Assistive Devices for Hand Tremors
Living with tremor is a daily battle millions of Americans have to overcome each day. For many, essential tremor (ET) and other movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, are most prevalent in the hands. This involuntary shaking can make completing daily tasks, like sipping from a glass or eating, incredibly difficult.
However, thanks to modern medical technology, assistive devices for hand tremors are continuing to evolve and improve. From weighted utensils for people with tremors to groundbreaking innovations, like Cala Trio’s ET bracelet, there are several medical devices designed to enhance the lives of those living with tremor.
In today’s post, we’ll take a look at the different types of assistive devices for hand tremor, including utensils, computer aids, writing devices, and more. Keep reading for a complete overview of hand tremor devices or use the links below to navigate throughout the contents of this article.
What Are Assistive Devices For Hand Tremors?
An assistive device for hand tremors is a general term that describes a medical tool developed to improve quality of life for people with tremors. This could mean that the device actively reduces the frequency or intensity of the tremor, or it may aim to make tasks affected by tremor easier to complete. For example, a weighted utensil for people with hand tremors is designed to help steady the hand and improve its functionality while the individual is eating.
Types of Assistive Devices For Tremors
There are several different types of assistive devices for hand tremors that help with tasks such as eating and drinking, writing, and using computers. To get a better idea of how essential tremor adaptive equipment works, let’s take a closer look at four categories of adaptive equipment—utensils, writing devices, computer aids, and therapies.
According to the International Essential Tremor Foundation (IETF), individuals with essential tremor and other movement disorders have several options for adaptive utensils and cooking devices. Utensils for people with tremors are designed differently according to the brand. Manufacturers of weighted utensils employ the idea that heavier items are easier to stabilize than lightweight utensils. Other brands make tools such as the automatic jar opener and the meal lifter, which raises the plate to minimize the distance a handheld fork has to travel from plate to mouth.
The IETF provides the following resources for those looking for utensils for people with tremors:
- Liftware—weighted utensils
- ELISpoon—weighted utensils
- The Meal Lifter—stand to lift plate
- S’up Spoon—weighted utensils
- Eatwell Assistive Tableware—assorted assistive utensils and kitchenware
- Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener—assistive jar opener
- NoCry Cut Resistant Gloves—safety gloves to prevent cuts when cooking and using sharp tools
- Stay Bowl—anchored bowl
- KEatlery Weighted Utensils—weighted utensils
- Rocker Knife— assistive knife
- Good Grips Weighted Utensils—weighted utensils
- SteadyRest—weighted utensils
Writing is another task that often becomes difficult for individuals with hand tremors. Hand tremor devices, like ergonomic or weighted pens can be helpful when persons with hand tremors need to write a check, sign a bill, or complete projects at work.
The IETF suggests the following writing devices for persons with ET:
- Weighted Universal Holder for Pens and Pencils—attachment for standard pens and pencils
- PenAgain—ergonomic pen
- Steady Write Pen—specially designed assistive writing device for hand tremors
No matter how old you are, what you do for work or fun, technology is a big part of our everyday lives. From picking up your smartphone to text friends and family, to hopping onto the computer to send an email or do research, many of us use technology on a daily basis. But when you have mobility challenges, using these devices can quickly become frustrating. Assistive devices help make these accessories work better for those with tremor and other movement disorders.
- Computer mouse devices: Ergonomic mouses like Contour RollerMouse provide support beneath the palm which helps steady the hand and eliminate the need to hover your hand over the device.
- Assistive keyboards: Keyboards with large keys, such as the VisionBoard 2, improve readability and offer a bigger strike space for those who lack fine motor skills.
- Smartphone devices: Technical aids such as the Dragon Mobile Assistant offer individuals the option to use their voice to text, dial, use apps, and more.
In addition to these task-specific tools, there are a number of therapies that can help individuals with essential tremor and other movement disorders cope with their symptoms in a more generalized sense. The IETF cites the following therapies as potential options:
- Limb Cooling Treatment: The use of a cooling pad on the forearm of people with tremor was found to minimize tremors in studies. People with essential tremor can be able to perform functional tasks more effectively if they use peripheral cooling.
- VILIM Ball: This is a hand-held therapeutic system for reducing hand tremors. Patients with essential tremors who use the VILIM ball on a daily basis may get relief from their symptoms, enabling them to perform everyday activities like eating, drinking, writing, and using mobile devices. The IETF notes that this device is only available for purchase in the EU at this time.
- ViliMap: This app helps you better understand your tremor by allowing you to keep track of your everyday activities that could have an effect on your tremor severity. It can be used with or without the VILIM Ball.
- Cala Trio therapy: Our wrist worn device is a groundbreaking, individualized therapy for essential tremor. By stimulating peripheral nerves, the Cala Trio device targets the central tremor network, helping to minimize symptoms and restore quality of life.
Cala Trio therapy is the only medical device cleared by the FDA to treat essential tremor without the risk of surgery or pharmaceutical side effects. Find out if Cala Trio therapy is right for you.
Assistive devices can be a helpful tool to make everyday tasks more manageable while living with essential tremor, or other movement disorders such as Parkinson’s disease. In addition to the therapies listed above, there are other types of essential tremor adaptive equipment that you may find useful. Smart clothing and beauty devices, for example, can make fastening buttons, applying mascara, and shaving a much safer and less daunting task.
Benefits of Using Assistive Aids & Equipment
Assistive aids are designed to make typical tasks more manageable for individuals that struggle with movement disorders and other types of disabilities. But beyond their intended use, assistive devices can offer a number of associated benefits. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says assistive devices can benefit individuals by:
- Making potentially dangerous tasks, like shaving or cooking, safer
- Establishing a greater sense of independence
- Helping to restore quality of life
- Enabling individuals to work, go to school, travel, and participate in community
In addition to assistive devices for hand tremors, there are many other individuals that may benefit from the use of adaptive equipment. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development says individuals with cognitive, hearing, physical, visual, and mental disabilities may benefit from the use of assistive devices.
Cala Trio Therapy
The Cala Trio device is the only individualized, wrist-worn, non-invasive therapy on the market. The wrist-worn assistive device uses cutting-edge technology to gently stimulate nerves in the wrist and target the central tremor network. As you wear the device, it learns your tremor patterns, providing temporary relief from symptoms.
Talk to your doctor to learn more about this treatment and other assistive devices that may help with your tremor symptoms.