By Jennifer DiSipio, Owner of Senior Doodads
The lack of sleep I’m getting, let’s blame it on menopause, is having some benefit. My back is more limber! When I’m not lying in bed for 6-8 hours at one time, my back isn’t as stiff when I wake up. Considering these stiff backs, or plump middles, that we get as we get older, I realized there are 5 simple gadgets that every senior needs.
Everyone needs a reacher in the house, whether you’re tall or short, old or young. If you’re tall, the reacher helps to pick items up off of the floor. If you’re short, it can reach those top shelves. If you have that big tummy or rigid back, it comes in handy all day – socks, shoes, pants, cereal box, laundry. Speaking of laundry, you should keep one by the dryer to pick up all of those socks that fall behind the dryer that you can’t reach. Unless of course, you are needing an excuse to get the 6′ 5″ grandson to come over for a visit, then by all means, hide the reacher!
Long Handled Shoe Horn
Similar aspects apply to the long handled shoe horn. As your tummies get bigger and backs get stiffer, it’s a long way down to put those shoes on. Even if you can bend over, it’s still quite a twist to your low back and hips to get those shoes on. Arthritic fingers are also difficult to get in the back of the shoe to slide your heel in. Shoe horns also keep the backs of your shoes looking much nicer. These long handles are wonderful where you can even stand up and put your shoes on, but can I recommend sitting down for safety!
I always say you can never have too many grab bars, particularly in the bathroom, where everyone seems to fall, especially at night. You need to have a bar by your entrance to the shower, to help you in and out. Depending on the layout of your bathroom, this may double as a bar in front of the toilet to help you up and down as well. Inside the shower, you should have an angled or horizontal bar on the far wall to hold on to while you are bathing, particularly washing your hair. Beware when you close your eyes, there goes your focus for balance, and if you’re holding on to a grab bar you won’t have to have an au natural greeting with the local firemen. You can get grab bars today that are very pretty and decorative. We used grab bars on our bathroom walls as towel bars, so we could hold on to them while we were in the bathroom. We had room to hang our towels over them while stilling having a space for a hand hold.
Nightlights are needed throughout your home. As you get older, your eyes don’t see as well in the dark and you need that light to level your vision to keep your balance. You should most definitely put nightlights in the bathroom – they have automatic ones, some you turn on, a few that glow in the toilet bowl, and also motion lights. You can pick to your heart’s desire. Any stairs or single steps in the house should also have a nightlight, as a cue to not forget it is there in the dark lurking. The nighttime cookie monster says you should have a nightlight in your kitchen for those midnight trips.
All I can think of is Archie Bunker sitting in his chair yelling at Edith and Meathead. But he did have a well-fitting chair. Most of us today love a good recliner and they are good for you to elevate your legs, allowing you to rest better and eliminate any swelling. But most people today buy big plush recliners that fit you so poorly. A recliner shouldn’t be too wide, it should just fit your hips, so that you can push up out of it easily with the arms close by. If the arms are too wide, you cannot get a good push to get up. Most importantly, check the seat depth. I’m talking to you little ladies and gentlemen. The seat of the chair should fit you from your back to where your knees bend and not have a huge space to fill in behind you. This just causes you to slouch and increases your back pain. The other common factor you see in these fancy recliners are huge fluffy headrests. Sit straight up in your chair and see if you can look straight ahead, the pillow should not push your head forward or down. Again, my shorter friends, you may need a less tall back to hit you correctly. As you spend more time in the chair or recliner watching the Price is Right or Let’s Make a Deal, you don’t want it to be at the detriment of your posture.
By the way, get out of that chair and move or walk at least every 2 hours in the daytime. That is what’s helping my back, by not sleeping well and getting up every 2-3 hours and walking, my back is less stiff. My dark circles may be thriving, but my back is better! Add these simple gadgets to your home to live your best life.