Products To Make Life Easier For Older Adults (Updated 2022)
We’re big fans of hacks and innovative products to make life easier for older adults. And there’s such a fantastic, wide range available. So we thought we’d round up our favourites.
The gadgets and assistive devices that we’ve selected are easy to install and use, are inexpensive and available to buy online. We’ve also road tested these useful products for everyday life with some of our senior clients previously too, so we know that they really do make life easier and the home safer. Meaning peace of mind for you too!
We’ve split these must-have elderly gadgets out by room (kitchen, bedroom, bathroom, living room), so you can easily see what a difference they can make around the home. And if you’re concerned about incontinence, check out our article reviewing the different types of incontinence products available, from washable pants to bedding.
1. Helping Seniors Stay Safe In The Bedroom
Motion Sensor Lights Can Reduce Falls At Night
Seniors often fall over at night, mainly due to your older loved one rushing to the toilet in the dark. This clever indoor motion sensor light fits into a free plug socket and will automatically illuminate when someone passes within five metres. The light stays on for 30 seconds, and it only operates in darkness to save on electricity.
Ideal if sharing a room with someone and your parent doesn’t want to wake them by turning on the main light, or to light up the corridor. It should help to reduce the risk of falls at night, making the home safer for seniors. We talk about products like this and more in our guide to the most useful Parkinson’s aids.
Improve Bed Mobility With A Bed Lever
Getting in and out of bed gets harder as we age, and a bed lever is an inexpensive mobility aid that can make all the difference. Positioned about a third of the way down the bed, a bed lever gives your parent something to hold onto when getting into bed (so is good for people who struggle with balance).
Moving in bed when lying down can also be problematic and using this bed transfer aid as support, your parent will be able to move themselves up or turn over. We like this free-standing style for extra support, but you can also find ones which slot between the mattress and bed frame. For more info, read our article on the best bed aids.
Fall Detector Alarm
Whether it’s slipping on an uneven pavement or tripping over a rug, falls can happen in and out of the home. Personal alarms for the elderly are a great way to help our parents maintain their independence and give us peace of mind.
This Taking Care fall detector alarm (from Which? Magazine favourite and Age UK personal alarm provider) offers a way to call for help in an emergency, 24/7 and is location aware so the alarm monitoring system knows where your parent is.
It also comes with a pendant which they can push anytime day or night, and Taking Care will speak to your parent directly through it. It is water resistant (which is great considering the number of falls that take place in the bathroom) and has a one-month battery life.
Neck Reading Light
This great hands-free around the neck reading light means your parent can easily read, play sudoku, do the crossword or knit from the comfort of their chair or bed. Easily transportable and with awkward clips, it has three colour temperatures to avoid eye strain and is rechargable via USB (once charged, it lasts up to 80 hours). It’s an everyday product that can transform a senior’s quality of life.
If you’ve ever wanted to find clothing that makes getting dressed easier for your elderly mum or dad then the answer is ADAPTIVE CLOTHING! We’re impressed with the quality and style of clothes from The Able Label. They use hidden fastenings to make clothing, accessories, nightwear and loungewear for men and women. They also have washable incontinence underwear and front fastening bras. We especially love this 100% cotton floral blouse which looks smart and on-trend. It has a centre front velcro fastening and is machine washable.
Using A Sock Aid
We’re big fans of sock aids. Another inexpensive must-have aid that promotes independent dressing, they help people put on socks as they don’t have to lean down. And with us all likely living in socks and slippers currently, it’s a useful gadget to own. Find out how to use a sock aid here.
We’ve got a secret for you – there’s a new adaptive footwear company on the block. Friendly Shoes make wide fitting shoes that your parent can slide on, do up easily with a zip and are super lightweight yet sturdy. They also look great!
Created by an occupational therapist, their specialist shoes for men and women have a deep toe box (E width) and anti-slip soles. Little tip – their Friendly Force style (below) is the widest shoe in the range. Eligible people can also claim VAT exemption.
2. Products That Promote Independence In The Kitchen
Don’t Worry About Spilling A Hot Drink
This unspillable cup holder is really neat! If your loved one can n longer carry a hot drink any distance, and resorts to drinking it in the kitchen or needs assistance then this is for them. Thanks to some amazing science, the liquid doesn’t slosh around in the cup and the cup doesn’t move off the tray. The SpillNot cup holder is great for anyone with mobility problems, one-sided weakness, tremors or just worried about carrying hot liquid. One of those gadgets that don’t cost much and can really make the world of difference.
Removing Pills From Blister Packs
Sometimes it’s the simplest inventions that make you go ‘how did we live without this?!’. The Pivotell Pill Popper is a nifty gadget that helps people with limited hand strength and fluidity get the right medication out as it’s needed, and place it in their pill dispenser.
This blister pack pill popper works a bit like a hole punch. The blister pack is placed in the pill popper and the transparent tube in the dossette box. Simply pull the handle to pop the tablet out. With an adjustable opening for small or large pills, it’s a sanitary, accurate and easy way to keep on top of daily medication management.
Lightweight Cookware Sets
The saucepans that have been in our parents’ kitchen drawers for years are great for cooking but can be too heavy to lift as they get older. Conditions such as arthritis and decreased body strength means that lightweight cookware could be a good solution to help them keep cooking. We like these heavy duty but lightweight saucepans from Analon, a brand known for quality.
Take The Weight Off Feet With A Perching Stool
Another useful product for everyday life. A perching stool is a good solution for someone who struggles to stand for too long but wants to cook as it takes the pressure off their feet. This is especially important for someone living alone but still wants to stay independent and keep cooking. We like this perching stool as it has a padded angled seat and adjustable legs. There are also side mounted bars for extra stability and safety.
Easy Open Jar Opener
We’re all using up the ingredients in our cupboards – and that means starting to find those jars that have been at the back for years. Weak hands (for example with arthritis) can struggle to open them, so we like this easy open jar opener. A good product for the elderly, it has eight circular openings so can be used on a variety of lid sizes, and will help them keep cooking solo.
It also comes with a rubber mat which you can use to place the jar on when opening – or for a multitude of other helpful things, such as placing your cup of tea on so it doesn’t slide when using a tray.
Hands Free Tin Opener
Another great product for seniors living at home, especially for when we’re raiding our pantries and relying on tins. This electric tin opener helps people with limited movement in their hands (arthritis, carpal tunnel, multiple sclerosis etc) by opening the tins for them with just one touch of the start button. It’s less expensive and in our opinion works better than the larger options that sit on the surface and take up space. We also love the name, Kitchen Mama! It requires 2 AA batteries which aren’t included.
Electric Hot Water Dispenser
When it comes to hot water, safety is paramount which is why we like hot water dispensers. Unlike a kettle, there’s no need to pick up a heavy and hot object to get your cup of tea, making it ideal for people with less hand strength.
You might have heard of hot water taps but these are a cheaper and more arthritis-friendly way of making of a drink (you have to have good grip to work a hot water tap). With this hot water dispenser, you can boil water in 50 seconds and the tank holds enough for 10 cups – your parent can always fill it up with a jug of cold water which will be lighter than carrying the tank back and forth to the sink. A great and inexpensive senior living gadget.
This large display digital clock for elderly people living with dementia helps with confusion over what day, date and time it is. Losing track of time is an early symptom of dementia, and it’s a question which loved ones and carers hear often.
This day and night clock clears up any confusion. It spells out the date and time without any abbreviations, and the bright white text stands out against the black background. It helps the individual understand if it’s morning or evening – especially useful when the seasons change and the extra hours of light and darkness can easily confuse.
There are more advanced dementia clocks available, but we believe this inexpensive model deserves to be called a “life saver” by someone we know!
If your mum or dad has an Alexa Echo Show (with a screen) then you can use that to clearly show and speak the time and date. We’ve written more about why Alexa is so good for your older parents, you can have a good read of it here!
3. Making Life Easier For Seniors In The Living Room
Don’t Trip Over Rugs
Did you know that the majority of falls take place at home, and rugs are a major cause of this? If your parents don’t want to take their rugs up but you are concerned about them falling, then a good cost-effective solution is a rug gripper.
This brand comes in a variety of sizes and essentially sticks the rug to the floor (without harming either). So the corners of the rug won’t come up and the rug won’t slip on the floor when someone walks on it.
Say Goodbye To Nuisance Calls
A lot of our older clients experience nuisance calls which can be annoying and scary. Scammers are getting more experienced and seem to have no shame. And during self isolation it is harder to ignore them as we are home all the time.
There are some landline phones on the market which block 100% of nuisance and unwanted phone calls. We really like this everyday BT model. It also comes with three handsets (and charging bases), has an answerphone with 30-minute capacity and can store up to 200 contacts.
Best Grabber Tool For Elderly
Bending down to pick something up off the ground, holding things in weak hands for too long or reaching up high gets harder as we age. One of the easiest ways to help your parent stay safe when doing these movements (and help them feel independent), is a grabber stick.
This long handled pick up tool for elderly is just the ticket. The bright yellow means it’s easy to see and it comes in folding or fixed – it really comes down to personal preference. Plus you can choose the length of the reaching aid so it’s best suited to the individual (don’t go too long). It means that tasks like putting clothes into the washing machine or picking up letters that have fallen on the floor are much easier.
TV Speaker For The Hearing Impaired
One of our clients said the Sony Wireless Handy TV Speaker has “transformed her life”. It doesn’t just turn up the volume (as that would just make everything including background noise louder and not really help the situation), but it enhances dialogue so people who are hard of hearing can actually hear.
It’s also wireless so can be moved around – meaning you can place it next to the person with impaired hearing to aid them, but leave other viewers to watch at their preferred level. You can read our review of it here.
Make Sitting Down More Comfortable
This height adjustable foot rest is great for people who spend considerable time sitting down or have swollen feet. It also can be turned over and used as a rocker, so is great for getting circulation going. It stays put on hard floors and carpet, and is a good solution if your parent isn’t ready to invest in a riser recliner chair or sits in different places in the house.
Machine washable and breathable, its mesh cover is pet friendly as pet hair can easily be removed.
Robot Vacuum Gets To Work
If you’re worried about your parents bending down to vacuum and carrying it around, then a robot vacuum could be a good solution. This model works on all flooring except high pile carpet and cleans continuously for 100 minutes at a go, getting into all crevices.
Charge it and use it. It doesn’t go up or down stairs, and make sure that any pet excrement has been cleared up before using the vacuum. We like this version as it’s a cost-effective model which works well and makes life easier for senior.
4. Staying Safe In The Bathroom
Toilet Frames Offer Added Safety
A toilet frame is a good temporary solution to aid stability when we can’t arrange for grab rails to be fitted. Use it when lowering yourself down and pulling yourself up from the toilet seat.
We like this version which can be moved in and out of place – useful if more than one person is using the toilet. It is height and width adjustable.
Stop Flooding The Bath
If your parents take a bath and you’re worried about them potentially forgetting to turn it off, this alarm could be for you. Simply put a battery in, attach it to the bath and if the water reaches a certain level, it will emit a loud (very loud!) alarm. This can be turned off by taking the battery out. A top product to help the elderly stay safe at home. Note, it doesn’t come with a 9V battery so you’ll need to purchase separately.
Get In And Out Of The Bath Safely
Getting in and out of the bath can be harder as we get older – we have less mobility and flexibility, and it can be easy to slip. A removable bath board is an inexpensive way to help people get in and out of the bath safely.
Place it across the top of the bath near where you would get in (it’s held in place with non-slip brackets). Then sit on it and use a stepped approach to lower yourself safely. Reverse for getting out. We like this NRS version.
Avoid Falls In The Bathroom
My mum has had a few falls, and that worry is always in the back of my mind – especially in the wet bathroom. Bathroom aids like this non slip bath mat really help us to feel reassured and mum to feel safer.
It’s inexpensive and can be used as the main mat (it’s comfortable enough to stand on) or if it doesn’t match the bathroom decor it can be used with a luxury bath mat on top of it. You can even use it in the bath or shower for extra stability. It really is a bit of a wonder gadget for elderly living alone – read more about bath mats here.
Feel Reassured With A First Aid Kit
Be prepared and get your parents a first aid kit. We like this version which is complete with bandages, tape roll, sterile eye wash and pads, medical scissors, tweezers, vinyl medical gloves, plasters, cold packs, antiseptic wipes and a foil emergency blanket. It also isn’t over stuffed so it’s easy to find what you’re looking for.
We hope your parents find these tried-and-tested products useful and give you peace of mind that they’re safe at home. We’ve got other articles on the topic of independent living and staying safe and well during self isolation. Check them out, and let us know any feedback, or other products you recommend by contacting us here. Thank you!
There’s lots of inexpensive products on the market that can help people stay safe and independent as they get older. From motion sensor night lights, smart vacuums, electric tin openers and bath boards, there is something for every need.
There are a number of products available which can make life easier for the elderly, helping them to stay at home. Prevent falls with motion sensor night lights, encourage them to sit whilst cooking with perching stools, use a bath board if they still take a bath for example. Read more here.