Essentials for Aging in Place: 10 Products for Growing Older at Home

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Your cozy corner near the fireplace, the friendly neighborhood shop, and your social circle in the community—aren’t these the very things that make life as a senior enriching for you? No doubt 90% of older adults prefer to age in place, according to a recent survey

Aging in place refers to spending the latter years of your life in your home rather than moving to an elderly living facility. Living in familiar surroundings adds a sense of comfort and keeps you connected with your community, where you may have spent many years building relationships. Hence, moving to another place at an advanced age seems like a daunting task. 

However, the reality of aging in place is not without difficulties, especially when the health of loved ones deteriorates and their requirements grow. Fortunately, several aging-in-place products let seniors live independently for longer. Let’s take a look at this list of products for aging in place with ease and safety.  

Table Of Content

10 Essential Products for Aging in Place

Carrying out activities of daily living becomes difficult with age. However, with a bit of modification and assistive devices, aging in place can be a fulfilling experience. Here’s a list of the essentials for safer independent living.

  • 1. Grab bars near the toilet and shower area.

  • Wet areas like the bathroom are a hazard for falls and resultant injury. Make a bathroom safety checklist that covers all safety needs of seniors in the bathroom. You can begin by installing grab bars where you need extra support for stability, such as the toilet and shower area. 

  • 2. Transfer bench or a bathtub step stool

  • Getting in and out of the bathtub or shower area is a task that is prone to slips and falls. As a senior, falls can be hazardous and expensive. Look for safety products like a bathtub step stool with non-slip features. A shower transfer bench also makes bath time safer. 

  • 3. Bed step stool

  • When mobility declines with age, getting in and out of a high bed becomes a challenge. Invest in a high-quality bedside step stool that provides support and makes your bedroom safer. While choosing a bed step stool, look for one with a wide landing base and grab bars to ensure both feet find stability as you step off. For constricted spaces, choose a smaller step stool that allows you to access higher areas without taking up too much space. 

  • 4. Tools that make kitchen tasks easier and safer

  • For a space that’s filled with hazardous equipment, making the kitchen safer should be a priority while making aging in place house plans. Make the kitchen senior-friendly by using aging-in-place products designed to reduce time and effort.

    • An easy pour kettle is a helpful appliance for seniors with limited strength to lift objects.
    • Use tools like easy grip can openers for quickly opening tins without leaving any sharp edges.
    • Get a grab stick to pick up objects from the floor without bending down.
    • An anti-fatigue floor mat can reduce the strain on lower limbs while standing and working at the counter. 
  • 5. Adaptive clothing and shoes

  • Adaptive clothing helps those with physical impairments and the elderly who find it challenging to manage closures, such as buttons and zippers due to lack of mobility needed for self-dressing. Tops with open backs, pants with side openings, concealed magnetic snap fasteners instead of traditional buttons, and footwear with simple touch closures are examples of adaptive clothing. They make dressing up fuss-free, comfortable and elegant. 

  • 6. Mobility aids such as a wheelchair or motorized scooter

  • Wheelchair for seniors with mobility issue

    For those with limited strength in the lower limbs, mobility aids, like a wheelchair, assistance in activities of daily living. While manual wheelchairs are suitable for those with strong upper bodies, an electric wheelchair or a motorized scooter is apt when a senior cannot use much arm and upper body strength. Several choices in wheelchairs make mobility easy for seniors who can’t walk. .

    Wheelchair users must ensure safe and easy movement inside their house as well as outside. While aging in place, house plans must include wide doorways and ramps to enable wheelchairs and motorized scooters to access all spaces inside and outside the house easily. 

  • 8. Stairlifts for multi-story homes

  • Install a stairlift to ease the worry and discomfort of climbing stairs. Stairlifts let you use all the spaces in your multi-story house through a motorized chair fitted on special railings. It is a great help to the elderly who worry about restricted movement and stability while climbing stairs. 

  • 9. Railings along all stairways

  • For seniors who can climb stairs, installing railings along all stairways can assist them with added support. Railings reduce the strain on the lower body and improve balance and stability while climbing stairs. 

  • 10. Lift chairs for getting into and out of a seated position

  • Sitting from a standing position or standing up from a seated position can pose a problem for the elderly with a limited range of motion. Aging in place products like lift chairs reduces the strain on the lower limbs while standing up, thus improving stability and mobility in seniors. 

    Smart Home Devices

    Smart home devices for seniors

    Assistive technology can be an excellent alternative to improving the aging in place experience. They are easy to install and do not need permanent repairs. There is a wide selection of smart assistive home devices for seniors that increase safety and security. For example, home monitoring systems, medical alerts, security devices, and intelligent connected appliances make for excellent aging-in-place products and aids in independent living. 

    - The elderly can connect and communicate with their loved ones without feeling isolated. Video chats, social media, and telehealth platforms are helpful tools that assist in independent living. 

    - A medical alert system is one of the most critical smart devices for aging in place. On pressing the alarm button, you can notify pre-set contacts and emergency agencies in case of a fall or medical assistance. Moreover, many smartphone apps and wearable devices support SOS calling and fall detection. 

    - For seniors who worry about intruders, smart door locks and video monitoring systems increase the safety of living at home.

    - Smart appliances connected to voice assistants through strong Wi-Fi can ease day-to-day activities like switching off the coffee pot or switching on the lights. Bed step stools with motion-activated light ensure seniors get in and out of bed safely.

    Final Thoughts

    Aging in place products have significantly improved the quality of life of the elderly. Products, services, and technology have removed several obstacles related to independent living. Thanks to them, more and more seniors choose to live in their homes well past retirement and build a fruitful life in their golden years. 

    FAQs

    How do you design for aging in place?

    Aging in place house plans and designs keep in mind the specific needs of the elderly and understand what they might require in the future. Assistive devices and modifications should make the living space safe and easy to carry out daily activities. Several certified aging-in-place specialists can help with house modifications and home safety checklists for seniors to make independent living comfortable. 

    Is aging in place the best solution for elderly care?

    Healthy and independent seniors prefer aging in place because of their familiarity with the surroundings and community. There is also an emotional attachment to the place where the family has stayed for many years. However, aging in place can be difficult and expensive for seniors needing medical attention or those with limited mobility. Therefore, it’s best to assess the needs of each senior individual to gauge the feasibility and safety of aging in place.

    What services are helpful to adults who are aging in place?

    Home care services like meal deliveries, senior transportation, elderly errand services, companion care, or personal home care can help adults aging in place. 

    How can technology help the elderly age in place at home?

    Assistive technology helps improve aging in place as they are easy to install and do not need permanent repairs. There is a wide selection of smart devices that increase safety and security. For example, home monitoring systems, medical alerts, security devices, and smart connected appliances make for excellent aging-in-place products for independent living.

    What products do seniors need most?

    Step stools, walking aids like canes and rollators, wheelchairs, home safety, and communication devices, and medical alert systems are some of the aging-in-place products that seniors may need the most. 

    Are there any programs to help seniors with home repairs?

    You can contact your county’s Area Agency on Aging. The counselors can assist with repair and modification funds provided by the Older Americans Act. Other local government agencies can also offer grants for senior living. Please get in touch with your local housing or community development department for more information.

    Vince Baiera

    Vince Baiera is the founder of step2health, a mobility aids and wellness company for older adults. He is a former ICU Nurse of the Cleveland Clinic and Duke University Hospital in the Cardiac ICU. With years of working on the frontlines, Vince noticed the struggles of older adults and people with mobility issues that became an impediment for both patients and their caretakers. He then designed and created the patented product, Step2Bed (and its variants) that helps seniors and those with mobility issues safely get in and out of bed. His philosophy concerning aging is to plan ahead and start with simple home and life modifications to avoid being overwhelmed at retirement.

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