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Savvy Senior: Find the best reacher grabber tool

Savvy Senior: A good grabbing tool can help save your back and energy.
BY JIM MILLER, For The Oklahoman Published: August 11, 2014
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DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: What kinds of reacher-grabber tools can you recommend for seniors who need help picking things up off the ground. I bought a cheap one at Walmart a few months ago that doesn’t work very well for me, and would like to find one that does.

— Need a Hand

DEAR NEED: A good reacher-grabber is a very handy tool for anyone with mobility issues. It works like an extension of your arm — allowing you to reach down and pick things up off the ground without bending or stooping over. It can also help with reaching and grabbing things in high places.

Depending on your needs, here are some top options to consider.

Lightweight reacher: If you want a reacher primarily for picking up small lightweight items around the house, the Aluminum Reacher with Magnetic Tip by Duro-Med is multifunctional. Available in 32- and 26-inch lengths, it has a trigger-style handgrip with a serrated jaw that provides a secure grip when lifting objects. It also has a magnet built into the tip for picking up lightweight metal objects like a paperclip, and a small hook (or horn) that aids in retrieving things like clothes, shoes or keys. But, because of its lightweight design, it doesn’t work as well at retrieving heavier items like canned goods from shelves.

All-purpose reacher: For retrieving small and medium-size items, the Ettore Grip ’n Grab can handle most chores. Available in 16-, 32- and 50-inch lengths, it has a soft comfortable trigger handgrip and a rubberized jaw that’s strong enough to lift objects up to 5 pounds and up to 4 inches wide, yet sensitive enough to pick up something as small as a dime. The jaw can also swivel 90 degrees to reach things in awkward spaces.

Ergonomic handle reachers: If you have hand or wrist arthritis that makes gripping difficult, the 31-inch Medline Reacher has a handgrip that lets you use all five fingers to close the jaw for better gripping power. Or, consider the new HealthSmart GripLoc Sliding Reacher, a 43-inch two-handed reacher with a power slide handle that opens and closes the jaw (no hand squeezing required), and a twist lock that locks the jaw when it’s clinched to secure your item.

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