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Homestead design modifications for hand/arm injuries

steward & bricolagier
Posts: 7865
Location: SW Missouri
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I have my homestead design optimized for the health limitations me and my mom are most likely to have to deal with looking at our histories: strength, vision, walking, climbing are accounted for. Mom broke her arm the other day. Not badly, it will heal quick, she has exercised daily for 30 years, has eaten healthy for many year, takes goods vitamins, and we are treating it well. But it made me think. I don't have things optimized for being unable to use one hand or arm to do things. I'm looking at what she can't do easily right now, and trying to think of whole homestead level fixes. Things like make the gates work correctly (the garden gate at this rental is held shut by twist ties and leans, so you have to hold the gate and then tie it, not easy one handed) is easy, but what about other things I may have not considered?

In the thread Gifts for challenged people Jack Edmonson put an excellent post, quoted here in full:

Jack Edmonson wrote: My Uncle made a cutting board for my Cousin whom had suffered a blood clot stroke in her 20's and lost the most the use of one side of her body, and the complete lose of use in her hands.  She was single and lived alone.  (She was fiercely independent.)  He took a wooden cutting block and drove stainless nails through the bottom of the board, exposed about an inch.  This allowed her to place a vegetable or even a piece of meat on the cutting board; and have it stay in place while cutting with her one hand.  I thought it was an ingenious solution to a very frustrating problem.  One that might make a thoughtful gift to someone that is challenged in working one handed.  

That's an excellent idea!
I'm trying to work good ideas into the design of our place, and would love more of them. If you have this problem, how do you cope?
How do you do things if two hands are not an option?

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I have some understanding of this as having nerve damage from spinal injury and having my left hand cut in half in an accident and then having it sewn back together again. ive learned over the years to do what I can when I can. I guess ive learned to adapt rather than making any changes to things for optimization. but that's a great subject to explore for those of us who are half crippled.
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Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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So many things you do with two hands without realizing it.  Being a new grandparent with the kids living next door, I suddenly was reminded how hard simple things are to do while holding a baby.  

Opening jars! My uncle mounted an oil filter wrench in the back of a counter so my aunt could use both hands on the lid while it held the jar.

Trash cans are the same way, you need one hand to run the lid while the second holds the can so it doesn't fall over.  They need to be tied to a post or even better, in a cart.

Garden tools need shorter handles or different tools.  Dig with a grub hoe instead of a shovel. Weed with scuffle hoe with a 40 inch handle instead of a 60 inch handle regular hoe.  

Pickaroon for firewood. Two wheeled carts for everything.  
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Location: Central Indiana, zone 6a, clay loam
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Sorry to hear about your mom's arm, Pearl. Hope she heals up quickly and smoothly!

My left hand has been out of order at various times due to injury and then De Quervain's tenosynovitis. It was so frustrating and I might have been kind of stubborn about still doing things I was used to. My mom has behaved similarly when she broke her arm recently. I don't know your mom's personality, perhaps something to be on the watch for? But I digress.
One thing that was really difficult for me was washing dishes, especially really large and/or heavy ones. Sometimes, I just couldn't do it no matter what, because I really needed both hands to avoid dropping stuff. But I figured out that as long as I could set them on the bottom of the sink and use the sprayer, I could sort of manage. But moving them was still risky feeling and hard on my other hand. And this usually meant I had to empty and scrub the whole sink first since it was a community house with folks who had widely varying standards for cleaning. Obviously you have more control over that and maybe you have a dishwasher, making this moot. Just trying to lay out the whole picture. The next time I had the hand issue, I ended up getting different everyday dishes, because even the plates and bowls were too hard for me to hold and wash safely because of their shape and weight. And a lot of the time, I just had to ask my partner to do the dishes.
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