The COVID19 Pandemic has lead to many changes in our lives, from social distancing to face masks and to increased isolation. Here, we take a look at the ingenious solutions the pandemic has generated, particularly for disabled people. From futuristic to downright wacky:

For those who rely on personal assistance services, the COVID-19 lockdown is especially worrisome. It’s difficult to shield if you need extra hands to survive especially if you’re in the CEV Group (Clinically Extremely Vulnerable) or have caught the virus and need to quarantine. So what do you do if your caregivers stop showing up to work or if your homecare agency cuts hours because of staffing shortages? Unfortunately, we don’t have many brilliant solutions. The New York-based Center for Disability Rights published an “Action Steps for Attendant Service Users” guide that is probably the most helpful document out there right now. Most of all you need to ensure you have sufficient backup “attendants” and everyone’s situation is different, so the best bet is to plan according to your personal assistance needs:

• Which tasks could you accomplish on your own if you have the proper supplies/equipment and advanced preparation?

• Are there family members who could help with some tasks, friends who could help with others?

• Have conversations to prepare anyone you may need to rely on in an emergency.

This is also where AI can help……..

1ST, AI For Good

Google Home, Siri, Alexa et al all use AI and have become more and more useful as a way of contacting carers when you get into difficulty. They can be life savers, where your voice can trigger calls to those who can help. I know because I’ve used both Google and Siri to extricate myself when I’ve fallen or got stuck in an awkward position.

Similarly, Robotics are now seriously being considered for care homes either for menial tasks or as a solution for loneliness particularly in Dementia homes. They are not intended to take jobs but to add extra help particularly when there are staff shortages (120,000 vacancies before the COVID 19 outbreak) or when isolation rules are in place. They’ll never replace human contact but when you can’t get that, the ‘Pepper’ Robot is the next best thing as shown in this article in The Guardian. At £19,995 from Robots of London there are stocks ready for supply now if you have deep pockets!

2ND, Face Mask Fashion & Future

The pandemic has lead to a myriad of small crafters making masks, as seen in the previous ‘D’ List and there are plenty  of weird and wonderful versions on sites like Etsy such as the selfie mask where they print your image onto fabric of the mask….this goes under the ‘wacky solution list’.

On a serious note you should beware not all masks are effective as reported from ITV and according to the BBC on 2nd Nov. A test by Imperial College London, found the most efficient masks for reducing the expiration of water borne particles, such as Covid, are the FFP1 respirator mask (NB FFP2 & FFP3 give the most protection) , the KN95 and a disposable 3 ply surgical mask. They also found that 2 layers of cotton are better than one in preventing escape of moisture so your fashion mask can still work.

However, a mask has to fit well, cover nose and mouth as covid droplets emit from both, wash or dispose of after use and wash/sanitise your hands after touching. A full shield plus mask give optimum protection and I want one of these futuristic, complete isolation, ‘i-Spheres’ shown here and in our  previous ‘D’ List……

3RD, Social Isolation Fixes

A futuristic idea for flying in isolation is the Janus from Avio Interiors. They say:

‘“Janus” is a two-faced seat, in fact this arrangement allows all three passengers to be separated with a shield made of transparent material that isolates them from each other, creating a protective barrier for everyone. Each passenger has its own space isolated from others, even from people who walk through the aisle. Each place of the “Janus” seat is surrounded on three sides by a high shield that prevents the breath propagation to occupants of adjacent seats. “Janus” seat is made of easy cleaning and safe hygienisation materials. The option is available with the shield in opaque material or with different degrees of transparency.’

"Janus" Airline Social Isolation Seat Prevents 'Breath Contamination'. Also Stops You Fighting Over The Armrest!
“Janus” Airline Social Isolation Seat Prevents ‘Breath Contamination’. Also Stops You Fighting Over The Armrest!

Another great idea for social distancing was reported in The South China Morning Post. They are hats with a 1m floppy pole attached that engage with school children by making social distancing fun………….

The noodles look cute on kids but not so at this German cafe that insists they’re worn by their customers…

Social Distancing With head 'Noodles' in a German Cafe
Social Distancing With head ‘Noodles’ in a German Cafe

That’s it or now and stay safe with good humour. If you have anything to add or have seen any other ingenious COVID hacks, please get in contact here.

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  1. Josh

    Haha, these are ingenious… I’m loving the look of the metre hats!

    One frustrating thing I find about wearing a mask is the condensation on my glasses, so maybe the next thing to investigate would be something that could stop that from happening!