Many different types of reachers are available to relieve the strain of bending, stretching or stooping. Some models have pistol grips, others work like a giant pair of tongs, and some fold compactly to take with you. I don't know what I would do without my reachers—from my wheelchair I can reach dishes and glasses, put groceries away, hang up clothes in the closet, get things out of the refrigerator, and pick up almost anything that has fallen to the floor. I have different reachers for different purposes. Here are a few of my favorites:
8 Ways to Get a Grip with Reachers
1. Kitchen & BBQ Tongs
Standard kitchen tongs, can pick up dropped objects, retrieve toilet paper from the back of the cabinet, or reach something that’s fallen on the floor of the car. When you need a longer reach, grab the BBQ tongs.
2. Make Your Own Reacher
Affix a wad of tape or a magnet to the end of a yardstick and you have a handy reacher. The magnet will pick up pins, nails, and other metallic objects, while tape will pick up lightweight non-metallic objects, like paper and cloth. Or, open up a coat hanger and use the hook end to retrieve things such as clothing out of the washer or dryer.
3. My Favorite Commercial Reacher is the TeleStik™
Its lightweight (2.3 oz to 5.4 oz), slim design allows you to pick up objects, including cell phones and TV remotes, without squeezing—even from tight places where most reachers will not fit! The compact design fits easily into a fanny pack, coat pocket, or purse, yet extends up to 34 inches to retrieve objects weighing up to 1 pound.
Other TeleStik™ reachers include the TeleMag™ (a powerful magnet) and the Telehook™ (a hook for pushing, pulling, or dragging objects). The UltraStik™ has an adhesive disk that’s good for retrieving paper and small objects. The sticky disk works for about 2000 pickups, then wash the disk and it’s rejuvenated and ready for more. TeleStick™ reachers are available from www.telestik.com
4. Pistol Grip Reacher
Pistol grip reachers work by squeezing a trigger, like you would a gun. The advantage to this type is that you can squeeze with just one finger or your whole hand to activate the gripper arms.
5. Locking Reacher
The E-Z Reacher has a locking lever that locks the object in place, so you can move or carry something without continuing to squeeze. Once you have the object where you want it, release the lever to free its gripping arms. These reachers come in various lengths including a folding model for travel. Available from www.Dynamic-Living.com
6. Omnigrip™ Reachers
The jaw of this foldable reacher is easily adjusted to any of four up/down and axial positions to achieve the best angle for use whether sitting, standing, or lying down. A magnet on the jaw picks up needles and nails, and a unique locking mechanism allows a continuous hold on an item without applying pressure on the trigger. The trigger requires a minimum of hand strength to operate, and a removable wrist support adds balance and control for people who need it. Available from www.maddak.com
7. Rubber Grip/Suction Cup Reacher
The Gopher™ reacher has flexible rubber suction cups on the end to provide a gentle grip with more cushioning for more delicate objects. It also offers a secure trigger-lock handle and folds for easy storage. Available from www.aidsforarthritis.com
8. Lighted Tip Mini Reacher
I just discovered a new mini reacher that has a lighted tip that is perfect for reaching things in darkened corners and spaces, like inside your garbage disposal. Look for the Alligetter™ at a store near you or order at www.Alligetter.com
To try various types of reachers before you buy, contact your local hospital or clinic Occupational Therapy (OT) department, a home health store, or Independent Living Center. You’ll find a list of Independent Living Centers in your state, at: www.ilru.org
For more tips for making life easier, visit the Tips and Products section of www.MakingLifeEasier.com
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