It is commonly known that as adults age, they experience changes in their physical and mental abilities that can impact safety and independence. However, many adults can successfully age in place (aka- stay in their own home) by making some modifications to their home. This article will explore several low tech devices that can increase safety and independence for senior adults.
Bathroom Grab Bars
Installing grab bars in the tub/shower and by the toilet can help adults to move into those areas safer. Consider getting one with a knurled surface to make it easier to grip.
Shower Chair and Non-Slip Mats/Strips
For adults with mobility or balance issues, use a shower chair when bathing instead of standing. Non-skid mats or strips on wet surfaces can also decrease the risk of slipping and falling.
Plug in night lights to keep pathways lit when it is dark. Having a flashlight by the bed can also be helpful. Ensure that there is adequate lighting for cooking and other household activities in the main living areas.
Use Risers If Needed
Use raised toilet seats or furniture leg risers to bring sitting surfaces to a height needed for standing back up.
Railing and Edging
Install handrails at steps and on staircases. Use contrasting colors at the edge of steps to help seniors with low vision differentiate the different step heights.
Pill Boxes or Dispensers
Pill boxes can help seniors remember to take their medications. Some pill boxes simply hold all of the medications for the day into one compartment while others divide them by times of day. Automated pill dispensers that alarm at set times are also available. Pill boxes can be set up on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Reachers allow senior adults to pick items off the floor or from a high cupboard without bending over or standing on a higher surface.
Maintain smoke alarms throughout the house to allow for early warning in the event of a fire or elevated carbon monoxide levels.
Lever Door Knobs
Lever door knobs are easier for arthritic and weak hands to open. Consider changing out any round knobs for the lever style.
Our team of highly qualified occupational and physical therapists who can assess and make individualized recommendations for home safety. To learn more about our services, visit our therapy services page.
For a review of high tech, smart technology devices for seniors that are aging in place, check out the July 27, 2021, New York Times article, The Best Smart Home Devices to Help Seniors Age in Place.