It’s no secret that our society is getting older. More and more people are living into their senior years, and many will need to use adaptive or assistive technology for mobility, health, safety, and better quality of life over the next few years.
Making life easier as we grow older does not need to be challenging- many devices are now available to make everyday life easier for seniors. These devices also help encourage independence in old age by making it possible for elders to live on their own safely.
In this article, we look at some genius adaptive and assistive devices that can make your day-to-day life easier, safer, and more convenient as you transition into the golden years.
Cooking and Dining Aids
Many healthy aging individuals aged from 50 to 80 like cooking, and the majority still prefer preparing their meals. Seniors gain a variety of benefits from cooking, from emotional to physical well-being. The use of assistive cooking and dining tools makes sure that you are safe when preparing and eating your meals.
1) Adaptive utensils
One of the main day-to-day tasks you accomplish with your hands is preparing and eating your meals. As you age, your hands may get weaker and less flexible, especially if you suffered from a stroke, have arthritis, diabetes, have heart problems, etc.
If you have a weakened hand grip, these innovative utensils can make feeding yourself less frustrating.
Utensils like the Good Grips Utensils and Medline Great Grip Soft Cushion Utensils are equipped with a non-slip, soft, cushioned grip that keeps the object from slipping from the hand- even when it’s wet. The large, ergonomic handles with flexible ribbing conform to any grip and are composed of a material that resembles rubber.
They also have a flexible metal shaft that enables them to be adjusted to any angle, and they can be easily used by either the right or left hand.
If you are looking for better grip and flexibility, UBend-It Utensils offers silverware with contoured non-slip handles and ultra bendable metal shafts.
Finger loop utensils were designed by an occupational therapist for people with little to no grip strength. The advantage of finger loops is that they keep the hands in a more natural gripping position.
This is crucial because if muscles are left in inactive, unnatural positions, tendons may stiffen and neurological connections may be lost.
2) Universal slip-on cuffs
If you prefer an all-in-one tool, this one will work for you.
The universal cuff is an adjustable cuff that wraps around the user’s palm and is secured with an elastic strap. This is helpful for people with weak grips and low dexterity when using writing instruments and utensils.
3) One-handed kitchen tools
Due to a variety of factors such as old age, limited dexterity, bone brittleness, arthritis, injury, stroke, etc., some people lose strength on some parts or one side of the body.
There is a multitude of kitchen and dining tools available in the market that caters to this challenge, such as the Rocker knife, jug kettle tipper, adaptive cutting boards, clamp-on peelers, press-on choppers, non-skid scoop plates, and so much more!
4) Multi-purpose kitchen tools
Aging folks are usually not able to cook, prepare meals, and clean up a kitchen as thoroughly as they used to.
Multi-purpose kitchen tools, equipment, and aids were created to make food preparation, cooking, baking, and cleaning easier while also improving senior kitchen safety. Two of the most common examples of these are:
These modified cutting boards have a special shape that makes it easier for users to peel, slice, grate, and prepare food. Spikes help hold the food in place while you are cutting them, and bowls can be placed securely under the lid for easier transferring from the chopping board to the bowl.
They are ideal for slicing cheese, and holding fruits and vegetables while peeling and chopping- perfect for those who want to prepare food independently.
A multi-function tool like the Kitchen Krush Multi Kitchen Tool is equipped with a sharp stainless steel blade that can be used for chopping, slicing, and dicing, as well as a serrated edge for slicing bread and pastries.
The device also comes with an integrated bottle opener and can opener and an ergonomic handle that is easy to grip.
Not being able to dress with independence and dignity can be a source of frustration for the elderly or people with disabilities. Thankfully, you can employ a variety of these assistive dressing tools to help with the daily task of getting dressed and changing clothes, even when you are challenged physically.
5) One-handed belts
Designed for users with physical limitations, dexterity issues, cognitive problems, or patients undergoing rehabilitation, this belt enables the user to fasten or unfasten the belt on their own- unlike conventional belts with buckles that are challenging to fasten.
6) Extended and telescopic shoehorns
The shoehorn is useful for getting your feet into your shoes, without having to bend or sit down. Since the handle is extendable, you can adjust it to your desired length for easier control and grip.
7) Adaptive shoe fasteners
If you are having trouble tying your shoelaces such as when you can only use one hand or have trouble bending to reach your feet, these adaptive fasteners, elastic laces, and magnetized closures transform standard lace-up shoes into slip-on models.
8) Socks and stockings aids
Socks and stocking aids make it easier for people with limited mobility, especially those who suffer from back, hip, or knee issues, to put on short socks or stockings. Their distinctive design keeps socks/stockings on the device until the socks/stockings have been completely pushed onto the foot.
9) Assistive clothing device
You never realize how taxing it is to put on clothes and deal with buttons and zippers daily until the day you cannot handle them properly anymore.
Fortunately, there’s a myriad of assistive tools that can help you deal with these issues conveniently, like the following:
This practical multipurpose tool is like the Swiss Army Knife of assistive technology. It has a button loop, a zipper pull, a zipper pick, a shoelace hook, and button hooks in two sizes. It includes a hand strap for stability. Additionally, it neatly folds and fits into your pocket or bag for maximum convenience.
This product features a flexible, ribbed, and latex-free cushioned, wide handle to provide greater control for the user when fastening buttons or zipping jeans, jackets, or other articles of clothing. This is very useful if you are suffering from arthritis.
If you can’t get your clothes on in the first place, all the button hooks and zipper pulls in the world won’t help.
This 28″ hooked stick makes it easier to pull up pants and put on sleeves and other pieces of clothing, that would otherwise be uncomfortable for someone with limited mobility and strength.
Your bathroom should be a beautiful and serene space. It is where you should be able to
relax and feel safe after a long day.
However, most falls occur in the bathroom. This is why it is important to have safety tools in place to prevent falls and accidents.
10) Multi-function bathroom support accessories
The Invisia and Plus Lines range of multi-function bathroom accessories provide both style and safety, so your bathrooms are not only elegant but also safe and functional.
These multi-function grab bars and assistive devices are disguised as ordinary bathroom items – such as a corner shelf, towel bar, soap dish, shampoo shelf, or toilet paper holder – cleverly integrating into your space while also functioning as reliable balance and safety support in the bathroom.
11) Adaptive bathroom seats
Taking a shower can be a difficult task for someone with mobility limitations. Even though bathing is supposed to be soothing, it can occasionally feel downright frightening due to the risks of falling, which can lead to bumps and bruises, or even a trip to the emergency room.
These issues can be easily minimized with the use of shower seats, bath benches, or transfer benches. These sturdy, non-slip accessories minimize the need to stand while taking a shower or transferring from and to the bathtub, making it safer for people who worry about losing their balance or getting dizzy while doing their daily routine in the bathroom.
12) Walk-in bathtubs/shower
Walk-in tubs are excellent alternatives if your mobility is compromised. Getting in and out of these installations is simple because of their low step entry threshold, which means that the need to step over the high wall of the tub is eliminated.
The Shower Bay even features a wheel-in low-ramp entry, which is ideal for those in a wheelchair.
There are bariatric-sized tubs available for larger users. To give you more security when bathing, some tubs also include an ADA-compliant seat, non-skid surfaces, and safety grab bars.
An additional feature of walk-in bathtubs is they can be configured for advanced hydrotherapy options like whirlpool jets and therapeutic air jets for a more relaxing bathing experience.
13) Non-slip bath mats
A wet bathroom fall is a major cause of slips and falls in the bathroom, and non-slip bath mats are a great way to minimize the risk of accidents.
Additionally, they protect your skin from the cold temperature of bathroom floor tiles and act as a cushion for your feet when you stand for long periods.
We recommend getting a rubber or foam mat, as they have a more non-slip texture, compared to plastic.
14) Stairlifts and platform lifts
Studies show that people normally start experiencing balance problems between the ages of 40 and 50. The National Institute of Health reports that one in three individuals aged 65 and older will experience a fall each year. And one of the most common (and dangerous) places where falls occur is the stairs.
With the range of models available in the market now, a stairlift can likely be installed on any type of staircase, regardless of whether it is straight or curved, indoors or outdoors. If your stairs are narrow, the seat can be folded up to make it easier for others to walk up and down them.
Vertical porch lifts (VPLs), despite their name, can be installed indoors and outdoors. Users of wheelchairs and mobility scooters can easily wheel into and out of the VPL without having to stand up.
It can be particularly hazardous to use the porch stairs if they are wet or icy (even for individuals with no physical limitations), and VPLs are a great investment that can eliminate the need to go up and down the stairs at these risky times.
15) Modular & portable ramps
You are probably familiar with wheelchair access ramps in public places, which are usually located at the entrance/exit points, or wherever there are stairs or steps. However, the doorways to homes are usually a bit narrower than those in commercial or public establishments, which makes constructing a permanent ramp on your porch a challenge.
Fortunately, there are still affordable and space-efficient ways to enjoy the convenience of a wheelchair ramp in your home- modular and portable ramps are fantastic options.
Modular ramps and portable ramps, which are made of sturdy, weatherproof materials, offer short-term and long-term solutions to your home accessibility issues. They are adjustable, can accommodate a variety of layouts, and you typically do not need to secure a permit to install them outside your home. They can be easily disassembled and stored when you do not need them.
Install them any time as needed, such as when your elderly loved ones or your friend with mobility issues come to visit, you need to bring your wheeled luggage in/out, or you have heavy packages delivered in a push cart.
With proper maintenance, these ramps are safe to use year-round. Please note that during the rainy or winter season, heating coils, canopies, or both, may be required to prevent them from becoming wet and slippery.
Technology can help older adults live independently and enjoy a good quality of life by reducing their dependency on family, caregivers, and others. Here are some examples of genius assistive gadgets or software that can help make everyday life easier for seniors.
16) Telecare monitoring systems
Telecare technology refers to a variety of electronic gadgets that can help the user send signals or alerts to people, such as motion detectors or wearable personal alarm buttons. Your emergency contacts or loved ones can monitor your condition remotely and get an alarm when something is wrong.
With the aid of these little wearable devices, assistance is just a push of a button away 24/7. When the alarm is set off, these devices will automatically connect you with (usually via phone) your emergency contacts, such as a family member or emergency service provider. This will help you get the support you need as soon as possible.
This device can help save lives! Whether your senior family member is having a heart attack, a fall, or any type of emergency, elders who receive help within an hour of an emergency fare better. Health professionals are frequently available at call centers to offer assistance, when an alert is sent to them.
A wearable device that includes GPS will also make it simpler for family members to find you in case of an emergency. Some models are more discreet and resemble activity and fitness trackers rather than conventional medical alert systems.
You can click this link for the list of the 12 best medical alert systems in 2022.
Placing smart sensors around the house can help family members track the activities and movement of senior or vulnerable family members. While telecare monitoring systems are only triggered when a button is pushed, a smart home sensor can detect if something is off with a person’s activities- such as if he didn’t get out of bed in the morning or the front door was not closed.
17) Home safety and security
Many small devices and gizmos can make living in the home a little simpler and safer, and most of them are very affordable! You don’t need to turn your home into the “smart house of the future” but little, individual gadgets can all contribute to making the elderly’s home a safer place to be and take some of the worries off your loved one’s shoulders.
Smart lighting, specialized smoke/fire alarms, and water overflow sensors all contribute to making seniors’ homes safer and extending the amount of time you may live independently.
18) Memory aids
Forgetfulness is a normal part of adulting- don’t worry, it is not necessarily a sign of dementia!
The good news is that numerous forms of assistive technology available can help remind you to bring your keys, feed your pet, or take your vitamins and medication. Devices like automatic medication dispensers, pill organizers, memo reminders, and many more can reduce some of the stress associated with the mental weight of remembering everything you need to do in a given day.
19) Communication aids
With the advancement of technology in recent years, there is an assistive solution for basically any communication issue an elderly person might experience. Accessible mobile phones can help seniors stay in touch with friends and family, minimizing loneliness and isolation, which are regrettably frequent among the elderly.
These cool Speech Generating Devices (SGDs) can assist people with speech impairments to regain their voice.
20) Visual aids
A visual impairment should not deter the elderly from exploring modern technology, such as computers, tablets, and smartphones.
People who have trouble seeing or are blind can use assistive technology to navigate these gadgets. With the use of screen readers, visually challenged people can still use a computer, smartphone, or tablet, and even access the internet.
The accessibility controls on the majority of modern devices provide screen reader options, but there are also apps that you can download- such as VoiceOver (free) for IOS, and JAWS (paid) or NVDA (free) for Windows.
Home Management Assistive Devices
Some tasks and household chores get harder to accomplish as we age. Using the appropriate house cleaning equipment can be a blessing because it will make cleaning much simpler.
21) One-touch/automatic devices
Smart appliances do an excellent job of cleaning without the need for you to tire yourself. Devices like the robot vacuum mop can sweep and suck up waste from a variety of surfaces, including hardwood floors, carpets, and tiles.
Some useful features that you should look for are the mapping function to record the layout of your home, and sensors that can recognize walls and staircases, allowing them to avoid barriers without your intervention.
Smart inverter washing machines make washing clothes very convenient. All you have to do is turn it on, dump the clothes and cleaning agents and the machine will do everything else for you, from washing to drying.
22) Cordless and lightweight devices
Seniors typically don’t have the energy to use heavy cleaning tools for extended periods, and you should always opt for a lightweight option that is maneuverable and easy to lift. It is also better to go the cordless route to avoid accidentally tripping over the cords while you are cleaning. There are many cordless and lightweight vacuums, clothes iron/steamers, and other cleaning tools, available on the market nowadays.
A power scrubber, like the Sonic Scrubber, is a tiny tool that works wonders at removing stubborn dirt and grime. It has a similar appearance to an electric toothbrush and performs similarly.
It features multiple replaceable brushes for use on various surfaces and types of grime and eliminates the need to exert effort to brush out stubborn stains. Most of the time, these little devices run on batteries and are cordless. It is advisable to get a rechargeable model so that the tiny scrubber is available for use anytime you need it.
23) Extendable tools
Climbing up ladders, chairs, or other surfaces should be avoided as it increases the risk of accidents. Thank goodness for innovative items like this extension pole with a cleaning toolset that make it possible to access high spots without stretching or climbing needed.
Do you find it difficult to bend down? You can also use reachers and grabber tools to pick up items without putting too much strain on your back.
With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can find plenty of ways to help make everyday life easier as you transition into old age. Some of the tools you already have in your home can even be adapted to fit the needs of seniors. (How about covering the broom head with a microfiber cloth and using it to reach your ceiling or high walls?)
The availability of adaptive technologies that help seniors with everyday tasks is a blessing for both the elderly and their caregivers. We’ve had fun compiling this long list for you, and there are many more tools available at a range of prices- so you don’t have to spend a fortune to make everyday life easier.
Are there other tools that have proven useful for you in your golden years? Share with us in the comments below!
If you are interested in stair lifts, elevators, wheelchair access ramps, and multifunction grab bars- we have them in Home2stay! Give us a call and we can create a customized package to help make life easier for you. Book your FREE in-home assessment today!