by Patricia LaCroix, contributing writer
The Aging in Place movement is an exciting trend for humanity, as we are all growing older and will eventually need more help and support with everyday living. “Aging in place” simply means to be able to stay and live within our home environments as we get older — and be happy, healthy, productive, and safe for as long as possible. (To learn more about “aging in place,” read our blog post on the subject by clicking HERE.)
To answer the needs associated with aging in place, many companies have been inventing, manufacturing, and selling products specifically designed to assist seniors and help them live better at home. Some products have been available for a while. Some are simple to use. Others are more high-tech. But all of these various gizmos and gadgets can make a real difference in the everyday lives of seniors.
Read on and judge for yourself if any of these items might be the right products to help you or a loved one live better at home.
It’s been said that the bathroom is the most dangerous room in the house. It’s easy to see why that might be the case. Floors can be slippery when wet or soapy. There aren’t too many things that can be gripped for balance. Getting into a tub requires stepping over the side. Shower doors are often made of glass.
Luckily, there are a number of products that are available to make bathrooms safer:
- Grab bars in the shower, bath, and by the toilet.
- Higher-than-standard toilets aid in sitting.
- Roll-in showers, which have a completely flat floor (as opposed to a pan with a threshold to go over).
- Tubs with a door, so you can walk in, and in the case of raised versions, so you can sit directly in it (like climbing into a bed).
- Shower chairs can help people who cannot stand for very long be able to sit while showering.
If the bath is dangerous, the kitchen must come in second place. Working with hot foods and liquids, and the need to take items off high shelves, all create the potential for hazardous situations.
Here are some products designed to make using a kitchen safer and easier:
- Lower microwaves — which are installed at more comfortable height.
- Lower cabinets — for less reaching and straining, and to avoid the use of a ladder or step stool.
- Rollout shelving in cabinets (no more need to crawl into cabinets to retrieve pots and pans).
- “Reacher” tools help seniors safely grab items that are on higher shelves.
- Raised dishwashers, which are set higher off the floor for less bending.
- Counters that are at the proper height for those in wheelchairs.
Many products are on the market that can make getting ready for bed a better, easier experience for a senior:
- Bed rails, to prevent a senior from rolling off a bed.
- Mattress toppers that make an ordinary mattress all-the-more comfortable.
- Waterproof pads, in case the senior tends to have nighttime incontinence.
- Bedside caddies that can hold eyeglasses, TV remotes, puzzle books, and pens/pencils.
Mobility inside and outside the home
A home shouldn’t feel like a prison. But when it’s difficult to safely go in and out your front door or walk down stairs, it’s easy to feel afraid and trapped in your own home.
- Ramps — either permanent or temporary — are available for purchase and are much easier than going downstairs, especially if the senior is wheelchair-bound.
- An electric mobility scooter — for trips down the street to the corner mailbox or to visit with neighbors.
- Inside the home, wheelchairs can help even those seniors who can walk — but still need to rest more due to other health issues, such as congestive heart failure.
- Walkers with handbrakes, baskets to port household items, and built-in seats on which to sit and rest if necessary are also extremely helpful.
- Available as well are electric lifts, for more extreme cases where the senior needs greater assistance to stand up or to get into bed or into a chair.
Everyday living around the house
- Alarm clocks with big, easy-to-read, digital numbers, that even show what day of the week it is.
- Phones with larger numbers and louder volumes are both easier to see and hear.
- Pill organizers help seniors remember what medications to take and when.
- Long shoe horns make putting shoes on much easier.
- Hook devices aid in buttoning shirts and cuffs.
- Gloves with open fingertips can keep the hands warm while still allowing the hands to be functional.
Combining an in-home care service with age-in-place products
So many products exist that can make the life of a senior and home easier and more enjoyable. Even better — combining the use of these products with a caring human being. Care & Comfort at Home for Seniors and Veterans provides the services seniors need in order to live better at home and age in place.
While all of these age-in-place products are helpful, they simply can’t replace the assistance of a human caregiver — someone who understands the senior’s situation and can assess it quickly to act accordingly. In many cases, such human care is mandatory to ensure a successful life at home for the senior.
Still, these products certainly can help make the senior’s life better and even aid the person who is provide care. When put together, the products and services provide an enormous amount of comfort and support to the senior who wishes to live at home.
We here at Care & Comfort at Home are always available to answer your questions about our in-home caregiving services. We can help! Give us a call today to learn more and set up a FREE in-home consultation: 630-333-9262. Or, contact us today via our website by clicking HERE.