life·8 min read

11 Products for People With Limited Mobility, According to a Physical Therapist

Design: theSkimm | Photos: Amazon
May 26, 2022

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We’re back to tackle problems that can affect your day-to-day life, like gut issues and slightly embarrassing problems. This time we’re talking mobility. And these issues can range from arthritic hands to joint pain to an amputated limb, so the degree of assistance needed is subjective. We spoke to Doctor Kristen Tracey, a physical therapist that specializes in orthopedic, neurological, and pelvic-floor therapy, to find out what products are worth using and how they can help.

Tracey says the key is to outfit your home with enough assistive devices to complete everyday tasks sans pain, but not so many that the person becomes sedentary. “The bathroom is the most unforgiving place,” Tracey says, so she’d definitely start there with grab bars. She also recommends “using any and all technology to queue patients to move and prevent sedentary lifestyle.” Tracey says it can be helpful to set an Alexa smart device to tell the person to get up and stand every 20 minutes. For a patient with chronic pain, a TENS unit is affordable and can “bring the pain down from a nine or ten to something more tolerable.”

To help you, we’ve found everything you’ll need according to her recommendations, from grab bars to an affordable muscle stimulator.

An adjustable bench for the bathtub or shower…

Tracey says the bathroom is where people with mobility issues need the most help, especially since water adds a dangerous element. This bench will assist with getting in and out of the shower or tub, without fear of slipping. It has an adjustable backrest for support, extra-large suction cup feet that ensure it stays in place, and tiny holes that keep water from pooling. Customers say it’s very easy to assemble. ($68.98, Amazon)

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A bidet to prevent twisting and turning…

For those who have limited range of motion in their spine, wiping after using the bathroom may cause pain. This bidet uses fresh water (never from the bowl) to spray your bottom clean. It can be installed on almost any toilet and has water-pressure control from a light to strong stream. Plus, you’ll be choosing the sustainable option, saving toilet paper and trees each year. ($99, Tushy)

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An aid that’ll help you put your socks on…

Just place a sock over the plastic piece — which is made of soft, flexible plastic so even those with weaker hand strength can use it — and pull the rubber handles to get on your sock. There’s no bending down or tugging to cause pain, and the rubber panel prevents the sock from slipping off as you pull. Getting dressed will be a cinch. ($14.97, Amazon)

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A security pole with an attached grab bar…

For maximum stability in the bathroom, this floor-to-ceiling security pole will do the job. It’s installed with tension mounting, so you know it won’t budge, and has a grab bar in the middle that rotates and locks in place every 45 degrees. The grab bar has a ladder style that’ll assist you in pulling yourself up, and it can also be used next to a bed. Customers love that the installation doesn’t damage the ceiling or floor. ($174.99, Amazon)

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A traditional grab bar that can go anywhere in the bathroom…

This safety bar can be installed anywhere and at any angle in the bathroom where you might need extra assistance. It can support up to 500 pounds and comes in brushed stainless steel to match the rest of your bathroom hardware. Just note: If you’re installing the bar in a wall without a stud, you’ll need to purchase secure mounts separately. ($21.32+, Amazon)

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A two pack of grabbers that’ll pick up even the smallest items…

The 19-inch grabber is perfect for picking things up off the floor if you’re in a wheelchair, while the 32-inch works well for reaching things on the top shelf. The trigger is soft and easy for those with hand and wrist pain, and the jaw is rubberized, so it can pick up tiny things like keys and coins with ease. Tracey recommends grabbers but cautions against relying solely on them, as the muscles you’re sparing will progressively get weaker. ($32.99, Amazon)

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A smart home device like an Amazon Echo Show…

Tracey says patients with mobility issues can often forget to move their bodies, so setting Alexa to give you daily reminders to stand up or walk can be helpful. You can also video chat with family via the screen that automatically adjusts to keep you in the frame, even if you’re sitting down. It can also be programmed to display photos, your calendar, or recipes so you can cook hands-free. ($99.99+, Amazon)

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An under-the-counter jar opener…

For arthritic hands with less strength, everyday tasks can cause pain. This jar opener mounts underneath a cabinet so it won’t be an eyesore, but opens a range of bottles and jars from a water bottle to nail polish to a larger jar of pickles. Customers note you should install with the V pointing toward you, so you can pull the jar forward rather than backward to open the top. ($18.95, Amazon)

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A set that opens jars, bottles, and cans…

Place the opener over the correct size lid (there are four sizes to choose from), latch on, and twist easily to open. It has thick rubber handles so it’ll never slip. The can opener also features an inner space to open bottle caps, plus a place that will open a soda can tab. This set has all your beverage needs covered. ($8.49+, Amazon)

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A TENS unit to stimulate your muscles…

This is a professional, affordable machine that Tracey recommends to ease muscle and joint pain. It works via electrodes to stimulate and massage muscles through reusable adhesive pads. The pads can be placed in various places on the body, from upper back to calves, and even on hands or feet. It has 16 massage modes, a rechargeable battery that can last up to 10 hours, and comes with a carrying bag so you can take it on the go. Customers say it’s great for temporary pain relief and find themselves using it every day. ($30.95, Amazon)

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A mini massager to work out the kinks and aches…

The mini version of the popular Theragun is much easier to hold, especially for weak hands. It’s compact but still packs a punch to relieve cramps, knots, and tension in muscles. Plus, it’s incredibly quiet and has a 150-minute battery life. Customers say it’s great for people who sit all day, and it can be used at night without waking the rest of the house. ($199, Therabody)

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