|Project by John1410||posted 05-26-2014 07:12 AM||1437 views||0 times favorited||8 comments|
In my volunteer work at a nursing home, I design and make many items in timber. No sharp tools are allowed in the home (potential that someone with dementia might use as an involuntary weapon, for example), so after making the item at home I dismantle it and take it in for the residents to re-assemble. It offers something for them to look forward to, gives them a sense of worth and, ultimately, provides an air of achievement.
One of the residents at the home is a woman with advancing Huntington’s, permanently in a wheelchair and with very limited physical capacity. She is still able to tell what she wants and the one thing that causes her the greatest difficulty is attempting to paint using a regular arts easel. Answer? Design and make her a wheelchair-friendly easel!
I won’t give measurements, just provide the photos and a few basic guidelines should any of you wish to use the basic concept for a friend or loved one.
To clear the arms of a large wheelchair, the legs need to be wider apart than normal. Difficulty then is that they will spread so far as to become a tripping hazard for others! The answer is bent legs. I cut angles at 15 degrees from two pieces of pine, laminated with some 3mm MDF. As a simple laminate, it provides greater strength than the 19mm thick pine alone.
Because the front frame stands perpendicular, this is less stable than a regular easel. As you will see, the three legs are pinned to a sheet of 12mm MDF. The front wheels of the wheelchair sit on the MDF and provide stability. (I added a suitably placed dowel to the back leg to locate a small sandbag, later, for when no wheelchair is holding it steady.