For seniors living at home, some everyday tasks are rather steep challenges. For those with limited mobility, significant memory loss, or arthritis, a house can be full of these difficult situations, as well as risks to their health.
As caregivers or relatives of seniors living at home, it is good to have a vested interest in these things and ask ourselves what we can do to help. Let them know you care by helping add some simple, inexpensive around-the-house items to improve mobility, safety, or even just help them enjoy the things they like most. These eight life hacks and products are a great place to start:
1. Replace door knobs with levers you can open by pushing down
Traditional round door knobs can be tricky for seniors with arthritis, and they are also slippery, which poses fall risks. A great replacement is the lever style door handle which can be pushed down to open the door. This is much easier to grip and can reduce those risks.
2. Place light-sensitive night lights around the house
Vision-impaired seniors often struggle the most in low light situations. A flashlight is not always easy to find, so you can make it easy by installing nightlights in hallways or other more trafficked locations. Amazon sells a variety which simply plug into an outlet, and automatically turn on when the surrounding light is low enough. They are very inexpensive and can significantly improve visibility.
3. “Lazy Susan” turntables in fridge to help reach items in the back
It can be a big strain to reach far back in refrigerators and freezers. One solution is to place rotating turntables, or “Lazy Susans” as they are often called, on the shelves in the fridge. These can also be added to deep cabinets where cooking supplies or other objects are stored.
4. Install a bed assist rail
There are far more options for bed rails now than the traditional large bulky ones. Some are stationary additions to the bed, whereas others can be taken off in the morning to function as a walker or cane. Help find the one that works best, and rest assured that getting in and out of bed will be much easier than before.
5. Simplify the TV remote
Dealing with a remote with dozens of tiny buttons can be very frustrating for seniors, especially the vision-impaired. Pick up a standard universal remote with large bright buttons and limited functions—the only ones you ever need to use anyway. Pro-tip: Get a second one too so they have a backup when one of them is misplaced.
6. Key turner
Another seemingly everyday task that can be difficult for seniors is turning keys to unlock doors. Especially if arthritis is an issue, applying the force needed to turn a tricky lock is no fun. Loads of various key turners are available to make this a breeze.
7. Zipper pull tool
Much like the previous item, this one is especially useful for those with arthritis. Grabbing onto small items such as zippers adds difficulty to getting dressed. Stock a few zipper pull helpers and you can’t go wrong.
8. Foam covers for sharp corners
Coffee tables, end tables, and other surfaces with sharp edges can pose serious dangers in the event of a fall. Simple foam covers that adhere with a one-time adhesion strip make these surfaces much safer. Many of them even come with a tool to help you remove them if you ever want to, without causing damage to the furniture.
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