Assistive Devices Make Independent Living Easier

Armen Hareyan's picture

Growing Older and Independent Living

Nobody says the physical changes of growing older come easy. That doesn't mean you can't still do it your way - with a little help from assistive devices.

The August issue of Mayo Clinic Women's HealthSource shares tips and tools to make daily chores safer and more convenient.

Kitchen cart: A cart on wheels is a good way to transport many items at a once, such as moving items from a cabinet to a counter or plates and silverware to the table.

Utensils: Look for peelers, knives and other utensils with larger, rubberized handles. Specially designed kitchen knives with large handles can make food preparation safer. Cutting boards with spikes in the center to hold a fruit or vegetable in place may also help.

Grab bars: Install these in your shower or tub to help you get in and out.


Bath bench: A special seat inserted in your tub allows you to sit down while bathing. If you have a walk-in shower, consider a fold-down seat that attaches to the wall.

Foam tubing: Put foam tubing, available at hardware stores, around your toothbrush and hairbrush handles to make them easier to grasp.

Bedrail: A sturdy bedrail, available at medical supply stores, can make it easier to get in and out of bed by giving you something to hang on to. A high, firm bed is easier to get out of than a lower, softer one.

Zipper ring: Loop a key ring through your zipper to make it easier to grip and give you more leverage.

Buttonhook: This gadget eliminates fumbling with buttons. Slip the hook through your buttonhole, catch the button and pull it back through.

Long-handled shoehorn: A shoehorn that's at least 18 inches in length can greatly ease the task of getting your shoes on without bending over.

The tools and tips here are a small sample of what's available. An occupational therapist can do a customized assessment of your needs and make recommendations. Ask a doctor or local hospital for a referral.