There was not supposed to be a second part to this blog post, but as the current world health crisis rages onward, staying indoors has led to an increase in online shopping in my home. As with the first blog post, the goal is to highlight items not specifically designed to increase accessibility and quality of life but do so anyway. To remain unbiased, brand names are kept to a minimum. Please be a wise consumer and research which product best fits your needs.
Round Smartphone Stands
More commonly referred to as Pop Sockets, these small accessories have a hidden design benefit that adds to their inherent accessibility. The sockets are a raised piece of plastic that adheres to the back of a phone or tablet in order to provide extra grip in the hand and act as a stand while streaming content. I updated my wardrobe a few years ago with a sliding storage system from Ikea. It doesn’t have knobs and usually opens fine, but sometimes it does not. Instead of affixing the socket to a phone, I put it on one of the closet’s sliding doors, which gave me enough grip to open a door. Sometimes, using an item in a different way is the ultimate accessibility life hack. For the record, I know adhesive coat hangers exist, but these come in a variety of unique designs. Try putting one on a surface where you need a firmer hold or more leverage.
Automatic Soap Dispenser
Personal hygiene is important now more than ever, but it is often hard to accomplish for people with disabilities. Handwashing is particularly difficult given the need to supinate your hands, especially for soap dispensers in public places. Cupping your hands around a fixed soap dispenser is a feat in itself, imagine doing so with something that countless numbers of people have used before you. Please do not misunderstand, soap is designed to kill germs. The dispenser is gross. An automatic soap dispenser maintains a cleaner living space in an inexpensive way. The soap should kill the germs on the dispenser and hands-free options seem to transmit less germs if used properly. As an added accessibility benefit, the touching or waving is easier than turning my hands over. Thankfully, automatic dispensers are becoming increasingly popular in public places and personal hand sanitizer is an essential part of navigating life today.
Pain management is a necessary part of living life with a disability. Regardless of your pain management regimen, consider adding a portable massager. It does wonders for muscles and joints. Individuals who use primarily seated mobility devices like manual wheelchairs and power wheelchairs could potentially experience less muscle tightness and increased circulation over time. Best of all, because the massagers are portable, they can be operated independently or with minimal assistance. When more labor-intensive alternatives are not options, massagers are wonderful for pain relief and in general. While the cost, even on the lower end is relatively high, the massager pays for itself in one use.
I do not cook. Fire and sharp objects scare me. So, when I say that air fryers are life changing, I mean it. It replaces at least three appliances in your home and the chance that the fire department is called is dramatically reduced. The number of simple meals one can make with something like this is beyond comprehension. Need convincing? Type your favorite food followed by “air fryer recipe” in a search engine to see just how easy cooking can be with the help of this magical device. I would say that air fryers are necessary items to make quick and easy meals, especially if you have a disability. Really, anyone can benefit. Do yourself a favor and buy one.
About Tim Shin: Tim lives in River Vale, NJ, and uses an Edge® 3 Power Wheelchair for greater mobility and independence. He enjoys food, fashion, music and television. Click here to learn more about Tim.