Stay Cool – gadgets and ideas for keeping down the temperature
Keeping cool and hydrated isn’t always this easy! Photo credit: http://www.balthasars.com/family/aug_03c.html
Keeping cool in warmer climes can be hard. Humans can regulate their own temperatures but when it’s really hot – we feel it! This can be even more of a problem when living with a disability, particularly one where you’re required to use a wheelchair or spend a lot of time sitting or lying down.
There are plenty of keep cool gadgets and common sense tips which can make getting out and about in the sun less stressful. Below we’ve collated our favourite products and some handy hints to keep in mind.
The Danger of Heat Exhaustion and Heatstroke
Just looking at the NHS information about these conditions shows how dangerous they can be. They can escalate quickly if not treated immediately. More than anything else they are completely preventable. Heatstroke is the more serious of the two conditions and can lead to severe complications including organ failure. Death is completely possible from severe heatstroke.
There are groups who are particularly at risk from heat stroke and exhaustion and they include the usual suspects such as young children and the elderly but also people who live with conditions which effect the kidneys, heart or circulatory system. Many disabilities make regulating body temperature more difficult and also specific medications such as beta blockers and antipsychotic drugs can make it harder for your body to fight heatstroke and exhaustion. Where these conditions are combined with sunburn, it can be very painful and distressing.
Keep Cool Gadgets and Products
Here we are looking at some of the most useful keep cool gadgets on the market.
Click this image for more drinking aids – serious ones!
When it’s super-hot it’s important to stay hydrated and your number one friend here is The Hydrant . Even if you have limited use of your limbs or can’t hold a cup comfortable your Hydrant can be clipped somewhere safe and you can access it through the straw. There are plenty more drinking aids available which we’ve talked about before.
Coolvest – Keep your Body Temp Down
There are specially designed items for keeping cool from specially designed scarves which are activated by soaking in water to these innovative Coolvests. Coolvests have been proven to regulate the body temperature which makes independent living easier. Coolvests have also been proven to be particularly beneficial to people living with Multiple Sclerosis who can find warmer temperatures particularly intolerable.
General tips to keep in mind when dressing for hotter weather include keeping an eye on the fit of clothes. Tight fitting clothes will become uncomfortable more quickly. Hats and breathable shoes should also be worn at all times to give air the chance to circulate and to protect your head from the heat. Clothes that are light in colour are also more likely to be comfortable as they naturally deflect the sun’s rays.
Fans and AirCon
Trendy Portable Air Con Systems
One of the most obvious options for keeping cool is through fans and air conditioners. There are a range of different air conditioners and fans on the market including USB Hand Held Air Conditioner and Fans. A personal fan or air conditioner can provide instant relief from the sun’s rays and portable versions can be stored easily in a bag out of the way without being too inconvenient and large.
General Tips for Keeping Cool
The things we discuss below may seem like common sense but a little reminder never hurt anybody and there are a couple of ingenious tips you may not have thought of.
Stay out of the Heat
Uniflow straws make drinking easier – click this image for details.
It’s been said time and again – nobody should be out in the sun, if they can help it, when it’s at its hottest. Everyone should try and limit their sun exposure between 10am and 4pm as that’s when it’s most likely to cause harm.
If you plan ahead then you can have an idea of when you’ll be exposed to the sun and when you won’t. A plan also cuts out the unnecessary time spent out in the heat.
Making the right food choices can help you keep cool. Raw foods including salads and fruit are best. They keep you hydrated and cool.
Avoiding protein heavy foods and meats is also advisable as they can increase metabolic heat production which can lead to loss of water and in extreme cases dehydration.
Ice Up your Trabasack
Keep Cool with an Ice-Filled Trabasack
Time and again we’ve expressed our belief in the quality of the lap tray bag range produced by Trabasack. With that in mind we’ve even found a fantastic way of using your Trabasack as a cooling device. Fill with ice! Of course we don’t mean just chuck ice cubes inside but a zip-locked bag of ice can be placed alongside the beanbag cushion. It’s great for keeping you cool and if you don’t want to keep it on your lap – why not use it as a cool cushion (as pictured).
Keep Cool, Keep Safe
Keeping cool in the warmer months is completely essential if you want to make it through the summer without excessive trips to the doctors. Other things to remember whilst out in the sun is to ensure you’re covered in high factor sun cream and drink, drink, drink.
Remember to keep an eye on others too, if you have an elderly neighbour it could be a good time to check in on them and ensure they’re managing in the heat too.
Maybe you have a top gadget or way of keeping cool?
Drinking aids offer important, everyday assistance to those with health conditions such as tremors, Parkinsons and Cerebral Palsy. There are many innovative yet simple drinking aids available, and the newest one on the market is “handSteady”.
The handSteady drinking aid is a drinks cup with a rotatable handle. Even though many everyday items have evolved in terms of design, it would seem that the humble cup has remained the same for centuries. Although many people find drinking from a normal cup easy, if you suffer from dexterity issues, tremors, weakness or muscle pain you will find that fixed-handled cups can cause pain and other difficulties.
Creating the handSteady Drinking Aid
The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock
The handSteady drinking aid was created by Chris Peacock, an inventor and Physics graduate from Southampton. After one of his closest family members had been diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, they found that it affected their ability to drink. It was at this point that Chris looked around for options for Parkinson’s drinking aids to no avail, and he knew he should use his creative talents to fill this much neglected gap in the market.
Designing a new adaptive drinking aid
Chris started upon a post-graduate Masters in Industrial Design Engineering, and decided to base his studies on creating a new drinking aid for not only his relative, but millions of others in need of extra help with drinking.
Chris’ project garnered support from a number of influential and acclaimed innovations institutions, including a Dyson Scholarship, a Kenny Yip Award and an Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council Scholarship.
The result of Chris’ hard work, innovative thinking and scholarly support was the new handSteady drinking aid.
How Does the handSteady Work?
Often the most simple of ideas can revolutionise the world, and the handSteady is set to do just that. The handle of the handSteady cup is rotatable. This means that instead of having to hold a cup at an uncomfortable angle, the handle can be tilted to suit your specific needs.
The handSteady cup self-levels and will stay upright until you’re ready to drink, no matter what angle you hold it at. You do not have to twist your wrist to bring the cup to your mouth helping to
The handSteady drinking aid stays upright, is easy to tilt and always keeps steady.
reduce pain. Other everyday cups force the user to keep the cup in an upright position, and if you suffer from tremors or muscle weakness or rigidity, this can often mean that spillage can occur very easily.
With the handSteady drinking aid cup, you no longer need to twist and bend your wrist to take a drink. The rotating motion of the handSteady handle means that you do not have to tilt your head backwards, or rely on elbow or wrist action to take a sip of liquid. The cup can be tilted using your other hand, your thumb or simply by using your lips.
The handSteady cup is ideal for those with tremors or hand coordination problems. By rotating the handle 90 degrees, it can be carried whilst walking with a reduced chance of spillage. It also allows for limited elbow movement when moving the cup towards your mouth for a drink. Providing users with the ability to keep their elbows close to their sides whilst drinking can help to eliminate tremors that would otherwise cause drink to spill.
The Benefits of Using a handSteady Cup
Having problems with the simple act of drinking can cause many people to feel embarrassed and self-conscious. Having little control over your movements can cause drink to spill easily, staining clothes and furniture. It is for this reason those with certain health conditions feel anxious about going out with friends and family to drink in public. However, the design of the handSteady provides not only a practical and effective drinking aid, but also a piece of mind for those that use it. The assurance that drinks will no longer spill due to tremors or muscle weakness can provide independence and dignity, whilst providing an easy and comfortable drinking experience.
The handSteady drinking aid is an ideal alternative cup for those with:
Limited Dexterity or Slowness of Movement
Joint or Muscle Pain, Stiffness or Weakness such as Arthritis
handSteady’s Innovative and Inclusive Design
The handSteady uses state of the art materials and design to ensure spillage is at a minimum.
When Chris Peacock designed the handSteady it was to first and foremost serve a purpose and help people to drink easily. However, he was also passionate about creating a product that looked as good as it functioned. The elegant design of the handSteady is based upon the traditional bone china cup many of us use on a daily basis. The innovative materials used to create the handSteady reflect the delicate colouring of bone china and also make it 31% lighter than normal cups. This provides even more ease of use and comfort, especially for those that suffer from muscle weakness or stiffness. The handSteady also boasts a number of other benefits, including a large handle with a guard to prevent hot drinks burning your hands, that is big enough to be held in the “power grip” hold.
The cup also features an ingenious curved rim, that guides liquids to the centre of the mouth when drinking, and ensures liquid returns to the cup to avoid dripping. Each of the handSteady drinking aid cups can hold 250ml of liquid, is insulated to keep drink cooler/warmer for longer, is stain resistant and can be conveniently cleaned in a dish washer.
The new handSteady drinking aid is truly a revolution in everyday design, and solves a number of drinking problems that had yet to be tackled without the use of tubes or straws.
To purchase the fantastic handSteady drinking aid or for more information, visit Chris’ site handsteady.com.
Other Drinking Aids Currently Available
Now we’ve covered the new handSteady, let’s take a look at some of the other innovative and practical drinking aids available on the market.
The Hydrant 750ml with Straw
Hydrant 750ml – Buy at Equ4l.com
Created and developed by Mark Moran, the Hydrant is a water / drinks bottle with a twist. This drinking aid is a bottle with a unique one-piece cap/clip/handle that can be secured on to almost any equipment including beds, wheelchairs, bikes and more. The user can drink from the bottle with ease using the drinking tube that fits securely to the Hydrant bottle. Having this ability to drink through a tube means those that are weak or struggle to hold a cup or bottle can simply sip through the straw with ease. Not having to reach for a drink and having the Hydrant by your side helps to keep patients hydrated and comfortable.
Much like the handSteady, the Hydrant provides independence so that the user doesn’t have to rely on asking for help when they need a drink. The Hydrant holds 750ml of liquid and the drinking tube includes a special bite valve that opens under pressure, allowing the user to drink at a comfortable pace. Once the bite valve is released, the tube closes to avoid leaking and spillage of liquids.
The Hydrant 750ml with Straw can be purchased from Equ4L.com – Equipped 4 Life, by clicking the button below.
The DUO Cup Holder
Ergonomic DUO can be easily attached to a regular mug or cup.
The basis of the DUO cup holder is that it adds an extra handle to your favourite cup. Making your cup or mug two-handed is ideal for those that struggle to grip and hold a cup using only one handle. Rather than having to purchase new two-handled mugs or cups, you can now transform your favourite everyday cup with the DUO.
The DUO will safely and securely fit around your mug of choice, and the ergonomically shaped handle provides a steady and study grip whilst also protecting your hands from hot drinks. The DUO can also be attached to glasses as well as ceramics, and this ability to adapt drink ware you already own is not only easy to do, but also cost effective in the long term.
The DUO cup holder is for sale at Equ4L.com, and can be purchased by clicking the button below.
Easi 2 Drink Anti-spillage Drinking Aid Insert
The Easi 2 Drink insert restricts wave motion and the tendency for liquid to spill.
The Easi 2 Drink is a white plastic device which can be inserted inside of mugs and glasses to help reduce spillage. It was specifically designed to help those with tremors or coordination problems drink without spilling liquids. The Easi 2 Drink anti-spillage aid can be placed inside any standard sized mug or tumbler, and the unique shape of the device helps to restrict the swaying motion of liquids. This in turn helps to avoid spillage for those who struggle to hold a cup steady.
The Easi 2 Drink Anti-Spillage aid can be easily inserted in to any cup, mug or glass and can be removed for cleaning. The handy pocket-size design means you can carry it with you anywhere and easily adapt any drinking vessel without needing to carry a special cup or bottle. The Easi 2 Drink can withstand liquids from 0-100 degrees Celsius and is available to purchase here.
NRS Thermo Safe Mug
The design of the NRS Thermo Safe Mug makes it suitable for people who cannot tip their head/neck back to drink.
The NRS Thermo Safe Mug is a stylish and modern looking drinking aid that keeps drinks hot or cold for longer. The large, easy to hold handle provides enough room to be held via the “power grip” hand position and is ideal for those with arthritis. The NRS Thermo Safe Mug is insulated yet lightweight, and has been designed in a special cone shape which makes drinking easier for those with limited movement of the neck.
The frosted white body of the mug contrasts with the blue (or red available also) rim, which makes it easier for the user to see the top of the mug.
NRS Thermo Safe Mugs come in either red or blue with lids to be purchased separately. Each mug can hold up to 6 fl oz of liquid and is microwave safe.
Strawberi is an award winning straw holder that grasps a straw securely against the side of a glass or cup.
Strawberi straw holders are a simple yet ingenious little device that attaches to the side of your glass to keep your straw in place. The Strawberi keeps your straw steady and upright, which means you can drink hands free and not have to worry about the straw moving about. This is ideal for those with tremors or muscle weakness. The Strawberi drinking straw holder can be attached to any type of drinking cup or glass and helps to eliminate any stress or mess that can be caused by trying to keep the straw in the right position.
The Strawberi is also perfect for young children who are learning to suck via a straw and the added bonus is that they are dishwasher safe for extra cleanliness and time-saving.
And finally…Thirst Aid Helmet Drinking Hat!
Contemporary style, ultimate functionality – hands-free drinking aid the Thirst Aid Helmet
Or, if none of the innovative and practical drinking aids we’ve mentioned so far take your fancy, why not opt for the classic Thirst Aid Helmet?! Hat AND drinking aid in one, the Thirst Aid Helmet offers multifunctional practicality unrivalled by any other drinks-hat on the market. Hands-free hydration has never been so simple – avoid spillages and unnecessary fumbling for the nearest beverage with your choice of bottle or can firmly attached to your head. The Thirst Aid Helmet allows you to holster either a bottle or can firmly to either side of your head, and once the drinking tubes have been inserted, you are left entirely hands-free for anything you desire. Ideal for sports events, drinking on the go or even relaxing at home, the Thirst Aid Helmet is the ultimate in style and functionality. This may seem like a bit of fun, but hey, if it works for you then why not?
Please tell us what is your favourite drinking aid in the comments below:
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 email@example.com 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
Trendy Mobility Aids: Sticks, Canes And Crutches For The Discerning Disabled
It can be really hard to find stylish mobility aids. It’s a real shame that so little attention is paid to making crutches and walking sticks that are a little bit more trendy. After all, these are pieces of equipment that people have to use all the time. They shouldn’t be stuck with something dull, clunky, noisy and grey.
With this in mind, we’ve compiled a list of some of the more trendy mobility aids that we have found:
These canes look really cool! They’re beautifully designed and look really vibrant and stylish. They come in a variety of colours and are apparently built to last a lifetime. They weigh 14 ounces and can support up to 300 pounds.
They’re made from a high-strength bicycle-grade aluminum shaft with a hooked birch wood handle. The handle widens in the right places and has a build in rubber strip to make it more comfortable and practical to hold. The shape of the handle also means that the user holds it directly above the tip which means they have increased stability.
The standard Omhu Cane costs £79 plus shipping costs. They come in three sizes depending on the height of the user.
Cool Coloured Canes
As well as their standard cane, Omhu have created the Tuxedo – an all black version of their walking cane due to popular demand for a more formal mobility aid. It comes in luxury packaging and the birch handle is stained to make it darker and richer. According to their website: “It is the criminally gorgeous and brooding hero. It is the reflection of a love affair.” This might be a slight overstatement but, whether you agree with that or not, you have to agree it does look very good.
The final form of Omhu cane is their sports cane which is ostensibly for taking out on hikes and walks. The design is largely the same but with a matte finish rather than the brighter effect of the standard model.
It’s a fair bit lighter, weighing 9.5 oz. and has a reflective logo, for walking at night. The handle is foam rather than birch wood which makes it more suitable for providing a secure hold on long walks but also makes it a little cheaper (£39.99 plus shipping). It’s not quite as stylish as the standard cane but it is perhaps a little more practical for some people.
All the Omhu canes look fantastic!
Omhu Sport Cane – £39.99
All the Omhu canes look fantastic and are really creatively designed. It shows that you can do interesting things when designing walking sticks!
Arbin Crutches are great because they are so compact. They’re retractable, so when you are using them they can put aside taking up very little space. It removes the usual problem of your crutches getting in the way and making a unattractive mess, when they aren’t being used. These crutch’s handles slide down from the cuff and up the bottom slides up from the foot of the crutch to the small size of only 67 centimetres. Once folded in it can also be stood up on the handle making it easier to reach as well as being less noticeable. It’s really practical and stylish too!
Arbin crutches also look good when they are at their full height. They’re sleek and cool and they come in bronze or grey. They’re available in the UK at Chic Aid Crutches costing £184 including postage, packaging and VAT.
These mobility aids have been described as “the Ferrari of crutches”. Ossenberg’s ‘stealth crutches’ are German designed, so you expect efficiency and they don’t let you down. The arm cuff is one of the most comfortable and well designed on the market. These mobility aids are ultralight, slim and comfortable helping to make their users feel less conscious their disability. They’re really sleek and stylish.
Ossenberg crutches are now sold in the UK through Mobility Choices, (an excellent customer focused retailer with a large online range). They have a variety of different designs with open and closed cuffs, different grips and a selection of different colours. Mobility Choices have a range of closed cuff colours that are exclusively sold in the UK. This model costs £49.95 for a pair or £25 each (plus postage). Apparently the most popular colour is the blackberry one below.
Pink and Purple Ossenberg Crutches are available
Closed Cuff Colours Exclusive To The UK – £25
Closed Cuff Crutch
On top of these great crutches, Arbin have also designed a carbon fibre folding crutch. This looks really cool and can become small and portable. It hasn’t yet been released in the UK but we are led to believe it should become available reasonably soon.
Lightweight and folding the Ossenberg Carbon Fibre Crutch
Folding Carbon Fibre Crutch – Very Stylish, Easy To Store
If you like bling and want to make a bit of a statement with your mobility aids then Glam Sticks is the place to go. In 2011 they were named Mobility Product of the Year. They take no prisoners with their designs – covering the sticks in diamante and sparkles – making everything extravagant and shiny. Glam Sticks look to provide glitz and glamour to go along with your style. They’re particularly good fun for evenings out, providing a bit of glamour to go along with your outfit.
Glam Sticks Kaleidoscope Crutch
Kaleidescope Crutch – £57.99
Glam Sticks come in a variety of models and designs with varying prices. The amount you pay is essentially based on how ostentatious you want your stick to be or how much bling you want on your crutches. A fairly basic, but stylish, crutch costs just over £3o. At the top end you can get a Swarovski encrusted walking cane – the ultimate decadent walking stick – for £224.99.
Swarovski Walking Stick – £224.99
Glam Sticks have picked up something of a following amongst injured celebrities, adding to their reputation for providing glitz and glamour. For instance, when Jessie J broke her leg last year, she wore a pair of Glam Sticks to the MTV Awards, giving her the required bling to accompany her style. These aids are great for providing a bit of luxury and sparkle, especially for a night out.
Cool Crutches offer people a range of crutches with fun, patterned designs. They also have a washable, removable neoprene squidgy grip which moulds to left and right hands and makes walking a lot more comfortable. They are possibly not quite as light and sleek as some of the other crutches we’ve featured but they are fun, colourful and, well, cool!
@trabasackI have black Cool Crutches.. whoever engineered thosewas afreakin genius!
This range offers a good range of block colours which liven up the crutches without becoming too garish. This might be preferable to people who don’t want to make quite as much of a statement, with their crutches, as someone who’d go for a Glam Stick, for instance, but who want to add a splash of colour to them.
You can chose from a variety of main and secondary colours to accompany the black handle. This is good because it means you can design your own crutches to be as bright as you want.
They’re available at Chic Crutches and cost £34.99 (plus VAT and shipping)
Mobilegs have created an interesting new design of crutch, using a ‘saddle’ instead of a the normal cuff at the crutch’s top. This is supposed to improve mobility, flexibility and comfort for users. They say that since it is so radically different, from traditional crutches, it can’t even be called a crutch but has been named a ‘mobi’.
Mobilegs are intelligently designed to help the user and really are quite different. They look a lot better than many traditional crutches too – certainly a lot sleeker, slimmer and less drab than NHS crutches. It’s also possible to get a ‘mobiskin’ to cover the shaft with a more distinct design.
The problem (and it’s quite a big one) is that Mobilegs are currently not available in the UK. When we got in touch with them they told us that they are still a relatively small start up company so they can only cater to the US market. However, since there might be ways around this, especially if you buy them online, we thought they were worth including. They cost $129 plus the (possibly substantial) cost of postage and shipping. We will keep you up to date should there be any change regarding UK distribution. Hopefully there will be soon!
The Mobilegs Crutch looks unique!
So that’s the end of our list of trendy mobility aids. We’ve had a variety of styles, designs and prices in there. From Omhu to Glam Sticks – hopefully there should be something for everyone in there!
If you know of any other trendy mobility aids on the market please get in touch with BlueBadgeStyle or leave a comment below
Once you have your cool crutch or glam walking stick you may also be interested in this neat gadget for holding sticks or crutches together. Check out this post on the Bridgit Crutch Holder
UPDATE : Strictly Judge shows off diamante encrusted crutches
BBC Strictly Come Dancing fans may have spotted judge Craig Revel Horwood with some glitzy crutches, apparently they are actually diamante encrusted. He had major hip surgery and rehabilitation therapy at King Edward VII Hospital in London.
Ice Cool Crutches: the diamante encrusted crutch showed off by Craig on ‘It Takes Two’ with Zoe Ball
Craig is not the only person who wants to be seen with some stylish crutches. Copyright images : BBC
There are many reasons you could need a toilet aid. Urinary incontinence is a problem which effects 200 million people worldwide and a large number of these are women. UI can have serious social, sexual and professional consequences which make it a particularly embarrassing problem which many people find hard to deal with. There are a range of female toilet aids on the market designed to help with the problem. This video shows one woman dealing with her problem publicly on the Embarassing Bodies television programme. It also has some interesting facts and figures about the problem.
There are a range of female toilet aids designed to make it easier to handle with an incontinence problem.
Different Types of Urinary Incontinence
There are two main types of urinary incontinence: stress incontinence and urge incontinence. The NHS describes them thus:
stress incontinence – when the pelvic floor muscles are too weak to prevent urination, causing urine to leak when your bladder is under pressure, for example when you cough or laugh
urge incontinence – when urine leaks as you feel an intense urge to pass urine, or soon afterwards
There are many causes of this problem and in woman it can often be due to pregnancy and vaginal birth as well as ageing. Other causes include overweightness and obesity as well as a family history of the problem. It can be an extremely embarrassing thing to live with but there are methods and products designed to make the condition less debilitating and embarrassing.
According to the National Association for Continence one third of men ages 30-70 have experienced loss of bladder control at least once and the symptoms can be long lasting. What’s more many men and women wake in the night with the urge to urinate and a percentage admits to losing urine on the way to the bathroom. A toilet aid can be a sensible way of handling this embarrassing issue.
Female Toilet Aids for Everyone
You could have many reasons for needing a female toilet aid and it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re living with incontinence. Post-pregnancy and often after bariatric operations there’s a need to use a catheter and once it is removed there can often be a short-term problem getting used to passing urine again. Female toilet aids provide a solution to this short-term problem.
Illnesses that cause Urinary Incontinence
There are many different conditions which can lead to long-term incontinence; in fact it isn’t considered a disease in its own right as it’s usually a symptom of something else.
The NHS provide a list of the main causes of stress incontinence:
nerve damage during childbirth
increased pressure on your tummy, for example because you are pregnant or very overweight
a lack of the hormone oestrogen in women (less oestrogen is produced after the menopause)
They do the same for the causes of urge incontinence:
neurological conditions, which affect the brain and spinal cord, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis
conditions affecting the lower urinary tract (urethra and bladder), such as urinary tract infections (UTIs) or tumours in the bladder
drinking too much alcohol or caffeine
Living with any of these conditions could explain the development of your urinary incontinence but there are ways of managing the problem.
Women’s Toilet Aids for Travel
Toilet Aids can be used by campers
The toilet aids on the market are also a great idea if you travel. Anybody camping could really benefit from using one of the toilet aids on the market. These small portable facilities are a much more sensible alternative to some of the large bulky toilet-style products out there. The same could be said for festival-goers as using the on-site facilities isn’t always the wisest decision – if you’ve got any sense that is!
Women’s Outdoor Toilet
Personal or portable toilet aids exist to give people the option of passing urine when it may otherwise be impossible to do so discreetly and without feeling under pressure or embarrassed. The two leading devices are the Uriwell Personal Toilet and the Me Too – Outdoor Toilet Aid for Women. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of each device as a women’s toilet aid.
Uriwell Toilet Aid
A Uriwell Female Personal Toilet
The Uriwell is an affordable and portable personal toilet. It’s concertina design makes it easy to carry and keep stored discreetly but it can also hold a large volume. It’s made of hygienic plastic so can be easily cleaned and kept sterile. It’s ideal for times where there’s no chance to get to the bathroom such as in the car or in the bedroom when you’re caught unfortunately short. It can be kept discreetly in a drawer at home or in a handbag whilst you’re out and about. This video shows the Uriwell personal toilet being demonstrated:
Me Too – Finally Standing Up
Me Too – Outdoor Toilet Aid for Women
Me Too is a short term alternative to the Uriwell toilet aid. It’s disposable and gives women the freedom to urinate standing up, which can be essential when there’s the desperate urge to go and no opportunity to get somewhere appropriate. It’s designed with female anatomy in mind and is both hygienic and practical for use when out and about. The funnel and spout fit design can be separated to make carrying more simple and this device is considered great even for those who aren’t suffering with any form of incontinence and may just be attending an outdoor event. They’re great value and come in packs of five. They are designed to be thrown away after use making them completely hygienic.
Advantages of Female Toilet Aids
Using a female toilet aid can save time; dignity and help users feel like they’re able to get on with their lives normally. You can avoid the stress of always needing to know where the nearest toilet is, as long as you have access to somewhere discreet such as your car.
There is no need to be ashamed or embarrassed as many people live with the problem and there are products on the market designed to make it less of a problem. No one needs to live with this problem ashamedly and can make actions towards living a full life despite having to manage the condition.
We are pleased to announce the launch of Equ4L.com – Equipped 4 Life. Equ4L.com is a fresh and new online boutique-style store stocking the most innovative and inclusive gadgets and products on the market.
I bought the Go Girl in preparation for my first summer festival in July and a walking holiday in August. This is after many years of ‘near misses’ because of lack of toilet facilities and a reluctance to expose myself on woodland or mountain walks. Even with someone acting as ‘lookout’it can be embarrassing to have your bottom on display! My Go Girl arrived within a few days of ordering it. I couldn’t believe how small the tube is and therefore discreet to carry around. I tried it out in the shower first…..all went well, so then risked the toilet…….all went well again. My only criticism is the need to still pull down trousers/jeans for fear of ending up wet. Although, leaning forward with one hand on the wall helped to direct the flow away from the body. Maybe an extension tube could be sold? I have thought of wearing skirts for walking to make the process easier. Skirts and walking boots? Hmmmn. Not sure!
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!!
The lite cup night light is a handy drinking aid for night time drinks and hydrating in the dark. The built in light and non-spill features make it a useful bedside cup.
At Living with Disability, we like to take into consideration the opinions and experiences of the blogging community and anybody living with disabilities who has discovered a great item that makes their life a little bit easier. We’ve previously discussed products as recommended by Tourettes Hero such as simple wrist straps and life changing weighted blankets and today we’re looking at an item recommended by Danni, found on Twitter as @Dannilion, a blogger who describes herself as ‘quite disabled’ and that ‘finding products that make life easier and increase my independence is very important to me’. With this in mind, Danni wrote a blog post all about her favourite items including the seemingly simple Lite Cup Night Light . At Living with Disability we’d never heard of the Litecup before so taking a closer look at it, we agreed with Danni, it really is a great product.
Litecup – Night Light and No Spill Cup in One
The Litecup is a clever little cup which features a non spill lid and a light in its base, which comes on automatically in the dark. Brilliant if you’re looking for your drink late at night and avoids the risk of spills. There are many different reasons that this product could be a great addition to your range of kitchen accessories and Danni explains that she likes it specifically because of its non-spill top. This allows her to drink whilst laid down as there are days where she finds it hard to leave bed and we believe many of our readers will recognise this experience. The Litecup comes in a range of different colours so you can pick a lid that suits your personal preference and it’s a great, affordable product which can make drinking much easier and less challenging.
Reviews of the product praise its robust build and ease of use. They also rate how long lasting the light is and how it can be knocked over without causing any spills. The Litecup is a great product which we believe many people could benefit from and we thank Dannilion for bringing it to our attention.
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:
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.
New on the blog we review some gripping aids and gloves that help people with poor grip do sports, therapy and other daily tasks. More here http://livingwithdisability.info/gripping-aids-review-active-hands/
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Good luck Louis, who has set up a “lifestyle marketplace” for disabled people, which will be community led and ethical. Check it out at ethosdisability.com they launched today! Random fact about Louis: he is currently the Men’s European record holder at 100m-800m in his T33 class for wheelchair racing.