The Best Assistive Devices for Seniors

The Best Assistive Devices for Seniors

As we get older, many things can become more difficult to do. Sometimes it’s the result of a chronic condition taking a toll – imagine trying to open a jar of pickles when you have advanced arthritis, or climbing the stairs when you’re dealing with a bad case of gout. Other times, it’s simply the little things that often come with aging, like not being as flexible as you once were.

Assistive devices can go a long way toward making everyday tasks easier. These devices can be as elaborate as a stair lift to as simple as a ridged plastic “gripper” that opens jars with ease. Various mobility devices can make it easier to get out of bed, button up a shirt, put on shoes, and otherwise attend to the necessities of daily living that are required to stay independent in your own home (known as aging in place) for as long as possible.

Let’s take a look at some of the most popular options for staying safe and secure in your own home while better managing the activities of daily living. From medical alert technology to help you reach out for immediate help to simple items that make everyday activities easier, here’s our list of the best ones.

Button Hook Helper

Those who have arthritis or issues with fine motor impairment will be thrilled to use this button hook tool. The wide grip allows for very easy, painless use. The extended length of this particular hook is over eight inches long – plenty of length to handle any button, whether it’s a tiny one on a delicate blouse or a larger one on a heavy coat. It also has a zipper pull at the other end of the hook, thus helping you close up jackets and stay warm. This device is simple yet effective.

Long-Handled Shoe Horn

As we get older, it can become more difficult to reach places that require more flexibility, such as the center of your back or the heels of your feet. A long-handled shoe horn can help you get your shoes on without even having to bend over! If you have balance issues or can’t bend over far enough to touch your toes, this is a great and inexpensive aide. Look for one with a small loop for hanging it up in your closet.

Walking Poles

Sometimes you might need assistance with walking but a walker just doesn’t work well for you. In that case, try walking poles, also known as balance poles or stability poles. Whatever you call them, they resemble cross country ski poles and are great for those who are suffering from chronic conditions that can make mobility a challenge, such as Parkinson’s disease or multiple sclerosis. It’s also great for those who are recovering from surgery and regaining their mobility a little bit at a time.

These aluminum, adjustable poles were designed by a gerontologist and an occupational therapist specifically to help those who are dealing with rehabilitation and chronic health problems. They are great for users of up to 250 pounds. The rubber grip ensures the poles stay in your grasp and the wide bases on each pole make sure you have firm contact with the ground. The poles fold up easily for travel.

Medical Alert System

A very important aspect of living independently yet safely is being able to reach out for help when you need it. Enter the medical alert system, also known as a PERS device (personal emergency response system), which is a small button pendant that you wear as a necklace or on a wristband or belt clip. It works all the time, day or night. Press the button to connect to a live, professional agent, 24/7. That person will assess the situation and send whatever help you need, whether it’s a friend or neighbor you designated to be contacted or emergency services for more severe issues. This senior life-saving alert system is there for any emergency or accident that might occur, and some features make it an ideal helper if you fall.

As we get older, the possibility of falls increases. In fact, the CDC says that one in four seniors will fall at least once each year. And those falls can often lead to serious problems, including hip fractures (95% of all hip fractures are the result of falls) and traumatic brain injury if you hit your head.1 That’s why an affordable Alert1 medical alert system with fall detection is a very important part of a senior’s independent-living plan.

Grab Bar

Grab bars are a great way to provide you with the support you need in places where you might be most at risk for falls, such as the bathroom. There are several different ways to use the grab bars, including in the shower and next to the toilet, which help to eliminate the risk of falls by providing support as you stand.

Bed Rails                                                                                                                                       

If you find that getting out of bed is becoming difficult or you worry about the increased risk of falling out of bed as you get older, it’s a good time to consider installing bed rails. They fit any size bed, sliding between the mattress and box springs, and are held tightly in place by the weight of the mattress. They have wide rubber feet that settle firmly on the floor to help ensure your safety. The rails are padded with non-slip foam to ensure that your hand doesn’t slip as you rise to your feet. As an added bonus, you don’t have to worry about complicated assembly; the bed rails go together in a matter of minutes.

Medication Reminder, Organizer, and Dispenser

Did you know that nearly 95% of all seniors have at least one chronic health condition? And about 80% of the elderly have two or more chronic conditions that they are managing, according to the National Council on Aging.2 So it isn’t surprising to learn that about 90% of seniors take at least one prescription drug, and over a third of elderly adults take five or more medications. That’s not including supplements and over-the-counter remedies!3

When you are taking that many medications, keeping track of them can be difficult. But it’s very important, as not taking medications as directed can lead to serious consequences. A medication reminder, organizer, and dispenser can help. Carefully load the device with the medications you need to take, follow the easy-to-use instructions for setup, and let the organizer dispense your medications at the appropriate times.

Stair Lift

If you live in a home with more than one story, you may be getting concerned about climbing the staircase in the future. If you have a chronic condition that makes walking difficult or you are recovering from surgery, the ability to walk up the stairs might be challenging for you.

In that case, a stair lift provides a way to move up and down the staircase safely, thus giving you access to every part of your home. There is a stair lift available for almost every type of staircase design. It’s an investment, but worth it if you want to enjoy the entirety of your home during your golden years.

Chair Lift Recliner

Do you have difficulty getting out of a comfortable chair? As we get older, it can be tougher to rise from a sitting position. This is especially true if you are recovering from some sort of surgery, especially repairs to your knee or hip. A chair lift recliner has a motorized seat that can gradually lift you into a standing position.

Never hesitate to look for an assistive device to make life easier. Many are affordable and readily available. These handy devices allow seniors to stay independent for as long as possible while safeguarding health and well-being. Here’s to your golden years!