I barely knew my Uncle as a result of his early death, but I frequently heard of the many inventions he created nearly 50 years ago. These included a golf ball washer that was used on numerous golf courses that I played on, and a Pop Corn Maker that was used in most movie theatres in America. He had many other inventions, but did not pursue patents due to the expensive and lengthy legal process.
Over 30 years ago, as a new graduate in Occupational Therapy from Creighton University, I was frequently asked what specialty or practice I would be pursuing. This was similar to my high school days when I was asked if I would be attending college or what career or profession I would choose. Similar to those early years, I was uncertain which path I would follow. I was uncertain whether I should be a hand specialist, or work with adults in a rehabilitation or home setting.
I enjoyed making wrist, hand and finger splints for those with injury, but I also liked the idea of being more creative with my problem solving skills. I guess I saw myself as an “Occupational Therapist MacGiver”, or problem solver, that thrived on coming up with adaptations, accommodations, or adaptive equipment to help people regain independence lost due to injuries or health complications.
Working in the healthcare profession for over 30 years, I witnessed many challenges, but few solutions.
My first official invention, (that did not involve Velcro) was the Shock Aid Dressing stick. This product was specifically intended to be strong enough and safe enough to remove compression socks without bending or breaking like other similar dressing sticks. I also wanted safety features to reduce potential skin tears like Reachers can cause. I included an angled shoe horn that could provide up to 32 inches of additional reach. Made from durable aluminum and metal parts, it only weighted 10 ounces. This multiple use tool was named Shock Aid because it was designed to assist with putting on and taking off shoes and socks. (Shoe+Sock=Shock). Through trial and error, I learned that it could so much more.
I was granted permission to use the Shock Aid Dressing Stick in a Rehabilitation facility I worked at for several years with adult patients of all ages with multiple types of medical complications. It was rewarding to see that the Shock Aid Dressing Stick,( with a few adjustments) became a multi-use tool that was very easy to use, was safer, and much more durable then the current dressing sticks. I also learned that I could make these at a price that was comparable to dressing sticks that used inferior material. When I designed an attachable sponge to fit on the shoe horn, the Shock Aid became a bathing tool that allowed patients to reach their lower legs and backside with minimal bending or twisting. These attachable sponges were easy to put on and take off and allowed the user to wash the sponges between bathings in a washing machine. This helped reduce germs from possibly spreading to the leg and foot sores I frequently witnessed.
The Hinged Sock Aid, and Hinged Compression Aides received their patents in 2016. These products address one of the more challenging areas of self care, putting on compression socks. The Hinged Sock Aid functions similar to a Soft Sock Aid by closing to a smaller diameter to put the sock on the aide. The major differences is that the Hinged Sock Aide is easier to load the sock on the device because it locks in a closed position and offers less frictions to feed the sock on the device. It also OPENS the sock one the sock is placed on the device. This makes putting the sock on over the foot. This is something the Soft Sock Aide does not do. The Hinged Compression Sock Aide offers the same features as the Hinged Sock Aide, but is designed for compression socks with a 20 to 30 mm/hg compression strength.
The Tidy Wiper toileting and bathing aide addresses an embarrassing but necessary function in life. Performing proper hygiene after a bowel movement. The Standard Tidy Wiper has been very popular for those that need extra reach with toileting or bathing hygiene. Due to the unique grasping mechanism, it provides a superior grasp on wiping material and can even be used with wash clothes in the shower to provide better reach and access to the buttock. The Tidy Wiper is also available in a portable model that can easily be stored and carried in its own container with portable wipes.
Creative Self Care Solutions provides professional grade equipment that is superior in durability to similar products and will provide years of use without fear of breaking or bending. Our safety features help reduce risk of skin tears, especially for those individuals with thin skin or are on blood thinners. Professional grade material, and enlarged grips assure those individuals with weak or arthritic hands a more secure grasp and efficiency.
In consideration of the growth Shock Aid Adaptive Equipment has made, I no longer believe the name accurately describes the scope of the equipment or services provided. With this in mind, I am changing the name of my company to Creative Self Care Solutions.
My philosophy will remain the same. I intend to provide innovative and professional grade products that are easy to use, safe, and durable. I also hope to continue my mission of being a therapist and helping people to maintain their dignity and independence as best as possible. Hopefully, my equipment will not only make life easier, but healthier, by allowing individuals to take better care of their personal needs and improve the quality of their lives.
Garry Clifton OTR/Therapist, Inventor, CEO
Creative Self Care Solutions