Aging in place is a term used to define a senior's desire and long-term plan to continue living in their own homes for as long as possible. Although AARP conducted a survey finding that more than 75 percent of older adults hope to remain in their home, the reality of aging in place is not without challenges –especially as one’s health declines and needs increase. Fortunately, there are many adaptive products and safety devices that can be used to help make staying in a long-time home safer and more successful.
Elder Care Products and Equipment
As activities of daily living (ADLs) become more challenging, assistive devices may be used to extend a senior’s independence. Evaluate the current living environment to assess if any of the following items could be used to make a senior’s home safer and more accessible.
- Personal Alert System (a wearable electronic device designed to summon help in an emergency)
- Toilet seat riser
- Bidet attachment for toilet
- Grab bars for the bathroom near the toilet and shower
- Hand-held shower head
- Bathtub/shower transfer bench
- Stepless/walk-in bathtub or shower
- Adjustable bed
- Waterproof mattress/mattress pads
- Over-bed table
- Disposable incontinence underpads (sometimes referred to as “chux”)
- Bed railings
- Adequate lighting throughout the home, including night lights
- Medication organizer or alarmed dispenser
- Button loopers and zipper pulls for easier dressing
- Adaptive clothing and shoes
- Touch-tone telephones with large buttons, speaker or hands-free capabilities, and/or text capability for those who are deaf or hard of hearing (TTY or TDD)
- Talking clocks and wristwatches for seniors with poor vision
- Low vision aids to assist with reading and other activities
- Kitchen tools that make opening cans and jars, peeling vegetables, and cutting and dicing ingredients easier and safer
- Specialized eating utensils and dinnerware for easier dining
- Automatic shut-off safety devices for kitchen appliances
- “Reacher/grabber” tools for seniors who have weak grip strength and/or limited mobility
- Ramps for entryways with steps
- Stair lifts for multi-story homes
- Sturdy railings along all stairways
- Mobility aids for seniors who have difficulty getting around the house (e.g. cane, rollator, walker, wheelchair, motorized scooter)
- Baskets or other accessories for mobility equipment to assist in carrying items
- Lift chairs for those who have difficulty getting in and out of a seated position
You can browse these and other recommended assistive products and devices in AgingCare's Senior Care Product Directory. If you need help determining which of these products may be beneficial for an aging loved one, a licensed occupational therapist can conduct an in-home functional assessment and provide personalized recommendations.
Services Can Help Seniors Maintain Their Independence, Too
It’s important for caregivers and family members to pay close attention to how their loved ones are faring while aging in place. A senior’s needs can change quickly, but that doesn’t necessarily mean a move to a long-term care facility is necessary. If adaptive equipment has helped your loved one but they still need more assistance or supervision, there are many services available that can help extend their independence both inside and outside the home. The key is to keep an eye out for signs that a senior may be struggling and act on them in a timely manner.
Enlisting transportation services, in-home care or other senior resources provides family caregivers with invaluable peace of mind and respite. Helping a senior find and purchase the tools and supportive services they need will help ensure their safety and may delay or entirely prevent their need for senior housing.