Tis the Season

Take a little guesswork out of gift giving this holiday season with these innovative ideas for wheelchair users.

The annual holiday shopping crush is here once again, and hitting the malls can be a harrowing experience this time of year.

A trip to any shopping center means a quest for a parking space and battling crowds, many of whom are not necessarily in the holiday spirit. These tasks take on an even bigger challenge when you’re in a wheelchair. However, there is hope and help for anyone looking to get an awesome gift for a wheelchair user (or if you just want a gift for yourself).

The Internet has a plethora of ideas and resources for all types of gifts, and you never have to leave the comfort of home. Events like Cyber Monday and websites like ebay.com and amazon.com put almost anything you can think of at the tip of your finger. This year, PN is taking that idea a step further and bringing a bit of the Internet to print with these neat — and sometimes unusual — gift ideas.

A Clean Sweep

Hard surfaces make it much easier for wheelchair users to roll around the house, but those floors can get dirty fast, and it can be a pain to clean them all the time.

The iRobot Roomba 650 Series puts an end to that hassle without bothering you. Roomba vacuums dirt, dust, hair and debris from your carpets, hardwood, tile and laminate floors, automatically adjusting to different floor surfaces as it moves through your home. It even has a remote control and can be programmed to do up to seven automatic cleaning sessions a week.

Available for $399.95 at hsn.com or 800-284-5757.

Don’t Touch That Dial

It seems all of today’s entertainment devices run by remote control, and figuring out which button runs which device can be frustrating — even more so when the buttons are too small.

Tiny buttons are no problem with the Tek-Partner giant remote control. This remote has huge ¾-inch brightly lit buttons with big readable characters. It will also be harder to lose this remote when it measures 5½ inches wide and 8½ inches long.

U.S. Navy veteran Billy Ray Pearce's chair sports Cool Hub Cap spokeguards.

Tek-Partner is said to be easy to program and replaces up to four standard remote controls. It reportedly can be used with any combination of TVs, VCRs, cable boxes and satellites.

Available for $39.95, at bigbuttonremotes.com or 630-466-7664.

Got It Covered

Whoever said all wheelchairs have to look the same and have no personality to them?

Wheelchair spoke guards are large, plastic wheel covers that come in a variety of styles and colors. They give wheelchairs a sense of personal style whether it be a cover featuring the American flag, a lion, a colorful design or one that looks like a basketball.

Available for manual and power wheelchairs, the covers come in numerous designs. They also keep fingers, pets, or small children out of the wheel’s spokes.

Available for $125 a pair at coolhubcaps.com or 888-414-7061.

Snuggle Up

OK, we’ve heard the jokes, but in all seriousness, the Snuggie is warm, easy to put on and take off, and its design is perfect for wheelchair users.

Made of super-soft fleece, the Snuggie is basically a blanket with sleeves. Think of it as a bathrobe you wear backward. It keeps you warm from head to toe while allowing complete freedom of movement. Read, eat, sew, use the remote, talk on the phone or work on your laptop in complete comfort.

The Snuggie is machine washable and comes in a variety of colors and designs.

Starting from $9.99 at mysnuggiestore.com or 866-642-6881.

Lean On Me

Riding and resting your forearms on a pair of uncomfortable wheelchair arms all day can take a toll and leave you with a pair of sore limbs.

Wheelchair Pals not only makes those arm rests more comfortable but also adds a little fun to a wheelchair. Available in eight different animals, including lion, dalmatian and monkey, these cute pads provide a nice, relaxing place to rest your arms. The covers also help protect your original wheelchair arms from cracks and other types of damage.

The pals fit desk-length wheelchair arms (just under 12 inches) and are hand washable.

Available for $29.95 a pair (includes shipping) at wheelchairpals.com or 734-558-3535.

Dog Day Afternoon

Taking Fido out for a daily roll around the block or park is a benefit for all involved, but it can be difficult to hold the leash and control your pet while pushing a manual wheelchair at the same time.

The Hound-a-Bout hands-free dog walking system reportedly lets you do both at the same time. Created by a wheelchair user for his dog, the system works by removing one of a wheelchair’s swing-away, tubular arm rests. The Hound-a-Bout mast is dropped into the empty receiver, your dog is hooked up and 
off you go.

If your chair didn’t come equipped with tubular, swing-away arm rests, the company will work with you to get the right hardware.

Available for $119.95, plus $20 shipping, at bluezoneenterprises.com or 

Be Cool

Few things are as uncomfortable as trying to sleep while you’re hot. It’s even more frustrating when you can’t easily move around to a cooler position or spot in the bed.

The Brookstone Bed Fan can change that with some nice cool air. It tucks between the top and bottom sheets and circulates air to disperse built-up body heat and keep you comfortable all night long. The Bed Fan can also help save on the AC bill by sending a breeze over the body rather than the entire house.

Its adjustable height should clear almost any mattress and bed frame. An easy-to-reach wireless remote sits on the nightstand for easy adjusting.

Available for $99 at brookstone.com or 866-576-7337.

Flex & Touch

Nobody likes fingerprint smudges all over an iPad, but a stylus can sometimes be too small and hard too hold.

The iPad Flex Stylus provides comfort and better control, especially for people with limited hand dexterity. You can bend it in the angle that suits you best. For use with the iPad, a conductive plug is added as a tip. The strip is covered with a braided cotton sleeve plus a silicone tube for a steady grip.

Available for $40, at etsy.com.

Information in a Flash

Having your medical information handy in case of an emergency could literally mean the difference between life and death.

The MD Alert Medical History Flash Drive Bracelet puts all your information right on your wrist. Just plug the USB flash drive into your computer to type in and store all your medical information and history. It has sections for living will, power of attorney, test and lab results, medications, allergies, contacts, and more.

In an emergency, doctors and medical staff simply plug the flash drive into a computer to retrieve critical info. The unisex bracelet comes in gold or silver.

Available for $19.99, at whateverworks.com or 800-499-6757.

It’s Time

Even if you have the best of memories, it can be tough to stay on track with a medication routine involving multiple prescriptions.

MedCenter’s Your Minder Personal Recording Alarm Clock helps keep you on top of things. Not your ordinary alarm clock, Your Minder is said to allow you to set six different daily alarms and record a specific message for each one. For instance, you can remind yourself to take the blue and yellow pills at 8 a.m., the red pill with lunch at 12:30 p.m., and to walk the dog at 3 p.m.

The alarm clock features a loud speaker volume and works with two AA batteries that are included or a 120V AC power adaptor.

Available for $44.95, at medcentersystems.com or 866-600-3244. 


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