With less than three weeks to go until Christmas, now is the time to really start thinking about doing some shopping, if you haven’t already.
As we’ve said before, it’s not necessary when you’re shopping for a less able friend or family member to concentrate entirely on their disability. Nine times out of ten you can just get them what you’d get anyone else of their age and gender. Having said that, there are some things to bear in mind and there are some products out there which are stylish and assistive. There’s nothing wrong with getting something practical for Christmas as long as it’s stylish too!
We’ve already posted Xmas ideas for less able kids and adults this year but we’ve come up with a couple of extra ideas that could make ideal presents this Christmas. You can never have too many presents, so here’s a hodgepodge of some additional inspiration:
OK, maybe you can have too many presents
Upgrading a loved one’s mobility aids to something a bit more trendy is always a good bet. If they’ve got a boring, basic cane, set of crutches or anything else already, then maybe they could do with something a bit jazzier.
If you really want to go for broke (possibly literally!) you could get a Flo walking aid which is a whopping £358 but does more than an average walking stick. They’re multifunctional, super strong, lightweight and elegant. As well as offering support, they can be used to wrap around the lower leg and act as a lever to assist with dignified and unassisted elevation from seated to standing. They’ve been dubbed ‘the Salvador Dali walking stick’ because of their unique design and they are a cut above other sticks in many ways (unfortunately that includes price).
Should a Flo be over your budget there’s no need to worry, there are still lots of other mobility products which bring a little more style and fun to the Christmas party. We’d recommend Cool Crutches, Glamsticks, Designed 2 Enable and The German Crutch Company as good places to find fun and functional mobility aids. It might be getting just too close to Christmas for some of these now, because they’re all online and postage can take a while, so you’ll have to be really quick or you could give a home made voucher instead, until they make it in the post. Particularly, Glamsticks are saying delivery can’t be guaranteed because all their products are decorated by hand, but if you contact them you might be able to make next day delivery arrangements.
Cool Crutches Designs
If you’re looking for a big pressie for a less able kid then you could do worse than checking out Tom Cat bicycles. They design cool adapted bikes and trikes for children and adults with physical and mental impairments. They have special carer control features which mean that the cyclist is always safe and every trike they make is individually tailored to the needs of the individual. This does mean that, again, there’s a bit of a rush if you want one this Christmas but if you’re quick these could be perfect.
Tomcat also sell a range of orthotic designer trainers which are helpful for splint users and those with arthritis or fine motor problems. They’re called Tomcat Twisters and they have an innovative lacing wheel behind the heel which makes the shoes easier to put on and take off as well as being less difficult to secure once you get them on. The heel folds back to make more space to put your foot into and they then fasten by twisting a wheel on the heel. They’re designed to look like everyday trainers and do a decent job of pulling that look off.
Tomcat Twisters – £99
Joseph Joseph products are all very stylish, with funky colours and cool designs, but this C Pump soap dispenser is worth highlighting because it looks like something that might also be more functionable for less able people. Because it has a wider base to push than most dispensers, it’s easier to use for people with limited dexterity. You just have to put your hand inside the C shape and push down to dispense soap, so it should involve less intricacy than most. Plus it’s also just a fun and colourful design.
C-Pump soap dispenser – £18 (sink and tap not included)
We also like this Easy Tear kitchen roll holder. It looks like it too could be handy for people with limited dexterity. Its upright blade and heavy non-slip base make tearing kitchen towel really easy, even with just one hand. These may not look too exciting for a present but they are handy and they’re from Joseph Joseph so they’re stylish too.
Easy Tear £25
Were Benjamin Franklin alive today he may well say that in this world nothing is certain but death, taxes and getting socks for Christmas. It’s basically guaranteed that everyone will come out of this Christmas with a net gain in their sock drawer. So, if you are going to give or receive a pair of socks this Christmas (and let’s face it, you are), you could do worse than getting these Life Socks which are designed to promote healthy circulation. They’re made from 55% merino wool and are breathable and really helpful for people with diabetes and other disabilities.
Along with socks, mugs are another of the most ubiquitous Christmas presents around. We think that, since it’s pretty much a given that they’re going to get a mug, less able people may as well receive one which will be easier for them to use. In that case, a HandSteady cup would be an ideal solution. They’re designed for people with Parkinson’s, MS, Arthritis, Muscular Dystrophy and other conditions that make holding and lifting difficult, to help prevent them from spilling drinks.
HandSteady cups are lightweight and have larger, rotating handles which make them easier to hold and keep steady. The rotating handle means that the cup stays upright no matter how you hold it and you can then tilt the body of the cup to drink. It’s a very simple tweak to the normal mug design but testimonials show that it has been very successful.
They’re very helpful and look less awkward than most other drinking aids, like beakers, bottles or straws. The only real setbacks are price – at £39.99 they’re dearer than your average mug – and that they could possibly do with a little more decoration. Does their plain white design pass the style test? Just about.
Slouch Mat mouse pads can be used on almost any surface, making them ideal for laptop use around the house and especially useful for wheelchair users. Their mouldable beanbag bases with non-slip, grippy surfaces mean they be can used wherever you want. They’re also very ergonomic which, combined with the possibility of sitting them on the arm of a wheelchair, makes them very well suited for anybody less able. They’re also well designed from an aesthetic point of view and at £13.18 on Amazon make a sensible and well priced gift.
If you’re planning to buy any clothes for a friend or family member in a wheelchair there are a couple of tips, that we’ve been given by professional stylists, to bear in mind. First and foremost the clothes need to be comfortable, because sitting in a wheelchair is not. Also, a great way to look stylish in a wheelchair is to keep to wearing dark clothes on your legs and lighter coloured tops. This helps a lot because, when you’re sitting down all the time, your legs are in front of you so it’s important to accentuate your face. So that would be another tip for shopping for someone else: stick to light tops; darker bottoms. Shoes with lots of width are also a good bet.
Generally we tend to say that it’s best to just buy something from somewhere you would shop for anyone. There are lots of specialist online shops, selling less able people skirts, tops and trousers but unfortunately the majority of these places are pants. They normally focus far too much on disability and not enough on the actual style of the clothes. However, the two places we’d recommend are Wheelie Chix and Xeni (if you’re feeling generous, as it’s quite expensive).
Wheelie Chix – fashionable wheelchair specialists
Most people would say that bumper stickers are a little bit tacky but these make a funny stocking filler. They’re only £2.50 on Cafepress which is not bad for a bit of fun.
That is the end of our Christmas lists for 2013 (although we might have to post a few more individual items if and when we see something we can’t resist). Hopefully there should at least be some inspiration in there. You can also try taking a look at: