Great Gadgets for Assisted or Independent Living Seniors

Independent living products for seniors on the market today are as innovative as they are helpful. Some also serve to bridge the digital generation gap so that seniors can retain a certain level of independence and confidence. Great gift ideas too!

Here is a list of our top 10 picks!

1. Automatic jar opener

The Hamilton Beach Open Ease Automatic Jar Opener makes quick work of those pesky jars, which can be extremely difficult for even young people. Helps seniors with arthritis or strength issues open all kinds of stubborn jars and bottles – even child-proof prescription bottles!

2.Electronic calendar for seniors

3. Temperature-activated flow reducer

Attach this anti-scald device, to a faucet or showerhead to ensure the water stays at a safe temperature. Easy to install – no plumber needed! Can be used in private & public housing, child care centers, hotels & nursing homes. Automatically shuts-off water to a trickle before scalding occurs!

4. Motion-activated toilet night light

Just when you thought you’ve seen everything! This motion-activated toilet night light illuminates the entire bathroom so you don’t have to waste energy with a night light or keep sleep-disrupted overhead lights turned on. The built in motion sensor detects body heat to automatically illuminate the room when you enter and shut off when you leave at night. And you can choose your color, too!

5. Rocking garden seat

Being outdoors and gardening is a wonderful pastime but can be physically demanding as we age. It’s especially hard on the knees and back. With the height-adjustable, patented Garden Rocker Seat, the contoured rocking base works with you while you are weeding, planting, or just performing routine chores around the home.

6. TV listening speaker

My mother swears by this speaker! With two hearing aids, she used to blast the volume, which can be annoying to other people in the home, neighbors, or even pets. The Serene Innovations Listening Speaker enables her to hear words clearly right next to her with adjustable audio levels. It’s also portable for when you’re thirsty but don’t want to miss the dialogue when getting a glass of water.

7. Simple big button remote control

Designed for seniors in mind, this remote uses big button text for easy-to-see use, even in the dark. It also includes a strong but comfortable wrist strap to prevent it from getting lost. The remote controls both the TV and cable box and programming is simple. Especially helpful to people with low or impaired vision.

8. Doorbell-telephone flashing-light signaler

Easy to install and operate, this wireless doorbell plugs into any standard wall outlet. Use it for front, side, or back doors to gain security and peace of mind. There is a variety of melodies to choose from, but the flashing light will always work even if you set the doorbell to silent-mode.

9. Portable walking cane / chair combo

Having the ability to sit and rest comfortably can make life much more enjoyable, and allows you to stroll longer and further. This lightweight portable walking chair gives you much-needed support when you need it the most. It’s easy to fold up using the attached Velcro strap when you want to use it as a cane.

10. Smart Light Outlet

If you are concerned about your loved one getting up at night and falling, or – if they have memory issues – wandering, the Smart Light Outlet will turn on a light when triggered by a cordless floor or bed mat. The cordless monitor alerts you even if you’re in another room while providing illumination when someone gets out of bed.

These and other products can be a great help for seniors to extend their independence to improve their safety and comfort while providing caregivers with peace of mind!

Senior COVID Survival Plan: Six Steps to Staying Steady

Surviving COVID, on top of ALZ caregiving, is like surviving the free fall of skydiving. It takes a Senior COVID Survival plan—and practice—to stay steady enough to open our parachutes in these stormy times. Here are half-a-dozen steps, grounded in science and personal experience, that make up my daily action plan.

1. Spotlight self-care

Because it lays the foundation for mentally managing a perilous world
So, I stress physical activity, sleep, exercise, healthy eats, and social contacts

2. Schedule uplifting activities

Because we all need to get out of our heads and into our lives
So, I engage in prized projects, healthy distractions, and enjoyable ventures

3. Take a tranquilizer

Because in-the-moment soothing can calm jittery nerves
So, I turn to the 4-7-8 breathing technique: inhale-hold-exhale—4 times

4. Adopt a broad perspective

Because it lets us be with stress, not be our stress, thus easing its hold on us
So, I mentally step back, observe, and make room for stress

5. Allow my upsets

Because common practice—pushing away upsets—just adds to our misery
So, I open myself to feelings, even when I dislike them, and just let them be

6. Give myself a hug

Because self-compassion takes the edge off feeling crummy
So, I offer kindness to myself just as I would hug a fragile friend

So, how about you? Might you consider a Senior COVID Survival plan? Given your unique values, circumstances, needs, and leanings, what daily steps might you take to maintain your steadiness, open your parachute, and survive in these scary times?

By Jerry Murphy

Jerry Murphy is a member of the Alzheimer’s Association Caregivers Support Group at Cadbury Commons run by our social worker Lisa Walts.

How to Help Seniors Transition to Long-Term Care Facilities

Caregivers who are making decisions about long-term care for seniors may be feeling the strain of the pandemic, as the current housing market is unstable. While it may seem a tricky time to make the choice to sell their home to pay for long-term care, it’s an important step to helping them get the proper help they need. Challenges aside, you can still sell a home right now, as long as you take advantage of technology and resources.

Choosing Options when Considering Long-Term Care for Seniors 

If it’s time to consider long-term care options for your elderly or disabled loved one, be sure to research the full range of living situations available. Assisted living facilities are a great option for seniors who need help with daily tasks, such as taking medications, cooking, cleaning, and bathing. If your senior needs more constant medical care or they are in decline, a nursing home may be more appropriate.

However, if your senior loved one is still able to take care of many daily tasks on their own, an independent senior living community might be right for them. Independent senior living can still provide access to important amenities such as medical care while also offering entertainment and dining options in the facility.

No matter if you choose assisted or independent living, Cadbury Commons has a team of caring and compassionate professionals that you and your senior loved one can trust. Amenities for your loved one include opportunities for physical fitness, intellectual and artistic activities, and entertaining special events and trips.

Selling Your Loved One’s Home

It may be a difficult subject to broach with your loved one, but selling their home is a key step in helping them transition into a long-term care living situation. Once the decision has been made to move, caregivers should help their loved one choose which belongings to keep. Much of this will depend on what they can take with them to their new home; some long-term care facilities such as nursing homes have limits on how many personal items each resident can bring.

It can be a sensitive process to help someone let go of belongings, so be patient as you work with them to declutter. Start small, taking on just one room at a time, and limiting the cleaning process to just 30 minutes or an hour each time. Help them make decisions about selling versus donating, and suggest they pass family heirlooms down to younger family members.

How to Use Technology to Sell a Home During COVID-19

Once you’ve helped your senior declutter their home, it’s time to get it ready to sell. During the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s a good idea to explore virtual staging instead of hiring a company. Not only is it much easier than lugging furniture around the house, it’s much more affordable.

Find a real estate agent who is savvy with virtual showing options, such as 3D walk-throughs and video tours. Taking detailed photographs and offering live video tours is the safest way to show your elderly loved one’s home during COVID-19 and can save everyone time in the long run. By using online resources for showing your senior’s home, you can weed out the casual buyers and limit the number of times people enter your loved one’s home.

Safely showing a home during a pandemic

When you’re ready to have an in-person tour, ask your real estate agent to follow strict cleaning guidelines. Place hand sanitizer at the entrance, and ask every person touring the house to use it before entering. Require masks for all viewers, and request that they limit their time in the home and avoid touching surfaces and doorknobs. Be sure to maintain physical distancing, and thoroughly clean the home between showings.

Many long-term care facilities can be expensive, and the sale of your loved one’s home will help ensure there will be funds to cover their needs. While it may be a painful process for them to let go of their home, the peace of mind gained for both you and your senior will be worth the hardship. Use technology to help sell their home safely and efficiently, and lean on an experienced real estate agent to help you through the process.

By June Duncan – [email protected]

(Photo credit: Unsplash)

5 Tips for Seniors to Keep Cool in the Heat

1. Avoid Direct Sunlight

We’ve all been somewhat cooped up recently, so it’s tempting to get out and bask in the sun. However, your skin is even more sensitive to sunlight when you’ve spent long periods of time indoors. Going out early or late in the day can help you avoid the strongest rays (and heat).

Lather up! It can be a chore, but sunscreen lotions with SPF 30 really do help prevent sunburn and irritation. Think about a light spray for your scalp if your hair is thinning.

Walk on the shady side of the street!  Or enjoy a walk on a shady trail. If you can’t avoid the full sun, it’s becoming more and more common to carry a UV-resistant umbrella. You can even buy a specially designed backpack to hold it for you!

2. Hydrate

You know the drill!  No matter what your age, staying hydrated is essential to prevent heatstroke.

Flavoring water with fruit, cucumber, or mint helps to encourage regular hydration. You can also add electrolytes if you sweat excessively. There are a wide variety of convenient bottles and thermoses that keep liquids cold (including ice cubes) for up to 24 hours.

Tired of water? Try a fresh herbal ice tea! But lose the caffeine, if possible. Because it’s a diuretic and can promote further fluid loss, it’s best to avoid it.

3. Serve Cool Foods

Did you know cooler foods can also prevent heat exhaustion? As great as it is to grill, some chilled salads, fruits or soups (like gazpacho) might be a better and healthier choice. You can add more nutrition (and protein) with smoothies. Planning to go on a boat ride or sit at the beach? Consider a portable blender; some even chop ice!

3. Choose Cooler Clothing

Stay loose! Lightweight, light-colored, breathable, loose-fitting clothing help to promote airflow, evaporation, and to reflect sunlight. If skin protection is a priority, consider UV-resistant shirts, pants, or swim attire.

Add a hat and sunglasses. If you don’t have an umbrella, there are big packable hats that you can keep in the car or even in your pocket. As we age, our eyes can have difficulty adjusting to very bright sunlight. Sunglasses help you avoid eye strain and headaches. With these heat-busting fashion suggestions, you’ll look and feel cool!

5. Bathe or Mist Yourself in Cool Water

Portable personal misters and mini AC units can really help you in a pinch. More than a fan, these lifesavers allow you to fill up reservoirs of cold ice water to provide a cool moist breeze. Some need an electrical outlet to operate, but others work on batteries or through air pressure.

Your local pharmacy may sell towels that are already moist and sealed to break open when you really need it, but you can also grab your own towel and wrap it around your neck.

If you can’t take a dip in the ocean or a pool, consider a lukewarm bath or shower.

Warning Signs of Heat Stroke

Remember to check on your senior friends, neighbors, and family during heat waves and consider seeking medical attention if you or a loved one starts to experience some of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • nausea
  • dizziness
  • rapid heartbeat
  • difficulty breathing

A little preparedness can help go a long way to ensure a safe and enjoy summer, even on the hottest of days!

(Photo credit: “Sun over Georgia Sea Islands” by crowdive is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)