How to make household tasks easier for elderly parents
Andrew Atkinson, Managing Director of Mobility Smart – an online independent living store – advises us on tools to help your parent manage at home if they have strength or mobility issues.
Here are a few simple gadgets to help make independent living that much easier.
For an older parent cleaning tasks can take longer, become painful for those with arthritic joints or mobility difficulties and may even be dangerous when they’re managing on their own.
To help your parent avoid the challenge of standing on ladders unaided or perhaps balancing on a chair to reach dusty spots you could try a telescopic feather duster. This does the stretching and reaching for them.
Long-handled dustpan and brush sets can help those with reduced mobility, while extendable grabbers can help your parent pick items up from the ground or reach things in high cupboards, on shelves or in otherwise hard-to-reach places.
Items like Quiltclips have been designed to make it easier for one person to change a duvet cover, by holding the corners of the duvet cover in place.
Shopping bags with wheels – shopping trollies – are great for those who want avoid the need to lift and carry, but there are alternatives for those with a little more arm strength. Shopping “back packs” for wheelchair and scooter users can help to prevent purchases being placed in their laps or hanging from handles with the potential to get tangled or break.
Ergonomic and easy to grip shopping bag handles can be used to reduce the likelihood of your parent getting “sausage fingers” or cutting off their circulation while lifting full shopping bags. These handles form a lockable ring on which your parent can hang multiple plastic (or reusable) bags to make carrying them a far simpler task.
Preparing and eating food
The kitchen can be a dangerous place, and it’s surprisingly it can become difficult for some people to prepare and cook their own meals. There are a range of tools that have been created to help.
Jar and cap grippers are ideal for those without a lot of arm strength to open jars and bottles, while products such as one-touch can openers can make it easy to cut through metal tins to access the food inside.
Foam handled cutlery, ranges that combine a knife and fork or fork and spoon as one utensil and lightweight designs consider the needs of those with limited strength or gripping power in their hands by helping to facilitate comfortable food consumption and eating with one hand if needs be.
The Arthwriter Hand Aid can also make it easier for older people with joint problems or decreased dexterity to grip cutlery as well as pens and pencils which is vital for those with a love for writing.
Lap trays are a good idea for those who find manoeuvring in and out of chairs difficult or whose mobility limits their ability to move between rooms in their home as they can sit comfortably in their favourite chair with their plates and cups resting in front of them.
Kettle tippers – wire “kettle cradles” – support the weight of a kettle full of boiling water and allow your parent to pivot it safely and securely without spillage. These are good for those with weaker arms, limited movement in their hands and wrists or those who’re prone to the shakes.
While tools can make everyday tasks easier it’s important to keep in mind that people’s needs may change as they age. Although your parent may not like to admit when things are getting difficult, encouraging them to let you know if they’re having trouble with household tasks can mean you’re able to help before they potentially harm themselves.
Whether you’re able to find new gadgets to equip your parent with or you adjust the settings on the tools they already have being able to support your parent to live independently will afford them a sense of renewed control over the life and their health.
If you’d like more information about mobility products available to assist your parent you can free phone 0800 567 7222 or email [email protected]. Alternatively if you’d like expert advice on independent living aids you can contact Andrew Atkinson directly.