Life Hacks for Seniors

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Life hacks seem to abound everywhere these days. From life hacks for college students to life hacks for parents, someone usually has a suggestion about how to implement a trick, skill, shortcut or unique way to make life easier.

If you’re a senior, open your mind to some of these useful life hacks that may make your life a bit easier. It’s no secret that with age, certain activities of everyday living can become a struggle due to decreased mobility, failing memory or any number of health issues. Any little tip or trick that can ease the frustrations is always useful to have.

Do you experience difficulty reaching items in the back of your refrigerator? Consider putting a lazy Susan or turntable on the top shelf so you can rotate it to gain easy access to what you need by bringing it right in front of you.

If opening jars presents a challenge for you, put on a pair of rubber gloves to make that task easier. Are you finding it difficult to maintain a firm and confident grip on cups? Wrap some rubber bands around cups and mugs, which will make it easier for weak, shaky or arthritic hands to grip. You could also apply this life hack to other items used daily, such as a toothbrush, a comb or pens.
If you have a cell phone with camera capabilities, take a picture of the items in your refrigerator, freezer and cupboards where you keep dry goods so when you go to the grocery store, you will remember what you need. When taking groceries from the car to the kitchen, use a small utility cart with a handle to make that job a bit easier.

Chopping ingredients for recipes can be difficult. Bypass this tedious task and opt for prepared foods such as pre-chopped onions, minced garlic and frozen vegetables and fruit. All you have to do is toss them into the saucepan!

Use an old skirt or trouser hanger as a recipe holder. Hang it from a cupboard handle, clip your favorite recipe into place and you’re ready to cook.

Cleaning the shower head easier when you fill a plastic bag with white vinegar and secure the bag around the head with a rubber band. Let the shower head soak in the liquid overnight and then remove it in the morning to discover a shiny, clean head!

If that bar of slippery soap refuses to stay in your hands and falls to the tub or shower floor, grab an old pair of pantyhose and cut it in half so you have one leg. Place the bar of soap in the foot of that leg and tie the other end to the shower head or to a grab bar.

There are many medication tracking applications available on smartphones, but if technology isn’t your thing, use a calendar stuck to the refrigerator or make a chart to help you track when to take your medicine. Pill organizers offer a great way to help you take your medication at the right times each day. Use inexpensive plastic bins or even shoe boxes to keep your medicine bottles organized and within reach.

Around the House
Ditch your rugs. They pose a significant fall risk for older people. If you want to keep them, secure them to the floor with double-sided tape.

If you struggle to see well at night, carry a small flashlight to help you navigate from the bedroom to the bathroom, for example, so you don’t trip and fall. This is especially helpful if you are staying somewhere unfamiliar, such as at a hotel or someone else’s home.

Storing household cleaning products in lower cabinets can put a strain on you physically when you stoop down and reach for them. Instead, place a hanging shoe rack over the back of a kitchen or utility room door and store your supplies in the pockets.

Using different colors of nail polish, paint a small dot of color on your keys to help you remember what key is needed to open the front door (blue dot), garage door (red dot), etc. That way, you don’t have to fumble with a key chain full of keys to figure out which one you need in the moment.

If you struggle with vision problems, add raised button stickers to remote controls and phone buttons to make finding the on and off switches and volume controls easier.

This is just a sampling of the hundreds of useful life hacks you can incorporate into your daily life to make things easier and to help you maintain your independence. We cannot stop the aging process, but we surely can employ a few tricks along the way to make it easier. ■

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