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Reachers and Grabbers
Extending your Grasp and Reach
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Reachers and grabbers are essential tools for anyone who has difficulties streatching to pick up objects. This certainly applies to hip replacement patients in the first few weeks post-operatively. During this time you must follow all the essential hip precautions given to you by your surgeon.
One of these precautions is the rule of 90 which says that the angle between the body and upper thigh should never be less then 90 degrees. In effect this means you can't bend down to pick things up off the floor, out of the bottom part of the fridge/freezer or even from the other side of a table.
This is where a reacher or grabber comes in. These handy tools can save you from a serious accident. Imagine the scenario. You're at home alone. You want to watch the TV but the remote is on the floor near the set. You lean down to pick it up - risking either a dislocated hip, a fall or both and you're in the house alone! Not a great thought.
I would rate reachers and grabbers as one of the essential bits of kit you need following a hip replacement. If you are likely to need one longer term then you'd be better off spending a bit more and getting one that will suit your needs for years to come.
Where do I get one?
There are lots of shopping tips beneath this section Even if you're not ready for your hip replacement it is certainly worth considering getting one of these. The more painful your hip gets the more you'll come to value these handy gadgets. You'll definitely need one post-op so why wait?
A lot of people end up buying multiple reachers - one for each floor of their house or even one for each room. Saves carrying them about!
Reach Extender with Magnetic Tip by DMI
This is a simple and affortable reacher that can pick up anything from a tin can to a needle. It's 32" long and the jaws open to 5 1/2" and have a handy magnetic tip.
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Folding Aluminum Reacher with Magnetic Tip
This has got to be the best folding aluminium reacher I've found (so far!). It's 26" when extended and 13" when folded. It's very easy to fold up - slightly more tricky to extend but easily manageable after a little practice.
The magnetic tip is very useful for small metal objects and the jaws are strong enough to hold full tin cans and bottles.
One great advantage of this model is that it stays the way you've put it - folded or extended. Other models, and even more expensive ones, tend to flop about too much and can fold themselves up when you're trying to reach something.
More on Folding Aluminum Reacher with Magnetic Tip
This is great reacher and currently costs less than £12.00 so a bargain at the price.
The high visibility jaw is strong enough to pick up cans of food and comes with magnetic tips. The jaws are rubber lined and slip resistant. The reacher also includes a dressing hook. This grabber is particularly good at picking up small objects.
More on Handi Reacher - 30" Long
Helping Hand Classic Folding Reacher - 53cm (21")
This reacher has had very good reviews. Do be warned though that it is shorter than the usual ones. My thinking is that it's great to use when you're out and about but use your normal length one at home.
It has "grip-cert" jaws with magnets attached. It folds up very tidly and opens with easy. It has a dressing hook to help get your clothes on
More on Helping Hand Classic Folding Reacher
I was surprised at the range of reachers and grabbers that are available and all the different options there are. I've listed the main ones here: -
- Length The length of different models varies from 26" to 48". The longer it is the harder it is to aim. A short one will tend to be lighter, easy to aim but might not allow you to reach far enough. The usual length is about 32"
- Magnetic There are a few makes that have a magnetic head rather than pincers. These are supposed to be good for picking up keys, tins or anything else metal. Of course they are useless for anything else. My feeling is that they are too specialised and you'd be better off getting one with a pincer movement which can also pick up all the things a magnetic one can. There are a few combination ones available but these seem to be rare.
- Visual some reachers and grabbers come with the pincers coloured brightly. This helps people with visual difficulties see what they are doing.
- Jaws The jaws of the pincers come in two varieties: standard and suction. I think the suctions one give a better grip on the object.
- Trigger If you have problems with your hands, like arthritis, then the trigger mechanism is very important. It is important to shop around to find the one that will suit you best. The variables are how many fingers are needed to operate it and how much pressure you need to exert. Some triggers can lock, which means that once you've closed the pincers around the object you can relax the pressure - easing sore hands.
- Rotating head - a rotating head allows you to reach into more inaccessible places.
- Foldable If you are likely to be going out a lot get a foldable one. The only down side to these is they tend to be shorter so I would suggest a longer one for home use.
- Extras - some reachers and grabbers come with simple add-ons. For instance a hook to let you drag things towards you, a shoe horn or even a light.
It seems fewer NHS hospitals are providing aids for hip replacement patients. I recently heard of one in East Yorkshire which insists that they are shown proof of purcahse of various aids before they will discharge you. One of those aids is a reacher/grabber.
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