Mar 30

This button hooker and zipper puller could ride to the rescue if you have arthritic fingers, a broken arm or a stroke that limits movement and dexterity.

picture-2.pngThe fastener secures difficult buttons, be they tight buttonholes on new clothing or even tiny buttons on children’s clothing and it makes gripping zippers much easier.

It looks a little odd until you watch the accompanying video and realize how clever it is. (Though, of course, EVERYTHING looks easy when a trained video model is selling it on a shopping channel.)

Click here to see the manufacturer’s Web site

Mar 30

We had great hopes last summer for this Topsy Turvy Upside-Down Tomato Planter - marketed as an easy way to grow tomatoes, cukes and other vining vegetables.

topsy-turvey.pngIt sounded like so much fun and turned out to be anything but. And our finished product looked NOTHING like the manufacturer’s photo pictured here. To anyone considering it, here’s our list of complaints:

* The planter was tricky to fill and very much a two-person job because the plastic top repeatedly fell down and obstructed the planter as we were filling it with soil.

* The plants, themselves, had to be very young and small to fit in the narrow hole in the bottom and it was tricky to plant without damaging them.

* Once it was filled with soil and watered, the planter became a wretchedly heavy beast - hence the prominent warnings from the manufacturer about where NOT to hang it, for it surely would rip a hook out of your fence, siding or roof overhang.

* We solved the problem by hanging it from a sturdy, old, metal hospital IV stand Cait found in someone’s trash. For 2008, the manufacturers are promoting a stand to buy with the planter that will put it at arms’ reach on any patio, though you’ll still need a strong person - or two - to help you fill and plant it.

* Last summer we planted a tomato and a cucumber and neither really flourished though we did get a tiny harvest from it. Cait has vowed to try it again this season and will let you know how it goes.

Mar 26

The search for an accessible exam tableNational Public Radio did a nice piece on people with mobility issues delaying medical care because doctors’ examination tables are inaccessible.

U.S. federal civil rights laws require medical offices be accessible, but few are and they are difficult to locate.

NPR to the story of Rosemary Ciotti, who was determined to find a clinic with an exam table that can be raised and lowered to accommodate her.

You’ll also find advice on accessible health care from Mary Lou Breslin, who was about to begin chemotherapy for breast cancer when she was told she couldn’t get the usual outpatient treatment because she uses a wheelchair.

Breslin, a disability rights advocate, fought to get the care she needed.

Mar 25

Charla Krupp has written a book called

charla-krupp.pngCait, however, cracked it open and decided the title should be “How to Give Yourself a Classy, Timeless Make-Under,” or “How Not to Become a Tacky Caricature of Your Former Youthful Self.”

Basically, Krupp’s book advises how to look the best for the age you are - not how to try and look young. It gives good tips on less being more - especially when it comes to eye makeup. Krupp’s tips even led Cait to buy a fun and flirty hair piece that looks so real you can’t tell it’s not.

The only part of the book that really let us down was Krupp’s opposition to low-heeled sensible shoes. What is a Gimpy Girl to do? Cait wrote the author and asked just that but has yet to hear back. In the meantime, we’re sticking by our sensible shoes and looking forward to Krupp’s response.

Eds. Note: We will send a copy of Krupp’s book to the first person who sends us a useful tip for The Gimpy Girls web site, be it a tip on a good Gimpliment or a tip about how to live life easier and safer. Our friends cannot apply! Send your tips to

Mar 23

Cait has become rather delirious about the SiliconeZone Easy Lid. At first, we credited it to her recent bout of pneumonia, but it turns out it is the lid that has her waxing enthusiastic.

easy-lid.jpgThe easy-to-handle lid comes in four sizes (6″, 8.75″, 10.5″, & 12.5″), is light-weight, vacuum seals, heats up to 675F and can be used as a trivet, a splatter shield, and to cover bowls and pans in the fridge - no plastic wrap or foil needed.

The translucent silicone makes it easy to see the contents and it’s good to go in the microwave, oven or freezer. It’s also easier on the hands than heavy glass lids or metal lids that heat too hot and can burn you if you’re not careful.

The Easy Lid won’t give you a spill-proof seal but it will keep the air out of the food in a bowl on the fridge shelf. It’s easy to clean, dish-washer safe and available in several colors. (Cait’s is a

Mar 22

Click here to meet Nubs, a Gimpy dog who bonded with a U.S. Marine in Iraq and tracked him 70 miles when his military outfit moved camp.

Mar 21

Jim Miller, editor of Gimpliments that make driving easier and safer.

easy-reach-seat-belt-handle.pngSome of the items, such as the Handybar and the blind-spot mirrors, we’ve written about on The Gimpy Girls previously. But others, such as the

Miller also discusses new car features for the Gimpy, including raised seats, user-friendly controls and lower trunk entries that make loading and unloading your trunk easier.

Click here to read the whole list and see a video of Miller with Matt Lauer.

(via ivillage)

Mar 19

We believe great design impacts your life for the better because it is useful as well as beautiful. This certainly is true of this luxurious Kohler Universal Design Bathroom. (No telling what it cost. But we can dream, can’t we?)

kohler-bath.pngThis bath was created by Cynthia Leibrock and Mary Beth Rampolla, who believe a sense of well-being, vitality and independence are important and attainable for people of all ages and abilities.

Leibrock is the author of

Click here to see of a video of their bathroom.

Eds. Note: This bathroom is on display at the Kohler Design Center in Kohler, Wisconsin, which features an enormous variety of beautiful and sleek bathroom features - including more fine examples of Universal Design.

Mar 15

Scientists at the University of Tokyo have developed a pair of intelligent glasses that remember where people last saw things such as their keys, handbag, or mobile phone.

smart-glasses.pngFuture - and more refined - versions of the glasses could aid people who suffer from regular “senior moments”, as well as those suffering from serious memory problems caused by dementia.

The Smart Goggles contain a video camera, a computer and a viewfinder. The wearer first wanders around a house or workplace looking at the objects he or she may later want to find in a hurry. Each time the camera focuses on a object - such as a set of keys or a purse - the wearer says the name aloud and it is recorded and stored into the memory.

Later, if the wearer is trying to find their keys, they simply name the object, the glasses search its video memory and show its last known location on the display.

Given the right programming, the glasses could allow wearers to walk through gardens, stare at unfamiliar plants and find out their names instantly or use them to help remember names in awkward social situations.

Scientists plan in the next few years to shrink the camera and viewfinder to a more sensible - and fashionable - size.

(Daily Mail)

Mar 9

In the winter, we become obsessed with heat and moisture and the TheraTherm Digital Moist Heating Pad fills both bills.

theratherm.pngIt is the only heating pad we’ve ever tried that fits like a horse collar over our neck and shoulders and has a digital handset so you can set the temperature manually from 88 to 166 degrees Fahrenhei. That’s hot!

The flannel-covered pad has a little heft to hit so it drapes nicely and gives the feeling of really deep heat. Marty wears it while working on the computer in winter to take the kinks out of her “office posture” and to relieve a nerve in her back that acts up.

We find the controls logical and idiot proof and the design first-rate. This heating pad is built for a lifetime.

Eds. Note: As with any heating device, this pad should be monitored on elderly people and those with disabilities unable to monitor the control themselves.

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