Category Archives: Wheelchair Accessories

A First Aid Kit for an UNlimited Life

Working at a Center for Independent Living definitely had its perks. The bathroom mirrors were low enough that I could actually see in them while in my chair and there were plenty of handicap spots in which to park. I was also one of many people that used a wheelchair instead of the only one. Being one of many had its own set of perks, most notably, I could go to my boss or a co-worker when I needed a minor adjustment made to my chair.

At my new job, none of these things are available. I have to advocate for myself in order to get the accommodations I need. I have also had to learn how to cope with things I didn’t think much of before; such as those higher mirrors or minor adjustments I might need for my chair. So, of course, today the screw came out of the brake on my wheelchair. It has been loose for weeks, but I kept forgetting to fix it. As luck would have it, I was transferring out of my chair to use the bathroom today and it came off in my hand.

When I got back to my office and showed it to my new boss, he asked if I was going to need to leave in order to get it fixed. Although this was a nice option, the idea filled me with dread. In order to get my chair repaired at Wheelchair Seating I would have to call for an appointment, then a taxi, (making sure to request the taxi an hour before your appointment was scheduled to be sure I made on time) get to the appointment, wait to be seen, wait some more while they fix it, call another taxi to retrieve me and then wait for them to show up. Suddenly, that 5 minute fix would become a two hour (or more) adventure in Boredom-land. There was no way I was going to let one little screw, screw up my day.

Luckily for me I have this handy Allen Wrench set that I keep in my back pack, along with my other emergency essentials. Most wheelchair parts are held on by screws that take various sizes of Allen Wrenches; so this handy little set allows me to fix majority of the loose screws and make minor adjustments on my own. I have had it since my college years, when my wheelchair repair guy was more than two hours away, and it has saved the day on more than one occasion. Today, I put my handy little kit to the test for the first time on my own, (I always had someone around to help me before) and I am happy to report that my brake has been re-attached and is once again fully functional.

Though I would never attempt a major repair on my chair on my own, for fear of making it worse, going to Wheelchair Seating for a loose screw is like going to the doctor for a Band-aid. This little kit allows me to address those minor tune-ups on my own, as opposed to always going to a professional. It’s like a first aid kit for my wheelchair.

My Favorite Wheelchair Accessory

When I was in college, a show called Pimp my Ride, was really popular. The premise of this show was that teens and twenty-somethings would have their old beater cars transformed into beautiful pieces of machinery. My friends and I have always joked that I should go on the show and have my chair pimped out with spinners, black lights and chrome rims.

That, of course, never happened. But that didn’t mean I gave up on the goal of “pimping” my chair; instead, I modified my vision to be a bit more practical and a bit more purposeful. People are always coming up with new things to add to wheelchairs. Some of them serve a necessary purpose, like an umbrella that attaches to your wheelchair, others are just for fun, like the castors that light up when you roll.

The best thing that I have ever found to “pimp my chair” was actually given to me by a college friend and co-worker, who also happens to use a wheelchair. It is a fold up cup holder that attaches to the frame of my wheelchair. My friend gave it to me because I kept burning myself trying to carry coffee from the kitchen at work, back to my desk. Within five minutes of attaching it to my chair, I knew this cup holder was going to be something that I could never live without.  The cup holder attaches in just a few minutes using screws and is adjustable so it can also be attached to a walker, a bed rai1 or any device with circular tubing to attach it to. It comes with a small piece of rubber to keep it from slipping, and the cup size is adjustable so it can carry everything from a can of soda, to a wide mug of coffee or tea. The fold up option is great because it keeps it accessible at all times without being in the way. Additionally, is incredibly durable. I have had it attached to my chair for a year now, and it has survived daily transfers in and out of the car and several accidental crashes.

I use this cup holder every day and it has truly made my life better. I know that may sound silly, but sometimes the smallest change is the one that makes the biggest impact. For the first time in my life I can get a drink at a coffee shop, or any place where the beverages are self-serve, without having to ask the person behind the counter or a stranger next to me for help. I can also take the drink with me, now. I don’t waste money if I am unable to finish it while there. Additionally, I can take water with me on a walk with my dog or husband.  Of course the best part is that I no longer have to worry about ruining a pair of pants because I spilled a drink or burning the insides of my thighs with hot beverages.

Have you ever “pimped out” your chair? What add on could you not live without or wish that you had?

At UNlimiters, we’re always looking for products that help us live more independent and easier lives. Have you found a product that has improved your life? Let us know in the Shout section of our store and we’ll try to add it to our selection.

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