When 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.
My 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.
The other night when my husband was searching our bookshelves for a copy of Eros and Magic in the Renaissance (don’t ask), he found a copy of a marvelous book I’d picked up years ago. Handmade Helps for Disabled Living (by Stuart Grainger) is a compendium of ideas and projects designed to make living with various disabilities easier.
A few weeks ago, in celebration of National Nutrition Month (that would be March), one of the dietitians at my dad’s nursing home hosted a informational get-together for residents, staff and family members. I wasn’t sure what to expect — probably I had in mind some kind of a part-lecture, part-seminar type of thing — but it turned out to be more like a party than anything else. A party with a message — no, a party with several messages, only some of which turned out to be about nutrition alone.
Visits to a nursing home are a critical component of caring for a resident, and rewarding for everyone involved. There’s no denying, though, that they can be difficult as well. If the visits are daily, the difficulties compound — how do you make the time interesting rather than dull and repetitious? Conversation can falter, imagination fail. How do you make interactions mentally stimulating?
At some point during the time when my dad used a cane, it became essential to get a walker to use when we went out. Sometimes he had to walk a little further than he comfortably could with his cane, and sometimes we were in situations when he really needed to sit for a while. Having the walker made that possible.
My dad is gradually recovering from his recent hospital stay, and the recreation department at his nursing home and I are once again frantically trying to figure out what we can do to keep him engaged both in social activities and in anything that will keep him using, in particular, his hands and his mind in ways he’s not used to.
My dad has a serious problem with falling, and a worse one with recognizing how much danger this represents to him. Because he doesn’t acknowledge his physical difficulties in this area, working around this limitation is a high priority for everyone who cares for him.
It’s tempting to settle for nightgown-type dresses for women when self-dressing isn’t possible, or when buttons or zippers are difficult to manage. Seeking comfort is a laudable goal, but living in pajamas or nighties can be pretty demoralizing, unless you’re choosing to do so as a special treat.