Tried and tested: Garden tools

People affected by dementia try out gardening tools that are designed to be easier to handle.

We sent our West Sussex consumer panel some garden tools to test out before telling us what they thought of them over Zoom. 

The products are made by PETA UK, who’ve been redesigning everyday tools for 46 years so they can be used easily and safely by more of us – people with grip or hand control issues, left-handed people, children and others. The tools tested by the panel are all now available from our online shop

Panel members tried a trowel, fork and cultivator that are designed to be easier to hold and use, as well as add-on handles that adapt how you use standard tools. We also gave them an arm support cuff, which can be attached to any of these to provide extra support.

Mick and John in their gardens

Mick (left) and John trying out the tools in their gardens.

Nice and clear 

The panel appreciated the products’ minimal packaging. ‘You can see the product and don’t want a lot of packaging to throw away,’ said Jan. 

Joyce liked the clear bag the cuff and handles came in, as this could be reused. ‘It would keep it in good condition when not using it.’ 

Alison said the instructions were ‘nice and clear’, noting that, ‘You don’t want arty-farty designs you can’t read!’ 

People also liked how the tools’ bright yellow and green colours made them easy to spot. 

‘If you leave them in the weeds, you can find them,’ said Lindy. 

Penny agreed, ‘When it’s in the shed, you can still find it amongst everything else.’

Garden tools

Easi-Grip cultivator, fork, trowel and add-on handle.

Use and comfort 

Everyone who tried the tools was impressed with the difference they made. 

John said, ‘They feel solid and very easy to use. Very comfortable, well made.’ 

Lindy said, ‘I’ve got a bit of arthritis in my fingers. I was really surprised how it felt – so good and easy.’ 

‘I was using them on the allotment yesterday afternoon,’ said Alison. ‘We have a good selection of weeds! The cultivator was fine for small weeds, I had to use the fork for more substantial weeds.’ 

Chris said, ‘I have quite bad osteoarthritis in my hand. As soon as I started using them, it felt so much easier to use. We used them for quite a while and still felt comfortable.’ 

Mick – who doesn’t generally enjoy gardening – said he’d get out to garden more often because these tools make it easier, as did Paul. 

Pat said you might need someone else to attach the add-on handles to a standard tool if you’ve got arthritis, ‘Jim couldn’t do these up at all.’ 

Roger found the add-on handle extremely useful. He said he’d like to attach two at an angle to each other on long-handled tools, to use, ‘like one used to use a scythe in the very old days!’

Garden tool

Easi-Grip arm support cuff.

Ian said, ‘Using the fork with the arm support cuff makes a heck of a difference. It’s a jolly good idea, you don’t have to put as much effort in – or you can put in more effort using your arm.’ 

‘We enjoyed using them,’ said Joyce, ‘and John liked using the arm cuff, though I didn’t get into the swing of that.’ 

Penny liked the tools but wondered if the cuff would become uncomfortable in summer. ‘Against somebody’s skin, and on a sweaty day when you’re working really hard, the plastic felt rigid. Maybe if it had some cushioning?’ 

Chris found the tools easy to clean, noting, ‘A lot of tools I’ve had are a nightmare to clean.’ 

Alison said, ‘Gordon had wrist surgery recently, and he felt they were much easier to use.’ 

Gordon appreciated the way he could use them without straining his wrist, ‘It just makes it easier to hold, and the cuff support was great because it puts the angle right.’ 

Good value 

Panel members agreed that the prices of all the tools were good value. Ian said, ‘It’s worth it, they’re good. They’re very sturdy and would last a long time.’ 

Roger said, ‘I’m content with the tools I’ve got – some of which will be a good 50 years old and very sturdy – but I like the add-on handles.’ 

John had shown the tools to a friend who works in a nursery, and he said they were marvelous and that they could use them in his work. 

Lindy said, ‘We didn’t even know these products existed to make our lives easier!’ 

Prices (correct at April 2021):

  • Easi-Grip Cultivator, Easi-Grip Fork and Easi-Grip Trowel £14.95 each.
  • Arm Support Cuff £5.95.
  • Easi-Grip Add-on Handles (pack of two) £17.95. 
Daily living aids

We have a great range of products designed to help people with dementia and their carers to be more comfortable in their homes, while supporting independence and safety.

Browse our shop

Our online shop offers many products designed to help people affected by dementia to live well at home.

You don’t have to pay VAT on many daily living aids if they’re for use by a person with dementia or other condition – tick the box stating that you’re eligible for VAT relief at checkout. 

Dementia together magazine: Apr/May 21

Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
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Dementia together magazine is for all Alzheimer’s Society supporters and anyone affected by the condition.
Subscribe now