Article - Hold It!
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Sometimes it is difficult or impossible to hold something in your hand. This may be a temporary problem, like trying to carry too many items at once, or a longer-term issue brought on by an ailment like arthritis or an accident. There will always be things that must be turned, pressed or moved from here to there. For some of these activities, there are inexpensive products and makeshift alternatives that may offer some advantages, while for other chores the appropriate choice might be to do it differently or not to do it at all!
If you find that carrying things is a problem, you've got lots of company! Professional household movers use all sorts of tricks and helpers to move heavy or over-sized items. You can borrow some ideas from them as you go about your daily tasks.
Professional movers use dollies and hand trucks to move multiple or heavy objects. Rather than using these oversized and awkward tools around the house, look for other wheeled aids that can do the job just as well.
Tea Trolleys and Buffet Trolleys: Very common a few decades ago, rolling serving carts bring dishes to and from the dinner table or transport books, laundry or mail from one room to another.
Portable Shopping Carts: Most popular in cities, the portable shopping cart is designed for groceries and other packages when shopping, but can also move laundry, toys and other larger or heavier items from room to room. Be sure you can bend enough to take out the contents at the bottom.
Does it really have to be carried?
Can you push it without doing damage to the surface it is resting on? If so, maybe you can move it with your foot or body weight rather than lifting it.
Can you drag it up or down the stairs, letting the stairs absorb the weight rather than you? Can you put it on a towel or blanket and tow it safely?
Can you safely leave it where it is until the next time you need it?
A backpack, a sling or a canvas bag over your shoulder or around your neck helps you hold small things. Collect items together in these bags to save unnecessary trips.
If you are using a walker, wheelchair, scooter or rollator, attach an attractive bag, shelf or other accessory to the mobility device so your hands are free to help you maneuver.
Break it up.
If there is too much to carry, can it be separated into smaller, more manageable pieces? Movers will remove doors, shelves and legs to make a piece of furniture more manageable. You can do something similar and take a piece with you every time you pass by.
Gather stuff in a convenient place for the next time you go upstairs or downstairs. Then grab a few items the next time you go in that direction. You'd be surprised how much you accomplish this way.
Unfortunately, we usually don't think about how to open the door or turn on the light until we stand at the threshold with our hands full.
Lever handles are considerably easier to use than round knobs. You can push them with the side of your hand, your elbow or your knee to open a door. Rather than change all of the knobs in your home, you can install adaptive devices like the Great Grips door knob cover, a soft rubber-like aid with a small protrusion that performs like a lever. Another alternative is the Leveron Adapter that converts a round knob into a levered handle.
A rocker light switch will let you turn on the lights with your elbow.
The ability to hold things can also affect our favorite pastimes. Try some of these alternatives:
Book Stands come in a variety of styles for cooking or reading. There are bed desks and book rests to support your book so you don't have to.
Telephones with a speakerphone or headset can enable us to enjoy conversations once again.
Since we must carry and hold things every day, why not find ways to make it easier? Make a note each time you could use an assist and then look through the ideas above for one that might work well the next time you perform that task. Adapt your environment to suit your needs and you will find more comfort and pleasure in your own home.
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