Have you heard the term ‘life hack’ before? A life hack is a trick or tip that makes day-to-day living easier and more efficient. Sounds good to us! These days, you’ll find life hacks all over the internet, but they’re often aimed at young people or parents of small children. Today, we’re bringing you some life hacks for older people!
As we get older, some everyday activities can become more challenging. This might be due to reduced mobility, health problems or memory issues. That’s why we have 25 life hacks for older people that could make your life (or the lives of your elderly relatives) that little bit easier and safer.
Life Hacks for Older People
1. Paint a dot on your keys with nail varnish to help you remember which one is which – red for the front door, blue for the garage etc. Instead of trying 10 different keys to get into the house, you will know exactly which one to use.
2. Use a chair whenever you can! Add a chair with sturdy armrests to your bathroom so that you can brush your teeth and wash your face comfortably with no risk of losing balance. You could also add a tall stool with arms to your kitchen so that you can stay seated whilst washing up or prepping dinner.
3. Get rid of your rugs. They are a huge trip risk for older people. Alternatively, secure them to the floor with double-sided carpet tape.
4. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves will make opening tough jars a lot easier. Alternatively, place a rubber band around the lid to improve your grip.
5, If you have a smartphone or tablet, set up calendar reminders so that you never forget to take your medicine or make that important phone call. If not, you could use an ordinary phone or alarm clock and simply set an alarm to remind you. There are also several medication reminder apps available to download, many designed specifically for older people.
Quite a few of the best life hacks we’ve come across involve a smartphone. You might think that you don’t need one of these, or even be wary that they’re too technological – however, that’s not always the case! There are several phones and apps available specifically aimed at the older generation, which could really improve your life.
6. If you struggle with opening medicine bottles, you can request that your pharmacist not use childproof caps on your medicine. However, if you do this, remember to keep them well out of the way of any children.
7. Put your belt in your trousers before you put them on. It’s far less fiddly when you don’t have to thread it through the belt loops behind your back.
8. If you have a smartphone, take a picture of your list of medications (plus doses and times you take them) in case you need to quickly consult them or show them to a doctor. Alternatively, keep a paper list in your wallet or purse.
9. Attach a key ring to zips to make them easier to grasp. You can also pull the keyring up over the button of your trousers or jeans to keep them up.
10. Use a skirt/trouser hanger as a recipe holder. Hang the hanger from a cupboard handle, clip your recipe/recipe book into place and you’re ready to cook! You’ll be able to check your recipe at a glance without making a mess of your cookbook.
11. Securely tape down any extension cords and trailing wires, or use cable ties to keep them all together. This will reduce trip risks and any electrical hazards. It also looks neater than leaving cables to trail across the floor.
12. Carry a small handheld torch when you’re staying somewhere unfamiliar such as a hotel or a friend’s house. That way, you can safely make your way to the toilet at night. In your own home, it’s often worth putting your lights on a motion sensor. This will give you a safe, well-lit path to the bathroom at night, reducing your risk of falls and injuries.
13. Struggle to hear your alarm clock in the morning? Try setting an alarm on your smartphone and pop it in a glass or a mug to amplify the sound.
14. Sometimes, it can be difficult to find what you need in a low cupboard. Many older people have difficulty bending down for any length of time. To combat this, add a hanging shoe rack over the back of the kitchen/utility room door and keep your cleaning supplies in the pockets. This also makes it much easier to see where everything is at a glance.
15. Get a personal alarm, especially if you live alone. 1 in 3 people over 65 who live at home will have a fall every year. A personal alarm lets you call for help with one touch of a button, even if you can’t get up or reach for the phone.
16. For icy cold water on the go, fill a water bottle about one-quarter full and lay it on its side in the freezer. Then, once it’s frozen, fill the bottle up the rest of the way with water and enjoy!
17. If you’re always losing the remote control, trying using Velcro strips to stick it somewhere memorable. Lots of people stick their remote controls to the coffee table or the side of an armchair. This way, you don’t have to spend lots of time looking around and getting up and down. You could also do this with other useful items such as reading glasses.
18. If you’re not one for writing lists, take a picture of your fridge and food cupboards before going to the supermarket. This way, you’ll know what you’ve already got and what you need to buy.
19. If you find chopping ingredients difficult, buy prepared foods such as pre-chopped onions, minced garlic and frozen vegetables and fruit that you can just pop into the saucepan. Or, for around £20, you can buy a ‘food chopper’ that can slice and dice your ingredients for you.
20. Forgotten whether you’ve taken your pills? Why not try a pill organiser each week to avoid the doubt of whether you’ve taken today’s tablets? Alternatively, you could write the date of each pill on the packet in advance, so you know which one is which.
21. Tie some colourful fabric around the handle of your suitcase so that you can pick it out easily when it comes out on the airport carousel. This could save you plenty of time and get you out of the airport much quicker.
22. Lost some earrings or similar items on your carpet? Simply cover the end of your vacuum cleaner with one of your (or your partner’s) tights and secure with a rubber band. The item in question will be sucked onto the tights – rather than being lost in the hoover.
23. Keep track of your daily water intake by drawing marker levels on your bottle. The marking will serve as a visual reminder for you to drink water, and it will help you achieve your daily water intake requirement.
24. Clean the showerhead by filling a plastic bag with white vinegar and securing it around the head with a rubber band. Allow the showerhead to soak in the water overnight, and remove the bag in the morning to see a shiny shower head with no scrubbing required.
25. Stop the buttons from falling off your shirts by simply painting some clear nail polish over the threads.
Find out more about the Personal Alarm
For more information on purchasing one of our life-saving personal alarms, please speak to one of our friendly advisers on 0800 999 0400. Alternatively, complete our contact us form and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
Editor’s Note: updated 21st June 2021.