Tips & Tricks

The resources and products provided below are from people living with ALS, PLS and their caregivers. These suggested tips and tricks are shared to help further facilitate daily life.

Content Disclaimer:
The “Tips & Tricks” suggestions below represent the original provider’s opinions and views. They do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the ALS Society of British Columbia (ALS BC) or its employees. You should consult your professional healthcare adviser for advice. This webpage contains content such as language and images from other sources, which are linked to those sites, enabling you to leave our site and go directly to the linked site.

Sections:

Bathroom

Bathroom safety grab bars with non-slip texture surface

Grab Bars

All manner & sizes to outfit a house & bathrooms.

Nalgene brand plastic wide-mouth water bottle

DIY Portable Urinals

The best seem to be the Nalgene plastic wide-mouth water bottles that have the lids attached. They do not leak and are durable and relatively easy to clean. These water bottles were all the rage a few years ago until it was discovered they were leaching estrogen-like molecules into the drinks. We have picked up a few of these from local thrift stores. (Note: In our household we use stainless steel bottles for water so there is no confusion. Ha! Ha!)

Handheld shower head

Hand Held Shower Head

This was added to the shower/bath and works well with the bath bench.

Non-slip shower bath mat

Non-Slip Bath Mat

These are not fully safe but they help so long as you secure them really well.

Electric toothbrush from Philips Sonicare

Electric Toothbrush

As my hands got weaker I found an electric toothbrush was a great tool, mine has different settings one even goes in an up and down movement, less time and energy used plus a better job done.

Cordless Water Flosser for Teeth

Effectively and efficiently clean teeth to improve oral health, providing healthier gum and brighter teeth.

Top >

Bedroom

Elastic Tie Downs

For lamps on/off.

Medical Tape

To cover mouth falling open while sleeping at night.

CPAP/Bi-PAP machine tube holder

CPAP/Bi-PAP Tube Holder

Can also be used for clothing or blanket.

Top >

Clothing

Plastic Tie Wrap

Zap strap for clothing zippers.

Shoe Horn

Long handled as an extra arm for reaching.

Shorts

Safety hip protection.

Bedsheet grippers

Bedsheet Grippers

Use with bibs which provide adjustability for excess drooling.

Incontinence pad on top of a bed and someone pouring water onto it from a jug

Incontinence Pads

These are small, medium and large and are great for the car, wheelchair, armchair and bed. They are durable and easy to launder. NOTE: Incontinence supplies such as pads, briefs, and disposable pads. Keep all receipts, as these are considered medical supplies and are income-tax deductible.

A red safety flag mounted on the top of a thin pole

Safety Flag

The flag can be attached to a wheelchair to provide higher visibility and safety when travelling in public spaces.

Safety Vest

We think this is essential safety equipment for a wheelchair when moving along the road, sidewalk, market, etc.

Bib Apron

We have found that ordinary bib aprons work well for meal times at home or out and about.

Kiwi Sheepskins

A New Zealand company that makes and sells sheepskins. They are classified as medical sheepskins, used on wheelchairs etc., and highly recommended for preventing pressure sores (a.k.a bedsores) that tend to show up in people with limited mobility. On the website, prices appear in Canadian and New Zealand dollars, and there are regular sales. Payment is made via PayPal.

Cool Bead Cushion

Traditionally these are used in vehicles when travelling in hot conditions to minimize sweating and sticking to the seat. They help to introduce a layer of air between the person and the seat. M. uses the cushion to keep himself off the back of the easy-lift armchair in which he resides day and night. Hopefully, it will minimize the occurrence of heat rash.

Slider Sheets

These are bed linens designed to make moving and transferring patients easier for both parties. They come in various sizes to fit armchairs and beds.

Billy Footwear

Shoes with a zipper around the edges to facilitate easy on/off.

Angzhili Dental Bib Clips

5Pcs silica gel with silicone chain (multicolor).

Top >

Communication

Google Relate

A free trainable AI speech app for android devices. It is a useful aid when speech is poor quality but not yet completely   incomprehensible. Speech to text to speech requires minimal use of hands. Text can be manually edited if desired. Background noise is problematic, so it’s not suited to group settings.

Walkie-Talkie Set

These devices allow you to be in touch while your caregiver works in areas out of voice range, such as another room, in the garden, at the neighbour’s house, etc.

Brass or Service Bell

Another simple device for summoning the help or attention of your caregiver.

LIOTOIN Wireless Caregiver Pager

Three call buttons and three pagers, One of which is touch screen button, which is convenient for patients with relatively small strength to use. You can call for help by gently touching. Simply press any call button to alert the caregiver via the wireless receiver.

Top >

Kitchen

Long Straw

Stainless steel.

Non-slip Rubber Disc

From dollarstore used to grip to open lids.

Can Opener

Electric.

Cutting Board

With pivot knife.

Vegetable Cutter Wooden

Anjali Fantastique Flexie stainless steel.

Hands Free Drinking Mug

Fleximug or Giraffe.

Braun 5-in-1 Immersion Blender

For food preparation.

Yankauer Suctioning Tool

For extra saliva.

Adaptive Eating Utensils

There is quite a variety to choose from, with different handles and angles to accommodate different needs. (In our case, we purchased a special knife directly from GF Strong Rehab, where the blade is perpendicular to the handle. It has been nicknamed “the murder weapon” in our household.)

Cup Holder

Fastens to a walker or wheelchair.

KSL Gravity Electric Salt & Pepper Grinder

One-hand operation. Just flip the grinder to get fresh ground spices.

Rubber Strap Wrench

This rubber wrench is widely used as jar opener, oil filter wrench, strap wrench for soil pipe, car repair tools for those who has arthritic hands or weak grip.

Multi-purpose Scissors

Whether you’re preparing a salad, de-boning a chicken, or opening packaging, these scissors do every job with ease.

Natural Tube Feeding

Everything you need to create nutritious blended meals for tube feeding.

FEEDING TUBE TIP: Routinely venting air from the tube in a reclined position before and after feeding, plus bedtime and any other time symptoms warrant will minimize feelings of abdominal pressure and reflux episodes that can lead to aspiration. 

Top >

Medical Alerts

Nanaimo Lifeline

A 24-hour personal response system that provides you with immediate access to police, fire, medical or other emergency help at the push of a button. There is a monthly fee associated with the service.

LivingWell CompanionTM

Keep living independently and enjoy peace of mind with Telus’ medical alert systems.

Lifeline

An easy-to-use personal response service that lets you summon help any time of the day or night – even if you can’t speak.

E-Comm 9-1-1

Text with 9-1-1 (T9-1-1) is a specialized texting service available for people who are Deaf/Deaf-Blind, Hard-of-Hearing or Speech Impaired (DHHSI) that allows registered users to communicate with 9-1-1 call takers via text. To register visit www.textwith911.ca.

Top >

Others

ETSHiP Hand Warmer

Pocket warmer hand heater, portable fast charge USB power bank.

Grabber Reacher Tool

This 32’’extension grabber pickup tool will make you forget about bending over, stretching or squatting to get anything you need.

Writing Pen Holder

For handwriting, silicone holder aid grip posture correction tool.

LapGear Sidekick Lap Desk

This device works well in the wheelchair and in the easy-lift armchair. Great for picnics, BBQs, or just out and about.

Handy Bar for the Car

This device has proved to be fantastic. It makes getting in and out of the car possible. It is a handle that fits into the door latch and provides a supporting handle as you maneuver the transition.

Over the Door Pulley Exercise Set

This simple device fits over a door and is helpful for respiratory physio exercises and range of motion exercises. We got this after M. had a bout of pneumonia.

Foam Pipe Insulation

Perfect use of utensils, tools, pens, pencils, toothbrushes, shavers, crochet hooks and other small handle objects.

Access 2 Card Program

This program helps to ensure that entertainment, cultural and recreational opportunities are more available and accessible to all.

TIP: Bicycle

For cyclists with neck/arm/core weakness, shortening the bicycle cockpit to facilitate an upright posture will extend your riding capability. You won’t look cool but elevating the handlebars adds further value. When hands are too weak to pull brake levers, a coaster brake operated by the pedals is an option, although a challenging modification for an adult bicycle.

TIP: Garden Tools

When hand weakness makes you drop the pruning shears but you can still squeeze them using both hands jointly, use fat rubber bands to anchor one hand on the shears.

Top >

Transportation

Sparc BC Parking Permit for People with Disabilities

A program for people with disabilities ensures that people with mobility limitations can park in designated parking spots throughout British Columbia by displaying a valid permit on the rearview mirror.

BC Ferries Person with Disabilities Card

BC residents with a permanent disability can apply for the Accessible Fare Identification Card, which provides discounts when you present your AFI card to the ticket agent when you arrive at the terminal.

Travel Assistance Program (TAP BC)

The Travel Assistance Program (TAP) helps alleviate some of the transportation costs for eligible B.C. residents who must travel within the province for non-emergency medical specialist services not available in their own community. Before you travel, contact your physician, nurse practitioner, or specialty clinic, who will provide the TAP form and complete most of it for you.

TIP: Accessible Parking Permit in Nanaimo – You can apply in person at Nanaimo Disabilities Resource Centre located at #2-4166 Departure Bay Rd., Nanaimo, BC, V9T 4B7. Phone: 250-758-5547, Fax: 250-758-5504. Website: www.ndrc.info.

TIP: Travel Tips for the ALS CommunityClick here to read.

TIP: Travelling with Respiratory EquipmentClick here to read.

Top >

Other Resources

Parsons ADL – Canadian Made Home Healthcare Products.
Her ALS Story – A network for young female pALS.