Fully adjustable – Eliminates overly-long lace loops, provides the ultimate fit and promotes foot health, especially for sports.
Polyester laces – Elastic shoe laces can become weak and break whilst running – the use of traditional-style polyester laces removes the fear of laces ever breaking or loosing tension.
Much better support to the foot. The laces themselves do not stretch, therefore the shoe supports the foot much better than laces where the laces are stretching during movement.
Time-saving Sports Laces
Caroline Steffan – ITU Long Distance Triathlon World Championship title-holder, wearing Greeper Laces.
One of the other pros of Greeper Laces is the time-saving aspect. Greeper Laces benefit from allowing you to quick-tighten your laces. If you are the sporting type, enjoying competitive sport – Greeper Laces can knock much needed seconds off you run-time.
The lace lock system allows super-swift lace tightening and the secure fitting provides security throughout your run.
This eliminates the need to stop-start to fix loose laces, and stops extra foot movement that often happens using elastic laces.
Once you have set up your Greeper Laces properly, they will help to shave those precious pit-stop seconds off your run time. Endorsed by Ironman Champion Chrissie Wellington on Twitter:
Final top tip. Buy some @GREEPER_LACES. Cheap, keeps your feet secure, won't come undone & % goes to charity!
We’ve found a review on amazon by a customer who purchased Greeper Laces for her sports-loving husband:
Bought these for my hubby as he is a keen triathlon competitor. Just what he required to save himself a few valuable seconds… Thank you.
Greeper Always Tied Shoelaces Used by Everyone
Although championed by professional athletes and amateur sports fans alike, Greeper laces are an affordable inclusive design that can be used by anyone.
The bright colours and design of the Flats range of Greeper Laces are ideal for children’s shoes
Greeper laces come in a number of different styles and colours. The “Sports” design being perfect for all types of athletic sport-shoe and the “Hikers” design ideal for more outdoor-style footwear and activities.
The designers at Greeper understand the need for an everyday, easy to apply lace for everyone, including people with impairments or disability. That is why they have produced a number of non-sport styles to assist those who simply need a lace solution for work or school.
The “Execs” and “Flats” ranges are the ultimate in inclusive design. These can be worn with smart dress-shoes, school shoes or trainers, yet still providing the same comfort and security of the more athletic designs.
Stay Tied Laces For Children
Many parents find the white and black sports or exec laces ideal for children at school. It removes the need for children to retie their laces or the danger of the shoes coming off or even being taken off (!) by children with disabilities or behavioural problems. Like this recent feedback from Amazon: “bought these for my son who has autism and struggles to tie laces and they are perfect as he can do them on his own making him as independant as possible.”
UnPluGZ are plug pullers which make removing electrical plugs much easier. They are a cost effective and affordable way of ensuring plugs are easy to remove. They are an easy plug pull aid option and are a great alternative to plastic plug handles.
They’re made of tough plastic which is long-lasting and they are a cost-effective and practical alternative to plastic plug tugs or handles. Once the UnPluGz pulling aid has been placed in position it can remain in place securely for the life time of the plug. However, if you do need to move it to another electrical plug you can do so with ease. These plug pullers can be added to any 13a plug in your home.
UK Plug Handles
Each pack of UnPluGZ contains 9 easy pull plug pulling aids. They are designed to be tough but flexible and durable, and are manufactured and designed in the UK.
UnPluGZ are a perfect solution for disabled people living with poor grip or ‘fine motor skill’ problems as they provide an end to tugging and struggling at plug sockets. They provide improved safety as appliances can be unplugged easily by older people, disabled people or anybody who has weakened grip, arthritis or poor hand function.
These UnPluGZ are for UK plugs only but they have do a version for European plugs in their range. This is great for travelers or anybody living in Europe who wants to use a plug removal aid.
High Quality Plug handles that loop over European Plugs.
The European UnPluGZ also require no specialist fitting or tools. Simply fit over the prongs of the plug leaving a strong loop to put your fingers through. They’re great for for European Citizens or UK ex-pats living in Spain or other parts of Europe who struggle with plug removal. The design is unobtrusive and smart without looking clinical. You can leave them on the plug when not it use. They are perfect for use as a plug tugging aid and can also be labelled so that the right European plug is removed.
This design will not fit UK 13A Plugs, as this model is for European Plugs only. They’re great value as you receive 6 per pack. They’re also light weight and easy to carry. They’re a much more convenient option than plastic plug handles that have to be fitted with screwdrivers and are not suitable for travel.
Also known as a:
Plug Handgrepen in Europe.
Amazon Review for a Plug Pulling Aid
This is one of those really simple ideas that make such a huge difference. I had previously struggled to remove certain plugs from sockets – some have hardly anything to grip – but slip one of these tugs over the plug and it pulls straight out of the socket with no ‘wiggle-waggling’ at all – brilliant!!
Signature Name Stamps can be used to create a legal signature with a rubber stamp, so that the person does not need to write or create a signature that looks the same every time.
Whilst working behind the bar in a pub, I came came across this ingenious yet simple device which helped a customer living with motor neurone syndrome independently purchase their drinks. The item in question is a signature stamp. In this particular instance, the customer was unable to sign their name or use a CHIP and PIN device but was able to use their personally designed signature stamp, ingenious don’t you think?
Carry your pre-printed signature with you wherever you go
A Signature Stamp is a great way of getting rid of the worry or embarrassment of trying to write a consistent signature every time. Many people have disabilities that affect their fine motor skills but it’s also something you can plan in advance if you live with a degenerative condition. Another use for a signature stamp would be for signing letters and other documents, so that you do not need the help of someone to sign or act on your behalf. It may only seem like a small thing but it is another important element of daily life and independence that you can maintain.
Scanned Signature into a Rubber Stamp
Most companies who provide signature stamps require you to scan a copy of signature over and then they’ll send out your personalised stamp, complete with ink pad which makes it extremely easy to carry around and take out when you’re planning a shopping trip. An everyday item which has been used in businesses for years can become a handy friend for you to use on a daily basis.
A simple but ingenious signature stamp
Customers who own a personalised signature stamp are extremely pleased with the results and many have remarked how it allows them to be more independent and comfortable when out and about. Equally, they can be helpful for people who may live in anxiety related conditions and find it hard to write or communicate under pressure. With your own signature stamp you can order and pay for items in many instances without having to discuss or feel pressured or rushed.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own signature stamp, click on the box below:
Are these stamps legal to use on documents in the UK
In response to a comment from Robin who blogs at http://www.mobilityshopper.co.uk/ we made some enquiries to check that the stamps can be legally used as a signature.
We found a very useful PDF leaflet from Ataxia UK that was written by Stephen Mason, author of Electronic Signatures in Law and editor of the e-Signature Law Journal.
English judges have taken a pragmatic approach to the manuscript signature.
In essence, a signature can take any form, providing it acts to prove the person intended
to sign the document.
The PDF describes several instances of people using stamps when they have had degenerative conditions, and the first recorded use of a ‘seal’ in 1681!
Guidance from the British Bankers’ Association (BBA) states that English law recognises
as a valid signature not only one written manually by the signatory but also one appropriately
embossed using a facsimile signature stamp.
If you find that your bank or shop refuses to accept a signature name stamp you can also rely on the Disability Discrimination Act 2005 as service providers must ensure they provide an equal service to disabled people. We would be very interested to hear of the experiences people have had using signature stamps in the comments below.
This great little page holder for books was spotted by our friend Rob Davies of Mobility Choices. Rob brought the PageKeeper to the UK, so that we can now get hold of a brilliant gadget for holding books open. At Living With Disability, we’ve talked previously about the value of the larger weighted page holders and how they can help with daily life, especially in the kitchen. Since then, we’ve discovered the innovative little page holding clip the PageKeeper which is an essential buy for any enthusiastic reader, including people with impairments. More convenient and functional than your usual bookmark, the PageKeeper ‘automatically’ keeps your page. Meaning that as your get through your book you’ll never lose your page again and you won’t have to remember to replace your book mark at the end of a night’s reading. This is an extremely useful and convenient page clip for anyone, but even more helpful if you live with a disability which affects your memory.
The Pagekeeper: user-friendly universal bookmark and page holder
The PageKeeper is a surprisingly simple invention and is easily clipped onto any book you choose to read. Whenever you turn a page the mechanism holds that page and then, the spring finger keeps your page so you don’t have to worry about losing your place or heeping the pages held open or, even worse, damage your book by turning over its corners. Keep your paperback collection in pristine condition with the easy to use yet ingenious PageKeeper.
The simple yet ingenious PageKeeper
The PageKeeper has received some extraordinary reviews from its many customers across the globe. Not only the usual ‘nice little gift’ and ‘very useful for the avid reader’ this product has been exposed to some extreme treatment and will still hold a page, as you will see in the video below.
It is a must have for any bookworms out there. Universally designed so that whatever the size of your chosen book, you should have no trouble attaching your PageKeeper to it. As this video shows, the PageKeeper is extremely hardy and withstands even the most extreme product tests:
At Living with Disability we really like this gadget because you will will never have the annoying daily habit of not being able to find your page or rereading the same section again and again. Or rereading the same section again and again ( annoying isn’t it!) If you’re interested in purchasing your own PageKeeper, they are low cost and you won’t be disappointed. You can buy one by clicking in the box below:
Avoid Scalds from Hot Plates with your Buckingham Coolhand
Specifically designed for use as a hot plate holder, the Buckingham Coolhand solves the age-old problem of burns, slips and scalds that come from trying to remove dangerously hot plates from the microwave or oven. The combined difficulty of the hot plate and the weight of the cooked food upon it can make lifting the plate much more difficult. Even with your bare hands or a cloth it can be tricky, so a Coolhand is a neat way of making life easier. All plates are held so that your entire hand takes the weight of the plate and you’re not reliant solely on your fingers.
Red Hot Plate Holder Video
We decided the images for the Coolhand looked a bit ‘flat’ so we created this ‘Red Hot Plate Holder video for it, hope you like it! It is safe for work
The Coolhand allows for heated plates, complete with your chosen meal, snack or dessert to be easily and safely removed from the microwave oven and taken to your dining table. This innovatively designed product from the well-known Buckingham Healthcare Company, allows for anyone who uses a microwave to have a safer way of transferring their meals from kitchen to table. It is highlighted as particularly useful if you live with a disability which causes dexterity problems in your wrists or hands or limited strength and even those who may have a limited grip due to conditions such as arthritis.
The Easy Way to Hold and Carry Plates
The ergonomically designed Coolhand Hot Plate Holder
The Buckingham Coolhand relies on the power of leverage to lift, so that the handle not your fingers takes the weight. The Coolhand replicates the action of a hand, gripping and releasing extremely easily and of course, as an additional tool removes the risk of burns and scalds to your skin.
There are many great features which make the Coolhand a universally popular product which include its non-slip soft grip handle which is 100% latex free, meaning it is safe for those with allergies. Its ergonomic design allows it to be cleaned very easily and there are no obvious dirt traps anywhere on the item and it can be simply popped into the dishwasher when it needs a clean. To allow use by those with weakened strength the Coolhand is extremely lightweight as well as being strong and durable. Finally, the design was created by Chris Buckingham, an experienced occupational therapist whose life improving gadgets we have featured before. She and the design team have worked to ensure that the Buckingham Coolhand should fit with most regular plates or bowls and therefore can be called a truly universal innovation.
If you’re interested in purchasing your own Coolhand hot plate holder, click in the box below:
At Living with Disability we’ve been impressed by the work of @touretteshero on Twitter and in the newspapers, battling against prejudice and ignorance. We have been looking at her blog has some pretty interesting and useful gadgets if you have Tourettes Syndrome or in fact a range of conditions which may result in tics such as Myoclonus or Distonia. Some of her ideas could also be considered if you have a stereotypic movement disorder. Today, we’re going to have a look at a simple item which wasn’t designed for those living with disabilities in mind.
A mobile phone wrist strap may seem like a simple invention which helps any mobile phone user keep their phone close at bay and in most senses it is, but reading this great blog post from Tourettes Hero, you can see how useful a wrist strap would be for her situation as it would ensure the phone was safe and accessible whenever it was needed.
There are a huge range of different mobile phone wrist straps out there, as there are with most mobile phone accessories. You can find simple black ones, those that can be adjusted to different lengths and those which keep your phone firmly attached to your wrist. Whichever suits you best is dependent on your own situation and how you access your phone. A wrist strap will ensure it never goes missing or becomes out of reach and you won’t have to worry about it going missing whilst out and about. The wrist strap has been
A Smartphone Wrist Strap
revolutionised as the picture shows, so now even the newest generations of smart phone can be safely secured to your wrist to ensure you have access whenever you need it.
An ingenious idea as Tourettes Hero says and something that you wouldn’t even imagine could be such a help until you look at it in more detail and think how such a simple little thing can be used effectively on a daily basis. There is a huge range available at a range of different prices so you’ll be sure to find one which suits your circumstances. You can even use wrist straps for other gadgets including your camera. Other people might find a wrist strap for walking sticks useful or for an ipod, digital camera or purse.
With a forward by no other than Stephen Fry it looks really interesting:
Meet Jess, aka Touretteshero. Jess has Tourettes Syndrome, which means that she makes sounds and movements over which she has no control. Jess swears, she s one of about 10% of people with Tourettes who do. She says biscuit a lot, about 16 times per minute (that s 6 million a year!), and then there are the sometimes life-threatening arm and leg tics… Tourettes can be tough to live with, often bringing out unpleasant behaviour in people who don t understand it, but it can also be inspiring and, above all, funny. Jess s verbal tics are often truly surreal Leisurewear Velociraptor Training Party! , Capital letters talk to themselves at night or If all the hoofed animals could count there wouldn t be a banking crisis. These excerpts from Jess s personal blog follow a year in her life and the whole spectrum of her experiences. We re introduced to her support network of close friends, including Fat Sister, Leftwing Idiot and King Russell, as well as strangers who can be unpredictably helpful or hurtful. Moving, funny, shocking, tender, and inspiring, Jess s words are courageous and optimistic in the face of the major challenges she faces. Welcome to Biscuit Land.
The Ideal Accessory for your Trabasack Lap Tray and Bag
Trabasack Mini Connect and Media Mount supporting iPad
The newest product in the Trabasack range is designed to make their original products even more versatile and user friendly. The Trabasack Media Mount new, flexible and multi purpose mounting device. Trabasack Media Mount is really useful for supporting things like iPads, the Kindle, and remote controls at just the right angle. In addition to these multimedia devices it can be used with much much more and is already attracting attention from a range of different customers out there.
The Media Mount is made of a similar soft fabric that accepts the velcro hook and loop tape, just as the soft Trabasack Connect surface does. Is also fitted with a versatile Velcro strip to allow it to be stuck safely to your tray surface or manipulated in many ways to hold specific items and even stick to itself to create height. The two large grab handles make it easy to move and flex and it adds next to no weight at all to the Trabasack surface so you don’t need to worry about it feeling heavy or awkward. It is Pictured here with a Trabasack Mini ‘Connect’ – Lap Tray and Bag with velcroable surface, a tablet bag with a soft fabric surface to use your tablet upon.
Uses for your Media Mount
Media Mount supporting the accessible musical instrument The Skoog
You can use the Media Mount in any number of ways. It’s perfect for supporting electronic devices such as your smartphone or tablet device but is equally as good at ensuring your dinner plate is held in position or even securing a cup or juice bottle to your tray surface. There are so many uses once you have your own you’ll surely find new ideas that hadn’t even been thought of.
It’s great in an educational context for supporting communication aids and switches, as well as fun for accessible gaming devices and supporting controllers and much much more. Pictured here it is shown is being used with the amazing accessible musical instrument, the Skoog. Whatever use you have in mind, the Media Mount can be manipulated to support whatever you want to do.
The Media Mount is an excellent addition to your Trabasack tray and bag and will make it even more versatile, practical and user friendly.
We like to find new gadgets or uses of existing products that help people with disabilities. We don't like clinical or stigmatising looking ugly products that make your home look like a hospital ward!
Please leave a comment if you would like to submit a review or suggest a product. You can always talk to us on twitter @lwdisability or facebook. We love to be offered guest posts and happily include your bio with blog link or for a chosen cause or charity.
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