Low Tech Safety Devices That Help Seniors Be “Left To Their Own Devices”

safety devices


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 using some low tech devices and adaptations. This article will explore several low tech safety devices that can increase safety and independence for senior adults.  

Safety Devices

Bathroom Grab Bars

Installing grab bars in the tub/shower and by the toilet can help adults to move around safer. Consider getting one with a knurled surface to make it easier to grip.  Grab bars can be installed in other areas of the house where a handhold would be helpful on a wall near a step down into a sunken family room.

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.


Ensure that rooms are well lit. Overhead lighting can help to reduce shadows and ensure things are evenly lit.  Desktop lamps can be used for tabletop activities. Under cabinet lighting to help with kitchen tasks. Use motion sensor lights to illuminate hallways, bathrooms and closets for automatic lighting. Night lights can also be used for pathways at night. Clear shower curtains allow more light in the bathing area.

Use Risers If Needed

Use raised toilet seats or furniture leg risers to bring sitting surfaces to a height needed for standing back up. These are often sold in pharmacies or hardware stores.

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.   

Smoke Alarms

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.

Canes or Walkers

If the senior adult is unsteady, a cane or walker may provide the support that they need to walk about freely and safely.  There are a variety of canes and walkers.  A visit to a physical therapist may be helpful in selecting the device that is best. 

Magnifying Glass

A magnifying glass or a magnification app on a phone or tablet can be of use when needing to read small print or see objects that are small.  

Calendars, Timers, and Alarms

Using a calendar or calendar app can help in recalling daily events and appointments. Alarms on watches or phones can also be set as reminders for daily activities like taking medications. Timers can be used to keep track of baking times or laundry cycles, for instance.

Jar Opener

Opening lids on jars can be difficult for anyone but is more of a challenge for older adults who have weaker hands.  Using a rubber jar opener or an adaptive jar opening device can save frustration and hand joints!

There are a variety of high tech safety devices that can do a wide variety of tasks using technology like a virtual assistant or smart watch. From turning off and on lights, controlling the thermostat, opening and closing the garage door, locking or unlocking doors, monitoring an individual’s health status, and calling family or friends with just a voice command or auto routine, smart devices can bring peace of mind and convenience for those comfortable using the devices. For a review of high tech, smart technology devices for seniors that are aging in place, check out the New York Times article, The Best Smart Home Devices to Help Seniors Age in Place.

Using adaptive devices can make a big difference in allowing a senior adult to be safe and independent in their home or living environment.

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.

Contact us to learn more or browse our roster of therapists to book directly!

About Enablr Therapy
Enablr Therapy offers speech, occupational, and physical therapy to people of all ages and abilities through our school-based therapy services as well as cash-based services for individual clients. Individual clients can be seen through convenient online sessions in many states across the country.