Disability products risk being old-fashioned and, well, a bit boring. In some cases, that's because something has worked for a long time and doesn't need any improvement, but often, innovations, better design and fresh thinking bring a whole new generation of gadgets and items that make people's lives better.
That's what happened with us - blue badge wallets existed before, but they were often plastic and beige and very functional. Now, our bright, hand-made wallets adorn thousands of blue badges across the country and we get great feedback because people really enjoy having colourful, great quality alternatives.
So, we're always on the lookout for companies whose products are also moving the world of disability products forwards. In this post, we want to share some of the things that we've found. Check out their websites below and have a look around!
Tap2Tag is a great example of a company applying innovative ideas to emerging technologies and making the world better for disabled and sick people. By harnessing near-field communication - technology that is expected to be present in the vast majority of new smartphones by the end of this year - Tap2Tag allows people to wear a scannable bracelet that contains vital information such as details of medication, emergency contact information and medical history.
In the event of an emergency, ambulance staff or medics can simply scan the bracelet (or key fob, if you prefer) and these crucial pieces of information are made immediately available. This makes healthcare safer and more effective and avoids the need for an individual to remember a long list of tablets or be able to communicate when feeling unwell.
This kind of tech sounds like it come with a hefty price tag but, in fact, the key fobs cost £8 and the bracelets are just £15.
Ferrules are the rubber caps at the base of a crutch or walking stick. They should be checked regularly because, if they start to wear down, they can cause the crutch to slip, because it loses grip, and this increases the risk of slips and falls.
Crutch and walking stick users need to know that their ferrule is safe and reliable so that we can have confidence when putting our weight on the aid. Falls can have an impact on confidence, as well as risking injury - if you're like me and fall over fairly regularly at the best of times, it's really important to know that my crutch isn't making this worse rather than better!
Flexyfoot has won awards for its new design of ferrule, which helps to extend the life of a walking stick, reduces the risk of falls, and can even reduce pain. Its unique size and shape means that it is better at absorbing impact, described as being "like having a spring on the foot of your walking aid".
To use a Flexyfoot product, the existing ferrule on your stick or crutch can be easily removed and replaced by a Flexyfoot, which just needs to be pushed onto the end of the device. It's that simple.
Rackety's sells clothes that are specially designed to cater for the needs of disabled children and adults. They produce clothes that take into account the problems that wheelchair users can face with more conventional clothing, clothes that make it easier to manage incontinence pads and colourful bibs, all for both adults and children.
Rackety's has a special panel of customers who advise and recommend products and improvements. They say,
"We have learnt everything we know about the clothes you need, and the other things you find it difficult to get hold of by asking the people who know best. The Mums, Dads, sisters and brothers and the carers who are on the frontline of looking after children or adults with special or different needs every single day."
A great example of the kind of clothing they sell is their children's pyjamas. As well as looking good, they have one zip closure, to make it easy to change nappies, and another across the stomach for easy tube access.