Helpful Hacks, Ideas and Workarounds: Necessity is the Mother of Invention
We at The Rollin’ RNs love to share helpful information as we find it and this is no different. Everyday life with a spinal cord injury (SCI) is complete with challenges for some of the simplest tasks and routines. You know the saying, “Necessity is the mother of invention"? Well we’re here to tell you we’ve been there, done that! So together we have collected items and ideas and put them on paper with both a description and links for your convenience.
AS A DISCLAIMER: We are NOT promoting any of these items or vendors. So, make sure to shop around for the items and prices that will work best for your individual needs. We’ve had fun coming up with this list and we invite you to share your hacks, ideas and workarounds that might be helpful for others.
Reacher. This tool makes it easy to pick up items off the floor, above your head and even out of the washing machine. Anything out of your reach is easier to get to with one of these. https://www.amazon.com/Reacher-Foldable-Lightweight-Reaching-Extension/dp/B07P9651DR/ref=sr_1_10?keywords=reacher&qid=1584207989&sr=8-10
Transfer Sheet. Transfer sheets are ideal to protect wet bottoms when using a board to transfer after a shower. They also make it easier to move around on the bed or in your wheelchair. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07NZZ5L56/ref=cm_sw_r_sms_c_api_i_xMgEDb2MMWA9Q
Push rim covers. I ordered these push rim covers a couple of years ago and love them. They simply fit right over your existing hand rims. They provide extra grip making it much easier going up ramps etc. They do tend to create hand friction and get hot when going downhill at a fast pace but I wear gloves when I’m out and about. I’ve had this same pair for years with no problems. Order by your wheel size. It’s a UK company I think but had no issues shipping to Texas. http://rehadesign.com/products/wheelchair-pushrim-covers
Mixing bowls. These bowls are made of plastic and are lightweight and have a handle making them easier to work with. Dishwasher safe. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01NBVID89/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_image?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Cutting Board for lap. An insulated cutting board makes it easier to carry things on your lap. I use one for chopping on my lap and it also protects my lap from hot food when I’m cooking. https://www.amazon.com/HOMWE-Easy-Grip-BPA-Free-Non-Porous-Dishwasher/dp/B0723FXC74/ref=sxin_3_ac_d_pm?ac_md=2-0-VW5kZXIgJDIw-ac_d_pm&cv_ct_cx=cutting+board&keywords=cutting+board&pd_rd_i=B0723FXC74&pd_rd_r=1ef2056e-68ee-43c7-8727-a323c153be73&pd_rd_w=z9nL0&pd_rd_wg=hOwyc&pf_rd_p=516e6e17-ed95-417b-b7a4-ad2c7b9cbae3&pf_rd_r=DZ0863TBMCKRT049BG80&psc=1&qid=1582654781
Candle lighter. This lighter is easy to operate especially for those with some limited hand dexterity and
Amazon Echo Dot. Voice control your smart home with Amazon Alexa. Control your lights, music, blinds, locks, etc. https://www.amazon.com/Echo-Dot/dp/B07FZ8S74R/ref=pd_bxgy_img_2/147-1564937-2344314?_encoding=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B07FZ8S74R&pd_rd_r=05f3065b-22c5-49bf-9628-b8a0a735ef31&pd_rd_w=kx1nN&pd_rd_wg=ziGPg&pf_rd_p=fd08095f-55ff-4a15-9b49-4a1a719225a9&pf_rd_r=KQQNMG81DHYSDVKCZVV3&psc=1&refRID=KQQNMG81DHYSDVKCZVV3
Google Mini Home. Provides similar services as Alexa. https://www.bestbuy.com/site/home-mini-1st-generation-smart-speaker-with-google-assistant-chalk/6082194.p?skuId=6082194
Smart plugs. Compatible with Amazon Alexa to use voice control or phone app to control your lights, appliances or anything that can be plugged in! https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07727D1VC?ref=yo_pop_ma_share&fbclid=IwAR0yD8xjJsw6QCjnzvqdk9LXvAC5tnbfQlQVHOpPghDyIgnW9ROaIKYPsmE
Travel pillows. Great for using in your bed between knees or behind bottom or back for support or to keep you in place at night. https://www.walmart.com/ip/AllerEase-14-x-20-Zippered-Travel-Pillow-Protector/52805131
Gloves for life. Gloves specially made for wheelchair users. Aids in pushing wheelchair or handling daily tasks when hand dexterity is limited. https://www.glovesforlife.com
Cell phone holder. Fits in front of wheelchair making it very accessible. https://cushpocket.com
Oven gliding rack. When using the oven, a gliding rack is a must for ease and safety getting dishes in and out of the oven from your wheelchair. Check for a rack that is compatible with your oven manufacturer. https://www.genuinereplacementparts.com/kitchenaid-kose507ewh00-roll-out-oven-rack-genuine-oem?gclid=Cj0KCQiAtOjyBRC0ARIsAIpJyGOvBk8PDxGI_HNv0YW0ant5MBoioRqNv83ZcI3xoKAJoACETH7TlhwaAqPNEALw_wcB
Pullup Bed Ladder Rope. This rope makes it easy to pull up from a lying down position to a sitting up position in bed. The ladder easily attaches to your bed frame. https://www.amazon.com/Vive-Bed-Ladder-Assist-Recovery/dp/B07215NF33/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?crid=18LLKO9WF5H0F&keywords=bed+ladder+assist+strap&qid=1583085687&sprefix=bed+ladder%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUEyR0VMRVpLNE1KS1FOJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzAwMzAzSVJIOEU0SVZEWkdUJmVuY3J5cHRlZEFkSWQ9QTA4NDM2NTVHOU45MTJSNk9JMlAmd2lkZ2V0TmFtZT1zcF9hdGYmYWN0aW9uPWNsaWNrUmVkaXJlY3QmZG9Ob3RMb2dDbGljaz10cnVl
Bungee Cord to keep your feet in place on your foot plate. Attach a bungee cord to the front of your foot plate to keep your feet in place when you’re out and about outside on uneven pavement, curb cutouts, etc. https://www.amazon.com/Cartman-Bungee-Cords-Assortment-Piece/dp/B00S7HKJ1I/ref=sr_1_4?crid=3VUZGDSAYPFE4&keywords=bungee+cords&qid=1583085925&sprefix=bungee%2Caps%2C169&sr=8-4
Hot Air Styling Brush. This tool is both a blow dryer and styling brush in one. Works well for those of us with core balance limitations because you only need one hand to work with it. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LSUQSB0/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Bedside Storage Table. Moveable storage cabinet to keep supplies, remotes, etc. close to your bed. Wooden or metal with wheels. https://www.amazon.com/ADEPTUS-88001-Drawer-Roll-Solid/dp/B07F272LWH/ref=sr_1_13?crid=KEXXQJJBNMCZ&keywords=wooden%2Bstorage%2Bcabinet%2Bwith%2Bdrawers&qid=1583087120&sprefix=wooden%2Bstorage%2Bcabinet%2Caps%2C161&sr=8-13&th=1
Countertop cooktop / 2 burner. Countertop cooktop that’s easy and safe to reach. Avoids the reaching over a hot burner to back burners. https://www.amazon.com/Duxtop-9620LS-Induction-Countertop-1800-Watt/dp/B07GB149V7/ref=sxbs_sxwds-stvp?cv_ct_cx=ceramic+counter+cooktop&keywords=ceramic+counter+cooktop&pd_rd_i=B07GB149V7&pd_rd_r=0c1c2f51-df2c-44e9-9654-47ba8fcb91ed&pd_rd_w=bBPOI&pd_rd_wg=zQK0c&pf_rd_p=a6d018ad-f20b-46c9-8920-433972c7d9b7&pf_rd_r=0F6PD8R59S0M5X5N3QZG&psc=1&qid=1583348898
Toaster Oven with multiple settings for baking/broiling/toasting, etc. Counter height for easy reach from wheelchair. Find a toaster oven that works best for you. https://www.amazon.com/Ninja-Multi-Purpose-Counter-top-Convection-SP101/dp/B07SCGY2H6/ref=sr_1_8?crid=2JEN5S6E881XL&keywords=ninja+foodi&qid=1584122855&sprefix=ninja+%2Caps%2C176&sr=8-8
Ring Doorbell. Smart doorbell that allows you to see who’s at your front door, talk to them while recording them using your smart phone. There are other brands of smart doorbells that will work as well. Ring provides many additional safely cameras and options. I have a security camera at my front door which allows me to see who is at front door prior to answering that works through my phone. https://ring.com
Roomba. Remote control vacuum that cleans your floors. You can operate it using Alexa (smart home device) or your smart phone. There are other brands on the market. https://www.amazon.com/iRobot-Roomba-675-Connectivity-Carpets/dp/B07DL4QY5V/ref=sxin_0_ac_d_pm?ac_md=3-0-VW5kZXIgJDQwMA%3D%3D-ac_d_pm&cv_ct_cx=roomba&keywords=roomba&pd_rd_i=B07DL4QY5V&pd_rd_r=fae92caf-87a8-46e8-9b4c-d4168b25814a&pd_rd_w=9gvEI&pd_rd_wg=fGK4Y&pf_rd_p=516e6e17-ed95-417b-b7a4-ad2c7b9cbae3&pf_rd_r=6PBGJJCM8KGMCNP8106G&psc=1&qid=1584121469&s=beauty
Acrylic Canister Set with Lids. Light weight canister set with easy-to-open locking lids for your organizational needs. https://www.amazon.com/Oggi-9322-Canister-Lids-Food-Container/dp/B000RY46G8/ref=sr_1_4?keywords=acrylic+containers+with+lids&qid=1584216516&s=home-garden&sr=1-4
Cookie Dough Scoop. Easy to handle with one hand when baking cookies. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XKZCJCL/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Faucets to the side of the sink. Easier to reach from a wheelchair.
Hot/Cold pipes safely tucked into side cabinet. To avoid burns to the legs with hot pipes.
Cabinet door pull for front door. Attach one to any door that you need to close from your wheelchair. Works great and you are able to avoid unsightly rope from doorknob.
Kitchen oven. We have a KitchenAid double oven. The lower one is just the right height for me in my chair and the middle rack rolls out so I don't have to reach into the oven. I have an insulated cutting board that I use on my lap for transferring things into and out of the oven and up to the counter. It works well for me. I also love my KitchenAid gas stove. Controls are in the front and I have a stainless-steel hood above that works like a mirror so I can see into my pots.
Set your Instant Pot or Crock Pot on a chair. Much easier to add ingredients and keep an eye on when cooking.
Paper Towel Drawer. Easy access to paper towels. No reaching.
French door refrigerator with accessible drawer. There’s an extra drawer in the middle, a big freezer drawer below, an ice and water dispenser on door all easy to reach from a wheelchair.
Corner Cabinet with Lazy Susan. Corner door was removed and baskets placed on shelves for easier access and door is not in the way of your chair.
Kitchen drawer with pegs for dishes. I found drawers to be easier to deal with than cabinet doors in a chair. So all of my lower cabinets are drawers not doors.
Create a NO PARKING Cone. Protect the space next to your car/van so you can get in and out easily and safely.
Collapsible Carry Tote. Perfect size to place on your lap for carrying items at home or out at the store. Handles make it easy to handle. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B084J6MW87/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1
Hand held mirror. Use for cooking to look into pots on the stove or adding detergent to a front-loading washing machine. https://www.amazon.com/OMIRO-Mirror-Black-Handheld-Handle/dp/B07R227P9H/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?keywords=handheld+mirror&qid=1584471818&sr=8-1-spons&psc=1&spLa=ZW5jcnlwdGVkUXVhbGlmaWVyPUExMUEzQlhGREZHWTMwJmVuY3J5cHRlZElkPUEwMzA5NDg4MzFNWVdKV05UTkNTNyZlbmNyeXB0ZWRBZElkPUEwMDY5MjU2MlBDQVNQWDlMMkg1NiZ3aWRnZXROYW1lPXNwX2F0ZiZhY3Rpb249Y2xpY2tSZWRpcmVjdCZkb05vdExvZ0NsaWNrPXRydWU=
We hope this list can help you with some of those pesky household and daily workarounds!
Remember it’s all good, so keep on rollin’.
Patty, BSN,RNC and Roberta, RN
The Rollin’ RNs