Wind-up merchant – Ataxia

Wind-up merchant

Wind-up merchant

In the last issue I discussed using a kettle tipper – a simple device that enables the kettle to tilt whilst staying anchored in the same position. Here are some more ideas you might find useful.

I received a letter (yes, a letter – pen, ink, paper ‘n’ all) from Mr Peggie in Cardiff recommending an electric kettle from Breville called ‘Hot Cup’. This is a hot water dispenser that boils and releases the water directly to a mug or cup placed beneath it. You can buy them online at Amazon. Many of you will recognise these as similar to coffee/tea vending machines in public drinking areas. This is a great alternative to a kettle tipper and comes highly recommended from Mr Peggie.

Moving hot drinks

Of course, pouring the boiling water is not the only challenge in successfully making scalding-hot drinks. You need to transport it to a comfortable part of your home in order to drink it. I use a wheelchair for mobility, so find a ‘bean-bag’ lap tray sits comfortably on my knees, providing an ideal flat surface on which to carry things. However, I got an email from Caroline Panton, who has cerebellar ataxia, telling me that her balance problems mean she uses a rollator for walking, and a way she has found of carrying a full cup of tea.

She uses a round tray with three vertical strings fixed to three equidistant points on the tray at about 12” (30 cm) high, coming inwards to meet centrally overhead and fixed to a handle (so that the tray will swing like a lantern when carried). If the cup is placed in a dead central position – NO SPILLS! A brilliant solution for ‘bad balancers’ as I was before entering the world of wheelchairs. These can be found on Amazon under ‘disability aids’: look for a ‘one-handed tray with stand’, priced around £16.99.

Opening windows from your chair

Although I was using a wheelchair full-time when I moved into my current home 11 years ago, it had become increasingly unsafe for me to pull myself up out of the chair to reach window handles to open the windows. To make things easier for me, I arranged for my house to be fitted with window winders (pictured below). These are winding handles placed close to windows that push a thick chain within a tube to a window opening in order to open and close the window. It means you can control the opening and closing of windows without struggling out of your chair.

I have every opening window in my home fitted with winder controls; eight in total. They are expensive (mine were a total of £900) but it was useful for me to have them fitted after my furniture was in place. Your housing association may be able to fund these for you, although you may also find them in certain new-build homes.


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