As we age, our bodies simply don’t work as efficiently.
Our eyes don’t let in as much light, making it harder to see. Leg muscles weaken, making it harder to get up and down. We’re off balance more. And arthritic fingers make it harder to bend, twist, and turn in the right ways to do simple tasks, like opening medicine bottles and changing batteries in electronics.
Luckily, more and more manufacturers realize that it’s not easy for seniors to navigate a world designed for much younger people. Ergonomic products made specifically for older people are popping up everywhere.
Of course, the more products that are available, the more confusing it can be. Do you really need a remote control that works with your television and garage door? Or a device that holds your playing cards for you?
It’s difficult to know what’s useful and what’s just a waste of money. Naturally, part of that depends on your lifestyle, but there are some things that every senior should consider investing in.
Below you’ll find the top six ergonomic products that truly help with daily living.
Grab bars. Having trouble getting up and down? Avoid asking for help from friends and relatives by installing grab bars by the toilet, bathtub, bed, and even couches and chair.
Horizontal grab bars tend to be less noticeable, so opt for them instead of vertical ones where you can. But don’t make them too hard to notice, because you don’t want to stumble into one and fall.
It’s also important to remember that towel bars are not grab bars. They aren’t designed to hold your weight, and it’s quite possible that they will break and cause you to fall.
Handles over knobs. As we age, it can become difficult to squeeze and turn knobs on doors and cabinets, so replace them. Instead, opt for large handles that you can easily push or pull. You’ll prevent painful issues with your grip and make far easier to get around your house
Floor pads. For the bathroom and other areas with hard, slippery floors, consider installing non-slip floor pads to ensure that you don’t lose your balance and fall. It is also wise to place soft, thick floor pads in places like the kitchen where you often stand for long periods of time. This will make it easier on aching muscles and joints when you cook or clean.
Pull-down closet rods. As we get older, reaching becomes more and more difficult. There’s a so-called Gold Zone between the knees and shoulders that you want to stay within when reaching for items. Unfortunately, many closets contain rods that are higher than this Gold Zone, making it harder on your body.
To get around this, some manufacturers have created pull-down closet rods. Simply tug lightly on the rod, and it will come down to your level. This makes it easier to get clothes off the hanger. Then, when you’re done, they return to their regular position so you retain the same amount of storage space.
Extra lighting. As we age, we need brighter lighting to see things clearly. Invest in night lights for those frequent overnight trips to the bathroom. Not a fan of having a light constantly on? Invest in motion-sensing night lights that turn on as you approach. It may seem silly, but it’s a lot better than stumbling over something in the dark and hurting yourself.
Pull-out drawers. Similar to the pull-down rods for closets, you can purchase kitchen cabinetry with shelves that pull or roll out so you don’t have to bend or reach uncomfortably. The best part: this isn’t a product designed for seniors at all; it’s just a convenient new style that works well with most seniors’ needs. You’ll have the ease of dishes and cookware that come to youâ€¦ while earning style points for your kitchen redesign!
Krisca Te works with Open Colleges, Australia’s leading provider of TAFE courses equivalent and aged care training. When not working, you can find her on Google+ or spends the day with her baby boy.