Poet, businessman, and humanitarian, Samuel Ullman, was onto something when he wrote: “Nobody grows old merely by living a number of years. We grow old by deserting our ideals. Years may wrinkle the skin, but to give up enthusiasm wrinkles the soul.” No matter your age, you can find a nugget of truth in his words that reminds you of your personal passions—the things that make you tick and cause you to smile from ear to ear. That said, decade by decade, our bodies and needs change. Thanks to human inventiveness and creativity, it’s easier than ever to support ourselves and our loved ones in aging. Here are 36 products that will help seniors maintain their independence, invest in self-care, and keep up enthusiasm in the third act.
Health and Body
1. Brush up on your self-care.
“One of the important things in life is eating, both for the social aspect and the nutritional aspect,” says Sandra J. Eleczko, DDS, a dentist practicing in Livonia, New York. “Senior citizens need to maintain a healthy diet and they need to be able to go out and eat with friends and family. They need their teeth!” She explains that this is why oral health is critically important, especially for those over 60. “Oral B electric B electric toothbrushes can help patients with arthritic hands clean their teeth efficiently.” While you can easily spend over $100 on a rechargeable electric toothbrush system, why not start with a four-pack of Pulsar Vibrating Bristles brushes for under $20?
2. Another Pick for Your Pearly Whites
Eleczko says, “Water flossers are the other wonderful oral device to help people keep their teeth clean and healthy.” While floss and even Plackers require a lot of intricate maneuvering, water flossers and oral irrigators are much larger, meaning they’re easier to grip. The water stream can be directed much more easily than floss, which ensures a better clean without the hassle. Our pick is the ultra high–rated and American Dental Association–accepted Aquarius Water Flosser from Waterpik. Eleczo says, “I see seniors every day who can’t eat and can’t go out with their friends, who are feeling so isolated because they are not comfortable eating, smiling, and talking in public.” Her advice: “Keep the teeth healthy and the rest will be happier and healthier.”
3. Keep moving.
An Aaptiv spokesperson who shared some insights with HealthyWay says the slick-looking app is perfect for people who’ve put off exercise until retirement. Why? It features low-intensity workouts and the company has even worked with trainers to develop programming with older audiences in mind. They share that thanks to Aaptiv, a 55-year-old subscriber ran her first ever marathon last year. While not all of us have our hearts set on running 26 miles any time in the future (regardless of our age), we all know the importance of keeping active. Aaptiv’s audio workouts are take-anywhere and don’t require studying any complicated poses or movements, making keeping up with our fitness goals on our own time easier—and more interactive—than ever.
4. For a More Comfortable Workout
Whether you choose to workout with an app, like to follow along with exercise videos, or head to your local yoga studio once or twice a week, investing in a thick, supportive mat will help you move through your workout as comfortably as possible. Yoga instructor, Keri Kugler, recommends the Sivan Yoga Set in her roundup of best budget yoga mats and sets, and this pick will definitely make sense for your joints and your wallet. Kugler says the mat is extremely thick and that it’s ideal for exercises that involve being on your back or knees. Plus, it comes with two blocks that you can use to support yourself in different positions, a mat towel, a hand towel, and a strap that will help you stretch out to gently maintain or regain flexibility.
5. A Hip Helper
If you or your loved one are less in need of workout advice and more in need of adaptive equipment that will make everyday tasks and getting around safer and easier, you’ll appreciate this recommendation from occupational therapist, Sarah Stromsdorfer, founder of My OT Spot, an online educational resource for occupational therapy students and practicing occupational therapists working with adults and older adults. “In my daily practice working in in-patient rehab with many older adults, I frequently recommend the ‘hip kit’ for helping them achieve independence with lower body dressing, including putting on/taking off pants, socks, and shoes,” says Stromsdorfer. “Older individuals may have limited flexibility reaching down or crossing their legs, so they often rely on others to help them put their clothes on for them. When I show them how to use the hip kit with getting dressed, I’m often met with, ‘Wow, I haven’t been able to do that in so long!’” Stromsdorfer goes on to say, “Combined with the reacher, long-handled sponge, and long-handled shoehorn, the hip kit is the most helpful aid in achieving dressing independence. It’s so versatile in so many situations, not just after hip surgery. It’s a great feeling helping people achieve independence again with less than $30 of equipment.”
6. For Socks Only
If you don’t need all the components in the “hip kit,” the sock aid, which Stromsdorfer says is her favorite piece of adaptive equipment, can be purchased separately. A co-worker whose father recently had hip surgery said this was a game changer, and at under $10 (plus free shipping if you have Amazon Prime), it’s definitely worth a try.
7. Reach for pharmacist-recommended vitamins…
Inna Lukyanovsky, PharmD, says older people can face mineral depletion and recommends a multivitamin with minerals, like designs for health Vitavescence Powder. Because this supplement is delivered in a powdered form, there’s literally no pill to swallow when it comes to incorporating more vitamins and minerals into your daily routine. Vitavescence Powder includes vitamin C, D, B12, and folic acid—some of the vitamins and minerals seniors are likely to need more of according to “Vitamin Deficiencies in Seniors,” a report published in U.S. Pharmacist—in addition to a long list of other vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that easily mix into water or your beverage of choice.
8. …and supplements.
Lukyanovsky also says that collagen supplements offer many benefits “including collagen production, joint health and integrity, and more.” She recommends Ancient Nutrition Multi Collagen Protein Powder, which contains five types of collagen from four different sources: pasture-raised cows, shellfish-free fish, chicken, and eggs. If you prefer a pescatarian collagen, try Vital Proteins wild-caught, unflavored Marine Collagen. Both products can be mixed into coffee, tea, or smoothies.
9. A Treat for Your Feet
Laina Gossman of Soul Insole says, “Our company created a revolutionary washable, reusable, micro-sized orthotic that adds support and comfort to help stop foot pain and increase mobility. It’s uniquely helpful for plantar fasciitis, Morton’s neuroma, flat feet, overpronation, wide feet, minimalist shoes, and more!” Amazon reviewers agree—giving the product 4 out of 5 stars (with 63 percent of all reviews giving the insoles 5 stars). A satisfied 73-year-old customer recently posted on the company’s Facebook page, sharing that even after consulting a podiatrist and an orthopedist and investing in a $300+ custom orthotic, he thought his hiking days were over. After buying and using the Soul Insole, though, hiking and walking became comfortable again, and he booked a trip to go hike in Norway. Whether you have favorite shoes you’re just not sure you can wear anymore or you want to hit the dusty trails without experiencing ankle and foot fatigue, give Soul Insoles a try.
10. No Slip—Just Soft
Whether you’re using the sock aid, wearing them with insoles, or just want something comfortable for padding around the house, Pembrook nonskid hospital socks are a great go to. The cotton-polyester-spandex chenille blend means a super-soft, high-quality fit, and the rubber tread (color-matched to each sock) provides a little extra safety and security—whether you’re on linoleum, hardwood, or tile. The socks come in various colors including black, gray, navy, and pink, and can be bought in value packs of six, four, or two pairs. With over 1,095 reviews on Amazon and a 4.4-out-of-5 star rating, Pembrook is definitely onto something with their non-skid grip and cozy chenille yarn.
11. Eat independently.
If you or a loved one has Parkinson’s or a tremor, you know mealtime can be one of the most disheartening times of day. Perhaps you’ve found workarounds that are working for now, but it’s nice to know there are high-tech, reliable solutions available if you need them. The GYENNO Steady Spoon stabilizes itself so whatever attachment you’re using (the company makes both spoon and fork attachments) shakes up to 85 percent less than the diner’s hand. As one reviewer points out, this may not sound like a big deal to someone who isn’t familiar with Parkinson’s, but it is. Note that multiple reviewers say the packaging is not easy to get into, so anyone with a tremor may need assistance getting the spoon unwrapped and ready for use the first time around.
12. Button up.
Decidedly less high tech than the GYENNO Steady Spoon, this button hook from Special Supplies helps facilitate independent dressing without any fancy bells or whistles. It is specially designed with a wide handle that’ll be as comfortable as possible for people with arthritis or other conditions that affect the use of their hands. Thread the button hook through each buttonhole, grab the button with the hook, and pull it into place. No more fiddling with tiny buttons, or saying goodbye to sharp-looking wardrobe favorites.
13. Sweet (Heat) Relief
A good heating pad can work wonders on so many kinds of discomfort, and this is the perfect pick for anyone who appreciates relaxing in a steam room or taking a dip in the tub. Pure Enrichment’s PureRelief XL king size heating pad is fast heating and features six temperature settings. It’s also safe to spritz this heating pad with water to enjoy a moist heat option. The heating pad comes with a storage bag, but no washable cover. Instead, the whole heating pad is machine washable, which we appreciate. It means you won’t be wrangling a cover that’s slipping and sliding out of place when all you want is to cozy up and relieve your aches with sweet, sweet heat.
14. Take it from Mass General; this product can help lower stress levels and boost your mood.
According to a study published by Massachusetts General Hospital, your nose knows that scents have a big impact on your mood. The report goes on: “The sense of smell can diminish with age, but you can use essential oils or flowers and spices to stimulate olfactory receptors.” While electronic essential oil diffusers are all the rage, they also involve cords, water tanks, and just one more thing to be aware of turning on and off. Enter Jewels for Hope’s oil diffuser necklace. Sandy D’Andrea founded Jewels for Hope in 2009 after almost a decade of providing care for her mother, who struggled with Parkinson’s and dementia. Today, she and her daughter Stevie run the handcrafted jewelry business that donates 10 percent of its profits to charity. As Stevie shares, “This specific diffuser necklace helps promote relaxation and anti-anxiety, which everyone could use a bit more of. My mother was a caregiver for many years and any way to try to relax and help de-stress was key for her.” Put a few drops of essential oil on the necklace’s porous lava stone and the calming (or energizing) scent of your choice will be with you throughout the day—nothing high tech required. The necklace is also a great choice for people with limited hand dexterity because it’s easy on, easy off over your head, “no need to worry about those pesky clasps,” Stevie says. “Add a few drops of your favorite essential oil on the lava stone, and breathe in deep.” Enjoy!
Around the House
15. We could all use a little help in the kitchen.
Jarred foods are a great option that makes mealtime a little more convenient and affordable, whether you have a favorite pasta sauce or like a pickle spear with your sandwich, but lids can be pesky (or downright demeaning) for those with limited grip strength. The Robotwist 1014 is an energy-efficient, battery-powered solution that can be stored in a drawer and used to open jars of any size. Just set your jar on the counter, put the Robotwist on top of the lid, and let the device do the work of opening the jar—no hands (or straining) required.
16. Not sure you need something so high tech?
Even if you don’t need a robot to open your jars for you, it’s still a good idea to have a non-slip gripper within reach for those pesky lids that just won’t budge. This rubber lid opener from Graphics and More features a ladybug design that’s sure to put a bright spot in your day. If you’re not a huge fan of ladybugs, Graphics and More also makes a Black Cat in Window non-slip gripper that features a cute feline peeking through the blinds, just as the kitties in your life love to do.
17. A Spill Saver
Bottles of juice and jugs of milk can be hard for anyone to handle, and again, unscrewing small caps isn’t feasible for some people. Thankfully, the Magic Tap can help people of any age pour themselves beverages mess free. The battery-operated pump prevents drips and spills and features an attachment that fits most containers. If beverages are positioned in the front of the fridge or the door, the Magic Tap eliminates the need to even take them out of the refrigerator, meaning less lifting and maneuvering, too.
18. Contain yourself.
Again, in the name of preventing messes and avoiding unnecessarily difficult lids, we present OXO Grips Pop airtight containers, which are great for organizing in the kitchen or anywhere else in your home. This container set requires no unscrewing or pinching to get the airtight vessels open; instead, you push the button on top and can easily lift the lid off. Put the lid back on, press the button, and presto—you have an air-tight seal. According to OXO, the containers are calibrated for common staples like pasta, cereal, and spices, meaning these containers can replace the cardboard boxes and plastic packaging that allow food to go stale faster and be stacked neatly on the counter or in your pantry.
19. Look ma, hands-free!
We all know handwashing is essential in the kitchen and bathroom, but pumping soap out of a dispenser may become a deterrent for a number of reasons. Make handwashing easier, and frankly, more fun, with a hands-free soap dispenser that removes the need to pump and prevents the possibility of a hand soap bottle getting knocked in the sink or on the floor. This touchless auto soap dispenser from JinZiYi comes with a foldable funnel that facilitates getting soap into the reservoir and features an indicator that will let you know before the battery needs to be replaced. You can choose from three cute colors and four soap volume settings that will allow you to decide if you’d like to save soap or get super sudsy with each hand washing. It even has an LED light that gives off a little glow with each motion-sensor activated pump of goodness.
20. For Those Who Like Extra Whip
No, we’re not talking about the whipped cream on top of a coffee drink; we’re talking about people who’ve gotten accustomed to foaming hand soap. Maybe you love the thought of a touchless soap dispenser but just can’t imagine going back to the liquid hand soap of yore. While the JinZiYi dispenser works with liquid hand soap only, the Segarty Auto Foam dispenser turns your favorite liquid soap into a rich foam—just mix it with a little water. As with the JinZiYi dispenser, you can determine how much foamy goodness you want to be dispensed with each pump. Finally, this soap dispenser can sit on the countertop or be wall-mounted to save space.
21. Make the bathroom a little safer.
The bathroom can be a scary place, especially when it comes to the risk of slips and falls. At some point, you or a loved one may have to go completely mat free in the bathroom, but even before then, it’s best to ditch floppy woven rugs that can slide across laminate and tile floors. Opt instead for a low-profile bath mat alternative. This option from KAROLA comes in nine colorful patterns and has a slip-free rubber backing. It’s recommended for patios and entryways, meaning it’s heavier and more durable than your average bath mat.
22. Speaking of mats…
If you still spend a lot of time in the kitchen, do your joints a favor and replace your old kitchen floor coverings with a ComfiLife Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat. This innovative product has an impressive 4.9 out of 5 stars on Amazon. The mat is designed with your feet, back, and knees in mind and is made of a stain-resistant, antimicrobial material. It’ll make doing dishes or standing at the stove that much easier. If it doesn’t, rest assured. ComfiLife products come with a lifetime satisfaction guarantee that ensures you your money back if the Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat doesn’t make your time in the kitchen easier on your lower body.
23. Put your feet up, save space, and prevent trips.
We all need to take a load off from time to time, but ottomans and footstools have reputations for taking up space and getting in the way. This Sherpa Wooden Footrest from Miles Kimball, on the other hand, serves two purposes while also folding flat and rolling away to save space and prevent trips. Its wooly surface will be a treat for your feet, whether you leave it lowered for just a bit of elevation or raise it up for a true “kick back” experience. When you’re ready to move, just slide it under your sofa or chair for safe, trip-free keeping. Note that this is a footrest, not a stool, meaning it’s not safe to sit on.
24. Something to Light the Way
Christoph Pierre, principal owner at Life Mounts, says he helped develop the company’s wheelchair/walker/cane light to help his aging grandmother see when she used the restroom at night. “It was such a hit that we began mass production several years ago and now sell them on Amazon, Walmart, and 1800Wheelchair as well as in many local pharmacies,” he shares. He says the product helps improve people’s mobility and safety, day and night. “It fits every model wheelchair, walker, and cane on the market and is quickly mounted and positioned with no tools required. The light has a large orange button that is easily located and pushed, even with arthritic hands.” If you or a loved one uses a mobility aid to get around at night or in the early morning hours, this is a great investment that can help prevent accidents and injuries.
25. More on Shower Safety
Remember how we acknowledged that the bathroom can be a scary place? Well between tile, water, and soap suds, the shower can be the scariest part of it. Give yourself some peace of mind and a sturdy place to sit while showering with the Drive Medical Premium Series Shower Chair with Back and Arms. This product was recommended by the same co-worker whose father recently had hip surgery. Their family cleared the bathroom of mats, installed the chair in the shower, and is using the next product to make maneuvering around the bathroom that much easier.
26. Don’t fall in!
This is funny when we say it to little tykes who barely seem big enough to be potty trained, but it’s less amusing when using the toilet becomes difficult due to an injury, operation, or aging. Drive Medical’s elevated raised toilet seat with removable padded arms can help what happens in the bathroom remain as safe and private as possible for older adults or anyone who needs a little support when trying to make it to the seat. A simple lock helps this seat attach to almost any toilet, tool-free, and it has a 300-pound capacity. It adds 5” of height to whatever toilet it’s installed on and the padded metal arms can be added or removed easily to customize the level of support it provides.
Fun, Games, and Products That’ll Keep You Connected
27. Enjoy 3.4 million books—all at your fingertips.
According to the American Optometric Association, “Beginning in the early to mid-40s, many adults may start to have problems seeing clearly at close distances, especially when reading and working on the computer.” This fact of life can make reading less enjoyable, especially as you figure out which readers suit you best. That said, a Kindle e-reader not only gives you access to millions of books on a single, easy-to-manage device, but all those books will be easier on your eyes thanks to the Kindle’s adjustable font size. We recommend the Kindle Voyage because, in addition to giving you control over the size of the font you’ll be reading, it features a responsive backlight and Page Press haptic sensors on the sides, which means you don’t have to mess with the screen to get to the next page of your engrossing read.
28. For the Love of Good Programming, Something Universal
Whether you’re a fan of classic cinema or have your favorite daytime dramas, make watching what you want—and hearing it well—easier with a universal big button TV remote. The EasyMote from Continu.Us has only six buttons but can control your TV and cable box. The remote also has a wrist strap and backlit buttons that make hanging onto it and seeing what you’re pressing significantly less difficult than the remote that came with your television or cable box.
29. Balance and Stability (for Your Tablet)
This tablet stand from nbryte is a game changer for anyone who likes to relax with their screen or needs to enjoy it hands-free—whether at home or in a hospital bed. The stand’s universal design will work with almost any tablet, including your iPad or Kindle. It’s designed specifically to perch on uneven surfaces like beds or couches, and it folds up small for discreet storage when it’s not in use.
30. Enjoy some screen-free fun.
With the advent of Candy Crush and all those cute images of baby animals just a scroll away, it’s easy to neglect screen-free entertainment. But, a deck of cards is a must in any household, and this option makes reading and handling them easier thanks to its larger size. Super Z Outlet’s giant jumbo deck of big playing cards is big without being laughable. Each card is 5” by 7”, so they’re extremely easy to see, hold, and shuffle without being too big to play with. They have 4.5 out of 5 stars on Amazon, and one reviewer says they’re a great pick for seniors who have trouble seeing.
31. One More for Folks Who Really Enjoy Card Games
Uno has been popular for decades, and now older adults (and younger kids) can enjoy it thanks to Giant Uno from Cardinal. The extra large cards measure approximately 10” by 7”. One reviewer notes that his dad, who regularly jokes about not being able to see what cards are, had a big smile on his face when he was gifted these and says they’re great for playing with family and friends.
32. For Cards of All Kinds
Even if you don’t want to spring for a new deck of cards, you can make play more enjoyable with a set of Home-X playing card holders. These spring-powered clips will help you or a loved one keep your hand in order even if a grip issue or a tremor might otherwise make gameplay less enjoyable. The card holders’ unique design also means your hand can be set on a table without revealing it to other players, so you can give your (actual) hand a break, grab more cards, or enjoy a snack or drink while maintaining your reputation as the sharpest card shark in the game.
33. Back to Basics (But Bigger and Better)
Before the internet or attempting to wrap our minds around chess, there was checkers. This three-in-one set, in the spirit of the jumbo card decks featured above, includes giant 3” checkers. This handheld size means everyone in the family can take a turn playing checkers, tic tac toe, or—if that’s just too easy—jumbo tic tac toe. The reversible game play rug can be used indoors or out. Reviewers agree that the pieces stack well, which means you’ll have an easier time keeping all your checkers in order so you can enjoy this game again and again.
34. This find is a key-per.
If you enjoy keeping in touch with friends and family via Facebook and email as much as we do, you know your keyboard is an incredibly important tool. This keyboard—one of Amazon’s Choice products—is an excellent upgrade for visually impaired individuals or those with low vision who still want or need to use a keyboard. The black-on-yellow keys feature letters that are far bigger than your average keyboard, and the product is spill resistant. It relies on technology that’s easy to install; just plug it into most computers and use it right away—no additional software required.
35. A Spot for All Your Favorite Things
Friends, family, great music, news updates, the time, the weather—so many of the things that afford us little pick-me-ups throughout the day are accessible via the Amazon Echo Spot. This interactive device features video capabilities, so you can see your loved ones no matter how far they’ve roamed. Built-in Alexa technology allows you to control smart home features, set alarms, and get answers to important questions (or just-for-giggles trivia). You can also enjoy audiobooks thanks to built-in Audible. The Echo Spot is an aesthetically appealing device will spruce up any room you put it in.
36. Your phone may be smart, but is it within reach?
It seems like everyone has a smartphone these days—not just the “kids.” Their appeal is obvious: They help us keep in touch and, like the phones of days gone by, they allow us to reach out for help in emergency situations as fewer and fewer of us maintain a landline. That said, your phone can’t do much good (the fun kind, or the calling-for-help-in-an-emergency kind) if you can’t get your hands on it. That’s why a phone lanyard is such a great investment. Our pick is the E-tech Cell Phone Lanyard, which comes in six colors and is compatible with dozens of phones: Just make sure yours is on the list before you buy.