Most of us know the commercial, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up! No doubt, many of us look at that and hope that we never find ourselves in that situation. However, as time marches on and we age, the likelihood that we will find ourselves in that situation, well, increases.
Working with the elderly and aging population, I am reminded everyday that the things we do all the time, without thinking about it while we are young(er), are the very things that many of us, like it or not, will struggle with as we age. Its the small nuances in our everyday life that give us the subtle reminders that we ain’t as young as we used to be. Whether it be feeling more sore after a workout, difficulty opening up a jar of ‘something’, feeling a bit less agile as we do something that we have always done, or not being able to see as far and clear as we once did, these are all the reminders we choose to intentionally ignore (because the alternative is way too uncomfortable). And no doubt, most (think all) of us can identify with one of those things (and knowing the list is way longer than that).
As I watch people struggle with many of those things, there’s a part of me that rationally knows I may struggle in the same way, but another part of me wishes that it will not be that way. But, in truth, only time will tell. And, many of the clinicians that work in my practice go to people’s homes to provide therapy, notice these very same things, too. However, the silver lining in that is that its an opportunity to help the elderly who choose to age at home, get the ‘gadgets’ they really need to live a more comfortable life with greater ease and less struggle.
Martha, age 95 loves to read, despite her diminishing eyesight. She refuses to give up her large print books and continues to plug along. However, in order to do that, she has to hold a magnifying glass up to the book, which poses another problem especially in the evenings because it’s dark. It was suggested she purchase a small book light that will clip on her book and provide the direct light she needs, while also allowing her to hold the magnifying glass. She liked this idea. She also likes to watch television in the evening yet because the volume has to be turned up (due to hearing problems) it’s difficult for her home health aide to sleep. This problem was further magnified because there is a monitor in each room. So, it was also suggested she add headphones that are hooked up to the tv so that only she can hear the tv, allowing her home health aide to sleep soundly. This worked too!
Much of the elderly population is not equipped to handle the ever changing world of technology. Although many of them may have little interest in learning the new technology, there are many that do. According to one octogenarian in a recent Business Line article, ‘we are open to change, and all we need is someone to guide us and help us embrace technology in our daily life.’ This is a place where their adult children or other caregivers, are often more savvy yet can really make a difference in their elderly parent’s lives. Just knowing how to navigate the internet to discover all the hidden gems and gadgets that would improve the quality of their parent’s lives.
At remember, at the end of the day, a little help can absolutely go a long way.
Here are just a few (of the hundreds) gadgets that can be can be game changers!