I love gift giving! My dad never wanted anything, but over the course of his time with a mobility disability he came to appreciate some of the gifts we got him over the year that made his life easier. When I posted about those items, Heather from The Heather Report reached out and volunteered to send over some things that she has found useful with her mobility disability. I happily accepted her offer!
Heather has been blogging at The Heather Report since 2017, when she decided she wanted a more creative outlet from her 9 to 5 job. Heather blogs about fashion, beauty, style, and advocacy for those living with a mobility disability. Heather has had Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type II, which is a genetic, progressive, neuromuscular disease.
The below post has been written and created by Heather, all views and opinions are her own. All links are her commissionable links. I am so thankful Heather took the time to put this information together for others to share! There are definitely some things on here that I need for myself! Please follow Heather on Instagram and read her blog here.
Hi! I’m Heather, and I have Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA) Type II, which is a genetic, progressive, neuromuscular disease. I’ve never been able to walk, and I’ve used a power wheelchair since I was about two years old, so I have a lot of experience with gifts that are great for people with physical (mobility) disabilities. These are based on my own personal experiences, so that means they won’t necessarily work for every single disability, because disability is a wide spectrum!
Mobility Disability Gift Guide
- Amazon Echo: Smart technology has made my life SO much easier. With my Echo, and Alexa, I can turn on and off my lights, control my TV, and make phone calls if I’ve dropped my phone (it happens too often). So it’s safety and convenience in one! The Echo Show with a screen is extra nice, but a regular Echo works, too.
- Smart Plug: This works both with an Echo device or from an app on a smartphone. It turns any device into a smart device – so you can turn on and off a TV, a lamp, or anything else without actually having to reach it (or having to have the physical strength/ability).
- Philips Hue Lights: I love these so much. With the Hue lights, you don’t need a separate smart plug; they have their own technology built in. Again, they work from an Echo or from a phone – you can turn lights on and off, and even set schedules for them to gradually turn on or dim. Turning lights on and off is something that sounds so simple, but most light switches are way higher than I can reach! These give me so much independence.
- Amazon Firestick: I know lots of people have either a Firestick or a Roku or Apple TV already, but it really is a disability hack, too. Remotes can be hard for people with mobility disabilities and limited dexterity, and they can also fall on the floor or be moved out of reach. Instead of having to call and wait for someone to help me turn on the TV, I can control it from a phone or an Echo!
- Smart Space Heater: Because I have really bad circulation, I am almost always cold. I have my space heater running well beyond winter. When I was in the Ms. Wheelchair USA pageant a few years ago, the other contestants and I bonded over our love of space heaters! I recently upgraded to this smart one, so I can turn it on from bed to make sure my room is nice and toasty when I get up.
- Microwavable Heating Pad: Again – always cold. Microwavable heating pads like this provide an extra instant burst of warmth. They’re meant to be used on shoulders, but I actually lay mine over my feet, because they’re the part of me that’s always coldest – I use it every single day and reheat as needed throughout the day. I recently wore it out to dinner hidden under my maxi dress because I love it so much.
- Foot Pocket Blanket: I promise – the last gift related to staying warm. I have a blanket on me AT ALL TIMES when I’m home (like.. In the Instagram pictures I post, there’s a good chance any part of me out of frame is blanketed). This one is extra cool because it has a built in foot pocket, so that even sitting in my wheelchair no part of my legs are exposed to cold air. Genius!
- Mug Warmers: I love coffee and tea, but I can’t drink it very quickly so it gets cold before I finish it. I have an Ember, and while it works really well, it’s pretty heavy and for someone with my limited arm strength, it got too physically tiring to use all the time. A regular mug warmer is more low-tech but means you can use your own mugs. My favorites are these super lightweight glass ones that even I can lift easily:
- Side Sleeper Ear Pillow: No exaggeration, this is the product that changed my life. I use a vent when I sleep (it’s like a BiPap/CPap), and because of my scoliosis I have to sleep on my left side. I was waking up in the middle of the night with excruciating pain on my left ear from the pressure of constantly laying on it. I found this on Amazon and my pain was gone the very first night I used it. It’s great for any side sleeper, disabled or not.
- Heated Eyelash Curler: I am a big beauty fan, and know that the number one beauty tip is to always curl your lashes, but never had the strength or dexterity to use a standard eyelash curler. I saw this heated one being shared across Instagram and instantly bought one for myself. Because it uses heat, you don’t need any squeezing or clamping action, and the best part is that it actually WORKS.
- UberEats Gift Card: I know that a gift card might seem boring, but preparing food can be physically and logistically challenging, plus tiring, for many people with disabilities. Using UberEats (or GrubHub or DoorDash) makes it much easier to get the food I’m craving.
- CBD: For someone with chronic pain, CBD can be helpful (not a cure!!). I have used Equilibria for over a year now and really like it – it also helps me fall asleep a bit more comfortably, since I can’t really adjust myself to find the right spot in bed. I also like their relief balm for aches and pains (and actually, for period cramps). My sister loves the brand Lazarus Naturals, and they offer a disability discount, too.
- If you’re a new Equilibria customer, you can use REFHEATHER.TOMKO for $20 off.
- Drops: https://myeq.com/product/daily-drops-extra-strength/
- Balm: https://myeq.com/product/relief-balm/
- Lazarus Naturals: https://www.lazarusnaturals.com/