For people who have difficulty in performing daily tasks, like feeding themselves, washing and getting dressed, occupational therapists (or OT’s, as we are better known) can provide them with adaptive equipment that may help them to find more independence. But the list doesn’t end there. OT’s can also assist people in daily living activities of writing, using a cell phone or computer and even cooking a meal.
OT’s will find ways for you to compensate by re-organizing activity patterns, adapting techniques, equipment or the environment. The goal is Independence!
For some individuals, the simple task of feeding themselves may be a struggle. Adapted plates or dishes, cups and various types of adapted utensils can ease this challenging task. One may require wrist or hand splints to compensate for weakness or a universal cuff for those lacking the ability to grasp a utensil.
Other tasks to consider:
Individuals with limited reach to their lower extremities may use a long handled shoehorn or sponge.
For those who cannot tie shoelaces due to limited hand function, vision or reach, elastic shoelaces may solve this problem.
Reachers are designed to extend your reach upward or downward to avoid bending.
And sock aides can enable one to put on their socks, also without bending or the ability to reach your toes.
For those of you who lack fine motor coordination, or have the use of only one hand, a zipper pull or button hook may be helpful.
As pinch and dexterity decrease, handwriting, cell phone and computer use may be a challenge. Enlarging the pencil or pointer with built up foam, using a universal cuff or even a writing or typing splint may be indicated.
All of these devices are designed to allow you to continue with normal activities. Most can be found through medical or rehabilitation dealers (even local stores, i.e. Bed and Bath), or by searching the Internet for “ daily living aides.”
Just when you thought you could no longer perform these daily tasks, remember that with the use of these “cool gadgets,” you can regain your independence. Want to learn even more…. See an Occupational Therapist to “help you live your life to its fullest!”
Ellen Gold, OTR/L