New Assistive Help
For those who have had a stroke, being able to move around the house can be difficult. One associated difficulty is not being able to readily turn on or turn off the lights. Perhaps a lamp was left turned on upstairs, or perhaps after sitting in an overstuffed chair you realize that you can not reach to turn on the reading lamp nearby.
What Can You Do?
There is a product on the market that can allow a person to remotely turn on and off
electrical devices, such as lamps, coffee makers, and even music systems or televisions.
The following example is related to a lamp; but remember, this product will work with
all kinds of electric appliances. The devices have a couple of different components
and consist of different types of "modules" that are plugged into an electric outlet.
A "lamp module" is used specifically for lamps. It will not only allow the lamp to be turned on and off remotely, but it can also act as a light dimmer.
In order for the lamp module to work, there also needs to be a "transceiver module" that also gets plugged into an electric outlet. This can be an outlet just about anywhere in the house. It does not have to be in the same room as the lamp module. This transceiver module has a little antenna on it. The transceiver module receives messages from the last and final required component called a "controller.";
The controller is like a remote control that has buttons on it. When you press one of the buttons on the controller, it sends a signal to the transceiver module, which in turn sends a signal through the house wiring. When the signal through the house wiring reaches the lamp module, the lamp module turns the lamp on. You can control many separate lamp modules with the controller. It is also possible to dim the lights.
The technology is called "X-10" technology. The devices are relatively inexpensive and can be purchased from electronic stores like Radio Shack or they can be purchased on line fromor or
As an occupational therapist, I have recommended these types of devices time and time
again. In addition, I also use this technology extensively in my own home.
I find it particularly helpful at night when I am upstairs getting ready for bed. Sometimes I can't remember if all of the lights downstairs were turned off, so with the X-10 technology, I can turn all the lights off from my bedroom thereby saving me an extra trip downstairs.
I also keep a remote control near my front door so that when I've finally gotten all of my family out of the house, I can make sure all of the lights are off with a click of a button.
For my patients, I've recommended that they keep the remote control in a convenient place like on a coffee table near their favorite chair, or beside their bed so that they can easily control the lights from their bed.
On one last personal note, my wife places an electric candle stick in each of our 9 front windows during the Christmas season. Instead of walking in each room to turn on and off each little lamp, I simply control them all with the click of a single button.
Cook, A. M., & Hussey, S. M. (2007). Assistive technologies: Principles and practice (3rd ed.). St. Louis: Mosby.
Cook, A, & Polgar, J. (2011). Essentials of assistive technologies. St. Louis: Mosby.
Developed in 2003 by Martin Rice, PhD at The University of Toledo for the Caring~Web. Revised: 2010, 2012