Category Archives: Free

New Uses for Common Household Items

It isn’t always necessary to buy a specialized product in order to adapt the world to your needs. Often times, you can use everyday household items already at your disposal, in new and creative ways; turning them into a mobility device or another form of assistive technology.

I am always using my body and the objects around me in new ways in order to make my life easier. Sometimes this makes people nervous. For instance, I have been known to carry anything from a slip of paper, to dinnerware, in my mouth in order to avoid an extra trip. This drives my Dad crazy, he thinks I might break a tooth; but if it is good enough for my dog, it is good enough for me. Other times my ingenuity leaves people wondering “why didn’t I think of that?” and soon others, even those without disabilities, are using my methods in their daily routines.

I have a tall bar stool in my house. It is located right next to my fridge in the kitchen. It is not for sitting, even if I wanted to sit on it I couldn’t. I do, however, use it for a number of other things. First, I use it to hold my coffee cup and cereal bowl while I pour milk in the morning. This saves me from have to make trips back and forth from the table to the fridge in the morning. Secondly, I use it to carry things from one side of the kitchen to the other. I simply place the item(s) on the stool and push the stool from one place to the next. It slides very easily on the kitchen floor. Finally, I use it for stability, when sweeping or picking something up off the floor. The third instance isn’t as common, thanks to my Mint and my dog. However, it is good to have options.

Another common item that I use in uncommon ways are tongs. You can probably guess what these are for. I not only have CP, but I am also short and cannot reach past the second self in most of my kitchen cabinets. Since step stools are hard from me to climb, I often use the tongs to give me a few more inches of reach when I am in a pinch. There is a technique to using tongs, but with a bit of practice any one can master it. Though I must caution that this is not recommended for heavy or breakable items. This warning comes from personal experience.

The last item I use frequently are those reusable grocery bags. I use them to carry heavy objects, like my laptop, from room to room, especially if I am going upstairs. I can’t carry the bag on my shoulder so I hang it on my forearm, or for a hands free trip, around my neck.

Of course these tricks and techniques won’t work for everyone, but I think that all of us can benefit from thinking outside the box in order to live UNlimited.

What everyday items do you like to use in new ways?

The Tennis Ball … a great catch !

Here’s Wren, my daughter and son-in-laws sweet girl. She loves catching tennis balls and it’s even more fun when it involves a good romp in the stream. Isn’t it wonderful that a mere tennis ball can elicit such joy?

Well, here’s a way that the same lowly tennis ball can produce joy for seniors like us. It’s called Tennis Ball Massage and is a simple and inexpensive way that gives us relief from all those chronic aches and pains that come with old age.

I actually learned about this 10 years ago from a professional massage therapist and have used it ever since. I had gone to her with the complaint of back pain and, although I felt wonderful after her treatment, I couldn’t afford to keep going. When she realized this she kindly said, “Let me show you how you can do this yourself at home.”

She told me, with a good natured laugh, that I could replace HER with nothing more than a sock and a tennis ball !! She explained that everyone has “trigger points”, little knots that appear when you overwork a muscle. These were areas that felt very tight to me and were the cause of my discomfort. While working on my back she’d used her elbow to gently press down on these, hold for about 30 seconds and then let go. This was the “release” and it, literally, released the pain.

With Tennis Ball Massage you simply drop the ball into the toe of a long sock. This becomes your handle and you can toss the massage ball behind your back and position it wherever you need it. The basic idea is to trap the ball between your body and a hard surface. Some people lie on the floor doing this but that doesn’t work for me so I use a wall.

I gently maneuver the ball around until I hit an area that makes me wince and then I press down … just hard enough to feel it working but not so hard that it hurts … and then after 30 seconds I “release”. Ahhhhhhhh. I can practically feel the relief as I write this.
And that’s it !! Simple, easy and FREE.

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