The hardest thing about growing old is most likely losing your independence. Some people worry about being a burden on younger relatives, while others fear ending up in a care home. Often people try to keep their independence by paying for private carers and cleaners to help them with daily tasks, but you can help your ageing parent to keep their own independence with a few simple gadgets that will make life in the home a little easier.
Cleaning the Home
As we age, simple tasks such as cleaning become more difficult projects. Cleaning can take longer, it can become painful and there are some jobs that might actually be dangerous, such as sweeping cobwebs from the ceiling. You don’t want your ageing parent to be standing on a ladder or balancing on a chair, which is why tools like the telescopic duster/feather duster have always been so valuable, but what other cleaning aids are available for those with reduced mobility?
Items like Quiltclips have been designed to make it easier for one person to change a duvet cover, by holding the corners of the duvet cover in place. Long-handled dustpan and brush sets eliminate the need to bend down to clear debris from the floor, whilst grabbers and reachers help elderly people to pick items up from the ground or to reach items that have been placed in high cupboards, on shelves or in otherwise hard-to-reach locations.
Preparing and Eating Food
The kitchen can be a dangerous place, and it’s surprisingly difficult for some elderly people to prepare and cook their own meals. Fortunately, that means that people have put a lot of time and effort into creating useful tools.
Products for the kitchen include the Arthwriter Hand Aid, which makes it easier for people with joint problems to grip cutlery, and lap trays that enable people to sit comfortably with their plates and cups resting in front of them.
Jar grippers and cap grippers make it easier for those without a lot of arm strength to open jars and bottles, whilst items like one-touch can openers make it easy to cut through metal tins to access the food inside. Items like kettle tippers, meanwhile, reduce the risk of serious injuries such as burns.
Many of the struggles faced in the kitchen are due to a lack of hand and arm strength or joints that are more painful and less flexible than they used to be, which is why it’s important to buy your ageing parent the right tools for food preparation as well as the right tools for eating. Bear in mind that hot water, sharp blades and flames can all be present in the kitchen environment. ‘Meals on Wheels’ services have helped to eliminate the need for elderly people to struggle through food preparation, but many would prefer to keep their independence by preparing their own meals and enjoying the joys of cooking and baking.
Perhaps one of the most well-known items to help with the shopping, the humble shopping trolley (or ‘shopping bag on wheels’) makes it easier for elderly people to make their purchases and to walk them home without a need to carry heavy bags. Instead, they can push their shopping ahead of them or drag their shopping behind them.
Shopping bags with wheels help elderly people to avoid the need to lift and carry, but there are alternatives for those with a little more arm strength. A shopping bag handle is a lockable ring, upon which you can hang multiple plastic (or reusable) shopping bags. It’s ergonomic and easy to grip, and can make it easier to carry two or more bags in one hand. If you’re using a shopping bag handle then you still need to be able to lift your shopping, but you can avoid battling with multiple handles and can reduce the likelihood of getting ‘sausage fingers’ or cutting off your circulation.
Keep in mind that whilst tools can make life easier, your requirements change as you age. Always encourage your ageing parent to inform you if a job that was previously easy has become more difficult, so that you can keep up to date with your parent’s needs and the most suitable setting for them.
Mobility Smart is a UK ecommerce website retailing mobility products with a vast product range covering mobility, Daily Living Aids and many other products aimed at making life easier and higher quality. Get in touch with the managing director Andrew Atkinson.