At Home Everyday Gear Nursing Home

Why You Might Want to Pay $500 for Titanium Eye Glasses

Image of Eye Glasses Being RepairedA couple of months ago, I wrote about the the titanium glasses we got for my dad and discussed the amazing flexibility of the frames. This week they were put to the test. It’s not quite clear what happened — apparently my dad’s glasses landed on the floor and were either stepped on by an aide or perhaps wheeled over by . . . well, we won’t say who.

Image of a Swiss Army Card Tool Kit

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Medical Practice

Make a Medical Record Book, Part 1 – Putting It Together

Life got a lot simpler for us when I made a medical notebook for my dad. His interest in accurately reporting relevant events and symptoms at any given medical appointment has always been minimal, and some days I was just too frazzled to rely on my own already overclocked brain.

An inexpensive three-ring binder from an office supply store made it much easier to keep information flowing and doctor visits productive. After I made Dad’s, I went home and made one for each member of my family.

At Home Games/Recreation Nursing Home

Art Card Game for Mental Stimulation

Image of Renaissance Art Card GameWhen a person’s ability to interact with the broader physical world is limited, creating intellectually and visually stimulating moments can become becomes much more difficult. At the same time, quality of life may depend even more on that kind of stimulation.

At Home Everyday Gear

Tool to Keep Onions and Tomatoes Stable While Slicing

Image of a Vegetable Carving AidA kitchen accident a year and a half ago left me with two numb fingers, and a reasonable fear of knives. I’m right-handed, so I wield my slicers with that hand, leaving my left to hold steady whatever is up for chopping. Unfortunately, if the knife strays, I can’t feel it — a worrisome state of affairs.

Which is why I like these tools so much.

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Home Modifications Wheelchairs

Building a Skinner Air Crib

Image of a Baby Sleeping in a Skinner Air CribI recently wrote about my experiences with B.F. Skinner’s Air Crib (or if you prefer, Baby Boxes). In this post, I’ll share what I remember about how the cribs my daughter and siblings and I used were made.

At Home Everyday Gear

Sleek, Super-Size Remote Control

Image of Super Sized Remote ControlOne of my dad’s nurses and I were talking about gear the other day, and she told me about Brookstone’s giant remote control. At 5 inches wide by 11 inches long it’s never going to get lost; at only one inch deep it’s easy to hold. Best of all, the oversized keys are easy to see and to push. According to Brookstone, they even glow in the dark.

This remote is just the right size to stay on a lap without sliding around or slipping to the floor. It feels solid, but not too heavy, in the hand; the case and keys look as if they’d stand up to some abuse.

Like most such devices, it’s pre-coded for common audio-visual devices; it works for TVs, VCRs, DVD players, and satellite and cable hook-ups and other A/V items.

Super-Sized TV Remote available online from Brookstone, and possibly in their stores, as well.

UPDATE (6/10/2007): Our east coast Bed Bath and Beyond store has a slew of similar remote controls in stock for $20 (USD). Without the Brookstone logo, of course . . .

See also: Simple Remote Controls for TV

At Home Everyday Gear

Vegetable Peeler for Hands with Grasp Impairment

Image of a Palm Vegetable PeelerA year and a half ago I nearly lopped off the tips of the first two fingers of my left hand. They’ve mended, but they’ve never really been the same. A few things have changed around our kitchen since then. I no longer (1) try to slice French bread by holding the loaf in mid-air, (2) I try — I really try — to pay more attention to cooking than to the conversation, and (3) we have a batch of useful new gadgets in case I forget about (1) and (2).

At Home DIY Everyday Gear Nursing Home

DIY Non-Slip Coating for Everyday Objects

Image of a Plasti Dip CanMy favorite sets of pliers all have a rubbery surface on the handles, making them easy to hold onto while saying rude things to hardware. Ours came that way, but you can use Plasti Dip to add that same grippy surface to nearly any object you want.

Tools are an obvious choice for coating, since holding firmly on to them is critical no matter you’re doing. But a host of other possibilities come to mind if grasp impairment is an issue. Silverware a little slippery? Dip the handles. Juice glass hard to hold? Dip the lower half. Plates a challenge? Dip the edges (and the bottom, to keep them from sliding). Coffee mug inclined to slide? Dip the bottom. Pencils, Pens? Paint a strip of Plasti Dip where fingers go. Dip the handles of scissors, paint the undersides of rulers, dip the handles on crochet hooks, knitting needles and other craft tools. And so on.

The can says it can be used on virtually any surface: “metal, wood, glass, rubber, concrete, fabic, fiberglass, rope” etc.. The directions call for tying the object to a string, and then dipping it into the can, but the fluid can be brushed on as well. There’s a spray version, too.

Plasti Dip comes in blue, yellow, red, black, white, and (wonderfully) clear. Caswell carries all the colors online. Your local big box probably doesn’t — ours only had the red and black, which I found in the paint department at Home Depot.

At Home

Making Days Meaningful

Image of Colorful EnvelopesKathy Hatfield, who writes a cheerful, anecdotal blog at KnowItAlz, posted an interesting idea. In a post called Giving Back, she writes:

Dad and Katie are volunteering today. When Dad came to live with me, I decided that he should have some activity every day. So, I sent out an email to every non profit in town, offering his volunteer services.

Katie is Kathy’s dad’s companion.

Yes, you get the 78 year old Alzheimer’s patient, but you also get the 22 year old CNA, Katie.

Kathy notes that she chooses the volunteer activities carefully, making sure that they will be fun for her dad, and she’s also ensured success by checking with the organizations first. That last bit is a critical piece, I think, for everyone’s happiness. By matching her dad’s affinities and abilities to the opportunity, and getting the organization’s OK, Kathy’s making sure Dad and Katie will be both welcome and helpful.

The benefits for Kathy’s dad are obvious — he’s out and about, doing things that he’d otherwise not experience, getting mental stimulation that he wouldn’t get at home. I think there are a hidden benefits for Katie, too. Her days are more varied; she’s sharing different experiences with Kathy’s dad, and she gets to “give back”, too.

Image of envelopes (as for stuffing) from Flickr.

At Home Everyday Gear

A Jar Almost Anyone Can Open

Image of a 64 Ounce Snapware CanisterMy dad’s been craving hard candies lately. He probably shouldn’t eat them (is there anything worse for tooth enamel?), but he doesn’t have medical dietary restrictions, so I picked up a whole slew of candies from the open bins at the local grocery. He wanted the old country store types: root beer barrels, lemon drops, fruit candies — just about everything except licorice and peppermint.