Folding Laundry One-Handed

Practical tips for daily living after a stroke.

Survivor Rosanna Radding Grass Valley, California

These past several months have been an emotionally strenuous time for me.

Physically it has not been terribly easy either. Nineteen years post-stroke I was feeling better than I had in years. I was in a good place. I felt like I was on a roll; planning and creating new one-handed cooking videos, presenting one-handed cooking demonstrations, speaking to survivor and professional groups and selling my CanDo Cutting Board.

Then, in an instant, the only rolling I was doing was in a wheelchair due to a fractured heel bone. Consequently, logistics mandated I clear my schedule and stick close to home. One might ask how I get from that long aside to the subject of this column, which is, after all, a tips column. I can answer that by way of a quote of unknown origin:

 “Falling down is part of life, getting back up is living.”

Fracture or not, I was still squarely aligned with the living part of that quote, which meant I had to get myself back up and figure out my temporary life on wheels. Having been in a wheelchair only occasionally and for relatively short periods since my stroke, I respectfully offer high praise to those of you who spend most of their time on wheels. It’s not easy. Life goes on.

What I found was adjusting my positioning in relation to the activity at hand was the key to successfully managing what needed to get done without injuring myself further. For many tasks, sitting at a table that was lower than a typical counter top or using an un-upholstered chair as a temporary table was the biggest part of the solution.

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

Or, for instance, to fold laundry I wheeled myself up to a bed with the functional side of my body parallel to the side of the bed, laid out a t-shirt, towel, sheet or whatever with about half, maybe a little less, draped over the side of the bed, with the other half-lying flat on the bed.

I then simply reached down for the draped side and pulled it up with one hand into the position I wanted it in for folding while the other half remained flat on the bed ready to be folded. The process took several steps and involved moving back and forth in the wheelchair, depending on the size of the piece being folded.

By the way, this is also how I fold laundry with one hand when I’m able to stand. Everything gets laid out flat first. Larger items are draped and smoothed out part way

Step 4

over the side of a bed, table, sofa, etc. prior to folding.

Remember, there are always solutions for living one-handed in a two-handed world!

Editor’s Note: Do you have a task or activity you would like assistance figuring out? This column is for you. Send us your request today! 

You can visit Rosanna's site, or visit our own Tips for Daily Living Library for more great tips from Rosanna and others. Share your own video, audio or written tips with us while you’re there!


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AHA-ASA Resources

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