“Getting old isn’t for wimps.” Aging is tough, as my grandmother’s saying reminds us; though the AARP has said life expectancy for American men and women have increased by 16 and 19 years, respectively. If your indomitable seniors are bent on remaining independent, here are some handy items to help them feel confident and comfortable in their own homes.
When you have difficulty getting up and down, the reassurance of having something to hold onto -- and give you that extra boost -- can make all the difference. Installing grab bars and railings on stairs, near doorways with a step, and in bathrooms allow for much easier navigation.
Falling in the home is a scary thing. Instead of carpets and mats that catch at feet and shoes, install items that are flat to the ground and stick to the surface. Replace that kitchen rug or old bath mat with one that’s safer.
Not everyone can stand for the duration of their shower. By placing a seat or stool in the unit, seniors can retain the ability to bathe themselves -- an incredibly important point, psychologically, as well as from a caregiver perspective. Raised toilet seats (with and without grab bars) serve a similar function: empowering people to continue living in their space.
Incontinence is a fairly common, though embarrassing, condition in older individuals. By having products that are simple, effective, and quiet are a conscientious way to aid seniors. Providing special briefs, disposable underwear, and bed mats are quiet, but very real ways to help.
Getting around got the elders down? Walkers, canes, wheelchairs and scooters in a huge variety of styles and types are available based on the needs and lifestyle of the individual in question.
Sometimes, we all get aches. By simply applying heat to sore joints and muscles, we can help to ease stiffness and pain. A good-quality heating pad makes a difference!
Having items just out of reach is frustrating for all of us. When we can no longer bend over, climb under, and clamber on things to get to them, the aid of a grabber or a stool can be instrumental in keeping your senior in their home.
Elastic shoestrings, shoe horns, button aids and zipper pulls, sock and stocking aids, and long-handled brushes and combs: small, but mighty items to have around the house of your independent senior. Instead of resorting to slippers and sweatpants (unacceptable to many), products such as these can help them to feel -- and look -- like themselves.
If getting out to the gym is a struggle, or even if it is simply easier to work out around the house, staying fit is an important part of aging in place. Peddlers, arm pulleys, stretch bands, and even resistive exercise putty can help seniors stay in shape. Instead of feeling trapped, having such equipment available for seniors who are accustomed to being active can help them to feel productive and healthy. Those who are looking to improve their fitness are able to do so from their homes, instead of travelling to exercise facilities. Being healthier longer means longer living in their homes.
Simple, but effective. Joint conditions like arthritis and nervous conditions like Parkinson’s can make acts that seem effortless to most of us into ordeals. Thicker utensils with a gripper coating, or a cup with a top and a handle can take mealtime from embarrassing back to easy.
According to the US Census Bureau, 86% of seniors would prefer to age in place. With a bit of extra assistance from some small adjustments, we can help them achieve that dream. Sometimes, it’s the little things that make the biggest difference!