Aids for us with health conditions


Well-Known Member
I know most here talk about diets and food but over on Watercooler one day some of us were talking about things that could be done to our homes or for ourselves to help out and make our lives easier if we live with a chronic medical condition that leaves us physically impaired.

I am trying to come up with some ideas of things to look in to. I am definitely going to look into getting a ramp built for my front door. I also want to find out about a bar to help me get out of the bathtub but that might be a bit difficult considering the type of bathtub I have.

I am looking for a stool for the kitchen so I can sit and cook or wash dishes.

What are other things anyone can think of that they may think are helpful or that they use?


Crazy Cat Lady
husband found a wheeled barstool to be indespible for kitchen work once he became unable to walk.

He could scoot from counter to sink to stove on it.

He also had a "reacher": a stick with pincers on the end of it that could be used to pick items off the floor or hold a cloth/sponge for cleaning.

I dunno if the barstool idea would work for you. husband's balance was very good right to the end and he was a small man and very thin.

I'd be worried you might fall, but it might be something to look into. I know they make barstools with backs and arms, which might be safer.

The "reachers" are available at medical supply houses and even some "drug stores" (like Walgreens or CVS)


Well-Known Member
Since I've blown my knee out again, I'm getting a raised toilet seat. It's getting harder and harder to get up off the potty these days. I'm also trying to figure out how to put bars in the tub, since climbing out is also more difficult.

I like GoingNorth's idea about a wheeled barstool. Was is difficult for your husband to get into it? I think of barstools as tall chairs that you almost have to climb into. I don't know how I would do that with my short little legs.


KTM, they make barstools that are shorter. Like but+ high, so you just kinda sit back onto it without really going up or down.

From back when I had knee problems, I have a barstool in my kitchen and shop and I use it when I'm doing something where I'm just standing for a long period. Don't HAVE use it so much anymore, but I still keep it around cause its handy to have when I peel potatoes for 15 or something.


Well-Known Member

we do talk mostly about weight issues here, but this is healthful living and your question is a good one.

I know there will be some good ideas coming your way!

Word of caution to anyone looking into the gripper type handles that Heather posted a link to. I had a family member on my mother's side who had something like this in her bathroom. When getting out of the tub, the grip loosened and she could have really hurt herself. She was over 300 pounds, so I would suggest seeing what the strenght limit is before making a purchase and thinking it is safe for everyone.

A very interesting and helpful topic, Janet.



Crazy Cat Lady
husband was only 5'8" tall. The barstool he had had a height adjustment on it. He could do a "pullup" on his crutches to get properly seated and then lean the crutches against the wall in the kitchen.

It wasn't one of those where your feet dangle, but it did have a foot rest if needed. He would perch on it and use his good leg to push himself around or would use his arms to pull himself around.

He only weighed about 150lbs healthy so I'd guess weight would be a consideration when picking out a stool as well.

Plus, husband had good upper body strength in addition to being small.

Bath rails do come rated for weight. The one we got was rated for 250lbs and I know they make heavier duty ones.

Another thing that can be really helpful is a shower "chair". It's an adjustable stool that sits in the shower. Combined with a handheld shower unit, you can clean up completely while sitting down.

We used one it a standard tub. I still had to help husband out of the tub to avoid the risk of his crutches slipping on a damp floor, but I didn't have to hold him up in the shower.

Shower stools, or those wheeled office style stepstools, are also nice for working in the garden and things like that.


Active Member
That safety grip handle was something I was going to mention too. I've seen them advertised in various magazines here. There are also ones which fit over the edge of a bathtub with a cantilever effect (no suction cups) which could be useful.

I've used a shower chair. A telephone shower (hand-held) is good, too. We also found it good for using on the kids if they had soiled pants or were sandy after a beach trip. We'd just put them in the shower recess and use the telephone shower to hose them down.

I remember using one of those special toilet seats - can't remember why, now. I did like the handles at the side for lifting myself up. And there are special things you can buy (or make) to hold a book open - they're like a mini sandbag.

I was given a wooden trolley, like the sort of thing you'd wheel afternoon tea in with - and it's really good for wheeling it around the house with stuff tat needs to be put away. The trouble is, it's ended up at the front door as something stuff gets dumped onto!

A telephone head-set - really good for talking on the phone without having to hold the phone in my hand. I find my arm gets very tired and hurts a lot, just from holding the telephone.

Special knee pads for gardening - they also reduce the pain in knees when doing some types of housework that require kneeling. I also made a kneeling pad for gardening, by stuffing an old feed sack with a chuck of old foam mattress. I have small gardening hand tools with extensible handles. VERY useful. husband built me a raised garden bed with railway sleeper sides so I can sit on the edge of it and weed it (or harvest, or sow seeds). Alternatively, use pots for gardening - large pots. They can be moved around to catch the sun.

Thinking cap is now on.

More tomorrow after a good night's sleep.


I highly recommend a one time visit with an occupational therapist. It is even better if they can come to your home to evaluate, but you can take photographs of your home to the therapist. Your physician can write a prescription for the evaluation, and most insurance policies will cover this service.

Occupational therapists have a million tricks up their sleeves and they often are very inexpensive "fixes". I don't know where you live, but Georgia Tech University here in Atlanta has a Center for Assistive Technology and Environmental Access. They have a library that is free to the public and an occupational therapist on staff. Their phone number is 1-800-726-9119 and their web site is

I work with individuals who have had catastrophic work injuries and I have found the services of occupational therapists invaluable over the years. New adaptive aids and durable medical equipment comes on the market every day -and they are the folks who keep up with the advances. it is simply amazing how much better your day to day life can be made with the correct equipment.

Good luck in your research!


Well-Known Member
Following up on the bar stool idea for the kitchen, my husband has back and knee problems and finds it very hard to stand for a long time. He has an architect's drafting chair that lives in our kitchen. It's heavy duty, with wheels, a lovely big padded swivel seat, and a foot rest so your feet don't dangle. He uses it for cooking, washing dishes, and for just sitting around reading the paper at the counter.

We found it on eBay. I can't remember the exact specs but even before husband went on his super-diet (husband is 6'1 and at his heaviest he was well over 400 lbs), this chair was able to hold him comfortably.

Other things we've found very handy:

A little padded folding garden kneeler. It folds out so that there's a padded flat knee rest at the bottom with sturdy metal handles on each side, that you can use to push yourself up and ease yourself down.

Tilting foot rests under the chairs at each desk. Allow you to wiggle your feet and legs, and take the pressure off knees, ankles and hips

I saw a commercial on TV recently (I think Ed McMahon was in it), for a walk-in bathtub with a little door in it. I have no idea about the cost, but it just seems like such a great idea (if it is indeed water tight)

The raised toilet seat is also a great help

My mother in law has one of those little wheeled walkers with a built in seat.

Sorry...I know this is disjointed but I'm just trying to think of everything I can come up with.



Well-Known Member
I got one of those little wheeled walkers with the seats. I should have paid a bit more attention when I got it though but I was so excited that I would have something that I thought would solve the problem of my stability when walking and also a place for me to sit when I got tired. Ummmm...NOT! The space between the handlebars and where my seat is to go...well lets just say my hips dont fit! I even took off some bolts and turned them around backwards so they werent jabbing me in important places and still its like sitting sideways on some hard jabby thing.

I think I needed the extra large model. No one bothered to mention that at the store even though it should have been self evident. Needless to say I dont use it much at all because its painful.

I would love one of the tubs like on tv. That would be ideal and solve my problem of having to stand up from the awkward position in the normal tub and trying to step out of the garden tub. I tend not to bathe unless Tony is home because I have fallen before. I take hot baths because it helps my joints but hot water also makes me light headed. Catch 22. Wonder if those bathtubs are covered by medicare? LOL.


Well-Known Member
Janet, thanks for the heads up on sizes for those wheeled walkers. Hubby saw one in a catalog and was ready to go get it for me. I had him wait so I can see if my fanny fits comfortably.

Got my raised toilet seat, and it helps. Now I need to figure out a way to drive my car (a 5-speed) without serious pain. Buying a different car is not an option right now.


Active Member
Get the bariatric model of the wheeled walker, and it will be much larger. Bariatric equipment is available in everything now, from hospital beds to commodes to walkers. If I remember right they are made for people over 250lbs. Medicare may pay part of the cost of the equipment (including walkers) but you will need a prescription from a doctor, especially for the bariatric stuff. Call a local medical supply company and they will know what you need to do and if medicare will pay.

For soap in the shower, get an old pair of nylons, and cut a leg off. Put the bar of soap in the toe, and tie the other end to something in the shower. Now you have soap on a rope!! It can't escape or end up under your foot and cause you to crash.

If the shower is slick, put a hand towel in the bottom of it while you shower. It will provide a nonskid surface once it is wet. You can also put a hand towel on a bath bench and it will do the same thing.

I will try to think of any more tricks, I think I have forgotten many of them.


Linda, I was going to post last night about needing something so that I could sleep sitting up, but lost the energy. My mom had some kind of catalog that had that backrest pillow in it and it was about $20 more.

Thank you for all the links.