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Trays and Wheelchair Trays: Essential Tools for Social Inclusion for Disabled People

Lets eat together! How trays can make a difference to social inclusion.

confident individual in a wheelchair at a home setting, using a specialized tray to eat and drink independently.

What are trays and wheelchair trays?

  • Definition: Trays and wheelchair trays are flat surfaces used on tables or wheelchairs.
  • Purpose: They provide a stable platform for food, drinks, and other items.
  • Importance: Vital for disabled peopl, aiding in independent eating and drinking, and social activity participation.

How can trays and wheelchair trays promote social inclusion?

  • Independence: Enable disabled individuals to eat and drink independently, boosting self-esteem and confidence.
  • Participation in Social Activities: Facilitate involvement in gatherings, enhancing social interaction.
  • Accessibility: Improve access and reduce barriers, especially in public places like restaurants.

Examples of how trays and wheelchair trays can be used to promote social inclusion

  1. Spinal Cord Injury: Allows independent eating and drinking in various settings.
  2. Cerebral Palsy: Supports hands during eating and social activities like games.
  3. Visual Impairment: Assists in locating food and drinks, preventing spills.
  4. Developmental Disability: Aids in learning new skills such as using a knife and fork for eating, sensory toys and games.

Benefits of trays and wheelchair trays for social inclusion

 a diverse group of individuals, including people with disabilities, enjoying a social gathering around a table.

  • Autonomy and Independence
  • Boosted Self-Esteem and Confidence
  • Reduced Isolation and Dependence
  • Increased Social Participation
  • Enhanced Accessibility
  • Improved Quality of Life

How to choose the right tray or wheelchair tray

  • Consider User’s Needs: Size, shape, and special features like raised edges.
  • Intended Use: Different trays for eating/drinking and carrying items.
  • Environment of Use: Weatherproof options for outdoor use.

Enhancing Daily Independence: A Comparative Guide to the Tipsi Tray, Topple Tray, and Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray

Understanding Your Options for Enhanced Mobility and Convenience

When it comes to selecting aids that enhance daily living for individuals with disabilities, choosing the right product is crucial. Today, we’re focusing on three innovative products from Disability Health Shop: the Tipsi Tray, the Topple Tray, and the Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray.

Tipsi Tray: A Stable Solution for Shaky Hands

The Tipsi Tray is specifically designed for one-handed use, making it a perfect choice for individuals with conditions that result in shaky hands. Its level and stable design prevents spills, ensuring a hassle-free experience during your daily activities. Learn more about the Tipsi Tray here.

Topple Tray: Lightweight and Portable

Following the Tipsi Tray, the Topple Tray offers a more compact, lightweight solution. It maintains the benefits of single-handed use but adds the advantages of portability and ease. This tray is ideal for individuals who are always on the move. Discover more about the Topple Tray here.

Trabasack Mini Connect Bag and Tray: Versatile and Practical

Combining the functions of a travel bag and a wheelchair tray, the Trabasack Mini Bag and Tray is a game-changer. Not only does it provide a sturdy surface for various activities, but it also offers the convenience of a bag. Its velcro receptive surface ensures that items remain secure during travel. Get more details about the Trabasack Mini Connect Bag and Tray here.

Research showing the importance of sharing food and drink with friends and Family

.46 accessible restaurant setting designed for disabled people. The scene includes a spacious layout with wide aisles and tables

Research indicates that sharing food and drink and eating with other people is indeed important for social inclusion and well-being. Here are some key findings from the research:

  1. Importance of Belonging and Togetherness: Studies highlight the significance of belonging, togetherness, and interpersonal support in various cultures and religions, emphasizing that food rituals and communal eating are associated with improved physical health and reduced risks for various health conditions.
  2. Connection Between Social Eating and Happiness: Research from the University of Oxford reveals that the frequency of eating with others is positively correlated with feelings of happiness and satisfaction with life, indicating the importance of social eating in fostering well-being and social connections.
  3. Communal Eating and Social Bonding: The Washington Post discusses a study titled “Breaking Bread: The Functions of Social Eating,” which demonstrates a strong connection between communal eating and social bonding, suggesting that communal eating may have evolved as a mechanism for humans to enhance social connections and well-being.
  4. Evolutionary and Social Nature of Commensality: Scholarly discussions on commensality and food sharing highlight the evolutionary and social significance of eating together, emphasizing its role in connecting individuals as biological organisms to social beings and fostering internal solidarity.
  5. Food as a Means of Inclusion and Exclusion: The sharing of food is recognized as a means of inclusion, while eating separately or differently may contribute to exclusion. Food can serve as a language through which social affinities are expressed, and prohibitions on specific foods may differentiate between social selves and others[5].

In summary, the research consistently underscores the importance of sharing food and eating with others as a fundamental aspect of social inclusion, well-being, and the formation of social bonds across various cultures and societies


Where to purchase trays and wheelchair trays

  • Sources:
    • Medical Supply Stores
    • Online Retailers
    • Disability Organizations
    • NHS Wheelchair services may provide a tray, but it is not standard

Why we need the right wheelchair or specialist trays!

Trays and wheelchair trays play a crucial role in fostering social inclusion for disabled individuals, enhancing independence, participation, and quality of life.


Best One Handed Dressing Aids

Best One-Handed Dressing Aids

If you or someone you know has difficulty dressing due to a disability, injury, or condition affecting one hand, there are a variety of products available to make the process easier. Here are some of the best one-handed dressing aids:

1. Button Hook

A button hook is a simple tool that allows you to button shirts, blouses, and other clothing with small buttons using only one hand. It has a hook on one end and a loop on the other to pull the button through the buttonhole.

2. Zipper Puller

A zipper puller is a small device that clips onto a zipper and provides a larger, easier-to-grasp pull tab. This can be especially helpful for individuals with limited dexterity or strength in one hand.

3. Dressing Stick

A dressing stick is a long, lightweight tool with hooks or loops on either end. It can be used to pull up pants or skirts, reach for items that are out of reach, or manipulate clothing in other ways.

4. Sock Aid

A sock aid is a device that helps you put on socks without bending down or using both hands. It has a cradle for the foot and a long handle that you can hold onto while pulling the sock up.

5. Elastic Shoelaces

Elastic shoelaces are a convenient alternative to traditional laces, allowing you to slip your shoes on and off without tying and untying them. They can be adjusted to fit snugly without being too tight. A better alternative with real nylon laces that give better support are greeper laces.

6. One-Handed Belt

A one-handed belt is a belt that can be fastened and unfastened with just one hand. It uses a magnetic or hook-and-loop closure rather than a traditional buckle.

7. Adaptive Clothing

Adaptive clothing is designed specifically for individuals with disabilities, making it easier to dress independently. Features can include velcro closures, snap buttons, and open-back designs for individuals who use wheelchairs. A large range of adaptive clothing including velcro trousers can be found here.

8. Reacher Grabber

A reacher grabber is a tool that allows you to pick up items from the floor or high shelves without having to bend down or stretch up. It has a long handle with a claw or gripping device on the end. There is a range of premium reacher grabbers including a shoe helper grabber available. 

One-Handed Dressing Techniques

A practical guide to dressing with one hand can be found here.

Can Alexa be a telecare system to listen out when you need emergency help?

Could Amazon’s Alexa disrupt the telecare industry?

Amazon dot a small black disc gadget with blue lights.

Amazon ‘Echo dot’ is now arond £50 and can connect to your mobile phone.

If you need help and can’t reach a phone, Amazon’s Alexa could be a lifeline.

Amazon’s hands-free devices are becoming more and more popular for disabled people who are finding them a boon for enhancing daily life, with an easy interface and voice control of music, books, information  and web shopping. In homes up and down the country, people are using them for everything from ordering shopping online to checking the weather. And now they can call your friends and relatives when you want them, adding a new level of communication and if needed, support. Almost an Alexa telecare system!
Amazon has added a new function to Alexa to allow you to link your mobile phone and call a friend or relative.  You can use it to phone or message anyone hands-free using the alexa family of devices including Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Echo Show or the Alexa app on android smart phones or iphones, all with no extra cost.

Could Alexa supplement or replace telecare alarms for some people?

The Telecare industry provides peace of mind for people at home who may need help in an emergency and their families, traditionally using push button pendants worn on the body or pullcords installed in the house. The Alexa Echo system means you won’t even need to access those devices to make a call straight to your nearest and dearest, so could provide competition.
On the plus side, there are no buttons to be pushed or cords to be pulled. Only your voice is needed to activate Alexa and get your call made or message sent to your friends or relatives. All they need to do is download the free app onto their phones, and they can be reached instantly whenever you want. It does mean they will need their phones on and charged at all times. It also means that you need to be in voice range of an alexa device and able to call out. You could buy the smaller echo dot (at £50) and put them in each room. There is a voice operated controller that could also be carried.
And it’s not just in an emergency that you can make a call. Alexa will let you stay in touch all the time, with a hands-free calling and messaging system. this could be very useful for people who struggle with the buttons on phones or understanding how to use smart phones. Alexa will let also let you know when someone is calling you and the light ring will pulse green on newer Echo devices. You ask Alexa to answer or ignore the call.

“Drop in” : remote listening by others to your room!

There is also a feature called Drop In that allows selected family and friends to automatically call in to your device and listen to anything happening in range. This has privacy issues but could also be very reassuring to family and can be completely controlled by the owner of the device.


Disadvantages of Alexa as a telecare device

On the other hand, Alexa’s benefits are offset by the lack of 24-hour monitoring and support from call centres that are provided by a local Council services or private companies and the device could be affected by power cuts, whereas telecare systems are protected with back-up batteries.
A dark cylinder that houses the gadget Amazon alexa

Amazon echo


Old man with a telecare alarm pendant

Alarms needn’t be stigmatising but some people may feel that way. Image from who are a private telecare provider

Then there is the issue of cost. Alexa costs £50 for the smaller ‘echo dot’ system but as mentioned above, you may need more than one to provide coverage- and while it offers a whole lot more than just telecare of course, it could be a big cost to pay upfront, compared to the smaller weekly charge, (around £5 or less), for traditional telecare devices.

However, some people may be reluctant to have telecare installed because of the stigma issues of pendants and monitoring. ‘Alexa telecare’ may be much more appealing to younger people or as a stepping stone to more traditional telecare if it becomes needed or as a supplement to offer more options and a ‘less formal’ call for help.

So what else can it offer? Alexa brings a whole world of communication, including downloadable quizzes, podcasts and music from Amazon. You can listen to the news, find out about the weather and “check in” with friends and relatives – as well as order anything online from mail order giants Amazon.
For some it might be a good way to supplement your existing emergency telecare needs; for others, it could even replace it altogether. But it’s worth investigating the device before you make an investment in it.

Learn more about Alexa and Echo here:

A service directory of telecare providers is here