Smart SpeakerSmart Speakers are a great idea to help around the home with certain tasks, such as instructions to play music or audiobooks, or put the lights on (if you have a connected system such HomeKit, Google Home or Philips Hue – more on which later…). You can also adjust the heating if you have a Hive or similar heating system. Of course you can also shop via the smart speaker and most importantly, pair it to your phone and call for help if you need it. Some of these home systems look really great, unobtrusive and portable from room to room. There are a few different options, price points and for the interiors lover – styles to look at. One of the Amazon Echo options is a very small, unobtrusive speaker that you can pick in different colour and fabric options and at under £25 is a great price for all the support it can give someone with limited mobility. If you have hearing problems there are also (more expensive options) with a small screen. Once connected to your Amazon account you can do all your shopping and get it delivered quickly. Another great looking smart speaker is the new collaboration between Sonos and the Danish design studio, Hay Design. They’ve created a beautiful speaker at the more expensive end of the spectrum (around the £230 mark) but you can choose from a number of colours and allow it to fit in with your design style. It also connects to Amazon Alexa so gives you wide range of options in the same ways the Echo does. It also looks fantastic! Either make a design statement by letting it stand out, or blend it in with your design style and home colours.
Lava LampI know, the seventies called, they want their lamps back! But I confess I have a love for a lava lamp and really wish I hadn’t got rid of one a few years ago. It’s on the list for those with sensory needs as once the lights and shapes start moving, it can be visually stimulating and calming. I would be happy to sit and look at mine for ages. Modern lamps come in so many different colours and designs that you can pick something that matches your favourite colour or to be more visually stimulating. You can also buy ones with glitter or other moving parts to keep things looking interesting. This beautiful lamp by Mathmos, creators of the Lava Lamp is wall mounted, so if space is limited it can be popped up on the wall and cast a beautiful glow. This lamp is around £99 and available in 15 different colour ways so you’ll be sure to find something that suits your interiors vibe. If you’re looking for something for the kid’s room, then something at the other end of the price scale is likely to be more appealing. You can get Lava style lamps in so many different sizes, colours and prices. Argos, Robert Dyas, John Lewis and many other high street shops have these types of lamps from £10 – £50 so you’ll find one to fit your price range and colour. The lamps can get incredibly hot so for safety reasons they can’t be on for more than a few hours. Also they need to be out of touching distance from small fingers or clumsy husbands (mentioning no names Mr Wheel Chic Home!) but visible enough that they can be seen and admired. So do think about the safety aspect if you get one of these brilliant lamps.
Something to stay warmAs I write this, Mr WCH is sat with his feet in his hot water bottle foot warmer. His mother balked when I mentioned this as a Christmas Present for him last year but he uses it a lot and loves it. His MS means that circulation to his feet is terrible and his feet get ice cold (the wake “your wife up in bed if your foot touches her” ice cold) and this little hot water bottle is a brilliant invention. He sits quite happily with his feet in there until the water goes chilly and needs to refill it. His one is similar to this: For the home you can look at a beautiful throws or blankets for your gift recipient. Fur, wool, cashmere, whatever takes your fancy. Many disabled people struggle to get warm and stay warm so there’s plenty of options for a lovely throw. Some of the ‘traditional’ disabled or wheelchair blankets are old folk designed tartan but you can go non-traditional and jazz it up with a fabulous throw.
Lap TrayAnother great idea for someone with a disability is a lap tray or side table. Mr WCH uses his for food but I use it for my laptop! They come in really handy and don’t have to be designed for the elderly, there’s a few great designs out there. This one is available from many online mobility stores and Amazon. The beauty of this is that it is simple wood with a plain cushion underneath, which will fit in with pretty much any interiors design style. There are high edges to the tray for stability (and you can also buy colourful rubber non-slip mats to stop the things from moving). Also the cushion moulds to your lap and gives stability for eating your dinner in front of the television.
Travel Mug and StrawWith the recent focus on single-use plastics and things such as plastic straws being the particular item marked out for removal by many countries and large businesses there remains a problem for those people with disabilities. Not everyone can hold a cup securely to drink from. Some people with disabilities use straws and the alternatives such as paper simply aren’t good enough. So it’s time to look for a suitable, reusable solution. This travel mug (available in a few different sizes and colours to meet your design sensibilities!) comes with a nifty reusable straw with it’s own brush so it the inside can be cleaned thoroughly. The cup itself is made of environmentally friendly materials and keeps drinks either hot or cold depending on your drink of choice. There are many different options in travel cups with integrated drinks holes in the lid (like a child’s sippy cup) which are also spill proof. These can be a great fun idea for the home or for when you’re out and about. This one is by Klean Kanteen and priced between £15-£35 depending on your options. So there you have it, a few choices for the big day in December. I’d be glad to hear your ideas for any other great Christmas Gifts…