Many seniors prefer to stay in their own homes for as long as they can, and there are tools that can help them do that. Read our roundup of some great products for aging in place.
THE IMPORTANCE OF AGING IN PLACE
Most people, given the chance, would choose to live in their own home for as long as possible. In fact, nearly 90% of state they want to stay in their home as they age. There’s good reason for that. Aging in place can be much more affordable and comfortable than moving to an assisted living facility. (Even when taking into account remodeling or alterations that may need to be done in the home.) It also allows people to remain a part of their community and around those they know and love, and gives them more independence.
Studies have also shown that aging in place may stave off depression or homesickness. According to one study, “adults aging in place exhibited better levels of cognition, better functioning in daily living activities, decreased levels of depression, and lower levels of incontinence compared to older adults aging in nursing home settings.” (1)
Whether you’re researching about aging in place for yourself, or a loved one, know that it is possible, given the right planning, and the right products. There are many new types of products that now exist to help seniors remain in their home for as long as possible. Not only do they make it easier for the person living in the home, but they can also provide assistance or peace of mind to loved ones caring for an elderly parent, spouse, or other family members. Below are several products that can help a senior age in place.
AGING IN PLACE PRODUCTS
AROUND THE HOUSE
Many simple updates can be made around the house to make living in it easier and safer for an elderly loved one. Below are several items that can help. Some may require a bit of remodeling, which may be significant, but still is likely far less than moving to an assisted care facility.
SENIOR LIVING PRODUCTS FOR MOBILITY:
Wheelchair or motorized scooter. Even a walker can help aid mobility in many.
Ramps for entryways to make tripping on stairs less likely.
Stairlifts for 2-level homes.
Railings along all stairways. This makes going up and down the stairs much easier and safer. In some cases where stairs are a big concern, and a stairlift is not an option, it may be easier to move a bedroom closer to the main living area.
Power lift chairs. These are helpful for getting into and out of a seated position.
Clothing and shoes that are easy to get on and off, especially when in a hurry to use the toilet. Consider elastic waistbands that don’t require buttons or zippers. No-tie shoelaces or slip-ons can help loved ones who have difficulty with laces.
Motion sensor nightlights. These make it easier for your loved one to get around at night, without having to fumble with a light switch.
KITCHEN PRODUCTS FOR SENIORS
Electric can opener. An electric can opener can make it easy to open cans for those who have arthritis. Another option is to look for one that creates a smooth edge, which eliminates the possibility of getting cut on the sharp edge of a can top.
Jar openers. Another item to help those with arthritis. There are many styles of jar openers, from automatic to ones that can be mounted under a cabinet.
Anti-fatigue floor mat. If your senior likes to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, an anti-fatigue floor mat can help reduce the pressure on their feet, knees, and lower back to make standing more comfortable.
Magnifying glass. This is an invaluable tool for seniors and can be used to read cooking instructions or better see appliance buttons and switches.
Cut-resistant gloves. Protect your loved-ones hands when handling sharp objects.
Reaching stick. It can be hard to get all the items you need. A reaching stick, or a grabber, can help reach things on the top shelf, or otherwise out of reach.
Electric kettle with automatic shut-off. Afternoon tea made easy! Not only do most electric kettles heat up faster than a stovetop kettle, they typically have an automatic shut-off. It’s a nice safety measure if you’re concerned about accidentally leaving the stove on.
IN THE BEDROOM
Adjustable bed. An adjustable bed not only helps your loved one get a great night’s sleep, it also makes it easier for them to get into and out of bed. Most adjustable beds are controlled with a remote control, or even your smartphone, and many can be used with any mattress.
Bed rails. There are many varieties of bed rails on the market. They not only help seniors get in and out of bed, but they can prevent them from falling out of bed too.
IN THE BATHROOM
Slip-resistant shower mat. A little extra grip can make all the difference. You can even go the extra mile and apply an anti-slip clear coating to the shower or bath. This is often recommended as it doesn’t become slippery or mildewy over time.
Grab bars near the toilet and shower. Grab bars make it easier for seniors to get in and out of the toilet, and to lower themselves onto the toilet. They provide a little extra security for seniors and help them to avoid slips and falls. There are many varieties, from bars that you place on the wall, to poles that you can place right outside the shower or tub, which have easy-to-grab handles.
Bathtub/shower transfer bench. A bench is incredibly useful if your senior has difficulty standing for long periods, or needs to transition slowly from one spot to the next.
Hand-held shower head. A great option if your loved one likes to sit or stand while bathing.
Fall Detection. The Walabot Home Fall Protector is a product that can be placed on the bathroom wall to detect falls and alert an emergency contact if a fall occurs. It allows communication to the emergency contact directly through the device so that they can get the help they need.
Smart Watch. A smartwatch can make a senior’s life a lot easier. Not only are they able to track various health metrics on many watches, but they can set reminders to take medications, communicate in an emergency, and can even program their display to show large format time and text for easy reading.
Medication Reminders. There are all sorts of medication trackers and reminders available, from simple pill boxes to devices that will cue an alarm when it’s time to take your medication.
Smart Ovens. No more leaving the oven on accidentally! Smart ovens can alert you, and even a loved one if an oven has been left on. Many ovens can also connect to your smartphone, letting you know when your food is ready, or even show a picture of the food as it’s cooking.
Security And Alarm Systems. Home security is a concern for anyone, but good security can give both seniors, and caregivers, peace of mind, as well as protection. Most security systems will ring an alarm in the event of an intrusion and can contact both the senior and the caregiver, as well as emergency facilities. Many systems also have to add on features that let you control much of what goes on in the home, like thermostats, lights, or smoke alarm detectors. And you can install indoor or outdoor cameras for added security.
Amazon Alexa. Many people have an Alexa in their home and it can be especially useful for a senior. They can set reminders, program it to turn the lights on or off, listen to music or podcasts, ask it a question, like “what’s the weather”, or “what time is it”, and even communicate with loved ones. Amazon even offers a service for caregivers that allows them to detect activity, remotely manage devices, and more.
Energy Monitoring Devices (Sense). Sense is a whole-house electrical monitoring system that connects to the electrical pane in your home, and can tell you, through an app, what devices are on or off in the home. It also lets you remotely turn the devices on or off, directly from the app. This allows caregivers to not only monitor for safety concerns (like leaving a device on accidentally), but also usage, which may alert them if something seems abnormal or off-schedule.