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HEALTHY AGEING

Top 10 household tips for seniors living independently

Some everyday tasks can become more challenging in older years so we’ve compiled our top household tips.

January 18, 2023

Senior man with younger daughter

Everyday tasks at home can become more challenging in older years. Things such as medical conditions, changes to mobility, increased frailty, forgetfulness, problems with balance, and an increased risk of falls or accidents, can all make a difference to someone’s ability to live an enjoyable and independent life in their own home.

However, there are lots of ways to make things a little easier when it comes to daily living activities, which can mean a safer and more manageable lifestyle for seniors at home.

In this article, we look at some top household tips and technologies that can make a big difference to little everyday tasks for older people when living independently.

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Use rotating organisers in cupboards and on shelves

Being able to reach the back of shelves or cupboards can be more difficult as we age, especially if it involves reaching upwards too, because it can make many seniors feel dizzy or unbalanced.

A great solution could be rotating organisers for storage, sometimes called “Lazy Susans”, which can easily be turned to bring items at the back round to the front. Inexpensive, simple to install and easy to use, these rotating organisers can help with hard-to-reach items and potentially even play a part in preventing accidents in the home.

 

Colour-coded keys to help find the right one quickly

When it comes to keys, having several similar other household keys on the same keyring can mean you end up trying several before finding the right one.

Perhaps there’s one key for the front door, a separate one for the back door, and another for the garage or shed. Many people also hold keys for the homes of family or neighbours alongside everything else - it can all get a bit confusing, especially in the dark or when tired.

Using nail varnish to colour code keys is a really inexpensive, quick and simple way to clear things up. Match the nail varnish colour to the door it opens if you can, it’ll make it easier to remember which colour relates to which door – for example, if the front door is blue, use blue nail varnish on the key.

Colour coded keys

 

Keep rubber gloves handy for opening jars and bottles

A pair of rubber gloves is great for general household cleaning and doing the washing up, but they can also make a big difference when an older person sometimes might struggle with opening jars or screw-top bottles without help.

The rubber of the gloves gives extra grip to both hands that can help with those stubborn lids and is usually easier than using other hacks like rubber bands.

 

Do a hazard and risk assessment on the home

Staying safely in the home and living an independent life for as long as possible might mean that some small adjustments to the property or some of the rooms might be needed to reduce the risk of falls or other accidents. People’s needs and capabilities do change in later life, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that drastic action is needed.

Looking at things like lighting, bathroom design, where things are kept in the kitchen and making sure that walkways are not obstructed throughout the home and garden is a good place to start ensuring that the home of an elderly person is as safe as it can be.

 

Use rug tape and cable tidies to remove trip hazards

Tripping on loose rugs or trailing electrical wires and cables can be a real risk for seniors.

Making sure that any rugs are carefully taped down so they won’t slip, and cables are not left trailing where they could be a hazard, is an important measure to take for safety reasons.

 

Set voice assistant or smartphone audio reminders to take medication or for important appointments

Some people tend to become a little forgetful as they age, and if living independently, especially on their own, it can be difficult to remember to take medications at certain times.

Smart assistant

There are lots of benefits of smart devices for the elderly, but a feature we love is that reminders can be set that will give an audible notification. For example, a smart speaker and smartphone can remind the older person that a certain medication needs to be taken at 9am every morning by announcing out loud ‘it’s time to take your tablet’ when it’s due.

If the older person isn’t used to this kind of technology, it might need a family member, friend, or neighbour to help set up the notifications in the first place.

 

Write down a list of all medications taken (and dosage) and take a picture on a camera phone

If an older person needs medical assistance either at home or when out and about, one of the first questions asked by medical professionals is what medication they are currently taking.

Daily medication

Some elderly people take numerous tablets at different doses and this isn’t always possible to remember, or they might not be able to answer. A great solution for this is to write down a list of all the current medications and doses, then take a picture of that list with a smartphone so the image is always available and with the person if it’s needed.

 

Use the magnification feature on a smartphone if reading small text is an issue

Many older people can find reading small text or viewing small icons on their smartphone a bit of a challenge. Both iPhones and Android phones all have an accessibility feature automatically included that, once activated, enables users to magnify their screen so that it’s easier to see what’s what.

The feature not only enables the user to magnify phone content, but can also use the phone’s camera to magnify anything viewed through its lens - like food labels or cooking instructions.

How to magnify things with a smartphone

  • On iPhone, go to Settings > Accessibility, then tap Magnifier and turn it on. Once you have enabled Magnifier, you can add it to your Control Center for easy access.
  • For Android phones, go to Settings > Accessibility > Magnification, then choose either Magnify with triple-tap or Magnify with shortcut.

It might be necessary for a family member, friend, or neighbour to activate the magnifying feature and show the older person how it works. But it’s well worth asking for!

 

Use a grabber tool for picking things up from the floor

Many older people find that picking things up from the floor or low down is a lot more challenging than it used to be.

A grabber can be a great way to reach what’s needed without having to bend or stretch and risk an accident or injury. Grabbers are inexpensive and readily available, so can be a good addition for the house and garden for any senior.

 

Use a monitored personal alarm system for added peace of mind

It’s a sad fact that people over the age of 65 have the highest risk of experiencing a fall, and for those living independently, especially if they live alone, this can be a worrying thought. Whether there is a history of falls or just an extra layer of peace of mind for the older person and their loved ones, a personal alarm can be a great solution.

With a simple button press, a monitored personal alarm from TakingCare will connect with the Emergency Resolution Team in one of our UK centres (available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year).

Personal alarm used by senior

They will speak to the user and can arrange for a nominated person to be contacted or other assistance can be organised if needed. Some alarm systems include fall detection technology so an alert can be raised even if the person is unable to press the button.

How personal alarms may help

If you want more information on which personal alarm system might be right for your circumstances, get in touch to find out more by calling  0800 0121 321 or emailing enquiries@ppptakingcare.co.uk.

Personal alarms

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure

Ways to support independent living

Independent living products brochure

Learn how personal alarms and home monitoring solutions can keep you or your loved ones safe and independent at home.

Download brochure


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