This week we have a guest post from the Mellin sisters, creators of EazyHold which is an assistive grip device made for anyone who finds it difficult to grip whether young or old. I asked if they would be able to share the story of their journey so far with EazyHold, a simple product with many different uses.
Picture shows the three Mellin sisters holding their patent and Eazyhold product.
“We received a large inheritance from our parents. Not money, but adult onset arthritis in our hands. Three years ago I, Kerry Mellin, was preparing my Simi Valley ranch for a family get together. I went to sweep out my barn but found my weak thumbs chose that day to stop cooperating and gripping the broom was too painful to finish. I grabbed some duct tape, made a loop across the broom handle and slipped my hand inside. Surprised at how effortless it felt having this little bit of support over the back of the hand, I found it allowed me to maintain control of the broom with a minimal grip and a lot less pain!
Later I told my sisters about having to tape my hand to the broom, and while it gave us all a good laugh, we realized that this could become a big problem for not only us but a huge population of infants to adults with grip issues. 75,000 US baby boomers alone are set to retire in the next 10 years, all wanting to be independent, stay active and engaged in life. We decided to innovate a new grip aid for household utensils, toys, cups, garden equipment, sporting equipment, and hobbies. With great excitement for our new idea, we jumped into designing and making prototypes the very next day.
I had some knowledge of assistive grip devices for utensils when I had volunteered in a hospital rehab centre 35 years ago, but after researching, we discovered that there had been no advancements or innovation in gripping cuffs in 40 years! They were still made of hard plastic, leather, elastic, and scratchy Velcro; neither sanitary nor adaptable. We knew that our holds could be soft, comfortable, hygienic, and most importantly, super adaptable to fit tiny hands for toys, to the largest of hands for tools!
We decided to use silicone which had just those qualities. The kitchens in our homes became our workshops, and in between our other jobs, we prototyped 20 different sizes and styles and had made 1,000 samples to trial before launching.
With boots on the ground and free samples in tow, we got to work. Everyone we showed our straps to instantly recognised the value of our product and wondered why this hadn't been invented before. We began getting requests and invitations from all over the country to send more samples and to demonstrate our product.
The word of mouth from parents of special needs children was also loud and clear as news travelled that there was a grip assist small enough for children's hands and that it worked effortlessly. We received messages like "my daughter has been able to draw her first Valentine's Day card with an EazyHold on her crayon" and "my son is able to hold his own bottle and spoon to self-feed for the first time".
What very simply started as a way to maintain our active lifestyle, quickly evolved into so much more. Not just maintaining a grip you already have but for many allowing a grip for the first time. In visiting hospitals, therapy, and paediatric centres, we've found that our EazyHolds are now becoming invaluable for those with cerebral palsy, Parkinson's disease, Rett syndrome, stroke, limb loss, the visually impaired and other conditions that limit a person’s grip abilities. Our little bands, born out of necessity, are becoming a staple in many care facilities and schools and homes.”
Picture shows Eazyhold grips around household items such as forks and pens.
You can visit Eazyhold's website here.