Getting Around the House As We Age

Many seniors prefer to stay in their home as they age. However, the home that was perfect in your thirties may not meet your needs as you reach and pass your sixties. The house might need renovation and you might need some handy home aids. There’s a whole field of study now for aging in place. Here are some tools and tips for seniors who may need a little help getting around, handling chores, or even unleashing their inner chef.

Getting Around

According to studies, over 70% of seniors over the age of 80 will experience mobility issues. However, there’s a lot that people at all mobility levels can do to stay active. With your doctor’s OK, try to get at least a little exercise every day. You can use heated foot baths or anti-inflammatory bath salts to fight post-exercise soreness.

A back brace is a mobility and stabilization aid. This isn’t just for people who’ve been injured. It can also help prevent injury. Before a strenuous project like reorganizing the boxes in the garage, you may want to ‘brace yourself’ and ‘pace yourself.’

Fall detection is something to consider, since 1 in 4 seniors will experience a fall. There are plenty of wearable life alert devices nowadays as well as systems that you can easily place in the house to detect motion and falls, and call the helping network.

Finally, there’s a whole category of mobility aids out there. These range in how much support they offer.

Canes are an affordable option for people who experience an occasional wobble. More supportive devices include walkers and rollators. These are heavier than a cane. However, they offer four points of stability and you can hang bags on them.

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Wheelchairs give mobility to people with more severe impairments. If you have enough upper body strength, you may get around just fine in a manual wheelchair. Meanwhile, motorized wheelchairs are easily controlled by hand.

Getting Things Done

Seniors who struggle with arthritis, grip strength, and mobility may find it a challenge to take care of themselves and their home. In this day and age, almost every problem has a gadget for a solution. AARP keeps a list of helpful home gadgets for many concerns.

Are you finding it harder to get dressed? Lots of clothing requires sharp eyesight, good dexterity, and a dash of flexibility. Some useful gadgets exist to save the day, however.

Button hooks and zipper hooks attach to tricky fasteners and help you do up your clothes.
Long-handled shoe horns and elastic shoelaces are a solution for fiddly sneakers and cotton laces. And a reach extender, a three- or four-fingered claw at the end of a pole, helps people with poor shoulder mobility grab things from the floor or high shelves.

If your budget includes a home remodel, you can help yourself stay atop household tasks by several modifications, including raising power sockets to a comfortable height. That means you won’t need to crouch or crawl behind any furniture to plug something in.

Simple aids include replacing doorknobs or cabinet knobs with levers, handles, or grip-friendly pulls. More elaborate include installing wider door frames, especially if you anticipate needing a wheelchair in the future.

Cooking Aids

There’s nothing quite like a home-cooked meal. Some seniors love to treat their family to hot food. Others just want a meal cooked exactly the way they like it.

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You may have noticed that stores are absolutely overflowing with cheaply made and ridiculous kitchen gadgets. However, some devices are actually worth looking into. Let’s take a look at a few options.

Automatic can opener. Just hook a can into the machine and it does the job, eliminating the need for hand strength and the risk of getting cut on jagged metal. Not impressed yet? They make automatic jar openers as well.

Magnifying glass. These let you take a quick look at recipes or the tiny print on ingredients lists. You won’t have to waste time and possibly burn things on the stove while searching for your reading glasses.

Cut resistant gloves. Look for a snug fit without extra fabric that bunches up. Some of these gloves come with rubber pads on the fingertips, helping you keep a secure grip on the knife and whatever you’re cutting.

Kitchen timers. These are a wonder for ambitious cooks of all ages who are trying to juggle multiple dishes. Many smartphones will do this with voice commands, great for people with dexterity issues.

A garlic peeler. Peeling garlic is tedious, sticky, and fiddly work. Some people with arthritis or limited hand dexterity swear by these gadgets.

Mixing bowls with grips or handles. Don’t underestimate how slippery these bowls can get once the eggs and oil go in. Save frustration and wasteful spills with a bowl that you can get a solid grip on.

A kitchen floor mat. These don’t slide or get slippery when water’s spilled on them. They also create a comfortable surface for when you’re working over the stove for an hour.

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Automatic shut-offs on the burners. We all forget about a burner once in a while. These safeties can prevent an accident or a fire.

Oven rack guards. Once you attach these soft, fireproof tubes to the outer edge of your oven racks, you’ll stop burning your arm while removing baking pans.

The Right Aids Keep Seniors Independent

One of the main reasons why many seniors want to age in place is to maintain independence. You want to enjoy your comfortable home, keep up with household tasks, and cook your favorite meals and family recipes. Aging can make these harder to do. However, there’s a product on the market or a home renovation that can solve almost any challenge. With the right preparation and the right tools, like the best medical alert system you can find,  you can live out your golden years comfortably and where you choose to.

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