grandmaarthritis1

We all know that arthritis isn’t just an old person’s disease. Or at least the people reading this blog post should know that because we have first hand knowledge that arthritis can strike at any age. Yet with all of the kids, teens and young adults who suffer from a form of arthritis or other disabling chronic illnesses, there greatly lacks ergonomic, inclusively designed products for us.

I don’t know about you, but I want to be able to drink from a chic looking mug like the cupboard full of Starbucks ones that I have accumulated over the years. I don’t want to have my friends over for coffee only to pour up their cup of joe into an adorable mug with the New York City skyline on it just to turn around and pour mine into some institutional looking double handled adult sippy cup. No offence to whoever made those, but I’m 26 and I like colourful and trendy kitchenware. What’s even worse is going to a coffee shop, ordering a drink, asking for a to-go cup, and then getting stared down like you’re single handedly trying to destroy the environment when you sit down in a chair to read your book in the cafe with your disposable cup. “You didn’t go anywhere!” their stares say to me. “You just wanted to add to those landfills because you’re a horrible person who doesn’t care about animals or the future of our children!” “You’re probably a climate change denier who drives a Hummer!” Okay, I’m probably getting carried away here, but that’s kind of how it feels when I have to turn down a mug for a disposable cup. I don’t want to have to tell every barista in town that I have arthritis and the beautiful yet pitifully designed handles on their expensive mugs would destroy my fingers. It’s not like you can pick up a piping hot mug with two hands and cradle it in your palm. So instead you have to single handedly destroy the environment by ordering everything in a to-go cup and putting a coffee sleeve on it. The closest I have found to a functional mug that is actually pretty looking is a hand warmer mug, but guess what? Those babies sell for approximately $60 a pop. Mama just ain’t made of money.

Don’t even get me started on eating utensils. Sometimes when I’m out for supper with my boyfriend I have to take some of my steak home for later. Is it because I can’t finish a giant steak in one sitting? God no. It’s because it is incredibly difficult to cut things up with regular forks and knives. But when I decided to look into purchasing some adaptive utensils I was mostly met, once again, with the institutional looking set that I would expect one of my grandparents to have in a nursing home. I recently read an article about a London design student, Charlotte Simmons, who is a young and hip twenty-something with RA. She was also a bit pickier about her ergonomic utensils and decided to design a stylish set for herself. They are pretty looking, but unfortunately not available for purchase yet.

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If you google adaptive devices or products for people with arthritis it is mostly laughable. Sure those products probably help make life way easier for people who need them, but holy crap are they ever ugly. I may suffer from arthritis but I also suffer from good taste with a side of vanity. Maybe it’s selfish and superficial of me, but I want stylish assistive devices and I want a variety of them. People who have no problem using regular mugs, utensils, or anything of that sort, get to go out to the mall and pick through hundreds and thousands of different designs. Young people with disabilities get maybe two to pick from if they’re lucky, and they certainly can’t expect them to be modern or nice looking. It’s almost like it’s against the law to give people with disabilities some stylish tools to work with.

Inclusive design has made huge, funky strides in the last few years if it’s an office cubicle you are looking to modify, but as soon as you start looking for products to make life at home better for your aching joints, you’re sent back to the 1960’s. Or you luck out and find that really sweet product only to realize that it would break your bank to purchase it.

I feel like my illness takes enough away from me, why should it strip me of my sense of style as well? Shouldn’t it be time that the markets are overflowing with products that cater to the younger chronic illness population?

Anyone want to team up with me to create some  stylish and inclusive products for young people with disabilities?

Now please prove me wrong by filling the comments with links to stylish, half-affordable inclusively designed products. Go!

10 Comments on Not Your Grandma’s Arthritis Tools

  1. Michelle Butler Hallett
    August 17, 2015 at 7:05 pm (3 years ago)

    Great post.

    You might find something you like that doesn’t cost a car payment at easy comforts.com. Maybe. They’re in the US, and the last time I ordered from them, the dollars were near par. They skew towards seniors in their marketing (and almost all the models are attractive 50-something white ladies, no diversity at all) — but they do sell some useful stuff, an not all of it butt-ugly.

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      September 3, 2015 at 9:49 am (3 years ago)

      Thanks for the tip! I have checked that website out before and didn’t really like the things I saw as far as aesthetics go, but a lot of it does look very useful!

      Reply
  2. Stefanie
    August 17, 2015 at 9:51 pm (3 years ago)

    Great post! I totally agree! I would love to have some adaptive products geared towards young people.

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      September 3, 2015 at 9:52 am (3 years ago)

      Right?! I wish I was more crafty so I could make some. If I ever find some cool things I will let you know!

      Reply
  3. Lelainia
    August 17, 2015 at 11:14 pm (3 years ago)

    It’s called #ableism : discrimination in favor of able-bodied people. In this case, people with disabilities couldn’t possibly deserve nice things-they just need functional things, thus the lack of style. Good on you for calling it out!

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      September 3, 2015 at 9:53 am (3 years ago)

      Ableism is the worst. I’ve been having so many rants with friends about it lately so this just needed to be said before I exploded 😛

      Reply
  4. Nicole
    August 18, 2015 at 7:59 am (3 years ago)

    Have you checked out Sabi? They don’t have tons of different kinds of adaptive tools, but what they have is stylish and colorful and they have some less expensive options, depending on what you’re looking for.

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      September 3, 2015 at 9:54 am (3 years ago)

      Yes, I love Sabi! I would be very content if Sabi just kept making a bigger variety of products because the few things they do have are super cool and very Lisa-styled.

      Reply
  5. kc
    August 20, 2015 at 4:23 pm (3 years ago)

    I use klean kanteens cool looking metal cups so if I drop it it wont break and Corelle dishes they are light so easy to lift, can go in microwave and dishwasher and are pretty indestructible with regards to dropping and breaking. I have brought my own silverware out to dinner before so I could eat the restaurants were pretty understanding about it all.

    Reply
    • damselinadress
      September 3, 2015 at 9:56 am (3 years ago)

      The metal cups are a good idea! Thanks!

      I might look into bringing around my own fork and steak knife for emergency steak meals. Also a good idea.

      Reply

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