09/05/2013 08:55 BST | Updated 08/07/2013 06:12 BST

Tips & Ideas to Assist Disabled Persons

Suffering from ill health, I'm always on the look out for anything to make my life and that of my family a little easier. Thought towards disabled persons has come a long way over the last number of years, and I'm happy to see changes have been made. There are some areas that still need addressing, but as they say "Rome wasn't built in one day", so patience and determination are the bricks I use to build slowly but surely, educating those who do not understand the needs of handicapped or chronically ill people.

There are many simple ideas and tips that I have picked up along the way from fellow sufferers, or have discovered by trial and error at home, and I'd like to share some of these with you. Anything that can improve your quality of life and maintain your independence to some degree has to be a good thing.

Firstly, put vanity aside; think only about what will make life easier and safe for yourself. When I started using crutches, I felt as if everyone was staring at me, and maybe some were, but I soon got over that, realising walking with the aid of crutches was far safer. Thanks to Parkinson's and lack of balance, I have fallen many times; trust me, you need to prevent this at all costs. In addition, crutches or a walking stick are a strong visual aid, alerting those around to give you a wide berth, paying attention not to push past you, in particular where young children are running around. If you prefer to use a cane as opposed to crutches, walking sticks with three or four small legs and rubber stoppers, may not look as attractive as some on offer today, but will give far more stability.

Having Parkinson's, dexterity in my fingers is very poor. Reading a magazine or newspaper, simply turning the thin pages can be quite tricky. I found one day by using a 'post-it', not only was it an excellent book mark that did not slip out of place, but sticking it to the paper I was able to hold onto it enabling me to turn easily to the next page, where I would then move the 'post-it' along. A simple idea, but one that saves a lot of frustration.

Velcro being one of my favourite inventions, makes putting on shoes so much easier. There are some very stylish shoes and sandals widely available today with Velcro straps. So don't struggle with laces or buckles - go for the Velcro!

For anyone with Parkinson's, arthritic fingers or any disability that impedes dexterity and movement of hands, just the simple act of drinking can be difficult. I came across the handSteady cup; immediately seeing its potential, giving one back independence and dignity to drink unaided. After trying out this fabulous invention (only sorry I didn't think of it myself!) I have to tell you that it's one of the most useful aids I've come across so far. Not only is it attractively designed so one isn't left feeling as if drinking from a child's plastic cup, it really does work. The lip of the cup has been carefully designed to prevent drips, (there is a lid included should one need further assistance) the handle is comfortable to grasp, and the cup is light weight with a rubber-like coaster making it non-slip. I tried drinking from the cup sitting in an armchair, then at the table, but most impressively is how the cup works when I was in bed laying down, with just a pillow propping up my head. No spills - incredible! This cup is an absolute must for anyone with Parkinson's or who has difficulty in holding a regular cup. Looking at it's ingenious gimbal like handle, much to my amazement I found that not only is it unbreakable (and let's face it, if you have Parkinson's I'm sure like myself, you've broken many a glass or cup!) this incredible cup is dishwasher safe! How amazing is that? As you can tell from my enthusiasm - I am very excited about this new find. If you would like to know where you can get one, or see for yourself the video which will demonstrate far better than I can tell you, please take a moment to look at handSteady.

If you have any tips or know of gadgets for the disabled that make life just that little bit easier, please do leave a comment at the bottom of this article or let me know through my website below. We could all gain from sharing useful information. As an 80 year old lady once said to me, "You're never too old to learn something new".