An overdue post directed at survivors & caregivers listing out products in which have helped me a lot over the past few years. I so wish I would have stumbled upon such a listing early on, so figured I better share! I have another page here on my blog with resources in general, but I feel my detail below is worth a read.
Firstly, IMHO I need to offer advice and a give big warning: Consider these products only if you’re at a point to where you’ve exhausted trying all you can using your affected side! Early on, I wish more than anything someone had told me to more or less force use of my affected left side before pursuing such as the below list. That period, particularly under a year or so is so critical to neuroplasticity. I remain bitter & dismayed at the medical system’s one-size fits all stroke protocol, where OTs would go directly to suggesting such ADL aids, not forcing early on use of the affected side!! Otherwise, man will you get all too used to using your ‘good hand’. 😦
I tried in most cases to make sure I was at a stage where Activities of Daily Living (ADLs) outweighed the struggle and I had to get on with my life. It took a lot of research and searching for the below list that continues to grow! I’ll do what I can to update over time.
Worth mentioning to are the MANY companies (here & here, for example) out there which offer a whole slew of products that aid survivors. I used some of the products early on, but the below list are my favorite finds that are more difficult to run across.
Under Armour Men’s Storm ColdGear Infrared Dobson Softshell Jacket -They have an entire line of jackets with a revolutionary zipper what they call ‘MagZip’ and it totally works with one hand! It gives you Independence back for sure. It’s about the only zipper that I have a chance to zip up on my own. Short demo & more here
- Salomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe -Absolutely a must unless you want to feel beyond your age and wear Velcro. Not being able to tie my own shoes has been really rough, but these provide independence, look good, and have incredible traction! Otherwise for work shoes, I have to pester Jeanie to tie my old still beloved dress shoes when headed to the office or out or of course slip on a pair of loafers, but otherwise I live in the Solomons
Logitech G700s Programmable Mouse -For over a year I used these foot pedals where they programming for example ctrl-C & V for standard text editing. They worked fine for some time, but with only three pedals, you are a bit too limited. Training your foot to where & what pedal proved to be a challenge as well. But recently, I did run across this foot pedal board (funny name eh?) that does look really great & useful that I really would look into more & try out, but the mouse I talk more about below seems so far to address all my needs.
One of my favorite recent finds allows programmable 13 different controls, now essentially replacing what I needed the pedals for. I have always struggled big time, not to mention loss in productivity especially that I work in IT having to edit design docs & write scripts all day long. Not being able to quickly hit ctrl/C or ctrl/V, ctrl/mouse-click or shift/mouse-click makes you REALLY slow! I now have buttons for: Forward, Back, ctrl-C, ctrl-V, F5, shift, ctrl, and the other standard buttons of the modern mouse as they are. See image below of the programming UI showing the buttons that were easily programmed. Another truly awesome feature is you can set up the mouse on your PC at home and take it to say your office and all the programming follows you as it’s stored in the mouse itself with its memory on board! The speed wheel on the mouse also really work well too. When the rechargeable standard AA battery gets low, it warns,and you can simply plug it in to a USB charging cable & still use it while charging. Bad ass features!
A question I get asked all the time is why I haven’t used voice recognition software such as Dragon Naturally speaking. Well, though I use voice dictation on my mobile device all the time for texting, email, etc., I find it not only difficult to train and get used to Dragon, it’s also very cumbersome for me especially at work where I’m constantly juggling back-n-forth between several applications that just fail to have Dragon integration. So it’s just easier to stick with my hunt & peck struggle and use a standard keyboard & this new mouse and just make it work. But Dragon for a lot of survivors may work to suit needs just fine!
ORBLUE All-In-One Onion Holder -Pretty neat contraption that I’ve blogged before on here that allows you to hold and slice food. Gives you some independence back, along with trying to finally make a meal or two for your loving caregiver that otherwise slaves to always cook for you everyday! IMHO it sure beats some board like this one where you constantly hit the pegs with your knife. Haven’t tried this one, but it does look promising for many kitchen related tasks though.On the topic of kitchen gadgets, this glass washer looks promising, but haven’t yet tried it.
- Long-handled body brush for the shower -Bought early on, but oddly enough just started to use it more and really like it. Gets your back and I find I don’t really need to mess with a wash rag even
- Liquid soaps are the way to go while on the topic of showering/bathing, but sort of a given. What I use, to Jeanie’s dismay, hell for my hair too 🙂
Again, I’ll do what I can to update over time.