Essential products for better senior living
Little wonders make life easy.
Seniors today often are busier than ever with jobs, volunteer work or leisure-time activities. Some retired seniors whiz around at such a fast pace that they wonder how they ever had time for a job. Other seniors enjoy keeping part-time employment to provide income, social interactions and mental stimulation. Luckily, there are a number of essential products for seniors that make any type of work or play easier and more enjoyable.
On the Road
Navigate with Ease
Those seniors whose busy lifestyles frequently place them behind the steering wheel of an automobile or motor home are finding a generous amount of amusement and substantial peace of mind in an increasingly popular travel accessory: the onboard navigation device.
This portable, compact gadget most times is attached via a suction cup to the vehicle's windshield. The perch best enables the computer-operated device to calculate an appropriate route, based on coordiates from a global network of some two dozen solar-powered satellites. The navigator is powered by a cord that plugs into the vehicle's power port. The port is today's equivalent of the now nearly extinct cigarette lighter port.
The onboard navigator system has a touch-pad for entering one's starting point and desired destination. When one begins driving, the unit's viewing screen displays colorful graphics representing roads, bridges, rivers and other landmarks. Succinct directions displayed in easy-to-read script on the bottom of the screen may be accompanied by recorded voice prompts: Turn left in 500 feet; you have reached your destination.
Global positioning satellite (GPS) technology is responsible for this handy travel tool. Drivers who love to travel but hate to get lost are sure to marvel at how a GPS works. Chances are they will place the onboard navigator high up on their list of essential products for seniors. Major manufacturers offer units that range from about $100 for a no-frills version to higher-priced gizmos with lots of bells and whistles such as weather reports and alerts about construction delays.
In a society that is more mobile than ever before, seniors find it easy to get up and go with little prompting. Travel by plane, boat, car or in groups aboard cruise ships and tour busses is easy, especially if one has access to some products that offer a little help. Here are some favorites:
Mobility scooters: these easy-to-maneuver scooters run on a rechargeable battery and are available in many sizes. Some units are compact enough to transport in a vehicle for use on shopping trips or on vacations where walking might be overly strenuous.
Canes and walking staffs: these sturdy and attractive walking aids are available in many styles. Some models useful for folks on the go fold up from full length into shorter sections. These can be stored in baggage or in a hand-held carryall.
Nutritional computers: these fold-up units resemble laptop computers. Internal databases yield detailed info about hundreds of food items. Just place a serving on the machine's weighing pad and learn about the portion's sodium content, calories, carbohydrates, sugars, fats, etc.
In the Home
Get a Grip
Take a peek into the home of almost any active senior and you're sure to find some handy devices that make life a little easier. Products abound for seniors who need a little help. Nevertheless, seniors who have no disabilities at all also appreciate a gadget that will help complete a job with as little aggravation as possible.
The home front is the place to utilize tools to which have been added easy-to-grip, oversized handles made of cushioned plastic or rubber-like foam materials. These interchangeable handgrips can be slipped onto the shanks of knives, forks, potato peelers, can openers and paint brushes. They enable a firm grasp of the object without an overly tight contraction of the hand muscles. The handgrips also provide some bulk which makes for added control in operating a tool or utensil.
Numerous manufacturers specialize in devices that make routine activities easier. Activities such as cooking and gardening can be more fun when a person uses any of the handy assistive devices now on the market. Here are a few to consider:
Multi-purpose openers: these compact, electric, countertop units make cooking more fun. In one easy-to-operate machine, you will find an automatic jar opener, can opener and bottle opener.
Gardening seats: these portable canvas chairs fold up for easy storage and often feature several handy compartments for storing hand tools, seed packets or insect repellent.
Lift chairs: these chairs and recliners look like beautiful furniture. They feature a wide array of built-in mechanisms that tilt, elevate or otherwise enable the user to sit up and sit down with ease. Massage chairs also are a part of this family.
On the Go
Light the Way
Another convenient and budget-pleasing item that has found a ready market among seniors is a newfangled flashlight that never needs batteries. The almost unbreakable unit is charged by shaking it using a motion similar to that employed when shaking a can of spray paint. Shake-shake-shake and turn on the flashlight.
The magic is in the internal magnet that passes repeatedly through a wire coil. The motion builds a current in the flashlight's capacitor and results in a well charged flashlight that's ready when needed.
The flashlight's illuminating capabilities come not from a traditional bulb but from a brilliant LED (Light Emitting Diode) that casts a glow more than six-feet in diameter. Its non-glare light provides an always-reliable way to brighten the path to the bathroom at night or reveal the coin that was dropped behind the couch. A flashlight one can count on is certainly a must-have on the list of essential products for seniors.
And a flashlight that never needs batteries means added savings, too. This product runs the gamut on the price range; it can be found in many retail stores for less than $10 or in fancier outlets for about $40. Most models can be shake-charged hundreds of times.
Reading small print sometimes is a troublesome task. Fine print such as that found in television program guides and many paperback books presents a problem for many people. Some seniors find it helpful to use one of the compact magnifiers now on the market. The magnifiers come in many shapes; some resemble long, slim wands which are useful for scanning a full page of print, a few lines at a time. Others are flat and have a rectangular shape that just about covers an entire page of a phone book or a goodly portion of a newspaper.
Some magnifiers are the size of a credit card and fit into a protective case or plastic sleeve. Those types are easily tucked into a pocket, wallet or purse. Many feature a bright but tiny built-in light that comes in handy when illumination is needed to read a menu in a candle-lit restaurant or a playbill in a darkened theater. The light is embedded into the perimeter of the magnifier. It is turned on and off by squeezing an indicated spot on the gadget's frame.
In the world of essential products for seniors there are multitudes of inventions that make most folks glad they live in modern times, instead of in the so-called good old days. This handy magnifier is a keeper, for sure. A wealth of handy devices await to make reading, recreation, hobbies and all kinds of activities a snap. Here is a sample:
Talking caller ID: this little machine identifies in a clear announcement the origin of incoming phone calls. No longer is there a need to peer at a small screen to visually determine who is calling. The unit announces the name or phone number of the caller.
Giant-size playing cards: oversized playing cards with jumbo graphics put an added measure of comfort and fun into any get-together with card-playing friends. Jumbo size card decks for bridge also are popular.
Exercise systems: the variety in exercise systems built with seniors in mind is astounding. Elliptical trainers, recumbent bicycles, step machines and treadmills designed for use underwater in a swimming pool are among the offerings. Anybody up for a swim?