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Household hacks for older people in 2019

25th February 2019

Buying a house is an enormous occasion. After years of savings and months of planning, the anticipation for the big move can sometimes seem overwhelming. Nevertheless, at the end of this journey is a beautiful house that you get to share with your loved ones. Over the years, your home will go through a lot, whether that’s something monumental like the birth of your child to finally giving the kitchen the makeover you’ve dreamed of. However, as your house goes through all these changes, you will too.

As you age, you may begin to notice that elements of your house are no longer working for you. Whereas you may have previously loved the bathroom for its large shower and light, breezy windows, it may now be a room that leaves you feeling apprehensive to use it. With age often comes changes to your levels of mobility, and the excitement that you once felt for the large space can begin to dwindle. One of the biggest reasons why this may cause you stress is due to the cost that making changes to your home may come accompanied with; fitting a new kitchen all those years ago might have come with a massive expense, so it’s understandable that you’d believe investing in a few mobility-friendly elements should too. With this in mind, however, there are a few household hacks which you can use to re-invent in the rooms you once loved.


The bathroom

When you find manoeuvring around your house hard and have trouble standing for extended periods of time, it is more than likely that your bathroom is one of the hardest rooms in the house for you to use, especially if unsupervised. Low baths and freestanding showers can be difficult for those diagnosed with conditions like arthritis to use, as they require your body to be in positions you might find uncomfortable. Despite this, there is a number of different hacks that will allow you to regain your independence in the bathroom.

Grab bars are an inexpensive way of providing you stability on slippery surfaces. Although towel bars are a good example of this, they are often not built to support the weight, so are a hazard if used to help raise yourself out of the bath. Solid grab bars can be securely fastened to the wall close to where you would normally enter and exit the bath and/or shower. For further support, the addition of rubber will be slip-resistant for use when your hands are wet.

In addition to grab bars near to the bath and shower, your toilet is also an area where you could benefit from some. Instead of having these attached to the wall, there are frames available that slot around your toilet. These can be removed when needed, but also mean that you can use the toilet without aid. If you often feel aches and pains in your knees, you might benefit from a raised toilet seat. These simply slip under your existing seat and have arms, meaning that you will feel supported.

In the shower, a grab bar might not be seen as a necessity but something to support your weight if you feel unsteady is. Before you begin making alterations to your shower, you need to find a non-slip mat to the tray. Although a permanent option works best, there are now varieties on the market which are incredibly durable and stick for extended periods of time, meaning that you won’t trip from any corners that have peeled back. Or, if you can’t fit a mat with the right dimensions, a spray adhesive creates traction between your feet and the shower tray, preventing falls or slips. A safety seat in the shower is a must-have, in addition to a removable shower head. This gives you a variety of uses for your shower, and the seat means that you mustn’t worry about standing for long periods of time.

Although there are a plethora of different items that can be purchased to help your bathroom work better for you, there are also various hacks that you can achieve at home using things you already own. One of the simplest options is placing a sock inside a pair of tights or a stocking. Due to the flexibility of the material, this can be tied in your shower, permanently housing a bar of soap. If you have painful conditions such as arthritis and find that your grip isn’t as good as it once was or, similarly, your shower doesn’t have enough room for you to comfortably manoeuvre, the use of a stocking eliminates worry from not being able to pick up the soap.

Another bathroom hack has to do with medication. If you find that you have a cabinet full of tablets that you need to take daily, only for you to struggle opening the bottles, there are some easy ways to avoid trouble. The child-safety mechanisms can be difficult at the best of times, but especially in older age. If you keep your tablets in pots, ask your pharmacist to place them in a container without a child-safety feature. Alternatively, you can purchase pots that are separated into days of the week, which are helpful.


The Kitchen

Buying food and it spoiling before you have time to eat it can be an annoyance, not to mention expensive as you’re having to replenish your supplies. However, there are many different ways in which you can prolong the shelf life of your fresh food, including storing tomatoes upside down to prevent moisture from gathering inside the fruit.

When buying a bunch of bananas, you can sometimes feel rushed in order to eat them before they turn brown. A quick and simple fix to this is to wrap the end of the bunch in cling film, as this will prevent the gas from escaping each banana. Alternatively, sometimes you will purchase bananas that aren’t quite ripe enough, meaning that you have to wait extended periods of time before you can enjoy one. This is where having a stock of paper bags comes in useful, as placing one inside the bag can speed up the ripening process.

There are many other useful hacks that you can install around the kitchen to help you. Many people find that the addition of a Lazy Susan, a turntable which is commonly found on garden furniture, to their fridge allows them to rotate what is on the shelf, making it easier to grab the item that they need without having to strain. Additionally, if you find that you struggle to grip utensils, adding a rubber sleeve increases the surface area that you have to hold, making it slightly easier to use.


We know that buying a stairlift can help you to manoeuvre easily around your home, allowing you to regain your sense of independence, but there is a variety of other things that you can do at home to help make each day a little simpler. Falls are one of the biggest problems that those with reduced mobility may face around the house, and although you may have invested in a stairlift for your main flight of stairs, you may have a couple of steps here and there that still cause issues. Placing different colours on each of the steps allows you to see how deep each tread is, alerting you as to when you should take each step. Rugs in the kitchen can often slip, especially if you have a shiny laminate of tile flooring underneath. Securing these in place with a slip-resistant mat is a great fix for this, as is attaching the rug with tape to ensure that any edges stay stuck down.

If you have arthritis or trouble with your joints, sitting down on your furniture can sometimes lead to aches and strains. However, purchasing new furniture is an unnecessary expense. Leg extenders can be placed under your sofa, raising it up to a height that is more comfortable for you to sit at. Additionally, if you have drawers around your home that are home to inanimate objects, you may find that these typically gather more dirt and dust than you can account for. For easy cleaning, line these with drawer liners. Not only will they make the drawers look more decorative, but you can simply pull the sheet out and replace with a new one when necessary.


The best household hacks for older people

  • Install handles in the bathroom
  • Purchase a raised toilet seat
  • Secure bathroom mats with tape or replace with a slip-free option
  • Add a seat to your shower
  • Place soap inside a stocking for use in the shower
  • Remove medication from bottles with child-proof locks
  • Store tomatoes upside down
  • Wrap ends of bananas in cling film to preserve for longer
  • Place bananas in paper bags to ripen
  • Add a Lazy Susan to your fridge
  • Place rubber grips on utensils
  • Add coloured strips to the treads of your stairs
  • Purchase leg extenders to raise your sofa up
  • Add drawer liners for easy cleaning


This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.