Its the little things...
I can be hard to know it sometimes, but it is the summer! On the best days when the temperature is up, the sun is out and there's even a pleasant breeze to keep you comfortable, we go into activity overdrive! We desire to do things. To be outside, be active and social.
For many of our clients with limited or compromised hand function, this can pose a challenge. We regularly hear things like - How can I enjoy a round of golf if I can't grip the club properly? How long can I work in the garden without tiring or being in discomfort? What if I knock over my glass while out with friends? Physical and mental barriers come up and they start to shy away from their favourite hobbies, or dread social occasions, which of course impacts on happiness.
If you, or someone you know, has suffered a stroke, brain injury, brachial plexus injury, incomplete spinal cord injury or perhaps suffers from MS, then this may seem familiar. So how do we change it?
Although previously somewhat neglected, and still a challenge, we are finally seeing a shift in focus with therapists seeking out the best ways to rehabilitate, improve and/or compensate for limited hand function in their clients. In this post I want to look at some simple tools that allow for improved or sustained hand function in daily activities.
Foam Grip Extender
These inexpensive, lightweight grip extenders are readily available in physio supply stores, online and more. They come in a variety of widths and can be cut to size to fit over objects that you want to use. If you have trouble creating a closed grip or pinch, the extender creates a larger surface area making it easier to hold the object - think toothbrush, knives, hairbrush etc. Any object with a slim handle that makes it tricky to use can be adapted quickly.
Active Hands supply a variety of general and specific purpose gripping aids ideal for home, work and leisure activities. They can be used by a wide range of individuals with varying degrees of disability to help carry out every day tasks. The gripping aid ensures a long, sustained grip as the object is fastened into the palm of the hand.
Active Hands are frequently used by our Physio and training partners and recommended for home use.
The SEM Glove is a smart, wearable, assistive aid that allows the wearer a stronger more sustained grip. The finger tip sensors allow for grip strength that adapts with the intention of the wearer; the more you squeeze, the greater the grip. If you begin to open the fingers, the grip backs away. This makes it perfect for tasks like gardening and driving. Individually adaptable, with three custom presets for the wearer, the glove can assist in multiple tasks and ensure a reliable grip over the course of a day.
These are some of our favourite products that work incredibly well on their own, or used together. Of course there are plenty of assistive tools and devices out there. There is no perfect product - its about finding the one that works best for you.
What products and / or accessories do you use to assist in everyday work or leisure activities? Any tips you can share with others?