Many elderly people experience problems in their daily living due to age-related disabilities such as arthritis. These can severely restrict their ability to take care of themselves and perform tasks that younger people take in their stride. Grooming, bathing, dressing, cleaning and other self-care activities may be affected. Failing hearing and eyesight make getting around trickier, and arthritis affects the ability to perform the precise hand movements needed for many simple tasks.
Although these problems are in many cases a matter of degree, much self-care can be greatly eased by making domestic tasks easier to perform. This could include things like wearing different clothes if there is a problem handling zip fasteners, or using an electric can opener for arthritis sufferers. Here are a few other ideas for making tasks around the home a bit easier.
Trolleys can be used around the house for transporting things, rather than as aids to mobility. Elderly people with failing eyesight, for example, will reduce the risk of dropping items if they first place them on a trolley for wheeling into other parts of the home.
Cleaning and laundry
There are specially designed, convenient alternatives to many common products for home cleaning. Long-handled brushes and dustpans, for instance, take the pain out of activities that usually necessitate bending or kneeling, and a laundry steam press makes ironing clothes effortless.
Preparing drinks like tea and coffee can present particular problems for elderly people with declining hand-eye coordination. The task can be greatly helped by using lightweight kettles, different methods to heat up water and a tipper to support a kettle when pouring. An audio liquid level indicator to show that a mug or cup is full is useful when the pourer is visually impaired or suffers from poor coordination.
Step stools are very handy pieces of equipment that are lightweight and can be stored in a corner when not in use. Stretching to reach high objects is a major cause of broken hips in older people, and simply increasing effective height by using a step stool is the ideal solution.
Preparing and cooking food
There are many different products available to help people with reduced movement or strength in their hands and wrists to prepare and cook food. These can also help people with impaired vision and even those with only one hand. There are serving utensils available with weight-distributing and right-angled handles. Simply using tongs instead of a fork to serve food can offer more stability and control. Rather than using strenuous peeling equipment, potatoes can be cooked in their skins, and vegetables put straight into the oven without the need for any peeling, mashing or grating.
People with age-related impairments that make it difficult to perform tasks around the home need first of all to see what common-sense changes they can make, such as fitting a kitchen with easy-clean shutters. More complex problems can then be tackled by seeing what specialist or alternative equipment is available.