Lifestyle23 March 2018

3 smart inventions that keep people living independently longer


In the past, the move from complete independence to aged care could seem quite sudden to older Aussies and their family members. Just a few difficulties with everyday life could see someone who treasured their independence fit the definition of someone needing residential care. But over the past couple of decades, designers and aged care professionals have developed a number of gadgets that could help many older people stay living in their own homes for longer. Here are just a few of them.

1. Glass toaster

Ever forget to turn the toaster setting back down from the top notch? Or have you put the toaster on for another round for extra crispiness, only to forget to watch it? It might be no big deal for the average Joe, but for older people, toaster mishaps (and the resultant fire alarms) can cause families to think that older people aren’t safe at home alone. In an ABC interview, an aged care chief exec said that ‘With a glass-sided toaster you can see the toast brown. It eliminates, in our experience, 100% of smoke alarms going off, and takes away that (worry).’1 

2. Mobility clothing

One of the biggest challenges for older people, as they lose mobility and flexibility, is simply getting dressed in the morning. But a few smart fashion designers are finding ways to get around limitations like inability to lean over or reach arms above one’s head. For example, ‘petal back’ designs eliminate the need to struggle with buttons or pull-over tops.2 Velcro tabs with faux buttons eliminate fiddliness while letting men keep wearing the styles they’re used to.3

3. Adapted crockery and cutlery

Regular china and silverware can be a bit trickier to manage if you’ve got an impairment such as joint pain or vision problems. That’s where adapted versions like Eatwell come in.4 Eatwell is a tableware set with features to make it easier to eat, as well as prevent accidents. Features include non-slip bases, a slanted bowl, specially curved spoons with sideways grips, and bright colours to contrast with food. There’s also Liftware, the self-stabilising cutlery handles.5

When it’s time to think about aged care …

If you’re looking at aged care for a parent or grandparent, it pays to know how the assessment system works, and what to look out for when choosing homes. Understandably you want the best for your loved one, but there are lots of different options out there, even within each care level. The same goes for when you’re planning for your retirement. There’s a chance that one day you’ll need to live in residential care, but will you be able to identify (and afford) the type of home you’d like to live in? What you learn now could save you a lot of effort and heartache in the future. 

1 Accessed 20 March 2018
2 Accessed 20 March 2018
3 Accessed 20 March 2018
4 Accessed 20 March 2018
5 Accessed 20 March 2018

This article is general information only. Readers should consider getting financial advice before making financial decisions.

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