Life Hacks is described as “…any trick, shortcut, skill, or novelty method that increases productivity and efficiency, in all walks of life.” (Wikipedia)
There are many different ways that tasks and activities can be made to be safer and easier for senior adults. Here is our list of recommendations!
25 Life Hacks For Older Adults
1. Reaching For Items
It’s not always easy for seniors to reach for items placed far into cabinets or the refrigerator. Using a Lazy Susan turntable can help to bring those items to the front, making it much easier and safer to reach.
Also, reaching for items on the ground can be troublesome if you don’t have good balance. In these instances, a Reacher (aka Grabber) can be useful.
2. Making Furniture Senior Friendly
My mother had a massive square coffee table that she bumped into several times. At 88 years old, her skin was thin and bruised easily and I can tell you these bruises took many weeks to subside.
Our solution was to use Corner Guards on that coffee table and any furniture with sharp corners.
Another option is to use Moldable Glue (putty) to soften those corners. This may not look as nice as corner guards but it would be less expensive.
3. An Easier Way To Use A Straw To Drink
If you use a straw to drink your liquids, here are a few tricks you can use to keep that straw in place.
- Use straw cups for your drinks – there’s a huge variety available
- If drinking out of a pop top can – turn the pop tab around so it’s over the open hole and place the straw inside the pop tab.
- Add a straw clip to your glass which can hold the straw in place nicely.
- Use Glad’s Press’n Seal to cover your glass. Then puncture a small hole in the top to put the straw through.
- Instead of using glassware – use these Glass Mason Jars that have a hole in the lids for straws. Or, if you are handy you can drill a hole in your own Mason Jar lids!
4. Holding Glassware
If holding a glass is difficult you can place rubber bands around the glass to make it less slippery.
Or, you can purchase any of these silicone sleeves for your glasses.
5. Feeling May Be Better Than Seeing
Raised stickers work great for older adults who may have vision problems or have trouble feeling the small buttons on a remote control device or phone, etc.
In addition – if it makes sense you can paint these stickers with a bright colored nail polish.
6. Getting A Better Grip
If holding smaller objects like pens or toothbrushes is difficult – wrapping rubber bands around the handle may also help. But you can also purchase these Foam Grips which may be a bit more comfortable.
7. A Little Shower Safety
If you use a bar of soap in the bath or shower then you probably know how easy it is for that to slip out of your hands which then forces you to bend over to retrieve it. This can result in a fall and injury so you can try any of the following:
- Put the bar of soap in the foot of panty hose. Cut the panty hose so that it’s knotted and manageable.
- But I would recommend to use liquid soap instead and place that in a wall mounted dispenser
- You can use any of the Soap on a Rope products available.
8. For Button Wearers
If you have trouble manipulating buttons then I would recommend purchasing a button hook. I always recommended these to my patients who had arthritic hands or were only able to use one hand due to a stroke or other injury.
Of course, you can also make your own button hook by attaching a paper clip or bent wire to a cork or other object. Here are some ideas for you.
And here’s a video showing you how button hooks are used.
9. Pills, Pills And More Pills
It seems the older we get, the more pills we have to take. Remembering what to take when can be difficult for some so here are some hacks to help.
- Any product with compartments like an egg carton can be used to store and separate medications
- Pill organizers are great, especially if you travel and need your medications with you
- Amazon’s Pill Pack program does all the hard work for you
10. Cleaning Duties
Getting down on your knees to clean a bathtub can be difficult for most anyone – but especially for older adults. So, what can you do to make it easier and safer?
- An inexpensive hack that may work for you is to use a clean mop like this one or you can try a standard broom as well.
- Or you can purchase the Simple Scrub Mop that is designed for this job
But the trouble with these is that the handles are long, which eliminates the need to bend over and over reach. But this also makes it difficult to apply a good amount of pressure that is sometimes needed to clean that bathtub.
So, I would recommend to use Scrub Free Bathroom Cleaner first which can cut through the grime and leave you without having to scrub a dub dub that tub.
11. Senior Computer Nerds
You don’t have to struggle to see the keys on a computer keyboard – there ARE large print keyboards available that can make all your computer activities much easier to accomplish.
I would recommend the Boogiio Large Print Computer Keyboard with the yellow keys and black letters. The high contrast of the yellow keys and the large letters makes it much easier to see and use for many individuals with low vision.
12. A Few Smartphone Camera Tricks
Most seniors these days have smartphones and they can use them for much more than just calling and texting. Here are some ways you may have not thought of.
- Use the camera on your smartphone to take a photo of your parking spot and/or nearby landmark to help remind you where you parked your car
- If and when you lend something to someone – take a photo of them holding that something so that you can remember who you lent it to
- If you have to use a username/password on another computer – take a photo of that written information so you don’t have to re-write it again
- If you’re watching a commercial for something that you are interested in – take a photo of the commercial to remind you to look for it when you go to the store or when you are ready to order it online
- Take a photo of your medications, vitamins and supplements to show your doctor when you go for your annual physical. Also works when you are picking up some medication at the pharmacy.
13. Car Safety
I remember living in South Florida and during the many (too many) hot days – getting in the car and having to handle the wheel and shift was unpleasant to say the least. I would always cover everything with a towel beforehand.
But, there are some better ways to keep your hands from scalding.
- Use a drink Coozie like these to put over your shift to keep the sun off of it.
- Place a towel over the steering wheel to protect it from the sun (even if you use a car window shield the wheel can still get very hot)
- Or you can purchase a steering wheel cover like these glow in the dark ones from Kafeek
- Check out the large variety of products that you can use to keep your skin intact and safe from the burning heat and also to keep the car cooler
- Also, for winter months – you want to keep the car safe and try to avoid having to chip away any ice and snow.
14. Tricks To Make Items More Visible
Bright red nail polish is perfect to use on anything that you may have trouble seeing or feeling. Things like…
- Smart phone
- Remote control
- Computer keyboard
- Computer mouse
- Small bottles of spices
- Small bottles of medication
15. Weak Hands
If your hands don’t have the strength they used to – and you have trouble squeezing lemons and limes – use a kitchen tong like this one to do the job.
16. Night Time Driving
Driving at night can be difficult for many seniors (I know it’s hard for me) and you want to take advantage of your headlights to work well for you. So keeping them clean and bright is important.
You can easily clean them by rubbing toothpaste on them and then buffing it off.
17. Struggling To Open Jars
Another recommendation for anyone with poor hand strength are assistive devices to help with opening jars.
Here’s a video of my 98 year old mom-in-law using her Black and Decker!
18. Hunting For The Television Remote
If you’re always searching for your television remote(s) – here are a couple of things you can do:
- Attach Velcro to your remote(s) and to an end table or coffee table that is conveniently located to your seating area.
- Purchase any of these great remote organizers
19. Lost And Found
I am forever losing my keys – but then I got these wonderful Item Locators by Tile Pro and life has been a bit easier! It coordinates with an app on your smartphone to basically GPS where your keys are!
20. Which Key Goes To What?
If you have multiple keys on your key chain and you sometimes get them mixed up – you can color code them with nail polish and also color code where they go as well.
21. Keep Your Car Doors Dent Free (or at least try)
If your garage isn’t as wide as you would like it to be and you keep hitting your car door against your garage wall – then why not cut a large pool noodle and attach it to your wall. This acts as a bumper and it works great.
22. Don’t Trip Over Cords
Keep extension cords tucked away with a Floor Cord Management Kit. This helps to conceal the cord so that you don’t trip over it and possibly fall and injure yourself.
23. For The Love Of Our Pets
If reaching down to the ground is too difficult for you or it simply throws you off balance – be safe and either raise your pet’s food and water bowls up (if they can still reach them safely and comfortably) or use the ReachaBowl Pet Feeder.
This has a pole attached to the feeder which you can then use to lift the bowls up from the ground easily and safely.
24. A Little Help From Your Pharmacist
Did you know that you can ask your pharmacist to NOT use childproof caps on your medication bottles? Of course – this is only recommended if you do not have children in your home.
25. Making Zippers Senior Friendly
Put a key ring on your zipper – this should make it easier for you to pull your zipper up and down.