Living with multiple chronic illnesses like fibromyalgia, chronic migraine, chronic fatigue, and more poses plenty of daily challenges for me. Simple tasks often require accessibility aids and adaptations in order for me to preserve my energy and complete them independently.
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Why Are Accessibility Aids So Important?
I already rely on tools like canes, grabbers, jar grips, button hooks, and book holders to help me navigate daily living. While these have been immensely helpful, I’m still limited in my ability to fully care for myself and participate in meaningful activities without pain, fatigue or struggle.
This motivated me to research additional accessibility aids that could further improve my quality of life. I compiled a wish list of products that would make a difference, allowing me to embrace my strengths while accommodating my needs and limitations.
Specialty Cane Tips
Standing and ice cane tips would enhance my existing mobility aids during the warmer and colder months. The standing cane tip would reduce hand strain and increase my stability when I need to wait in line or stand in place briefly. Plus, it would be a great way to keep the cane itself from falling over so frequently. The ice tip would give me safer footing outdoors in wintery conditions—even without a cane, I was never particularly coordinated on ice or snow! Both tips would give me greater confidence and security in my existing mobility assistance.
Rollator & Accessories
The more I depend on my cane collection, the more I realize it might not be sustainable in the long-term. Some days, it’s more painful for my arm and shoulder to use the cane than it would be to push through without it! Upgrading to a rollator could be a game-changer for retaining my independence as my illnesses progress. More stable and supportive than my cane, a rollator would allow me to walk longer distances without totally depleting my energy reserves or straining my body. Accessories like a rollator bag and cup holder would let me comfortably carry and access necessities. This would be ideal for remaining self-sufficient running errands or attending appointments.
A lotion applicator would be such an incredible solution for applying lotion on hard-to-reach spots like the back! The long handle and soft applicator pad would allow me to comfortably massage in lotion while avoiding aggravating my joints. Throw in a few replacement pads and my skin would be nourished without causing aching flare ups.
A bedside caddy that attaches to my bed frame would make items I use daily readily accessible without having to reach or get up. With compartments for remote controls, tissues, medications, books, and personal care items, everything I need would be at my fingertips! This would make long days stuck in bed much easier and more comfortable—or as close to comfortable as they can be.
Shampoo caps would allow me to lather and wash my hair while lying down, without having to exert effort standing at a sink or in the shower. This would conserve precious energy while still allowing me to keep my hair clean and healthy. Not only is that a hygienic necessity but clean hair offers sensory benefits, too! The caps are easy to use anywhere, ideal for days when I don’t have the mobility or energy to wash my hair upright.
Similarly to the shampoo caps, a shampoo basin would allow me to comfortably wash and rinse my hair while reclined in bed or while seated. This convenient aid empowers me to independently care for my hair without strain or exhaustion. Depending on the specific situation, one or both of these accessibility aids would be immensely helpful!
A shower chair or bench would provide necessary seating while I bathe. This would allow me to safely wash my body while seated and resting, avoiding fatigue and unsteadiness. I could take a shower independently without depleting my energy reserves or stressing my body. Right now, I’m actually sitting on the floor of the shower each time. My current living situation isn’t really conducive to a shower chair but, the instant it becomes a realistic option, it will be an absolute necessity.
For challenging days when I’m stuck in bed, an overbed table would let me eat meals, work on my laptop, or read from the comfort and support of a reclined position. Taking pressure off my body while still being productive would be invaluable during flares! I love my current setup but I can only imagine the added benefits this would offer.
Accessibility aids like this adaptive utensil set are ideal for anyone who struggles to grasp traditional silverware while eating. Textured rubber handles enhance coordination issues and support unsteady grip so I can feed myself during even the worst flare ups without assistance or frustration over dropped utensils.
Memory Foam Mattress Pad
If I were listing accessibility aids to help those with conditions like fibromyalgia get better rest, a memory foam mattress pad would be near the top of the list. They fit easily under the sheets and help to cushion the body and even prolong the life of your mattress. Being properly supported in cozy comfort could lead to lesser pain and greater restoration overnight. Waking up well-rested with less aches and pains thanks to supportive memory foam could greatly improve my sleep quality and daily functioning, I think.
A while ago, I had a pregnancy pillow that did wonders for my sleep during fibro flares. It’s not especially practical in small spaces, so I’m waiting until moving day to upgrade to a new one, like these c-shaped or u-shaped body pillows. They offer the kind of support you really can’t get from standard pillows—the closest I’ve found is sleeping in a literal pile of squishmallows!
Fellow spoonies—how much do baths seem to reduce your pain levels? For me, the overall experience is lovely, but the feeling of the tub against my back and neck is a lot less pleasant. A spa pillow would fix that issue nicely! It must be that much easier to relax and enjoy this bit of self-care with a more comfortable recline.
Elastic shoelaces would help alleviate the hand pain and dexterity issues I sometimes have tying traditional laces. Slip-on shoes with elastic would allow me to put my shoes on smoothly without struggling or asking for help—and without having to give up wearing the shoes I love, like my classic white Keds!
Water flossing would provide an easier, less painful way for me to care for my oral hygiene daily. I’m pretty meticulous about flossing daily, but my hands don’t always love the habit. Instead, this water flosser would remove plaque and debris without requiring difficult maneuvering of traditional floss by hand.
A supportive yoga bolster would allow me to hold certain poses and stretches more comfortably during exercise. The cushioning would reduce strain on my joints and muscles in positions that are currently too difficult for my body to really sustain. Ideally, I’d throw in a yoga wheel for good measure!
This adaptive cup with a curved nose piece allows people with limited neck mobility to drink comfortably without tilting their heads. For the really bad days when holding up my head to swallow seems too difficult, a cup like this would help me stay hydrated and nourished all the same.
A personal mini humidifier would be incredibly helpful for managing respiratory symptoms and dryness that flare with my conditions. Keeping the air moist, especially in my bedroom overnight, would allow me to breathe and sleep easier.
While not *technically* medically necessary, these aids would allow me to live life more fully and independently despite chronic limitations. I could engage in meaningful activities and hobbies without totally depleting my energy or causing flares. Each of these accessibility aids would remove barriers that currently inhibit my participation and comfort in daily living—on my own terms.
What are some of the accessibility aids on your wish list? I encourage you to think about and advocate for the support that would help you not only manage your conditions, but truly flourish in each day ahead. You deserve to live life to the fullest and most vibrant capacity possible.