Frustrating objects and item designs!

Hi all,

I am studying design and innovation and thought it would be nice If I could actually use this in a pro-active way to try and address some design problems that people with RA face every day!

I was  only diagnosed with RA 3 years ago and I'm already racking up quite a list of items I hate (medication blister packs are near the top!).

What objects and designs do you detest?  What winds you up? Is there anything you don't do because of a design flaw? What every day item makes your life difficult?

Many thanks in advance, Gem :)

52 Replies

  • Yes, I have one.  It's a powder compact made by "Ding Dong A*** Calling" it's the Anew one for over 50's.  Very difficult to open, just keeps slipping out of my fingers.  Just going to order some more, so I am hoping that they have changed the design.

  • Hello  gDAB,yes blister packs are a nightmare, but my bugbear is squeeze  and push down bottles,ie, bleach, toilet cleaner,the list is endless, also cartons of milk, juice,think they're called tetra packs, impossible to open,always resort to scissors,leaving a gaping hole, instead of a small neat opening.Good luck with your research.x

  • I agree. I've thrown plastic milk bottle against a wall in frustration. Same goes for those child proof tops on pill bottles. 

    I think also that something good looking  to raise height of chairs, beds etc would be good.

    There's a lot of scope!

  • Oh yes, child-proof tops! Sometimes it feels like the people designing these products are only interested in profit rather than the needs of the user.. *raises eyebrow*.

  • absolutely. No imagination, where design comes in.

  • I agree .OT gave me a great little gadget to open milk bottles and jars. It's dome shape and gel like material. They can be bought on line too. Also I was given in the same material a sheet a non slip mat,

  • I know the type you mean, I have one too & it works well.

  • My h has just last week bought me a pill popper thingy from Boots, it works excellently. Even better is they drop into a little drawer underneath, I usually drop one or two of my tablets before I get to swallow them so that's handy too.

  • Oh the dreaded tablets on the floor syndrome and finding them quick before the dog does.

  • Exactly! I'm glad I'm not alone scrabbling to get them before the dogs do. Is it the same with you, once you get down you then struggle getting up whilst still trying to grip the runaway tablets in your hand? It's a farce. Anyway problem solved with my new handy helper.

  • Yup exactly. I have a rescue lab and I do not need a vacuum.And she is a lot quicker than I am.

    Just as well we can laugh about it.x

  • Everything everyone else has said especially blister packs .Even paracetamol are difficult I have to cut through the silver paper on the back to get the tablet out.The time it takes me I have forgotten what I was taking them for.

    Shampoo bottles I have tried squeeze ones push down at the top ones they defeat me.

    Good luck with your designs.

    Oh and those peel back stock pots useless.They have hit the kitchen wall a few times but is not an ideal way of opening them.

    And any form of packaging not only is it wasteful it is impossible to open.

  • Blister pack tablets are now solved for me. I used to pierce the foil with a metal nail file but I now have problems gripping the flippin file! My h bought me a pill popper which works excellently but what still defeat me are detergent bottle child proof caps, the squeeze & turn ones. We've talked about this here before & it was a popular bug bear. At the mo I just don't turn the top far enough to lock it but one of these days I'll end up with bleach everywhere!

    If you look to the top right of the page you'll see a list of Related Posts, you may find more suggestions amongst those.

    Good luck with your studies Gem & do keep in touch. If we can help in any way you only need to ask, or just to let us know how an idea for a new design is progressing. There's one thing, you're perfectly placed to test your ideas out!.

  • What is a pill popper? x

  • Apols, I missed your question. It's similar to this except mine has a collection drawer for the tablets that you can detatch

    The one that I have was from Boots & called the Safe + Sound Pill Popper but the picture on their site shows it in the presentation box & you can't see what it looks like. This is it if it helps

  • Thanks I just have a plain dosset box that would help a lot. X

  • Just looked at the links they look amazing.

  • All of those peel off tops,the type they put under the lid on milk and sauces.Also tiny plastic strips that need pulling off,Worcestershire sauce comes to mind. Shower gel and shampoo come bottles that are impossible to grip too.I save yoghurt pots and my OH doles out my shampoo and co ditionar into those so I get the illusion of independence when I'm able to reach my own head to wash my hair 😁

  • The Velcro on my night splints is to tough for me to undo,you'd think that something made for hand problems would be made so that the user could use them independently!

  • Eye drops and gels that come in twist the top off and squeeze aaarrggh!

    I have RA,SLE,Sjogrens,Eds,Crps,FM,Raybpnauds and a brachial plexus injury meaning use only in one hand but how ypis anyone needing eyedrops/gel meant to twist the top off something so small and fiddly.I used to use xailin and clinitas which helped but have had to change to Hylo forte because it's a bigger pump action drop bottle but even that is not ideal and the foil packets that some eyedrops come in are pure torture pull it bite it shout at it fight into it just to be presented with an equally soul destroying twist top eye drop dispenser is just not fair.

    Ok rant over I'm off my soap box.

  • Definitely those push down and twist lids on cleaning products... Darn good reason to get someone else to do the cleaning 😅

    Anything wrapped in plastic that has one of those silly red tapes to pull and unwind (like you find on packets of CDs or gum).

    Individual portion containers that you get in some cafes/service stations.. Oh many a little pot of milk has ended up on the floor! 😖

  • I PARTICULARLY hate the pill box I bought because getting into blister packs was tricky... I can't open those little flaps at all! :(

  • I bought one of these in TK Maxx.. by far my favourite although it took me months to discover the lid completely comes off so you can fill it! 😂

  • Thanks everyone. I always think it's amazing how many simple, every day products drive us to distraction and it's even worse when that product is supposed to help us (the splint sounds so annoying). Seriously, if anyone takes arcoxia..that blister pack is the work of satan himself! 

  • Yes, I take Arcoxia & they were the second worst to get out but what beats them is atorvastatin, it's a stupid shape & hides in the foil!

  • Arcoxia packaging is ok if you have a nail: stab THEN pop! However, just 5 pills per pack? FIVE?! Talk about wasteful packaging!

  • I've always thought it odd with Arcoxia there's only 5 on a strip. I'm prescribed 28 days worth each time & often the box has 2, 3 or even 4 part strips & a few strips of 5, most annoying!

  • I know why five and why do the blisters have to be so big so you have to fish the tablet out!? I'm guessing they use the same blister packs for another medication.  I'm prescribed 28 days at a time too, so it is really annoying, I might ask the manufacturer! 

  • Maybe it's the same blister size for each strength? I've always been prescribed 90mg but I know they're made in 30, 60 & 120mg too & probably all different in size. It would be interesting to hear their response if you do ask the manufacturer Gem, mine are made by Merck & Co.

  • One thing that annoys me is trying to open safety caps on household liquids. Darn impossible. My husband cuts off the catches inside the tops. I know they are needed so that kids can't open them. I can think of more but don't get me started!!

  • Oh no.. more please!  Ironically, my daughter can open the safety lids and I can't!   

  • Another annoyance is economy sized bottles of things like shampoo. I like to buy the biggest, best value packs of things (cos money is tight!) but then I usually can't lift them to use them! I decant shampoo/conditioner into smaller bottles, and use a ladle to scoop washing powder out of the big box.

  • Have you tried using salon pumps?  I bought x2 salon pumps on amazon, you can decant the shampoo in to salon bottles? (I buy the huge bottles because it works out cheaper in the long run).

      I'm just thankful I can get everything delivered because I can never get enough stuff in a small trolley and I can't bend over to get stuff out of the big ones (or reach - I'm 4'11)! 

  • I can't bend for the stuff in a big trolley either - and I'm 5'7"! Salon pumps are a good idea, and I'll try that - thanks! - except the brand of conditioner I like to use comes in big bottles with *fixed* lids, which is v annoying!

  • Everything everyone else has said! If you need to open a child proof top find a five year old!! My biggest problem after 40 years of RA is that aids designed for disabled are all too big, cumbersome or heavy for me - a petite 5ft 2in. I haven't been able to reach my feet for 15yrs and what would be perfect is a light, long handled stick into which I could easily fix various attachments such as cotton buds, nailfile etc. 

    Eye drop dispensers - why are they designed to be so hard to squeeze?

    Are there any companies out there designing and making disabled aids who would like some ideas? I have plenty! Many of which would be beneficial to everyone - very few people can open a tetrapack easily! 

  • This is exactly what I'm talking about. I'm 4'11 so I know exactly where you're coming from.  I also find that most of these aids are really ugly! We would like a bit of stylish design too!   Ever tried finding a pretty compression/ gripper glove?   I love your idea of a multi-use product :)  Thank you. 

  • I phoned the makers of Leflunomide because I can't open the pill bottles. Seems crazy when they are made for people with RA, my gardener opened it this week for me. High steps are awful, steps with no hand rails. Things like scissors etc need padded. Design a nail clipper that doesn't need strength or flexible fingers to use. Good for you, good luck x

  • It does seem that most people's bugbear are the very things that are supposed to help us.  It seems ridiculous that these people don't even think about WHO they are designing things for.  Sadly, I think big pharma are only interested in their profit margins. 

  • Heavy doors are a nightmare and someone had the brilliant idea of even fitting disabled toilets with heavy doors as well. Clearly not someone with disabilities! And then there are the horrible push down taps in toilets. I hate anything that you have to push down it really hurts my wrists.

    I have tiny hands and arthritis wrists so big bottles of anything are a no go for me. Shampoo bottles, ketchup bottles...I need two hands to hold them and that's painful without having to turn them upside down and squeeze them as well. I think it's really unfair that get a worse deal from having to buy smaller bottles that I can actually use!Flow4 has a great suggestion for this problem :)

  • Now I think of it, there are quite a lot of public toilets I can't flush... Too often I have just had to sneak away...!

  • And bras! Don't get me started on bras! Whoever designed bra clips must've been a man! And WHO decided that NONE of the women who need easy-fasten bras are big-boobed?!

  • Lot s of primapexal wrong spelling for restless legs but i get the grand kids to open the Calpol crazy

  • Frigging Shampoo bottles getting trickier & trickier.......jar tops unnecessarily difficult to open but we have nano technology???? 😤 Seat belts??? shop doors???? Cheap door handles. .......Cripes someone stop me!!!! 😁😂😂

  • Not enough women in engineering... And DEFINITELY not enough arthritic, middle aged women! 😃

  • Bring on the arthritic, middle-aged women *air punch*!  I actually started my career as an audio engineer (being a woman was a struggle), had kids, had a career gap, got ill and now I need a challenge :D 

  • Ring pull cans are my pet hate . I recently invested in an Electric tin opener which has a magnet to hold the the top in place when its finished and now just turn the tin upside down makes easy work of them.

  • I have a good hook-like gadget that tackles ring pulls well, particularly tins. It's not the same as this because it was bought abroad but it's very similar

  • I'd love to get my hands on some attractive long narrow .cord bands to hang on the knobs of kitchen wall cabinets so's I can pull them open with ease when wrists or shoulders are giving grief. I'm currently using long elastic bands that are ugly and will perish but cord could be embellished with flowers, e.g. poppies  or daisies etc?  At the moment my dishwasher knob has a bright yellow lanyard intended to anchor a purse securely inside a handbag.

    Also, I have a light-weight metal pickle(?) fork with two prongs that is perfect for piercing those frustrating milk bottle seals. The bowl shape is, for want of a better description, rather like a small flattened spanner head with 2 distinct tapered points. I can't remember having purchased it so must've 'inherited' it when I left home donkeys' years ago!  🔧🎅🏿

  • How about something like this Dodo

    It can be difficult opening things like dishwashers & fridges, I understand your problem. We sold all our white goods to the people who bought our house when we came back from living abroad & it was a perfect opportunity to choose those with proper handles because I have the same problem, weakness in my hands particularly in the mornings. The microwave, fridge freezer, dishwasher, oven doors etc all have bar handles & no dials all buttons, so much easier.

  • Thanks, but much too posh. 😎  The silver knobs are no bigger than a 50p so I fancied daisy chains or similar as my major tile, equivalent to 4 plain, has buttercups, cornflowers, daisies, pink campions and my favourite red poppies featured on a leafy green background, bordered with cream. My second favourite flower is the dog rose so the only flower that gets house room is the African violet which doesn't drop petals and flourishes in neglect on the kitchen windowsill!

  • hi gem im finding using shampoo, conditioner and shower gel bottles very hard at minute i have to use both hands to squeeze onto my leg as cant get it out with one hand. also milk bottle lids pop bottles its very annoying coz it makes you feel useless at minute my left knee swelled up and so are hands cant take anything with asprin in so frustrated

  • also struggle with flushing public toilets. small buttons or poppers on blouses that need to wear for work small stupid zips on dresses and skirts that cant even grip to hold long enough to pull up. so many things out there that need to be ra and other disabilities cant use even a simple knife im struggling with now and sauce packets like you get in kfc so many things :(

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