Everyday tools to help with grip

We asked people living with dementia what they thought of products designed to make it easier to grip. 

We joined Horsham Rusty Brains, a Dementia Voice group, to get their opinions on five products designed to help with grip.

All of the products are from PETA UK, and are available through our online shop.

Keywings

Some of the panel tested out the Keywing – a plastic tool that attaches to the top of Yale door keys. Keywings provide leverage to make keys easier to turn. They have tactile bumps and come in a variety of bright colours.

Keywings in their packaging (left) and being used by someone to unlock a door (right)

Lucy, from PETA UK, told the group, ‘The Keywing is made from nylon so is always warm to the touch and will help you to keep different keys separate, with different colours making them easier to identify.’

Rusty Brains members agreed that the tool would be useful, though they said they’d like to see it developed further.

Peter said, ‘They are good for getting the right keys and identifying the key that is difficult to turn. Particularly a front door key, that’s been hard to turn many a time.’

Trevor was disappointed that Keywings aren’t compatible with non-Yale keys. 

‘I didn’t find it useful for the kind of keys I’ve got,’ he said. ‘If I take my door key off the keyring, I can just squeeze it in but then I’m not sure I could keep the key on the keyring.

'I couldn’t use it on my car key and I couldn’t work out what it was for.’ 

Ian agreed, ‘The idea is good, but I think it needs a bit more development.’

'It’s only good for Yale keys not square Chubb or anything like that. The instructions need to be clearer, but the price is not too bad.’

Lucy said the Keywing’s shape means that, after attaching it, you should be able to put the key back onto its keyring for safekeeping.

Mini Easi-Grip scissors

Our panel also tried out mini Easi-Grip scissors, which are designed to be easy to use, even with swollen joints.

Mini Easi-Grip scissors being used to cut someone's thumbnail

The shape of these scissors’ handle reduces the effort needed to close them, and they automatically open again when you stop squeezing.

Fine pointed blades are good for intricate cutting, and there’s a blade guard to store them safely.

Jill said, ‘I think these would be perfect for fine needlework or little protruding bits of hair, but I can’t see that they are good for nails.’

Jim has arthritis in his hands and knuckles, and he found the product easy to use. 

‘Just having to squeeze that is very easy. I cut my nails and it was fine, it worked perfectly. They were very good.’

Easi-Grip toenail cutter

The Superior Easi-Grip toenail cutter makes personal care more straightforward for people who find it difficult to bend. 

Someone is using a pair of Easi-grip toenail cutters to trim their toenails

The toenail cutters look like long scissors.

The handle is shaped to sit comfortably in your hand, even if your finger joints are swollen.

The angled, serrated blade prevents strain on the wrist. It also grips the nail while it’s being cut, reducing the chance of them slipping.

Horsham Rusty Brains testing out the Easi-Grip toenail cutter

Ian really liked them. ‘I think they’re very good actually,’ he said.

‘You don’t have to bend down quite so much to get to your toes, and you can still see what you’re doing because they’re quite long.

'They’re nice and sharp.

‘I think they’re a touch pricey but I suppose for what they are they need to be that price.’ 

Dennis said they were ‘a big improvement’ on conventional nail clippers.

Tabletop nail clipper

The tabletop nail clippers sit on the edge of the table, with a wide lever that makes them easier to use.

Someone's hands. They are cutting their thumbnail with a tabletop nail clipper

‘If you’ve got really bad arthritis, that wide lever really spreads the pressure,’ says Lucy.

‘So, if you’re having a flare up, it’s going to help you cut your nails.’

Alan said the desktop clippers worked well and that he was impressed, though Mary said she probably wouldn’t need them as her daughter is a beauty therapist and helps with her nails!

The group also appreciated the small file that comes with the clippers.

Card holders

Although panel members initially thought the round card holders are for credit cards, they’re actually intended for playing cards.

Playing cards in a round, blue plastic card holder

The lightweight plastic holder helps to hold and fan out up to 14 cards, keeping them in order and making it easier to focus on your game. 

Jill said, ‘Initially I had trouble splaying credit cards in the holder but if you use playing cards then it’s fine!’ 

The holders can be bought singly or as a pack of four, so you can share them with your fellow players.

Prices (correct at April 2023)

As with some other specially designed products, you don’t have to pay VAT on these if they’re for use by a person with dementia – tick the box stating that you’re eligible for VAT relief at checkout. 

Helpful everyday products

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.

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