As people age, engaging in basic daily tasks such as eating and dressing becomes more difficult. Thankfully, there are many gadgets, devices and innovations that make daily tasks easier for seniors, from adaptive clothing to reacher grabber tools. Here are 10 things that seniors can do to make their everyday lives easier:
Stretch your body first thing in the morning.
Many older people struggle with arthritis, and find that their bodies are extremely stiff when they wake up. This arthritis can make it difficult to get out of bed to complete simple tasks. To help your body warm up, try doing some general stretches while lying in bed first thing in the morning. This will help you to shake off the stiffness and make it easier to get started with your door. Using a heated mattress pad or blanket during the colder months will also help to reduce the stiffness.
Choose adaptive clothing for easier dressing.
Traditional clothing can be difficult to put on due to tiny buttonholes, pesky zippers and other difficult-to-work closures — which makes it almost impossible for some older adults to dress themselves. Switching to adaptive clothing, such as magnetic shirts for the elderly and men’s elastic waist pants makes dressing themselves possible once again. These garments utilize innovative closures or get rid of them altogether to create garments that are easy to put on and take off even with limited mobility.
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Get a reacher grabber tool.
This tool is exactly what the name says: a long pole (sometimes extendable) for reaching with a claw at the end for grabbing. The claw is operated by a button or trigger on a handle at the opposite end. These reacher grabber tools help seniors pick up lightweight objects that are out of each, helping them to grab items on their own even if they have limited mobility. Reacher grabber tools almost mean that they don’t have to get up from the couch if they need to get something that is just out of reach.
Use lazy susans for organization.
If you struggle to reach into the back of your cabinets, closet shelves or refrigerator, then a lazy susan might be the solution you are looking for. These turntable platforms rotate around with a simple push, easily moving items from the front to the back of the shelf and vice versa. These lazy susans come in many different materials, from lightweight plastic to sustainable bamboo to heavy duty metal, so seniors can choose the one that fits their needs best.
Cover up sharp furniture corners.
Older adults can struggle to maintain their balance, which means that they often bump into furniture and other large objects. To protect them from cuts and bruises, place corner and edge protectors on the sharp lines of furniture. These covers are typically made from plastic or rubber and attach to the furniture with adhesive to stay in place. You can also get protectors for the wall if there is an unfortunately placed corner in their home or assisted living space.
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Switch to a straw tumbler with a lid.
Many adults with limited mobility in their face and jaw find it easiest to drink out of a straw. However, just putting in a straw in a typical cup isn’t always a solution since the straw can move around or even fall out of the cup. Instead, get them a tumbler that integrates the straw into the lid. This will keep the straw in place and also stop it from falling out of the tumbler, helping them to stay hydrated all day long.
Add grips to commonly used items.
Many older adults struggle to grip items that are hard, smooth and/or thin such as utensils, hairbrushes and door handles. Adding foam or rubber grips to these items can make it much easier and comfortable to use them. Foam handles will add padding and increase the width of a handle, making it easier to pick up even if their fingers can’t grip very tightly. Rubber will add texture to a handle, making it easier for slippery palms to hold onto.
Try standing assist tools.
Sitting on a soft couch or chair is nice, but standing back up can be extremely difficult for seniors with arthritis. A simple standing assist tool is a frame made of metal bars that you can grab onto to steady yourself while you hoist yourself into a standing position. You can also get more expensive electric standing assist, which tilts your seat to move you from a seated position to a standing position, all without you having to do anything.
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Put raised dot stickers on remotes.
Vision impairments can make it difficult to figure out which buttons to push on a remote or other devices. Raised button stickers help seniors find the buttons they need to press through touch instead of relying completely on their eyesight. You might also want to switch them to a big button universal remote that only includes the essential controls to help reduce their confusion.
Track medications in a calendar.
Many seniors must take multiple medications at different times during the day, and it can be difficult to keep track of them all. To help them stay on top of their doses, get them a weekly or monthly pill case with sections for a.m. and p.m. Also consider getting them a pill tracker log that can be posted in a central place such as their bedroom or kitchen, which will remind them to take their pills and keep track so that they don’t double up accidentally.
What other tips and tricks do you have for making daily life easier for seniors? Give us your advice in the comments below!