Modern life isn’t designed for the elderly, but thankfully there are many exciting hacks and devices that make it possible to navigate daily life independently. In this guide, we’ll cover 32 things that are useful for the elderly. While this list may seem comprehensive, there are actually many more devices available on the market than we could cover here, and new innovations are being released all the time. So if you don’t see a fix for your problem, don’t give up hope — keep searching and you very well might find it!
Dressing sticks are long handles with rounded hooks on the end, which are designed not to snag clothes. Dressing sticks help people with limited upper body mobility pull shirts and jackets on and off their arms.
To use a button hook, slide the loop part through the hole, hook the end around the button and pull in the opposite direction to button the shirt. This device is good for people who have some mobility in their hands, but not enough to operate buttons on their own.
Extended Zipper Pull
Grabbing those tiny zipper pulls is tough enough even if you don’t have arthritis. Extended zipper pulls attach to the existing zipper tab, making it much easier to grab and maneuver up and down.
Magnetic Closure Shirts
If regular closures are too difficult for you to operate even with these other assistive devices, don’t fret! Magnetic closures are here to help. Shirts and jackets with magnetic closures look completely normal but are much easier for older adults to fasten and unfasten, making it possible for them to keep dressing themselves with this ingenious adaptive clothing for women and men.
If you’re done with clothes fasteners altogether, make getting dressed a breeze with pull-on clothing styles such as duster house dresses for women and elastic waist pants for men. You’ll look put together without the hassle of buttons and zippers.
Slip-on shoe styles are the easiest type of shoes for elderly people to wear due to their lack of fasteners. If you can’t bend down to adjust the heel, then pair them with a long-handled shoehorn and you’ll be out the door in no time.
Elastic Shoe Laces
If you have some beloved laced shoes that you want to keep wearing, but you can’t really tie your shoes anymore, then look for elastic shoe laces. These stretchy laces only have to be tied once in order to turn normal lace-up shoes into a slip-on style that you can wear with ease.
Electric Blanket and Mattress Pad
If your arthritis aches and pains act up in the morning when you first wake up, you can soothe them before you even leave your bed with an electric blanket or mattress pad. Make sure to get a model that automatically turns off after a couple of hours to prevent overheating in case you accidentally leave it on.
Speaking of arthritis, if you have it in your hands, you might find it difficult to grip utensils, toothbrushes, makeup brushes and other similar devices. Utensil grips are chunky sleeves made of rubber or silicone that fit over these utensils and make them easier to grip.
People with Parkinson’s and other neurological conditions that cause hand and arm tremors often find it hard to feed themselves without spills. Anti-tremor cutlery is designed to cancel out some of the tremor movement, reducing wobble by up to 70 percent. It’s definitely an investment, but many people find it worth it to be able to feed themselves.
Automatic Jar and Can Opener
Opening cans and jars is difficult-to-impossible for most older adults due to the hand strength and dexterity required. Make things easy on yourself with automatic can and jar openers, which will do all the work for you. Look for a can opener that gives a smooth cut to reduce the chances of injuring yourself on an open lid.
Sometimes, glasses just won’t cut it when it comes to reading a tiny typeface. A magnifier with a built-in light will make a huge difference if you’re struggling. These magnifiers are available in several different designs, including handheld lenses, desk lamps and even full-size standing floor lamps.
Running a heavy vacuum is difficult for many seniors. Take this task off their plates by gifting them a vacuum robot that will do the job for them. If you’re really feeling fancy, look for a model that will also mop the floors as well to take care of two chores in one.
Many seniors struggle getting in and out of chairs and couches, especially those with deep seats or plush cushions. An automatic seat lifter will do the work for you and make it safe and easy to stand up and sit down in your favorite chair.
If you’re not quite to the level of needing a seat lifter yet, but you still need a little help getting in and out of chairs, then a standing assist might be just what the doctor ordered. These metal frames come in different designs and give you something sturdy to grip while you raise or lower yourself. Some of them even come with an integrated tray table for added utility.
Door Knob Grips
Rounded doorknobs are incredibly difficult to operate if you don’t have full dexterity in your hands. If you can’t or don’t want to replace them with lever door knobs (for example, if you are in a rental unit), get some door knob grips to make it possible for you to keep opening the door knobs without replacing them.
Automatic Night Lights
Motion activated night lights will reduce your chances of a fall if you have to get up in the middle of the night. These come in many different models, including the traditional plug-in kind as well as cordless ones that can be attached to stairs and even lights designed to fit toilet bowls.
Long-Reach Toilet Aid
If you struggle to wipe back there, a long-reach toilet aid can help you preserve your dignity. It’s basically a long plastic stick with a slot on one end so you can wrap toilet paper around it and then use it to wipe yourself without assistance.
If you can’t reach all the way around your back (and really, who can?), a back scrubber will help you get to it without having to contort your arms. Most back scrubbers have a brush on one end so you can wash yourself. You can also get back lotion applicators that have a smooth surface that will spread the lotion around.
Hair Dryer Holder
Holding up a hair dryer for longer periods of time is exhausting, even for people in perfectly good health. A hair dryer holder will take the weight off your arms and leave both of your hands free to style your hair, helping it to go faster.
Most regular toilet seats are too low for elderly people to use safely or comfortably. A raised toilet seat that attaches securely to the bowl will make it easier for people who cannot get on such a low seat. If you are short, you may need to pair the toilet seat with a toilet stool or step so your feet will be supported while you go.
Another thing you need for the bathroom is a shower chair, which will allow you to remain safely seated while you bathe yourself. Look for one with adjustable legs so that you can change the height of the chair to suit your preferences.
Non-Slip Bath Mat
Alongside the shower chair, you also should have a non-slip bath mat to keep both the chair and yourself in place while you shower. Make sure to follow the installation instructions closely or else the bath mat might not stay in place when you step on it, potentially leading to a fall instead of preventing one.
Bathroom Grab Bars
Every senior needs grab bars installed in their bathroom, specifically around the toilet and shower, for safety reasons. If your toilet is not next to a corner, then it might be more helpful to get a set of toilet rails, a free-standing set of rails that wraps around the toilet and gives you something to hold onto as you raise and lower yourself.
Every senior needs a grabber, which is basically a long handle with a “claw” on the end that helps you get to things that are out of reach. Grabbers are usually made of plastic or aluminum and some models come with a telescoping arm so the length can be adjusted.
Fitting a key into a lock and then turning it is difficult for people with arthritis in their hands. A key turner is a plastic device that attaches to the top of the key and makes it much easier to operate. Key turners are available in several different designs, including some that are small enough to fit on a key ring.
Gardening is a popular hobby among seniors, but all that squatting and kneeling can be really hard on your joints. Prevent the pain by getting a rocking garden stool that will take the pressure off your knees while still making it easy to reach your plants.
Playing Card Holder
If you love to play cards, you may find that your hands and arms get tired from holding them up all the time. Solve this problem with a card holder, which will hold your cards up for you so that no one can see them but you. This will allow you to play cards for hours on end without fatiguing your hands.
Vehicle Grab Bar
Grab bars aren’t just for bathrooms. If you have trouble getting out of your vehicle, a car grab bar can give you the leverage you need to manage it safely. There are many different designs and placements available, including some that hang from the window and others that hook into the frame of the car when the door is open.
Another device that can help you get out of your car is a spinning seat, which is basically a lazy Susan for your whole body. This cushion spins around with ease, making it easy to get into the car seat sideways and then rotate your legs into the vehicle.
Risers and Ramps
Even a small ledge can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair or walker — and even if you don’t use these devices, some steps will simply be too high for you to manage. Portable ramps and risers will make it easier to navigate your homes and other public spaces with small ledges. They won’t replace a full wheelchair ramp or a stairlift, but they can make your home more accessible if you are not dealing with a full set of stairs.
If you use a cane, you may find it helpful to upgrade to a model that unfolds into a collapsible stool. This way, you can take the weight off your legs at a moment’s notice, which can be a big help for standing in long lines and other situations where a chair might not always be available. Keep in mind that these cane seats won’t be nearly as sturdy as a walker with a seat or a full-on wheelchair.
Ready to revamp your closet and make it more senior-friendly? At Silverts, we offer adaptive clothing for both men and women in a wide range of sizes and styles to suit a variety of needs. We also offer various other things that are useful for the elderly, so be sure to browse the other sections of our website.