Meet Charlotte (25), from the picturesque countryside of Northumberland. Charlotte is a student (studying counseling) and lives with her parents and younger siblings. She lives with complex and rare neuro conditions. This means that she needs to use a wheelchair to get around. Her condition affects her body but it is her hands and legs that are the most affected.
It wasn’t too long ago that Uccello Designs reached out to Charlotte to see if having her own Uccello Kettle would make life safer and easier at home for her. See what she has to say below…
A typical day as a wheelchair user:
A typical day for Charlotte can depend on well she is feeling. If she is feeling ok:
”My typical day is just like any other persons. I get up, washed dressed and have breakfast and go about my day. Living on a farm means no one day is the same, often there is some escaped horses or sheep running around the place which is always entertaining to watch. Some of my favourite things to do when I’m well are go to wheelchair dance classes, bowling, the beach or to go see the latest marvel movie… I love all things marvel!”
On the days where she is feeling unwell, she is generally confined to her bed and unable to do things for herself.
”Like a lot of people living with chronic illnesses and neuro conditions my health fluctuates a lot. I go from one extreme of seeming so healthy and well that often people don’t even realise I am sick; to being so unwell that I can’t even communicate or move. On these days I’m hoisted in my wheelchair and without the marvel movies giving me some idea of how much time has passed, I tend to quickly lose track of time.”
Biggest challenges faced as a wheelchair user both inside & outside the home?
As a wheelchair user, Charlotte’s main struggles come down purely to access and having the right equipment. She goes on to say that a common challenge for her and many other wheelchair users is, when trying to go about their day-to-day, many places are not accessible. Doorways are not wide enough, lifts and ramps are not available and sadly, there are many disabled toilets that are used as cleaning storage rooms.
”I have problems accessing the outside, I can’t go for a walk (I suppose, wheel) like everyone else especially as living on a farm for me means there’s so many days a month that I’m not able to get out my front door because the rough terrain, having the right equipment would make the difference but unfortunately wheelchairs are often very expensive and equipment is often unaffordable for those that need it.”
As Charlotte has limited use and control of her hands, she has a number of smart devices all around her home. Devices like the Echo dot in the kitchen which allows her to set timers and reminders to keep her on track.
”I can turn the lights off just by using my phone or my voice, even my shower and loo are smart devices activated by sensors and controlled by apps.”
Navigating the kitchen as a wheelchair user
Unfortunately, many kitchens simply are not designed with wheelchair users in mind. This is why navigating the kitchen can be quite difficult.
”The cupboards stop me from being able to roll right under the surface and they’re often also too high for me to be able to see the work surface well. I’ve had to adapt and learned other ways to use the kitchen such as having everything I need in one area.”
Reaction times in a wheelchair may not be as fast as needed when it comes to kitchen safety. Charlotte has dropped and burned herself a number of times..
”I’m not able to simply step out of the way which means anything I drop is likely to fall onto my lap. I’ve burnt myself many times from spilling things straight onto my lap.”
What is it like with the kettle at home?
”Living with a movement disorder makes using the kitchen difficult as I have very poor coordination and tend to knock things over a lot. I have a lot of muscle wasting in my arms which means I was regularly dropping things, after dropping a standard kettle over my lap a few years ago and scolding myself badly, I realised using a kettle was not going to be possible for me. Since then I’ve always had no choice but to have someone else boil kettles and use them for me whether that was to make cups of tea, hot chocolate or even filling hot water bottles.”
Introducing the Uccello Kettle
This is why Uccello Designs reached out to Charlotte after seeing a number of her posts on instagram under the handle of @wheelie.goodlife. We gifted Charlotte her very own Uccello Kettle and wanted to see if it made life safer and easier for her in the kitchen at home. Here is what she had to say…
”The Uccello Kettle has made life so much easier when using boiling water, I can now easily make my own hot drinks as I know there’s next to zero chance of me spilling water anywhere and the danger for me is therefore removed giving me much more Independence. I’ve found a new love in the kitchen and I’ve started trying new meals and snacks that can be made using my kettle. The kettle is also age appropriate something a lot of medical aids aren’t very good at being.
The Uccello Kettle looks stylish sat on my kitchen bench and often other family members and my friends always want to have a go at trying it when they come round. Its made me feel so much more confident and independent.”
What about our Muggi Cup Holder?
Our Muggi Cup Holder is a unique and innovative way to carry up to 4 cups, glasses, bottles etc safely and securely. It’s ideal for wheelchair users as it has 4 non-slip rubber feet which means it can comfortably sit on your lap, giving you 2 free hands to maneuver your wheelchair.
”The Muggi Cup Holder is excellent, carrying anything like drinks has always been difficult for me as it’s very easy for me to drop things but also because I’m rolling and regularly hit bumps or doorways I would often spill things and the cup holder has essentially removed this issue.
Since I received my Muggi Cup Holder I’ve used it for all sorts of things, not just carry cups. I frequently use it to carry my makeup and medications without dropping them everywhere.”