Helpful Products for Seniors Living At Home
Finding the best products for seniors living at home, and those with a short or long-term disability or illness is sometimes confusing. How do you know what you might need?
What is best for you and your environment right now?
What will be the best solutions for the future?
Well, unless you have a functioning crystal ball, this is tough to predict. But you can anticipate what you might need by taking a good honest look at your current abilities and how your home fits you, and then prepare for what might happen.
Unfortunately, as we age, stuff does happen. People have accidents, surgeries, become ill or disabled, or develop a chronic illness or disease.
The normal aging process can also limit what you can and can’t do. Your body just doesn’t work as well as it used to. You have pains or notice cracking noises in places that used to be absolutely fine.
Think about your parents. Did they develop any chronic illnesses as they aged? Chronic diseases and disorders like high blood pressure, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, arthritis, cancer and obesity are just some of the conditions that are hereditary that you might want to prepare for.
There are many aids for daily living, mobility, hearing and vision impairment and anxiety & depression aids, as well as assistive devices for every room in your home to make it safe and comfortable, and keep you independent.
Let’s take a look at our top picks for some of the most commonly used products for seniors and disabled persons and why we like them:
Please note we offer products through our shop and also through Amazon to help you get the best product, pricing and delivery options. See why we offer these options.
Daily Living Aids
Daily living aids are items that help you accomplish tasks that you do every day. Things like eating, dressing, bathing, transferring, toileting and maintaining continence. These are often referred to as activities of daily living, or ADLs.
There are a variety of products out there that can help you get dressed. Here are some of our favorites:
In order to get dressed, first you have to be able to reach into your closet and take something off the hangar. This is sometimes more easier said than done if you have pain or limited mobility due to an injury or surgery.
A reacher comes in handy for all sorts of things. It will grab that hangar on the closet rod, grab your shoes so you don’t have to bend over, pull that sweater down that’s on the top shelf of your closet, or it can pull the bottom edge of your pants down over your boot.
We like the Vive 32″ Reacher Grabber with the precise hold claw. It has an ergonomically designed handle that even people with hand weakness are able to use. Some of the reachers you get from the doctor’s office or medical supply stores are difficult to grasp. This claw will even pick up a dime off the floor! Learn more about the Vive 32″ Reacher.
Sock Aid and Heel Guide
Bending over to put your socks on can be very difficult if you have back pain or are unable to bend comfortably due to an injury or surgery. With this easy-to-use sock aid, you can put your socks on from a comfortably seated position.
We like the foam pad on this particular device that helps keeps the sock in place as well as the soft foam, non-slip handles. Learn more about the Sock Aid.
The Heel Guide™ is best for people who experience foot swelling (edema), have larger feet, or wear compression stockings.
We like this heel guide because it is sturdy, can accommodate larger feet or ankles, and can handle the tight elasticity of the compression stockings – which are usually a pain to get on. Find out more about the Heel Guide in our online store.
Long Shoe Horn
Once you get your socks on, it’s time for the shoes. This long shoe horn has a 12″ handle to reduce the need for bending over while slipping on your shoes.
We like this one because it’s made out of stainless steel (not plastic), is strong, effective, and significantly reduces your reach while putting on boots, or shoes. Get more details about this long shoe horn on Amazon.
Make buttoning easy again with this Good Grips Button Hook. If you’re frustrated with how long it takes to button your shirt, this is the tool for you. Simply insert the handle through the button hole, then around the button and pull through.
We like this button hook on Amazon because it’s ergonomically designed by Good Grips and has a wide easy-grip handle. It also works well and is priced right.
Gyenno Spoon and Fork
This motorized tool lessens the frustrations of eating and increases the independence of a person who has Parkinson’s, MS, ALS, had had a stroke, or someone whose hands are just shaky. By about 85%!
Find out more about the Gyenno Spoon.
Weighted and Non-Weighted Utensils
How do you know if you need weighted or non-weighted utensils?
Weighted utensils can be useful for people with tremors or shaky hands. The extra weight helps to steady the hand while eating. Some weighted utensils are also designed ergonomically for an easier grip. These stainless steel weighted utensils look like standard silverware, and these wide grip weighted utensils are for those with shaky hands who also need assistance grasping utensils.
Non-weighted utensils are especially good for people with arthritis or hand weakness who have trouble gripping standard dining utensils. They are generally designed wider and with a softer grip. We like these non-weighted utensils.
If you have hand weakness or tremors or are one-handed, this scoop plate will make it easier to scoop the food out onto your spoon or fork. The higher edge provides an extra area to help push the food onto the utensil.
We like this particular scoop plate due to its non-slip back, the fact that it looks similar to a standard dinner plate (even though it’s plastic), and because it’s reasonably priced. It will last longer if you wash it by hand, but it is dishwasher safe on the top rack. Learn more about the scoop plate.
Touchless Kitchen Faucet
A touchless faucet can save you money by cutting down on your water usage, and can also be a great thing for people who sometimes forget to turn the water off.
We like this touchless kitchen faucet from Moen because it’s a high-quality faucet that has two motion sensors – one on top and one lower that’s activated by use. There’s also a standard lever if you want to go old school. It’s a best seller on Amazon too.
Bathing and Toileting Aids
Handheld Shower Head
A handheld shower head can make a huge difference while bathing in a shower/tub combination or shower stall. If you experience any kind of weakness, dizziness, or disability, have kids, are a caregiver helping someone shower, or have a pet, you need one of these. It also makes cleaning the tub or shower a breeze – you don’t end up getting all wet.
We like this combination shower head/handheld shower head for multiple reasons. You can stream water from jets on one or both shower heads, which is great if you’re helping to bathe someone – so they can still feel the warm water from the main shower head while you’re washing a specific area with the handheld. That’s one of the main reasons elderly people don’t like to bathe or take a shower – they get cold. This shower head is inexpensive, has five different stream settings and is a best seller with almost 7,000 reviews! Learn more about this combination handheld shower head.
Sliding Transfer Bench with Swivel Seat
One of the most common places where falls occur is in the bathroom. You can significantly decrease your chance of falling by using a transfer bench to get in and out of the bathtub/shower area. Read more about Fall Prevention here.
We like this one because it has a comfortable, ergonomically-designed swivel seat that rotates 360˚ and locks every 90˚, allowing easy entry and exit from the bench. The seat glides smoothly on the rails and is suitable for bariatric use. This sliding transfer bench comes in Regular, Long and Extra Long for a sliding length range between 14.5 – 23 inches to fit any bathroom. It can be assembled to face either right or left.
This transfer bench eliminates the need for a shower chair, and can be lifted out of the tub when not in use. Get more information on this sliding transfer bench and others in our store.
Grab bars are essential in bathrooms for people of all ages, and can be useful in many other areas of the home as well. We’ve installed grab bars and hand rails in entryways, hallways, bedrooms, laundry rooms, garages, patios and outdoor stairs. And these days they don’t have to be industrial-looking. There are some beautifully designed grab bars with finishes such as chrome, brushed nickel, oil rubbed bronze, and stainless steel.
If you hate the idea of having a grab bar in your bathroom, there are some that are combination toilet roll holder/grab bar, and others that simply look like towel bars. See the options in our Shop.
Pro Tips: 1) Install a grab bar that is a contrasting color to the wall/surface area of your tub/shower area so it’s easy to see – i.e. don’t install a white grab bar on a white or light-colored shower wall. 2) Smaller-dimension grab bars may be easier to grasp.
We’ve installed a lot of different grab bars, and highly recommend the Moen grab bars over other brands. Why? In addition to being aesthetically pleasing, strong and durable, many models have the SecureMount™ system that allow safe installation of grab bars in areas where there are not currently studs, so you have more installation location choices.
Pro Tip: If you want to install into drywall yourself, you’ll need a special 1-1/4″ saw hole drill bit, but they’re readily available at your nearest hardware store or online. Just be careful to make sure your drill bit is secure and go slowly through the drywall, or you’ll put a hole in the other side. Or drop the drill bit down the wall. Not that we’ve done either of those things before. 😉
See our preferred selection of designer and standard grab bars in our store.
Bathtub Grab Bar
Sometimes your bathroom walls can’t accommodate a grab bar installation, so this clamp-on bathtub grab bar is a good option to help you get in and out safely.
We like this one because it’s constructed with steel, so it’s very strong, easy to install, and it has padded areas in the clamp to protect your tub.
We’ve also used this tub grab bar on certain wood bed frames to help people get in and out of bed when other double mattress options wouldn’t work.
Raised Toilet Seat with Handles
Having a raised toilet seat with handles in your bathroom will help you get on and off the toilet safely and reduce the amount of bending you need to do, saving your back, knees and hips.
We’ve installed many raised toilet seats and this one is our favorite, and our clients love it! The installation is super easy – you don’t have to remove the existing toilet seat, you simply place this one on top of it and turn the knob to tighten it down.
Pro Tip: Works best with standard toilet seats (16.5″) or elongated toilet seats (18.5″). Check how wiggly your current toilet seat is. If it seems loose or wiggly this may not work with it and you may want to secure your current toilet seat or go with another option.
Find out more about this EZ lock raised toilet seat with handles.
Shower Chair with Padded Back, Arms & Padded Seat
Adding a shower chair to your bathtub or shower will decrease your chance of falling, if you’re physically unstable due to pain, disability or weakness, or experience dizziness or light-headedness while standing. The chair is there for back-up so you can safely sit anytime you feel unsteady standing.
We like this shower chair because it has sturdy, rust-proof aluminum arms to help support you as you sit and stand, has a strong back support, and a cut-out seat for easier personal hygiene. This chair is also suitable for bariatric use up to 350 lbs. Learn more about this shower chair in our store.
In addition to the bathroom, many falls occur while attempting to transfer from one location to another – like from a seated to standing position, or from the bed to a bedside commode. There are ways you can transfer safely and products that can help.
If you’ve ever used a standard gait belt to help support someone while walking or transferring, you know that they are not very secure, and they’re also uncomfortable to the person wearing it. The gait belts tend to move up from the waist and end up over the stomach or under people’s armpits – not safe and definitely not comfortable. And they’re difficult to hold onto.
We like this alternative. It’s called the Doty Belt Lift Assist, and was invented by a fire chief who wanted a better way to help get people safely off the floor after a fall or during an emergency situation. We like this one because it has comfortable padded handles, is super strong, and has straps that can wrap around the legs to create a harness that won’t ride up. The Doty Belt can be used while transferring (with or without the leg straps) or for lifting someone off the floor (2-people required). This lift assist belt was also featured in our Innovative Products post. Learn more about the Doty Belt in our store.
A transfer board, or medical sliding board, is a great way to safely transfer from one point to another while seated. This could be from a chair to the bed, the bed to a bedside commode, the bed to a wheelchair, a car seat to a wheelchair, or a wheelchair to a shower chair or bedside commode. It provides a sturdy place to sit and slide over to the new location. These are really handy to have around the house and in the car. If you’ve never used one, here’s a great explanation by a physical therapist on how to use a transfer board.
There are several different kinds out there, but we like this one. at 10″, it’s wider than most for better stability and has rubber undersides on both ends to help keep it in place. It is lightweight and easy to manage, and can handle up to 735 lbs. The cut-out handles help someone to slide over more independently too. Learn more about this transfer board.
This post is Part 1 of Helpful Products for Seniors Living at Home, and includes Aids for Daily Living for eating, bathing and transferring.
More parts covering mobility, toileting, and continence will follow.
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Contact us anytime if you have questions you’d like answered and we’ll post them on our blog.
Please note Hammer and Heart is an authorized distributor for several medical supply companies, as well as a participant in affiliate programs and the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. This doesn’t mean that you pay more, only that we will make a very small commission if you purchase something through one of our links.
For more information on why we also sell through Amazon (we’re trying to save you money and make things convenient for you!), see our About Us page.