Easy Way to Learn about Gimmicks and Gadgets to Make Life Easier and Safer at Home

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Independent Living Partnership Launches E-Newsletter to Help Seniors and Persons with Disabilities Live Independently

FREE monthly Tools for Independence e-newsletter, published by the nonprofit Independent Living Partnership, describes low- and no-tech assistive technology devices which can help people with physical impairments or limitations to better accomplish their daily activities.

Begun in March 2009, Tools for Independence relies on innovative distribution to reach older adults and the disabled who are served by nonprofit organizations, transportation agencies, independent living centers, medical offices, and other community-based organizations. Distributors receive a customized electronic copy each month, at no charge, which they can post on their websites, email or print and distribute to consumers, clients and staff.

Distributors are pleased with the free service. According to Cecilia Burch, Tools for Independence Editor, “When it is sent to the distributors, the newsletter is complete and then it is left up to each distributor as to how they will use it in their educational and marketing efforts.” Burch continues, “Distributors tell us that their newsletter readers think the publication is informative and helpful.” According to Doug Morin, CEO of the Desert Samaritans for the Elderly in Palm Desert, “I have even used it for my own mother who is 80 years old to make her life a little easier.”

Another distributor, Toni Kisgen at Visiting Nurses Association of the Inland Counties in Riverside, comments, “We love these Tools for Independence newsletters! Our patients love these newsletters as well! It gives our patients information on products that help them in their daily tasks that would otherwise be so much more difficult for them.”

Burch explained, “We recently heard from a woman who had read Tools at her doctor’s office and was planning to get a giant-print calendar featured in the issue for her neighbor who is losing his vision.” Another Tools reader commented that she has a son with special needs and aging parents in another state and discovered several items in the pages of Tools that she felt would help both her son and her parents in their day-to-day activities.

Some of the assistive technology items described in the Tools for Independence newsletter, available on-line at http://www.toolsforindependence.org, include jar openers, lighted magnifiers, lighted reading glasses, talking alarms, touch lamps, gripping devices, grabbing devices, and devices that help with cooking or eating if someone has arthritis or limited use of their hands. There are devices with straps that help people get in and out of cars or lie down and sit up in bed more easily. There is clothing that is easily opened and closed. There are safety-based devices that will help keep someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease from injuring themselves at home. There are also devices geared to help persons move, grasp, twist, turn and bend more easily.

According to Richard Smith, Independent Living Partnership Executive Director, “We think that Tools for Independence fills a gap in public awareness of inexpensive devices and products that are widely available to help people to continue to live more comfortably and safely in their own homes.” Smith comments, “Our purpose is to provide information about the usage and availability of products, but we do not endorse or recommend product or device purchase.” Each newsletter issue does list information about stores and websites where low and no-tech devices and products can be bought.

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Cecilia Burch

Richard Smith
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