Every person with a disability knows that adaptive equipment like wheelchairs and standers are essential to for daily living, but what about the items that make life easier for everyone? Here is a list of my favorite products that promote universal accessibility. To remain unbiased, no brands will be mentioned, and please be a wise consumer and research which product best fits your needs.
Water Bottle with Straw Lid
I’ve had dysphagia, or difficulty swallowing, for as long as I can remember. Ten years ago, I wanted to figure out a better way to drink certain liquids, because I primarily struggle with thin liquids like water. I needed to find a solution that wasn’t always a plastic straw (even though they are very useful). A few Amazon searches later, I found a water bottle with an integrated straw attachment. The bottle was great, but it would leak and also create condensation. It was then I found reusable straw lids and paired them with a stainless-steel water bottle. The lids themselves come in various sizes, hard plastic tubing, and a cleaning device used to prevent germs. The lids can fit on almost every water bottle and even some cups. I now have two bottles. One for water and the other for everything else. The tubing attached to the lids is sturdier than paper straws, less dangerous than metal ones, and reusable.
I bought a bidet when I started college to help caregivers while I was in the bathroom. Now, almost a decade later, it has become an essential part of my day. Because I require complete assistance in the bathroom, the bidet reduces wiping and greatly improves my overall experience. The water makes the entire process feel more hygienic and some of the more expensive models come with heated seats as well as massage options. The countless number of friends that I’ve convinced to buy one, assure me that that their bathroom experiences are remarkably better.
Before purchasing a video doorbell in August of last year, my process for receiving packages was as follows: hear a knock at the door, emerge from the back entrance of my home, scare the courier (unintentionally), repeat. Now, however, I can interact with anyone at my door with the push of a button with the help of a two-way microphone. This feature comes standard on virtually all video doorbells, which makes it easy to communicate with anyone outside by using a push-to-talk feature, as well as pre-recorded words or phrases. I can even scare people no matter where I am, because the doorbell is connected to my phone so I can check on my house in real time.
Electric Facial Brush
Even a master of the one-handed face wash needs a deep clean one in a while. My battery-operated scrubber cleans deep inside my pores with minimal effort and I leave feeling more refreshed and energized to start my day. The great thing about the brush is that doubles as an applicator for things like moisturizer and sunscreen.
Home Automation Devices
Not to undermine their incredible usefulness, but automation devices are, arguably, the most well-known addition to this list. So, I didn’t think to talk about them in much detail. Connect compatible devices to control everything from a television to a microwave. The “always on” feature creeps me out, but they are very handy for those with limited motor function.
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About Tim Shin: Tim lives in River Vale, NJ, and works as a communications manager for AbleThrive, a nonprofit organization. He enjoys food, fashion, music and television. Click here to learn more about Tim.