Being disabled ain’t cheap. Between insurance costs, doctor’s visits, medications, medical equipment/mobility aides, and adapted vehicles, we’re spending a lot of our incomes on the bare necessities we need to just keep moving.
Occasionally, a luxury item just for us will make it to market. I’ve seen workout devices that attach to wheelchairs, robot hands, and the famous Tommy Hilfiger adapted clothing line. All of these things are great, and would make my life so much easier…if I could afford them. But since I can’t, today I am spilling the Disabili-tea on what cheap products have made my life less limited.
1. Shampoo Brush
Because my disability affects the peripheral nervous system, my wrists and hands are extremely weak and have atrophied quite a bit over the years. When I started having trouble really getting my scalp clean using my fingers, I was determined to find a solution.
Enter the Scalpmaster Shampoo Brush.
Not only is this product super affordable (just $4.00 for a pack of 3), it WORKS. The plastic bristles help to remove product buildup and dandruff, which in turn helps stimulate growth for my curly hair.
The ring on the back makes it easy to hold, even when my hands are wet. I’ve even used one of these to get the gunk out of my makeup brushes. There are pricier versions of the Scalpmaster out there, but this one works perfectly for a fraction of the cost. In fact, I’ve never had to replace the one I keep in my shower, so go for the one pack to save even more!
2. Staple Remover
I know, I know. This one seems a little weird, but stick with me. I’m not talking about those little alligator mouth staple removers, but rather the long line variety shown below.
I use these for e v e r y t h i n g.
Opening the tab on a can? Check.
Peeling a sticker I can’t grab with my fingers? Check.
Opening the foil backs of pills? Check.
Makeshift letter opener? Check.
I think the only thing I haven’t actually used this for is removing staples. I keep one at work and at home, and I find that I reach for them often. If you have weakened hands like me, this is the one product I would say you need. You can get a pack of three on Amazon for $7.49.
Thank me later, if you’re not too busy opening every can in your house, just because you have the ability.
3. Super Stretchy Leggings
I am the first to admit that I used to be a staunch hater of leggings as pants. I once wrote in a college journal that women who wore leggings as pants looked like they stepped straight out of the 1980s, ready for a jog. Back then, I was still able to stand up and hadn’t yet faced the unique challenge of having to pull up pants while remaining in a seated position. (If you’re an able bodied person, I dare you to try pulling up and fastening a pair of jeans while you’re sitting on the toilet, without using your legs at all.)
Now I am the mayor of Leggings Town, having arrived via the Leggings Depot.
I ordered my first pair of these leggings after a worry-free summer of skirts and dresses (the most wheelchair-friendly clothing next to just staying naked). I was a little cautious of the sizing, but with nearly 10,000 glowing reviews, I figured they couldn’t be bad.
I ended up ordering three more pairs. These leggings are soft, warm, and so stretchy that pulling them up while I’m sitting down is a breeze. I don’t know what kind of Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants magic they possess, but at $10.99 a pair, I am on my way to possessing them in every color.
4. Floor Peddler
While I can no longer walk or stand, I can still move my legs enough to peddle a stationary bike. It’s important to keep my legs moving to help with circulation and avoid blood clots. However, stationary bikes are expensive and climbing onto them can be dangerous.
I found this floor peddler after I had experienced some level of success using a recumbent bike during physical therapy and wanted to keep it going at home. I can stay in my chair while I use it, and easily adjust the resistance level to make it more of a workout. You can also set it on a table and use it for an arm workout.
The best part? It’s only $23, a fraction of the cost of a standard stationary bike.
5. The Standard Bobby Pin
Like the staple removers I listed above, I use bobby pins for so many things, the least of which is holding my hair in place. Bobby pins are a great, cheap solution to some of the buttoning/zipping tools that are marketed to disabled people.
I use the open end to hook onto zippers, giving me a kind of “handle” to hold onto for extra grip as I pull. Similarly, by opening a bobby pin a little, you can slide it around a button and use the long end to pull through a button hole. Bobby pins are cheap and ubiquitous. You probably have one or two in the back of your bathroom drawer. Or, if you’re like me, there’s at least one tangled in your hair right now. Dig it out, and give it a whirl!
What cheap products have you learned to use in unconventional ways? Is there something you love that I should try? Spill the Disabili-tea in the comments below!