Finding the perfect gift is an art. It needs to be useful, unique and most importantly a personalised representation of your friendship. Choosing the right gift that your friend will actually use is challenging. Here is a list of ideas for gifts you can get for a friend who uses a wheelchair. For more ideas, check out our holiday gift guide here!
Cup Holder for wheelchairs ($8.95)
Show your friend you care by keeping them hydrated! This cup holder available on amazon.ca is a good low-cost option for your friends birthday! Consider ordering it ahead of time and decorating it with paint or stickers for that personalised touch!
Patches to decorate backpack or side pouches! (<$1 each)
Often, side pouches that are designed for use with a wheelchair are pretty boring (or an ideal backdrop for patches and pins!). You can find patches lots of different places on the internet, depending on what you are looking for. They are a low cost and highly personalised gift that symbolise important things in your friendship! Your friend can show their personality and friendship off to the world by rockin’ patches! If you are in Toronto, there is an entire expo dedicated to pins and patches on July 29!
Plan a day around the city ($0)
Who needs more things, really? Consider planning an entire day of fun exploring and doing all of your friend’s favourite things! This blog post has some ideas of things to do in Toronto if you need help brainstorming! To check how accessible places are during your planning, check out the AccessNow app or AccessTO!
Make a golf ball joystick handle! ($2)
You can use nail polish to decorate a golf ball, and drill a hole in the bottom to make a low-cost gift for your friend! Alternatively, you could design and 3D print a custom joystick handle if you are feeling creative!
Wheelchair gloves (~$20)
Find a cool pair of gloves for your friend! They don’t need to be specific for wheelchairs, try bike shops, sailing shops, outdoor rec stores, weight lifting equipment suppliers etc. Amazon.com has a wide selection of gloves that could be used for wheeling, such as these mesh gloves!
This company makes mugs that are easy to drink hands free. The straws are positionable and come in various lengths, are dishwasher safe and leak proof!
Hands-free Umbrella (~$60 CAD)
Rehadesign makes the Rayne Shield, an umbrella with extra head room, that can be mounted hands-free using the “Brella Buddy”. You can buy both the umbrella and mount (~$100), or just the mount, which fits any standard long-handled umbrella.
If your friend tends to have a bunch of bags hanging on the back of their wheelchair, a backpack is a good option for a gift! You can find one with a cool design, or get them a plain backpack and find patches to sew on it! If they love to travel maybe get a patch from everywhere you go together, or if they like sports or TV shows, there’s patches for everything!
Joystick handle ($75-90)
Ergojoystick makes joystick handles that are designed to reduce the strain on a driver, especially those with arthritis or those who fatigue easily. Their designs also look pretty cool!
Hands-free iPad mount ($80+)
This company makes iPad mounts that can attach to wheelchairs and hold the device hands-free!
Shoes (~$70 CAD)
The new Nike Flyease shoes were designed to easily zip on and off. These shoes may have difficulty fitting over AFOs or fitting orthotics, making them not fully accessible. They are a step in the right direction though towards considering the abilities of everyone in design. They currently are unavailable on the Nike website.
The Braze Hydra and Sentina are innovative products that can turn any wheelchair into a 'smart' wheelchair (cars have sensors, why can't wheelchairs?!). These add-on devices are the first in the world that easily attach to any wheelchair and offer visual, audio, and vibrational feedback to wheelchair users regarding location and proximity of obstacles. They provide the freedom of improved maneuverability, increased spatial awareness, and increased safety (see testimonial video at https://youtu.be/j0EtXYNW--Q).
TetraGear lights ($200-300 CAD)
Tetra gear makes lights that can be installed on wheelchairs to increase visibility of wheelchairs in style. As we discussed in this blog post, pedestrians who use wheelchairs are typically less visible to drivers, and adding lights can improve visibility! Give the gift of safety, to your friend!
Wheel covers! (~$200 CAD)
Izzy Wheels makes artistic spoke covers for manual wheelchairs that are designed by top artists. Their motto is if you can’t stand up, stand out and these spoke guards will definitely help your friend to stand out! There are many different designs, so you can find one that matches your friends style!