Helping Hands

Some gifts can make life easier for your elderly or disabled loved ones

Focus On Gifts

November 28, 1999|By Deborah Stoudt | Deborah Stoudt,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

With the holidays fast approaching, you may be feeling a little tense about finding that perfect gift for loved ones or friends, especially if they are disabled or elderly.

If so, we can help.

From hundreds of items available, we've selected 10, most priced under $50, that will make life a little easier for those having trouble with daily activities such as getting up from a chair, hearing the telephone ring or writing with a steady hand. Maybe you want to select an item for yourself. All the products can be purchased through a catalog, Web site or by calling a toll-free number for a store near you (details below). Happy shopping.

1. In Between Large Size Watch ($29.95) -- If you're having trouble telling the time on your wristwatch because the numbers and hands are too small to read, this watch features larger numbers and extra-wide hands. Choose between a black leather band or a silver-gold colored expansion band.

2. Adjustable

key holder ($4.10) -- This handy item holds up to five keys and locks keys in place. Press a lever and the key you want becomes stationary. The holder fits easily into the palm of your hand for easy gripping. Call Graham-Field Inc. in Hauppauge, N.Y., at 800-645-8176 for a store near you that sells Cane & Able products.

3. "Shake Awake" the

Vibrating Alarm Clock ($29.95) -- Tired of waking up that sound sleeper who ignores or doesn't hear the alarm? Or maybe you miss appointments because you snooze too long? When placed under a pillow, this clock will get sleepy heads out of bed by vibrating at the prescribed time. It has an easy-to-read display, a loud tone alarm and snooze function. Battery operated.

4. Phone Strobe Flasher ($29.95) -- It's designed for people who have difficulty hearing the phone ring. The small unit connects to any phone so that when it rings, the unit emits a powerful strobe flash that attracts anyone in the room and alerts them to the incoming call.

5. Folding Seat Cane ($18.95) -- Do you know someone who's having trouble walking, but doesn't want to be stuck at home? This gadget may be the answer.

If you're visiting the park, or taking a walk and want to rest, the 34-inch-tall cane opens to a 10-by-11-inch plastic seat supported by a black aluminum frame. The seat sits 17 inches from the ground.

6. Card Shuffler ($14.95) -- You and your family or pals love to play cards, but your hands haven't got the old dexterity they once had. Let this shuffler do the job for you. Just press the lever and it thoroughly shuffles the cards. It uses batteries and can shuffle up to two decks at a time.

7. Steady Write Pen ($4.95) -- Writing can be illegible if your hands shake. This pen with a retractable tip smoothes the writing motion. Grasp the pen base, which rests on the paper, and write as if you're holding a regular pen. The ink tip translates your movements into legible letters. Ink cartridge refills are available.

8. Ease In, Ease Out seat ($24.95) -- This 15-inch diameter swivel seat makes getting in and out of a car easier for those who can't bend their legs so easily. Described as a Lazy Susan for people, its durable plastic base will not leave indentation marks on a leather seat. Built-in handle makes it easy to tote.

9. Uplift seat assist -- Need an extra push to get up from a chair? The Uplift seat assist senses when you're trying to get up and automatically lifts up to 80 percent of your weight nine inches to get you on your feet. It weighs 8 pounds, quickly flattens and includes a built-in handle. Choose one of six weight settings. Choose either Uplift, if you weigh between 80 to 230 pounds, or Uplift Plus, if your weight is 200 to 350 pounds. List price is $299.95, but it can be purchased through Healthy Home Intelihealth for $149.95 by calling 800-988-1127. Or call Uplift Techno1ogies at 800-387-0806 for a dealer near you, or find out more about the product and prices at www.up-lift.com.

10. Button Aid/Zip Pull -- (Suggested retail price $13.14. Cost varies by store.) If you're having trouble buttoning or zipping, this little device will help. One end makes buttoning easier for people with limited use of only one hand. It works by passing the loop through the buttonhole, over the button and pulling through. Comes with easy-grip handles and designs for standard and large buttons. The other end allows you to pull up a zipper.

Call 800-526-4753 for dealers near you. If not in stock, they may order it for you. Or call Mature Mart, a mail order company, at 800-720-6278. Cost is $9.95.

Except for the Uplift seat assist, adjustable key holder and Button Aid/Zip Pull, all products are available through Life's Little Helpers, which specializes in items for the elderly or disabled. Call 877-243-5737, or visit its Web site: www. lifeslittlehelpers.com.

You can order a catalog from Graham-Field for $5 to look at other products. However, you can't order a product as an individual, but the customer service operator will give you a number to call a local store that's within your zip code or a nearby one. If the store doesn't have it in stock, the proprietor may be willing to order it for you.

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