Chronic health conditions or aging can make everyday tasks challenging for older adults. Simple, but useful, tips and tricks for seniors make it easier to accomplish daily activities and reduce the risk of accidents or injury.
Creative “hacks” from inexpensive household objects may even work better than high-tech gadgets. Barbara Beskind, the 92 year old designer at IDEO, discusses some of her favorite tricks in an article by the New York Times.
We highlight 7 of their useful tips and tricks for seniors and explain how they make everyday life safer and easier for older adults – which also makes life easier for caregivers.
- Reach items in the back of the refrigerator
It can be tough for older adults to reach items in the back of the refrigerator. To make it easier, add a lazy susan (turntable)on top of a shelf so they can rotate it to bring what they need to the front.
- Add raised dot stickers to key phone and remote control buttons
For seniors with macular degeneration or other common eye diseases, add raised button stickers to certain phone buttons and TV remote control buttons to help them know which they need to press.
For example, Barbara has macular degeneration so she added bumps to the “Answer,” “2,” and “8” buttons on her phone to make it easier to use. The same could be done for a TV remote control, adding bumps to the “On/Off” and volume buttons make them easier to find.
- Round out sharp furniture corners to prevent injury
Counters, coffee tables, or nightstands with sharp corners could be an injury waiting to happen. Soften those corners by adding stick-on corner guardsor moldable puttythat dries into rubber.
- Use rubber bands to make cups easier to grip
Simple rubber bands can be wrapped around cups and mugs to make them easier for weak, shaky, or arthritic hands to grip. This trick could work for thinner objects like toothbrushes or pens – though foam gripsthat enlarge the handle may be more comfortable.
- Keep the straw in place while drinking
If you notice your older adult chasing the straw around their cup when they’re drinking, tape the straw to a clothespin and clip it to the glass. This keeps the straw in place when the cup moves.
- Prevent soap from falling to the shower floor
Soap is notoriously slippery when wet and could easily slip out of your older adult’s hands and fall to the tub or shower floor. This is a dangerous falling hazard as well as inconvenient.
To stop this from happening, get a pair of old pantyhose and cut it in half so you have one leg. Put the bar of soap into the foot and tie the top end to the shower head or a handy grab bar.
- Organize medications
It’s often easiest to organize medications with simple, low tech tricks.
Despite the many medication tracking apps available, many find that a simple calendar stuck to the refrigerator or a printed spreadsheet / log are simple and accurate ways to track when medicine is taken.
Pill organizers make sure the correct pills are taken at the right times of day and inexpensive plastic bins or shoe boxes keep medicine bottles organized.