One of the best things about being part of the 'spoonie' community on my Instagram is being able to ask others for advice and, as this post on assistive devices recommended by those with chronic illness shows, my spoonie friends are a hive of helpful information!
The number one recommendation of assistive devices by a long stretch was a shower stool, and I can see why. Whether you live with migraine, POTS, fibromyalgia or many other conditions, I know so many of us find showering really difficult. And don't get me started on hair wash day, with all the standing that involves . . .
I hope that this acts as a resource either for you to try out new assistive devices yourself or to discuss with an occupational therapist for their input. I've divided it up into bathroom, kitchen, household, cleaning and personal care. If there is an assistive device that you find helpful then do leave it in the comments below!
By far the most suggested assistive device by my Instagram family. A shower stool is a really simple idea that can help so much with the issue of standing to shower. Really helpful for those with POTS / dysautonomia, fibromyalgia and so many other conditions.
A bath bench was described by the person who suggested it as 'helpful for fainty episodes after a shower/ bath', so definitely something for my POTS / dysautonomia friends to consider. Similar to a shower stool, it is a bit larger and can be used as a transfer bench as well as you put half in the bath and half outside.
Grip handles also came up a great deal, and can be used in the bathroom and other rooms in the home. There are lots of different types including suction grip handles and ones that you screw into the wall.
Stool for doing hair / make-up
A stool in the bathroom (or the bedroom) was suggested for making it easier to do personal care such as drying hair (I always sit to do this too!) as well as facial care and make-up.
Silicone hand-held brush for washing hair
A really great idea, a silicon shampoo brush with an easy grip handle will make hair washing so much easier!
Long handled sponge
Another great suggestion for personal care in the bathroom, a long handled sponge was recommended for easier bathing and washing. Particularly good for those with mobility issues or with flexibility.
Electric can opener
A very helpful item for those with weaker hands or mobility or flexibility issues from conditions such as arthritis or fibromyalgia, an electric can opener is a simple assistive device that will be so useful in the kitchen.
Cut resistance gloves
Something I hadn't thought of, but cut resistant gloves are such a great idea for when you are preparing food and using sharp objects such as a knives.
These bottle and can openers are designed for people with arthritis and other conditions who find it difficult to apply pressure when opening bottles or cans. So helpful to so many people!
A very popular recommendation from my friends on Instagram with chronic illness - you guys love your swiffers that's for sure! Use for easier wet and dry cleaning of floors.
Fluffy microfibre dusters with long handles
For cleaning and dusting, a fluffy microfibre duster with a long handle is simple to use and makes housework a little easier.
Small stools for cleaning lower cupboards
Recommended by one of my good Insta friends, a small stool makes cleaning lower cupboards easier as you don't have to bend down and can sit while cleaning.
Grabber / extendable picker
This was another really popular item! Mentioned a number of times, a grabber helps those who have mobility issues or muscle or joint stiffness, or who have trouble standing or bending over.
Lots of cushions
Sounds like the best way to get comfy to me too!
Wooden thumb covering as a book holder
Not something I had come across, but a book holder is a great recommendation!
Using pencil grips is a great idea and I had several colleagues who used them at my last job! Very helpful if you have issues with gripping to enable easier writing with a pencil.
For easier grip on a phone, pop sockets are used by so many people, but are especially good for those with hand issues. Nobody wants to drop their phone after all!
Adjustable height / standing desk
Depending upon your condition and symptoms, some people have to sit while working but others find it more comfortable to stand. An adjustable height desk was recommended by a friend on Instagram, although they did note that they are a more expensive purchase.
Trash can near the couch
Having items close to the couch or bed came up many times, with a trash can being close to hand for someone who can't get up too often being recommended.
Clothing / personal care
Noise cancelling headphones
A really good option for those with migraine or sound sensitivity, noise cancelling headphones are a bit more expensive but worth it for those who aren't able to tolerate noise while at work, travelling or at home.
These were recommended for those with light sensitivity, either due to migraine or other chronic illness conditions. Polaroid sunglasses help reduce light glare.
If you live with migraine, specialist glasses can be incredibly helpful for light sensitivity. Some good brands:
The Avulux migraine glasses work to both block harmful blue light as well as other light spectrums that cause an issue, but allow soothing green light in.
Avulux has kindly offered my readers $25USD off with the code: Throughthefibrofog
The Migraine Shields glasses are a great option as they help block blue light and so, in turn, can help prevent migraine attacks.
Migraine Shields has kindly offered my readers 20% off with the code throughthefibro
Easy to reach skincare box
Another item that was suggested to have at arm's reach for those who have difficulty standing or with mobility.
Hot water bottle
Described by the person who suggested it as being helpful in case there are power cuts and heating pads can't work - an old-fashioned hot water bottle is definitely a go-to for people with many conditions including endometriosis, fibromyalgia and interstitial cystitis.
For those who have issues with bending, a shoe horn makes putting shoes and boots on far easier!
I hope these suggestions of assistive devices for those with disability or chronic illness were useful! I'm active on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter if you would like to follow along for more posts like this!
Related posts you may find helpful
Clothes and chronic illness: comfortable styles and symptom management
Avulux migraine glasses review: managing light sensitivity at work
How to cope with sensory overload during the holidays
Preparing for the October slide with chronic illness
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Please follow the advice of your doctor as to all medical treatments, supplements and dietary choices, as set out in my disclaimer. I am not a medical professional, and this post, as well as all other posts on this blog, are for informational purposes only.
I want to add elastic shoelaces to your list. After I broke my shoulder, the occupational therapist put a pair in my tennis shoes. Then I didn't have to tie or untie them, I could just slip them on. Much easier when you've only got one hand to use.
That's a really great idea, and so helpful for those with mobility issues with their hands too. Thanks for sharing!
Nikki Albert says
I use one of those grip canm openers. I also have a wee garbage can by the couch which helps me a lot. Obvously as a mobility device I have my cane. I use filters on the computer and filered glasses. Also my mom got me a laptop table that is awesome!
Ah, yes I use filters on my computer too! So helpful, especially at night to help with sleep as well.
Sheryl Chan says
I love how useful and comprehensive this post is. And that it's no bullshit - right from the mouth of those who live with chronic illness and pain!
yes, I love getting genuine feedback back from the chronic illness community!
Ana de Jesus says
What a great guide. The bath bench and shower stool sound like very helpful products to assist people with their mobility.
Thank you! I hope people find some useful items that help them out.
Shruti Chopra says
Love this list - I didn't even know that some of these options existed!
From what I do use - the bath stool, grip handles, and hot water bag are my absolute favourite but I am so glad these other options exist and I really wanna try them out too. Thank you so much for putting this together Claire. 🙂
You're welcome - hope that there a few ideas that can help you out. So many good options, and I didn't know some existed until my Insta friends let me know of them!
Cynthia Covert says
Fantastic suggestions!! A bath stoll is must have for me!
It was definitely the number one suggestion!
This is such a good list! I hadn't even thought of some of these.
Thanks Kate! Hope it is helpful for people, and perhaps suggests something new to try.