Assistive Devices for Elderly Adults

Daily activities become more difficult as we get older but luckily, there are hundreds of devices to help the elderly live rich, productive lives. These devices and gadgets can be used for everything from walking to ensuring home safety. In this post, we will review devices to help with daily living, safety, and other joys in life.Image of Happy senior woman sitting on wheelchair

Activities of Daily Living

Assistive devices for elderly adults can help with everyday activities from eating to reading. Let’s take a look at some useful tools to help a senior with daily living.

Walking Assistance Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Walkers
      • Pros: adjustable to height and weight; easy to fold and transport; great for indoor use
      • Cons: Standard walkers are not great at handling uneven terrain (though wheeled walkers can be used in this case)
    • Wheelchairs
      • Pros: accommodates different types of seating and postural support; accommodates different types of accessories such as trays, cup holders, and cushions; the tight turning radius is great for small indoor spaces
      • Cons: narrow base and wheel size makes it less adept at handling outdoor terrain
    • Motorized scooters
      • Pros: great for extensive outdoor use; suitable for those who can’t use a wheelchair due to strength, balance, endurance, or coordination issues
      • Cons: large turning radius provides difficulty in cramped indoor spaces; large weight makes it difficult to transport from place to place
  • Therapeutic tricycles can also help strengthen legs and improve balance skills, especially for those with cerebral palsy
  • Researchers and manufacturers are looking into new mobility devices for the elderly every day
    • The Angel Arm Exoskeleton recently helped a child with spinal muscular atrophy move her arm.
    • Musical apps have also helped those with SMA to participate in the arts, which has proven to enrich lives.
Lifting Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Patient lifts
      • Helps caregiver transfer patient from bed to chair and back
      • Operated by hydraulic-manual pumping or electric motor
    • Patient slings
      • Holds the patient and connects to the lift
      • Come in many shapes and fabrics
    • Pick up devices for elderly may come equipped with the following:
      • Suction cups
      • Foldable designs
      • Claws
      • Rotators
Memory Aid Devices for Elderly Adults
  • Examples
    • Medication reminder boxes
      • Features different compartments for each day
      • May come equipped with alarms to alert when to take medication
    • Smartphone apps
      • Alert when to take vitamins/medication
      • Google Maps and other GPS tracking devices
      • Games can help sharpen their mental capacities
    • Home-monitoring devices
      • Turns off lights or changes thermostat temperatures at specified times
      • Can also send alerts via text
    • Brain implants, memory chips, and other biological advancements are also starting to create Alzheimer’s breakthroughs.

 

Assistive Eating Devices
  • Eating can be difficult for the following reasons:
    • Hand tremors or Parkinson’s
    • Weakness or arthritis
    • Hand mobility issues
  • Features of assistive eating devices for elderly
    • Ergonomic
    • Spill guards
    • Easy to hold and handle
Urinary Incontinence Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Sheet protectors, absorbent bed pads, and mattress protectors
      • Absorbent
      • Keeps sheets dry and prevents you from washing loads of laundry every day
    • Adult diapers
      • Discreet
      • Come in all shapes and sizes to achieve the level of absorbency you need
    • Overnight underwear
      • More absorbent than daytime diapers
      • Hold more liquid, making it great for nighttime use
    • Kegel exercise weight
      • Strengthens the pelvic floor muscles of elderly individuals with a vagina
      • Helps prevent leakage from weak pelvic floor muscles
    • Penile clamp
      • Compresses the urethra of elderly individuals with a penis
      • Reusable and eco-friendly
Hearing Devices for Elderly Adults
  • Examples
    • Hearing aids
      • Behind-the-ear
      • In-the-ear
      • Canal aids
    • Personal sound amplification products
      • More affordable than hearing aids
      • Can be purchased by anyone without requiring referrals, custom molds, or expert fittings
Magnifying Devices for Elderly Individuals
  • Examples
    • Hand magnifying glasses
    • Hands-free magnifying glasses or full-page magnifiers
    • Digital magnifiers

Technology

Technology can help seniors stay in touch with loved ones and provide help with daily living. Let’s take a look at assistive technology devices for elderly individuals.

Smart Home Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Personal assistants
      • Amazon Echo
      • Google Home
    • Smart plugs, which automatically turn off your stove
    • Smart bulbs, which activates lights via voice commands
    • Smart fridges, which connect to smart devices for various actions
    • Smart beds, which adjusts mattress position and firmness
  • Benefits
    • Safety and security, especially for those with memory issues
    • Prevents seniors from performing physically demanding tasks
    • Easy entertainment
IoT (Internet of Things) Devices for Elderly Adults
  • Examples
    • Automatic fall detectors
      • Measures the speed of movement in all directions
      • Sends an emergency signal to loved ones if a sudden fall occurs
    • GPS locators
      • Keeps an eye on loved ones from a distance
      • Some can come equipped with health metrics, emergency buttons, and two-way calling
    • Glucose monitoring kits
      • Keeps data in one place
      • Tracks progress
    • Smart blood-pressure monitoring devices
      • Keeps data in one place
      • Tracks consecutive blood-pressure readings for future management
    • Benefits of IoT devices
      • Prevents the need for outside help
      • Keeps elderly individuals at home rather than in a care facility
      • Gives caregivers peace of mind
Video Calling Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • ViewClix
      • Receives video calls and photos from authorized users
      • Cannot make outgoing calls; features an auto-answer mode
    • GrandPad
      • Features large text and colorful icons
      • Make phone and video calls, play games, listen to music, and check the weather
    • Oscar Senior
      • Features group phone and video calls, chats, and photo sharing
      • Simple interface
    • Benefits of video calling devices
      • Easy to use
      • Keeps tabs on loved ones
Audiobook Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Homer Player
      • Great for those with limited vision
      • User-friendly
    • Victor Reader Stream
      • User-friendly for blind and visually impaired
      • Built-in wireless networking capability
    • You can also build one on your own
  • Benefits of audiobook devices
    • Allows elderly people with vision impairments to enjoy a good book
    • Enjoying a book can alleviate depression

Home Safety

From fall risks to other personal safety concerns, you can never be too safe. Luckily, there are many home care devices for elderly people to stay secure. In this section, we will outline safety devices for elderly individuals.

Personal Safety Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Wireless emergency alert systems
      • Can be used anywhere
      • Allows quick response from medical providers
    • Safety sensors
      • Transmitted wirelessly to a service accessible via the internet
      • Can detect if a senior hasn’t visited a room in a while and hasn’t left the bed
    • Bathroom safety equipment
      • Grab bars
      • Walk-in tubs
      • Custom shower heads
    • Stovetop and oven sensors
      • Prevents fires from unattended stovetops
      • Automatically shuts off burners when they become too hot or stay on for an extended period of time
    • Wearable heart monitors
      • Collects data in real-time
      • Allows caregivers and medical providers to respond in a timely manner
  • Benefits of personal safety devices
    • Keeps seniors within reach of emergency medical care
    • Keeps home safe from fires, fall risks, and other safety hazards
Fall Devices for the Elderly
  • Examples
    • Bay Alarm Medical
      • 24/7 monitoring
      • Portable and waterproof
      • Easy to use
    • GreatCall
      • Offers fitness tracker
      • Free product replacement
      • Provides medication and refill reminders
    • LifeStation
      • Offers landline, cellular, and GPS monitoring
      • Waterproof help button
      • Easy to set up
    • Medical Guardian
      • Clear two-way communication
      • Power-outage protection
      • Large LED display screen
    • MobilHelp
      • Offers waterproof pendant or necklace
      • GPS monitoring
      • Flexible plans
  • Benefits of fall devices
    • Prevents injuries and death
    • Provides medical help to seniors quickly
    • Provides additional services such as medication reminders, fitness tracking, and other helpful details

Other Home Care Devices

  • Buttoning aid hook
    • Allows seniors to button garments with one hand
    • Great for those with arthritis or impaired motor skills
  • Long-Reach Comfort Wipe
    • Ergonomically designed to wipe hard-to-reach areas
    • Soft, flexible head securely grips moistened wipes and toilet paper
  • Senior-friendly gardening tools
    • May come equipped with properties for those with diminished hand strength
    • May be used in seated positions