Gadgets & Gizmos

In April 2018, Michelle Smith, Caregiver Specialist with the Fairfax Area Agency on Aging visited Cafe Fairfax. Michelle brought all kinds of Gadgets and Gizmos for a kind of show and tell. Below you’ll find some of the information she shared with us.

Basic Types of Aids

  • Mobility Aids:  Equipment that assists people to transition from place to place such as wheelchairs (powered or manually-operated), three-wheeled scooters, canes, crutches, and walkers.
  • Aids to Daily Living (ADL): Equipment used to aid with eating, bathing, cooking, dressing and home care, such as adaptive feeding equipment, shower chairs, and switch-operated appliances.
  • Architectural Items: Structural modifications made to the home, school, or workplace that reduces physical barriers.  These include ramps, elevators, lifts, and special door handles.
  • Communication Aids: Devices used to augment or substitute the natural voice such as electronic or hand-operated pictures, gaze systems and prosthetics.  Also known as Alternative and Augmentative Communication Devices (AAC).
  • Computer Applications: Alternative input devices including voice recognition, headsticks, light pointers, alternative keyboard and switches and alternative output modes such as Braille and speech.
  • Environmental Control Systems: Electronic systems or switches that help a person control appliances, electronic equipment, lights, telephones and security systems in their home, workplace or elsewhere.
  • Prosthetics and Orthotics: Equipment to augment or substitute natural body parts such as braces (prosthetics) and artificial arms, hands, legs or feet (orthotics).
  • Seating and Positioning: Changes made to wheelchairs or other seating systems to provide postural alignment and optimal access to the environment, including cushions, back and head supports, wedges and boosters.
  • Sensory Aids: Devices used by persons with visual and auditory deficits including eyeglasses, hearing aids, telecommunication aids and magnifying devices
  • Transportation Adaptations: Modifications made to vehicles such as hand controls, lifts, ramps and keyless entry.

Here are some suggestions from friends:

From Cheryl

  • One gadget that I find handy is called a Mighty Mug. Got it at Walmart. It is a tall beverage container that has something that makes it difficult/impossible to knock over.
  • There is also a “sippy cup” that doesn’t spill. It doesn’t look like it is possible to drink from it, because it appears covered by a complete top that screws on. It is by Munchkin. It is available in the nursery/toddler department at Target for under $5. I’ve tried it. It works but just looking at it, I still can’t believe it works.
  • Also a person who has a hard time holding onto soap can put a bar of soap in a knee-high. Makes it easier to hold onto, esp. since soap on a rope is now almost impossible to find except perhaps online.
  • One of those beaded car seat covers makes getting in and out of the car easier. It attaches to the seat headrest by ties and is easily removed. I got on for Waverly. Good on fabric seats.

From Karen

  • Occupational therapist is looking into options for computer keyboards with raised keys in different colors
  • Karen’s Gadgets & Gizmos for some more ideas that Karen sent us.

Here are some suggestions from the internet:

From the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Parkinson’s Newsletter

glass with rubber bands for gripHandy tips for mealtimes
Check out this clever (and colorful!) idea of wrapping rubber bands around a class so that it’s easier to hold and less likely to slip and drop.

EazyHold universal cuff for daily living assistance
This universal cuff grip can help you hold eating utensils, toothbrush, pens, cups . . . all kinds of things! Click here to check out the EazyHold website.

The Snoozle Slide Sheet

Many products are available to allow you to move more easily in bed and when seated in car. “Tubular slide sheets” (described below by Snoozle) can be particularly helpful. Here are some items that are available commercially:

The Snoozle (30″x30″): A cylinder of fabric, comfy on the outside, slippery on the inside. The slippery sides on the inside will slide with you when you’re turning in bed, making your movement much smoother than if you were lying on top of a regular sheet. Instead of having to lift your body up from the mattress to turn, you just sort of use your bottom to slide from side to side and making turning in bed easier. The Snoozle is a 4 way tubular slide sheet so it goes up and down and sideways.”

Other items:
SafetySure Slide Sheet (18″ x 22″)
Tubular Slide Sheet (24″x16″)

A more economical solution: “I bought a slippery satin cloth remnant for $2.00 and Jack can turn and slide quite easily on it.  It is not as thick as the Snoozle, so it crinkles up often, but still works.  I have also used this in the car to turn in the seat easily.  It folds up small and I often carry it with us if we are visiting, to help him on other folks cloth seats, etc.”

From the ShareCare website
How can I make mealtimes easier if I have Parkinson’s disease? The article was written by Shelley Peterman Schwarz author of Parkinson’s Disease (300 Tips for Making Life Easier).


Here are some catalogues with lots of useful things to make day to day living easier:

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