Making Things Easier for the Disabled

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This is by no means a medical advice story or something that anyone else has to do. It's simply tips I have used to make my life easier and it might work for anyone who is interested in trying them. That said, I have multiple disabilities and have learned that, the more I make things easier, the longer I can live on my own.


As most of you know, we tend to slow down with age. Add to the mix arthritis, Parkinson's, and diabetes, and you face challenges every day. At least I do. So, here are some things I have learned that make the good days better and the bad days livable.

The Kitchen:

Opening drawers has become a challenge, so I tend to keep as much as I can out in the open. All utensils are in containers, easy to reach. I separate the stuff in the drawers into sections using clear plastic cookie containers, free and easy to lift.

I swapped out the fridge doors from one side to the other so I wouldn't have to keep walking to the other side and then try and hold the doors open. That also means I can take things out and put on the counter, rather than take out some, close the door, put them on the counter and repeat.


I submitted a tip a while back about having a "morning drink center" and it's really been handy. I have my carafe of tea or coffee, cocoa, spoons, and things to add to them all in one place. The cups are above and the microwave is next to it, so it's a "one shot deal".

There are no rugs to slip or trip me up. It's the kind of kitchen that has everything on one side, then a wall on the other.
Because I have some little tables and cabinets on that wall, I can always reach one side or the other should I become unsteady.
I have light dishes, mugs for soups and stews with handles, an electric can opener, and a toaster oven big enough for almost anything I might put in a larger oven.
Not having to bend over to pick up hot things is a real plus.

The Bathroom:

One of the most challenging rooms in any home, the bathroom is where I strove to keep things safest. I have a rack that fits over the door. I keep all my insulin equipment up high, as well as robes, a flashlight, towels, and such.


I sit to take a shower, wear older Crocs for sure footing, and have handles for when I want a soak, which I take nightly for my joints. I have a seat riser on the commode which helps my knees.

All like things inside the cabinet are in veggie cans, so I can grab one and have them all at my fingertips. Any pretties on shelves are glued so if I grab a shelf unit, nothing falls on me.

The Bedroom:

Sometimes, the greatest injuries come from the silliest of negligences. Not putting away a pair of shoes at night can mean a hospital visit in the morning.

Falling injures more elderly and disabled than just about anything, so I make sure nothing is in the way before I go to bed. I have a bottle of water and the charged phone on the night stand, hang my glasses from a drawer knob, and have the night light across the room.


I put the barley bag in the microwave to warm my feet at night, and take my night time meds like insulin and supplements while it's heating. Routines can be monotonous, but some are essential.

Getting Dressed:

I wear pants more than anything, so I use them to lift my foot up to my knee, then put my sock and shoe on at the same time. That saves me from bending, and I only have to bring up my foot once. I leave my shirts with buttons buttoned in the closet and just put them on over my head. Heels are a thing of the past, I am afraid.

If I have a day where I am pretty busy "puttering" I take my apron along and carry things like scissors, tape, notepad and pen, a cleaning tool, etc. I love having what I need with me to save me steps.

If I can't slip a necklace or bracelet over my head or wrist, I don't buy it. There is no one to help with clasps, which are hard for me.



I know I should walk outside, but that is not safe where I live. It's a rough neighborhood and the sidewalks aren't lit. I have a small stair stepper that keeps my blood and heart at a good level and has a handle on the top for stability.

When I am on the computer or watching TV, I pump my feet like I was driving the car every so often to keep my circulation going, and have a small stepstool so the chairs don't cut off circulation. I also reach really high and stretch both arms when I am sitting, which helps to keep fatigue out of the back.

I have never smoked, don't drink, and stay away from Aspartame and MSG. I recently took a diabetic education class, and now eat much better, keeping my weight down and my energy up.

Turning 57 last month wasn't a big deal. I have always been realistic about my age. But, the limitations I have to face each day made me realize something that I wanted to share with you.


It's the little things we can do to help us live and independent life that are just as, if not more, important than living a longer life. If the fates allow, I might have another 40 years left in me. The more time I can stay at home the less time I will spend at someplace whos name starts with Shady Grove.

By Sandi/Poor But Proud from Salem, OR

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February 1, 20122 found this helpful

Thank you for sharing & God bless!

February 2, 20120 found this helpful

Excellent story. I'm ten years your senior, but I, too, am diabetic and have recently begun having arthritic problems. I am still experimenting and discovering ways to help myself where problems with arthritis are concerned.

I've already arranged most things, like utensils, pots and pans, etc., in convenient places for me...but then I'm one of those "a place for everything and everything in its place" kind of people, so this is something I have always done. But I really love the idea of having the refrigerator door open from the other side. And I can see now that I need some kind of railings in my bathtub.

I'm not quite sure what you mean about a raised toilet, but that would certainly help my arthritic knees. I guess one thing in my favor, too, is that I'm only 5 feet tall, so I'm used to everything I need being within my range, i.e., items in lower cabinets are just a slight bend away.

My real problem in this department is reaching things on a second or third shelf in the kitchen and other places. My husband bought one of those things like a claw that reaches for cans, etc., on taller shelves, but it's not always that easy to use.

I expect as I go along my mobility may decrease, but we just may be surprised. Someone may come along with help for arthritics. Always keep hope alive. As for diabetes, I've been fighting this for almost 20 years now. I and my doctor keep on top of everything going on "out there" in our diabetic world.

This may not sound like hope, but I've been told there may be a cure within the next 10 years, or at least some honest to goodness help for those of us with this terrible disease. Meantime, sounds like you're doing everything right...especially exercising as much as possible.

I changed to the Lantus Solar Star Pen this year and it has been a Godsend. I haven't gained weight on it as I have on all the other diabetic meds I've been on over the years. For me, things are looking better, and I wish the same for you.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
February 2, 20120 found this helpful

The raised toilet seat looks like the photo enclosed. I found mine for .25 and after a bleach soaking, it works so well for me.

Here is a link to Walmart so you can see the prices, some as cheap as 15.00.

I am only 5'2" so I feel for you. Just being shorter means I am closer to the floor, but that isn't much comfort when you fall. I too hope for a cure.

Till then, I have to deal with the fact that a simple blood test would have diagnosed this buzzkiller about 30 years ago, and I would have stopped the ravages then.


Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
February 2, 20120 found this helpful

The photo didn't load so I will try again. The other thing is you need to have the seat up too, to install it. Sorry guys we win!


Silver Post Medal for All Time! 433 Posts
February 2, 20120 found this helpful

God bless you!

February 13, 20120 found this helpful

God bless you! I have limitations also. Thanks so much for a pick-me-up. I love all of your posts!


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April 4, 20131 found this helpful

Grab bars are your friend. I have 1 installed just outside the tub/shower enclosure and 1 beside the toilet. Be sure they are in stalled into a beam or joist with 3 " screws. Sometimes they come with shorter screws, it is worth the few extra dollars to get longer screws. I can't tell you how many times the bar by the tub has saved my a**.

April 4, 20131 found this helpful

Hi so glad to see your post, these are very helpful ideas and you are dealing with your problems well. God Bless you and take care, I too have arthritis and fibromyalgia exercise is a real pain ... pardon the pun ... anyway thank you for your ideas and as I said, God Bless.

January 26, 20151 found this helpful

What a great article. I have Neurofibromatosis 2, and have had 3 surgeries so far on my spinal cord with at least 1 more. My ex walked out on our marriage almost a year ago. I have some mobility issues but manage fairly well. I will be incorporating some of those ideas. Keep strong and God bless. It is a blessing to be able to manage on my own and it is wonderful to have extra tips to keep my independence. Thank you


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May 25, 20150 found this helpful

Hang in there - I had diabetes for 15 years but do not have it any longer. Was very sick and in hospital 3 weeks with some of that time on ventilator in intensive care. When I got out I was in rehab and wondering why I was not getting the diabetic diet meals. Asked the doctor and she said, " Eat what you want. You do not have it any more." So it is possible to get rid of it. Been over a year and it has not come back.

July 29, 20190 found this helpful



Gold Post Medal for All Time! 969 Posts
May 25, 20150 found this helpful

Donna you are very welcome. I just shared a link back to this article on my facebook page. If I help just one person it will be worth it. Blessings to you too.


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 140 Feedbacks
May 27, 20151 found this helpful

I, too, have to make adjustments due to arthritis. I just became a widow and my wonderful husband loved helping me and doing the cooking. One of the problems I was having was being able to cook. I invested in a small electric skillet about 8 inches square that I use at the table and am able to fix better meals than the easy out (bagels and cream cheese) for convenience. I also found a 3 quart slow cooker which I load up in the morning and by dinner time have a complete meal. I love both of them and use them regularly. You soon learn to work smarter when you have disabilities. These items for me are well worth it.

May 7, 20230 found this helpful

Great ideas! I would add one more great gadget to your arsenal - a rice cooker! You not only can make rice, you can find hundreds of recipes for this handy item (I found mine at Goodwill for $5, and you can get one new for under $20 if you look around!). I love to make a big batch of old fashioned oatmeal (with 1 cup brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla, and 1 cup of raisins) twice a week for our breakfast (I stretch it even more by ladling out the first two cups and then I add two cups of water and stir it up really good, then I leave the rest of the batch on the warm cycle for another half hour until we're done with breakfast) and I keep the oats in the fridge, just portion out one cup and you're getting a wonderful warm bowl of cheap fiber and a healthy way to fill your stomach up until lunch time, A way to battle the snack monster that calls you to that doughnut or snickers bar! I figured that it costs me around $0.43 per serving with 2 cups of whole milk. There's tons of recipes on Pinterest for rice cookers! Happy hunting!

January 23, 20170 found this helpful

Hope you all are finding more and more simple things to make your quality of life better. I think it soundslike you are working smart!
It's hard work to manage chronic illnes especially for a long time.

July 29, 20191 found this helpful

I'm a 56 yr old women. I hurt constantly. My spine collapsed and I was numb 80percent of my body. I have alot come back. But right side dosnt want to. I have hard time walking. I can use both arms and hands. It's left alot of damage and pain. I need to know how to care for my house. I have a husband who has cops and cancer. He can't help much. I need to learn how to organize my home. Thanks judy

May 7, 20230 found this helpful

Dear Judy, First thing is to find an honest handyman and Jack of all trades, you'll recognize soon enough that there's just some things like ladders that are going to require help. Find someone who works by the hour and then go through your house bit by bit and make out a list, purchase everything he'll need so he's not billing you for shopping trips. Try to get every detail in place so he's going from one to the other quickly.

Second, at the very top of your new handyman's list of jobs is to have him put two to three grab bars in your shower (2 inside the shower and one as you're exiting the shower, and if you're lucky, you can also use that outside the shower bar to help you to get up and down off of the toilet. May sound like overkill now, but trust us, we'd both have broken hips without them. Next on his list is to go around to EVERY single light in your household and replace each bulb with an LED. I live in a 55+ manufactured home park and I can't tell you the number of homes here that have a bulb out that nobody can replace. The way they make these bulbs right now and the infrequent use, odds are that you will outlive the LED bulbs.

Third, I want everyone who lives by themselves (not apartments or rentals, sorry), I want you to look up the non-emergency phone number for your police and/or fire departments and as them if they have a "Senior Lock Box program. The police come out and they install a 3 or 4" square box to the siding (mine is just above my doorbell, about eye level) and inside that little box are copies of your front door and deadbolt keys. Now that's going to save you about $1k for buying a new door plus more to install it! Think about it, while you may have been fortunate enough to have your cell phone on you, or an emergency button, how are you going to let them into your home? If they've got to kick it down, you've got to pay at least your insurance deductible, and this handy little square is going to be unobtrusive and safe because the master key to those boxes is held by the officer that's managing the shift and it's logged whenever they have to use it. Give your local police and fire departments a call. Each box costs about $35, but a lot of the stations in my area get them through a grant. In any event, A donation would be nice to pay them back for being the only professionals you NEVER want to meet!

These are my "Big Three" items that you have to get taken care of immediately if you are retired and healthy or not, Get them done as soon as you can because you never know what fate has in store for any of us. If you do these few things, you could save thousands on an emergency new hip, A brand new door on top of that and multiple broken bones because you're too afraid to get up on the ladder, so you walk around your own home with a flashlight. A neighbor tripped and hit her head badly. She had bills from the emergency services, the police had to board her house up after they broke down the door, and she had to go to rehab for two months. She's in Colorado now with her son and his new wife, but we keep up with one another via email. Don't be like Alma and be too afraid to ask for help!

Blessings to everyone in need of them!


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