Things to Live By
Here are some useful products that make life easier and more independent for stroke survivors, people with aphasia, people who use only one hand, people with mobility issues and physical disabilities, and anyone who wants to make their day a little easier around the house, in the kitchen, grooming, reading, writing, moving around, going out, traveling, working, playing, enjoying life.
My speech, occupational and physical therapists helped me learn to be independent by teaching me techniques for one-handed living, a weak right leg, and speech problems from aphasia. Then, it was up to me to continue to find new tricks and tools for my personal care, household chores, work and play. Like most people, we live on a tight budget. So, instead of ordering from an expensive medical equipment supplier, we look for gadgets in our local department store, hardware store, drug store, and occasionally a specialty catalog. You can find almost anything on Amazon, so we have provided a link to Amazon to see and order products like mine.
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Holding small books open with angle weights
Some of my favorite tools are my angle weights. They look like small bookends but are heavy enough to hold open a checkbook or paperback book or serve as a paperweight for everyday activities and crafts where you need an extra hand to hold things. You can also hold something in place to cut or glue between two angle weights. They don't break or chip. I have different sizes, and probably use the 2" x 2" x 2” the most.
Measure and Cut in One Swipe
Cutting paper in a straight line with one hand is a challenge. I use the compact and lightweight 12 inch Fiskars SureCut Portable Trimmer on my desk. I can line up a regular-sized piece of paper, measure and cut just where I need to cut with a swipe down the built-in ruler. The ruler extends to the full length of the paper. You can cut coupons, photos, notepaper, craft paper, and light card stock easily. It can cut a few pieces of paper at a time.
One-handed Digital Photography
I use my smartphone for everyday photos, but when I travel, or for special events, I use a digital camera, the Canon PowerShot ELPH 180. You can take better photos than from your phone, especially landscape or close-ups of items further away, you can take longer videos, and the Canon compensates if I’m a little shaky, since I can only use one hand. It’s small, lightweight, fits into my pocket.
Arm Support for Computer Use
Since I can't use my right hand, my left hand does double duty, especially on the computer. I use an articulating arm support to reduce the stress on my left arm, the ErgoRest Articulating Arm Support. It provides comfortable arm, shoulder, and neck support with a free range of motion. It clamps easily onto my computer desk and is sturdy and durable.
One-handed Writing Helper
Signing a card or letter or check or drawing with one hand can be difficult because the paper moves around. I use a simple, low cost solution: Dycem non-slip material. I cut a square for my desk from the roll. You can also cut it to any size to use as a grip around pens, tools or other items. You can pack it in a backpack to take with you. Dycem is non-slip on both sides, reusable, easy to clean, latex-free, non-toxic, antimicrobial, and comes in a variety of colors.
I tested the KitchenAid All Purpose Shears with Protective Sheath at a Stroke Comeback Center hands-on review of kitchen products for people with weakness in one hand, like me. These scissors have a comfortable handle that works for either left-handed or right-handed user, and stainless steel blades with micro-serrations for enhanced cutting performance and extra thickness for added strength and durability.