Stroke Survivor

A stroke survivor dedicated to helping people with disabilities live full lives.

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Commending Paul Berger

 Paul Named Virginia Advocate of the Year
AHA's "You're the Cure" Honor
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 Fairfax Caregiver

Kitchen Products

PAUL:  I don't mind cooking. I make simple meals, and try to be healthy.

Black Decker Jar OpenerOpening Jars

PAUL:  One of my favorite new tools is my electric jar opener. I have always had an under-the-cabinet bottle and jar  opener.  You slide the lid into the v-shaped grip and turn. This works okay one-handed for small bottles and jars, and I use it to open my hobby glue and paint jars. But this kind of opener is hard to use for larger jars, like salsa and spaghetti sauce jars, and sometimes I had to ask Stephanie to open them with two hands.  Now, I use the electric opener all the time.  It's quick and easy even with one hand.

STEPHANIE: I use it when I cook, too. It's great for women because we have weaker wrists. We bought one for my mom and she uses it all the time. Ours is white, to match our kitchen.

Black & Decker JW200 Lids Off Automatic Jar Opener, JW-200. Order online

iced tea makerIced Tea Maker
PAUL:  I like to drink iced tea all year-round, and usually make a pitcher at a time. To do this safely with one hand, I use a Iced Tea Maker, instead of a kettle. A full kettle of boiling water is difficult to pour into a pitcher, even if you haven't suffered a stroke. This Iced Tea Maker is light-weight and quick and easy to use. I brew green tea with a bag of peppermint tea for flavor.  It's very refreshing and healthy.

Order online

fingernail brushFruit and Vegetable Brush

PAUL:  I like to eat fresh fruits and vegetables.  My favorites are apples, pears, peaches, nectarines, grapes, and sweet red peppers. I use a brush with suction cups to hold it to the bottom of the sink under the faucet.  It's quick and easy to use with one hand..You can also use it as a fingernail brush. Order online

Important Daily Helper

Apex.size Timex Weekly sizejpg                           Staying healthy after a stroke often requires taking multiple medications. It is very important to take them on schedule, as the doctor directs. Missing doses or mixing them up can make you sick.Order online or order online.

Popping for Health

PopHotAir.sixe102I enjoy fresh popped popcorn at home, and after reading the research that popcorn can contribute to a healthy diet  I might eat a little more. I don't use microwave popcorn - it's too expensive, has extra calories, some gets burned, and it's hard to open with one hand.To see one like mine, Order online.

One-Handed, One Touch, No Cord

One-Touch Automatic Can Opener.I do most of the cooking, and I like small, simple, can-do kitchen products that are reasonably priced and easy to use with one hand. I tried the "one-touch automatic can opener" and have been very impressed. It uses batteries, so it can be part of your camping or emergency kit. I put it on the can, and push the button one time. It works its way all around the can, stopping when the lid is completely cut, without jagged edges, so it is safe to lift the lid off. .For cans with pop-tops (hard to pop off with one hand), I turn the can over and use the opener on the bottom. Order online  

Brain Food: Flax Seed

Coffee.grinder.sizeI survived a stroke, so taking good care of my brain is very important to me. Research shows that omega-3 fats help your brain and overall health--which I get by sprinkling a teaspoon of ground flaxseed on my cereal every morning. A bag of dry roasted whole flaxseeds from a gourmet grocery store lasts for months. Flaxseeds should be kept in the freezer in a container (like a plastic food saver) until you are ready to grind them and eat. I grind them easily with one hand in a coffee mill--the same small electric grinder used for coffee beans.
To see a coffee mill like mine,  Order online

Measuring With One Hand

1.4 Cup.sizeI cook dinner often and need to measure a tablespoon of oil just using one hand. I found the small size OXO GOOD GRIPS Angled Measuring Cup. I put the cup on the counter and pour in the oil to the exact amount I need. The patented angled surface lets you read measurement markings by looking straight down into the cup. To see a measuring cup like mine, Order online

The Cutting Edge

Rocker.knife.size.02My right hand is paralyzed, so I hold my fork with my left hand. To cut food with one hand, I use the Solid Handle Rocker Knife. It looks like good silverware. It is stainless steel and dishwasher safe and only weighs 3 ounces. The specially designed, curved blade allows food to be cut with a rocking motion. To see one visit, Order online.

In the Kitchen

OXO gRIP V-BLADE.SIZEI recently took a cooking class at the Stroke Comeback Center. We learned to cut cucumbers for salads (see Stephanie's article above) using the OXO's V-Blade Mandoline. It has a textured surface to keep food from sticking, a food holder to securely hold food and protect fingers, and non-slip feet keep it secure on the work surface.

To see the Mandoline slicer, click here.

Easy One-handed Drinks

Jug Kettle.size.In the winter, it is nice to have a cup of hot tea or hot chocolate. I have tried the old-fashioned kettle on the stove, and microwaving a cup of water. Both can be a little difficult for stroke survivors who can use only one hand, like me. When I visit my mother-in-law, I enjoy using her electric kettle, so I found one I like, the very reasonably priced Kalorik JK-19967 1500-Watt Cordless Jug Kettle.

This has a locking lid with opening trigger button, an illuminated switch, and easy-grip handle. It boils up to 60 ounces of water twice as fast as a microwave oven, and can also boil just 2 cups. The kettle lifts off its heating element without the cord, also a good for one-handed users.It has an automatic shut-off and other safety features

To see a white kettle like mine, click here.

Handling Cans

can.colander.size02Readers of my newsletter know that I have a can-opener easy to use with one hand. Once the can of fruit or vegetables is open, you need to drain the liquid. I found a small dishwasher-safe "can colander" that fits over the top of the can, the "Progressive Housewares GT3966 Can Colander." I can easily hold the colander on top of the can and turn it over in the sink so it drains without worrying about cutting my hand.

Since canned vegetables have added salt, I try to rinse some of the salt off. After draining the liquid, I run a little tap water into the can, put the colander on top, shake, then drain, repeating a few times.

To see one like mine, click here.

Fastening With One Hand

Clip Bag Sealers.sizeSince I share the cooking in our house, I need a way to close bags of frozen vegetables easily with one hand. I use the "Linden Sweden Twixit Clip Bag Sealers." The set of 27 assorted clips are easy to use, keep food fresh longer, and have a durable hinge. They come in three sizes - 2 1/4", 4 1/4" and 5 1/4" and are freezer, microwave and dishwasher safe.

 To see a set like mine, click here.

One-Handed Low Tech Opener

Jar Opener-corpTo open jars, I use a jar opener that attaches under the kitchen cabinet. It has a v-shaped guide that fits larger jars like jars of salsa medium-sized jars of jelly, soda or water bottle tops, and small jars like paint and glue for hobbies.

To see one like mine, click here.

Chop & Scoop

Dexas Chop & Scoop.4.8.12I cook most of our meals, and prepare breakfast. I use the Dexas Chop & Scoop little cutting board to cut bananas for my cereal. It has curved edges to keep the slices from rolling away--a problem for one-handed cooks, like me.  The grip handle makes it easy to tip the slices into the bowls.

It is made of polypropylene which will not dull your knives, and is non-stick, non-absorbent, non-porous and odor resistant, and dishwasher safe. I use the smaller 10-1/2" x 6-1/2" size. They have 3 sizes.

To see one like mine, click here:

On Time

TIMER-SIZEStaying on time is important in many of my activities, and it is a little challenging, since doing everything with one hand means I'm slow. So I use a small digital timer to remind me how many minutes I have to finish a task, or leave for an appointment, or to time a presentation that I'm practicing, or when I'm cooking. I use one like this CDN TM8 Digital Timer that slips into my shirt pocket, clips on, or sticks to the refrigerator with its magnet.

To see one like mine, click here.

Spinning With One Hand

Salad spinner2A few weeks ago, I was helping to make dinner in my sister-in-law's kitchen, by making the salad. I washed the lettuce leaves, then tried to spin-dry them in her standard salad spinner. It required holding the bowl with one hand and turn the crank with the other. It was very hard for me.

My mother-in-law was watching & helping. She suggested that I would be happier using the kind of salad spinner she uses. It is the OXO SoftWorks Salad Spinner. It has a push-button spinner, and can be managed by a one-handed person, is dishwasher safe, the pieces come apart to use separately, it comes in 2 sizes, large & small, and is reasonably priced.

To see one like ours, click here.  

One-Handed Kitchen Helper

Swedish Cutting Board.sizeCutting fruit & vegetables can be difficult with one hand. The Swedish Cutting Board is a good kitchen tool with stainless steel spikes to hold food for cutting or slicing, and a vise to hold larger food items, or jars or mixing bowls. Rubber suction feet hold the board securely in place. It's easy-to-clean white plastic, and a nice size at 12 x 11 inches.

To see one, click here.

Easy One-Handed Lattes at Home

Aerolatte Milk Frother  trace1On cold winter days, it's nice to make our favorite frothy steamed drinks at home. We make coffee and tea lattes and hot chocolate by warming milk in a glass measuring cup in the microwave for a minute or so, then frothing it with a small, hand-held, battery-powered aerator. The Aerolatte Milk Frother looks like an electric toothbrush with a little round wire mixing head. It's stainless steel, uses 2 AA batteries, and rinses easily for a fast clean-up.

To see one like mine, click here.

Chop Chop

Salad Chopper Last month at my stroke support group meeting, we had a food preparation demonstration. These are always fun, because at the end, you get to eat the demonstration. I was impressed with some of the items that one-handed cooks, like me, could use, particularly the salad chopper. It has spring-loaded, titanium-coated stainless steel blades & an easy-grip handle. You chop salad, salsa, or anything right in the bowl.

To see one, click here

Serving With One Hand

OXO Good Grips 9-Inch Locking Tongs with Nylon HeadsOne of my favorite one-handed tools are tongs. Tongs allow me to toss & serve salads; grip & turn burgers, chicken, fish filets & other items in the oven; lift toast out of the toaster; serve cut-up fruit; and many other things that might otherwise require 2 hands. Also, I use them to grab a box or can that's a few inches out of my reach.

I have half a dozen different tongs. Here's one that's very versatile: the OXO GOOD GRIPS Tongs, with sturdy stainless steel arms, soft grips. nylon, heat-resistant heads to protect cookware & dishwasher safe. The tongs lock in a closed position for convenient storage.

To see Tongs like mine, click here

Easy Cutting

classic shears with grip- cripI tested the KitchenAid Classic Shears With Soft Grip at a recent Stroke Comeback Center hands-on review of kitchen products for people with weakness in one hand, like me. They have a soft handle, and stainless steel blades with micro-serrations for enhanced cutting performance & extra thickness for added strength and durability.

To see one like I used, click here

Rocking Vege Chopper

Kuhn Rikon Green-6 Kulu Herb - veg Knife 1OZKnives that have a rounded blade allow a stroke survivor to cut vegetables with one hand using a rocking motion. Regular knives use a sawing motion, so you need a way to hold the food. I tried the Kuhn Rikon Kulu vegetable knife at the Stroke Comeback Center and liked it. Chopping and dicing was easy.

This is a modern version of the traditional Eskimo Kulu knife, with a nonstick-coated surface to ensure instant release of leafy vegetables and herbs. It has a wide hand grip for firm control     and is dishwasher-safe.

To see one like mine, click here.

One-Handed Can Opener

Chef'n EzSqueeze One-Handed Can Opener Recently, I attended a hand(s)-on, one-handed tool demonstration at the Stroke Comeback Center. I was impressed with the Chef'n EzSqueeze One-Handed Can  Opener:

* Open a can with 1 hand, with just a few squeezes, quickly, safely and easily, without batteries
* Stainless steel cutting blade; magnetic end allows for easy and safe removal of lids
* Top-rack dishwasher safe

To see one, click here.

One-handed Gourmet Breakfast Maker

Hamilton Beach 4-Piece Belgian Waffle Make 6-9-17There are many small kitchen appliances that I use to prepare meals with one hand. One is a waffle maker like the Hamilton Beach 26020 Belgian Style Waffle Baker. You can make the batter in a mixing bowl with a handle and spout to pour onto the waffle maker with one hand. You don't need to turn them, since they heat on both sides. When done, you lift out with tongs

Waffles are not just for breakfast! You can use waffles for lunch in place of bread for tasty sandwiches, or for dinner in place of potatoes or rice

The Hamilton Beach 26020 Belgian Style Waffle Baker features:
* Nonstick, easy-clean grids
* Indicator lights to tell you when the power is
on, when it's ready to pour in batter, and when the
waffles are done
* Makes 4 fluffy waffles
* Black & stainless steel design
* Compact, upright storage.

To see one like mine, click here.

One-Handed Secure Containers

1.7-Quart Rectangle Container Opening and closing containers with secure lids with one hand is hard. Over the years I have tried many products. My new favorite is the Good Grips Pop Storage Container. I set up the coffee maker the night before, and use the 1.7-Quart Rectangle Container to store ground coffee. It fits on the shelf in my fridge. It is easy to open and close without pilling, and the large opening is easy to scoop.

You push the button on top for an airtight seal , and push again to release. You can store many things, including cereal, flour, sugar, pasta, rice, coffee, nuts, and snacks. The Stroke Comeback Center uses one to store cookies.

It's easy to wash, and some parts can go in the dishwasher.And it comes in many sizes.

To see one like mine, click here.  

Easy-Off Jar Lids

RoboTwist Jar Opener.50Our kitchen is designed so I can cook, including making dinner. Opening jars of pizza sauce or jelly is hard with one hand. I use the RoboTwist Jar Opener, a small opener that goes on top of the jar. RoboTwist's no-slip clamp adjusts itself and grips around the lid, then twists and pops off the lid. It is battery operated, compact, and portable. Robotwist doesn't utilize blades or plug in so it is safe and environment-friendly.

To see one like mine, click here.

If you have the counter space, you may want to use the Black & Decker Lids Off opener. To see one like mine, click here.

Click here for other helpful everyday products.
Click here for my recommended Aphasia Rehabilitation & Reference Books
Click here for my favorite Internet resources and links

Click here for a list of my books and tapes

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 How to Conquer the World With One Hand...And an Attitude
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You are marvels!  I just read the newsletter ... and it is simply priceless (I always read them, and they are all noteworthy, but this one is beyond good.)  Paul, your book is in my book as something that all clinicians should have, read, pass on (ie, make them buy) to their clients.
 -Audrey Holland, Professor Emerita,University of Arizona

I came across your website today and just wanted to congratulate you on providing a helpful resource for stroke survivors and healthcare professionals.
     -Marisca Baldwin, The Pat Arato Aphasia Centre, Toronto,,Canada

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