Official government statistics tell us that around 14 million people in the UK are living with some form of disability. That’s about one in five people. Daily living aids make the world of difference to an individual’s day to day life, and can be the crucial factor when it comes to living independently, without being reliant on the assistance of others.
When we look at the senior population, Almost 50 percent of over-65s have some form of mobility impairment. We’ve all heard of the phrase “ageing in place” and the NHS has provided some recommendations on the living aids that can help you enjoy your later years in the comfort of your own home, safely and independently. Let’s go from room to room and see what they suggest.
Let’s begin in the room where you start and finish your day. Getting in and out of bed is something we do day in and day out without a second thought for years.
But it actually demands a combination of coordinated movements using different muscles. Also, keep in mind that we do so when we are either about to go to sleep, or have just woken up.
In other words, we are not, perhaps, at our most sharp! An adjustable bed makes it easy to get in and out of bed, reducing the risk of falling or of straining your wrists as you try to lift yourself up.
On top of that, being able to raise and lower different parts of the bed helps relieve discomfort, and can be a real boon if you like to sit up to read or watch TV from under the duvet.
There are also some great gadgets to help you get dressed and undressed unassisted. These range from traditional shoe horns to this fantastic sock slide, which works with all types of socks.
When you have restricted mobility or strength, one of the best investments you can make for your living room is a riser recliner armchair.
If you find yourself viewing a comfy armchair with trepidation because you know you’ll struggle to get back up, this is a daily living aid that can really transform your life.
The riser mechanism lifts the chair and tilts it forward so you can position yourself in it, then lower it back down yourself. Then when it’s time to get up, it lifts you back into a semi standing position.
A dual motor recliner allows you to adjust the backrest and footrest independently for perfect comfort and to aid circulation. Riser recliners come in a range of styles, fabrics and colours. Some even have heating and massage features built into them!
Voted the most dangerous room in the house for slips and falls, the bathroom can definitely be a challenging place when you are not as agile as you once were. It can also be the most stressful, as it is the place above all others where we would prefer not to have to ask for help.
Fortunately, there is an extensive range of living aids to help you maintain your independence, privacy and dignity when taking care of personal hygiene, while reducing the risk of accident.
Simple additions like a raised toilet seat and the installation of grab handles to steady yourself can make a world of difference, adding to comfort and reducing stress levels, both for you and your loved ones.
Long lever taps represent another upgrade that is quick and inexpensive to install but can make life so much easier on arthritic fingers. However, it is in the bath and shower that you can really make a difference.
Many people assume that getting older means giving up on taking a bath unless they install a walk-in model. Doing so is certainly an option, but there are other alternatives if you don’t want to go through the upheaval of remodelling you bathroom to that extent.
A bath lift is worth considering, especially if others use the bathroom, as most models can be placed in the bath for use and then packed up out of the way afterwards. You could also consider an inflatable bath cushion. This gadget is comfy and has the extra convenience factor of being light and portable – so you can easily take it with you if you have a night away from home.
If you prefer to take a shower, an anti slip mat and an adjustable shower stool are two simple and inexpensive shower aids that reduce the risk of a mishap. If space is at a premium in your shower cubicle, a wall-mounted chair is a handy and practical choice.
If the bathroom is the most risky room in terms of slips, the kitchen must run a close second for other mishaps.
Whether you’re a dedicated home baker or you simply use the kitchen to make cups of tea and microwave ready meals, this is a room where the right living aids are absolutely crucial.
In the main, these take the form of inexpensive kitchen gadgets, so getting properly kitted out in the kitchen won’t burn a hole in your pocket. Here’s a quick checklist of items you should consider for your shopping list:
- A kettle tipper to make it easy to pour boiling water with control
- Arthritis-friendly cutlery that is easier to grip
- Two-handled cups
- A manual or automatic jar opener
- A powered tin opener
- A ring-pull can opener
- Non-slip coasters and table mats
- A homehelp trolley
None of these items cost much, but each of them can really make life easier, and in most cases safer, too, in its own way.
General safety and security
If you live alone, or if you and your partner both have mobility challenges, there are a few extra precautions you need to consider. One is to ensure you can summon help quickly in the event of a fall, and the other relates to general home security.
Ideally, a smart intercom system can kill both birds with one stone. It gives you the means to see who is at the front door before you open it, and also to give the alert to a carer or loved one if you have an emergency and need assistance.
There are numerous telecare choices out there, including wearable devices from tech giants like Apple and Google, and the technology continues to advance at lightning pace.
Stress-free living in the comfort of home
Living with restricted mobility can be challenging, but with the right living aids, you can minimize the impact it has on your independence. At the same time, the useful gadgets we have looked at provide peace of mind, not just for yourself, but also for your loved ones.
They can rest assured that you have the tools and aids you need to live independently without putting yourself at excess risk.
You’ll find all the gadgets we’ve discussed plus lots more on the CareCo website. Alternatively, why not call in at your nearest showroom so you can have a browse, and maybe try a few things out for yourself?