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Distinguished member
Apr 19, 2005
I thought we could start a thread about the pros and cons of some of the equipment we need and use.

I’ll start with walkers:
I like the 4 wheel walkers with large pneumatic tires which make outdoor travel a heck of a lot easier! Going through snow and rough terrain on those hard little tires is impossible.
Also locking brakes, and a good seat (with a back support) are important. A basket and a bag are handy for shopping, but the bag must secure to the walker to prevent theft! A belt or even a bungee cord would work. Same with purses! Make sure they are secured to the walkers or crossed over the shoulder. Most walkers are able to fold for the trunks of cars etc.

I’ve seen several types but the best IMO, are the silver and black reachers with the front jaws that open vertically. I like the triggers that are oversized so I can get more than one finger on it. Also I don’t like ones that are too long as they are heavy when you try to pick something up. Around 16-18 inches long with a magnet on the tip. Some have the ability to come apart for packing in a suitcase!
Some stores (London Drugs) carry a cheap version made of aluminum and flat metal with a horizontal jaw with a couple of suction cups (appear anyway) at the tips. I bought one and I find it very hard to pull the trigger to get anything! Not good for ALS.

Button Hook:
Not sure of the exact name, but this little device is about 7 inches long made of wood or plastic, with a small hook on one end and an oval shaped wire at the other. The wire is put through a button hole on a shirt or whatever, it grabs the button, reverse it through the hole and voila! You’ve buttoned your shirt! The hook is good for pant flys and other zippers.

I went to my favourite store, Canadian Tire, and picked up an extendable magnet for change, keys or other metal objects I happen to drop. When it’s collapsed, it’s about the size of a pen. I can extend it (like a radio antennae) up to about 3 feet. Very handy.

These are a few things off the top of my head, I’ll come up with more later, I’m sure others will talk about their impressions on equipment.

One warning though:
Medical equipment is expensive! (that’s an issue for another thread!) If you buy anything used, especially support equipment, please please please get it checked out by an O.T. or a medical supplier. You sure wouldn’t want it to fall apart when your weight is on it!

Cheers all!
A couple of cheap aids that I've adapted are the key rings. They come in a few different sizes and when put on pant zippers I can get a finger through it to zip up. Thumb isn't strong enough anymore.I have a hard time tucking in shirts so the golf shirts will cover any part of the ring that might be visable. Lee also bought some stretchy but sturdy cord to put through other zippers such as suitcases. Run one end through and tie the ends with a round knot and it makes a good loop to put a couple of fingers in to yank on. Take care. Al.
Got another one for you…
On occasion when my voice doesn’t work well (more and more frequent) I carry a credit card wallet or business card holder, pictured below, with some common phrases written down.
I take blank business cards (available at Staples or other stationary stores) and print out such things as emergency contacts, my name and address, where is the bathroom, how I take my Tim Horton’s coffee…you know, important stuff!
If it’s noisy or my voice gives out, I just pull out the wallet and point to the appropriate card. It’s worked well!


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