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December 2020

Stay Independent and Active with These Simple Fixes

Do you have some trouble walking up stairs? Maybe you have a hard time turning on the water faucet? These changes are common with age. The good news is that there are ways to stay independent and make life easier. And you don’t have to redo your entire home or drastically change your life to do so. A few simple fixes can help you stay safe, active, and enjoying life to its fullest. 

A little help goes a long way

Talk with your healthcare provider about tasks you find challenging. If you have a health condition, such as diabetes or arthritis, ask your provider how it might affect your daily life in the future. Often, simple changes—nonskid strips in your bathtub or help making meals—are all you need to stay independent. 

Modifications to make life easier

There are numerous products available to help you stay mobile, safe, and independent at home, such as self-opening scissors, voice-operated smartphones, and wearable emergency alert systems. Many options to make life easier won’t cost you much. Here are a few common home trouble spots and some solutions:

  • Buy lightweight pots and pans if you have arthritis. Heavy cast-iron cookware is hard to hold.

  • If a doorway is too narrow for a walker or wheelchair, have offset hinges installed. They will give the door extra clearance when it swings.

  • Install lever-style door handles, which are easier to grasp and open than round doorknobs.

  • Mount grab bars to help you get on and off the toilet. Bars in the shower and railings on stairways can also help you avoid falls. Make sure they are placed at a height where you can grasp them easily.

  • Remove loose rugs to avoid tripping. 

  • Use rollout shelves in kitchen cabinets to make it easier to reach the things you need.

  • When the sidewalks are slippery, walk on the grass for better footing.

  • Don’t walk around in socks at home. Wear supportive, low-heeled shoes.

  • Set a flashlight next to your bed in case the power goes out.

  • Put in night lights to avoid tripping over objects you can’t see on nighttime trips to the bathroom.

  • Keep things in easy-to-reach places. For example, put appliances you use frequently on the kitchen counter. 

Enlist a support team

Friends, family members, and neighbors are often willing to lend a hand. It doesn’t have to take up much of their time. For example, a neighbor could easily pick up your groceries during their weekly market trip. You could also trade services with someone else. Did you work as an accountant? Maybe you could help a neighbor with finances. In return, they could install grab bars in your bathroom. 

Additional resources

Your local Area Agency on Aging may offer services to help older adults live independently, such as financial assistance programs or transportation services. Call 800-677-1116 or visit https://eldercare.acl.gov to find out what resources are in your community. And to learn more about products that assist with daily living, visit www.at3center.com.

Remember, you have plenty of resources to help you with daily tasks. Friends, local groups, and home improvements can help you maintain your quality of life and independence as you age.



Online Medical Reviewer: Kenneth Mukamal MD
Online Medical Reviewer: Ray Turley, BSN, MSN
Date Last Reviewed: 10/1/2020
© 2000-2021 The StayWell Company, LLC. All rights reserved. This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
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