28 March 2018

Tools and gadgets to enhance your independence

older woman

As we get older, it can become difficult to retain our independence, especially if we struggle with mobility issues, eyesight, hearing, and myriad other issues that are common in older age. Those of us that require the use of stairlifts in the UK therefore might be eager to know about what other wonderful items are available to help us out around the house. With this in mind, to go along with our recent article about kitchen accessories for older people, we have put together the below list of fantastic tools and gadgets to enhance your independence.

Snug positioning rolls

An item that will certainly be beneficial in the bedroom is a wonderful tool known as Snug Positioning Rolls. These roll shaped cushions from Win Health Medical can be used in bed, as well as on armchairs and sofas, and are ideal aids for those that spend considerable time lying down. Elevating feet or legs and supporting your neck, arms, ankles, and back, these positioning rolls really help to enhance a comfortable lying position while negating pressure on vulnerable points of the body.

Lifting pole

The Lifting Pole from Manage at Home is a free-standing pole that assists with the positioning and stabilisation of a person’s upper and lower limbs, helping those that find it difficult to raise themselves into a sitting position while in bed. With adjustable straps for varying arm lengths, this lifting pole is easy to assemble and is suitable for divan beds. 

Front sleeper pillow

The Front Sleeper Pillow from Putnams is a comfortable face pillow designed for those who lie on their front/stomach. This convex pillow allows the sleeper to breathe easily on either side and contains deep air channels in order to keep your head cool. Often used for post-surgery and other specialist uses, the tailored depth of the pillow, along with its sloped sides, also helps to reduce neck pain that can occur with front sleeping.

old hands

Shoe remover

If you are struggling with bending over and reaching down to your toes, removing your shoes will naturally become very difficult. But by using a shoe remover, like this one from Manage at Home, you won’t have to worry or strain yourself any longer. Constructed from sturdy plastic, a shoe remover allows you to rather effortlessly slip your shoes off, making for one less thing to worry about around the house.

Liquid level indicator

For those struggling with eyesight, numerous issues can arise at home, especially in the kitchen. Simple tasks such as making a drink can become difficult but with gadgets like the Liquid Level Indicator available from HAD, the issue can be negated. You fit the device on the side of a cup and when the cup becomes nearly full, an intermittent tone will sound, and when full, a continuous tone is emitted, helping the pourer to know exactly when they need to stop to avoid annoying spillages.

Keep warm plate

If you’re noticing your food is becoming cold at meal times because you are unable to eat as quickly as you used to, this can, as a result, introduce a lot of negativity around eating. Luckily, there are great tools that can help with this, such as the Keep Warm Plate by Mobility Pitstop. These special plates allow slow eaters to enjoy their meals until they have finished eating, keeping the food warm, and also containing a non-slip ring on the bottom for added stability.


Operating a vacuum in later life can be a taxing endeavour. Even if the layout of your home is simple enough to navigate, manoeuvring bulky and heavy vacuums are not a desirable prospect. Luckily, with house-cleaning robots like Roomba, you can keep your home clean without lifting a finger! Moving around your floors and carpets by itself, this extra pair of hands will prove most helpful, and will certainly allow you to retain your independence.

old person reading a book

Anti-scald device

A temperature-activated flow reducer, otherwise known as an anti-scald device, is a top gadget to consider for your shower, ensuring that the water from it stays at a safe temperature. This anti-scald device from Bango Design attaches to your shower or tap, has a thermostatic temperature detector, and automatically closes when the water temperature goes beyond 48°C – helping to ensure safety for everyone. 

Medication dispenser

With all the various medication and pills that we are often required to take as we get older, it can become difficult to keep track of it all, especially for those that already have trouble with memory. This is where an automatic medication dispenser comes in, such as this one from Pivotell, which comes with 24 alarms, an LCD display, and advanced features to help users remain compliant with their medication regime.

Hands-free hair dryer stand

Drying one’s hair can become a tiresome task once we turn frailer and our arms weaker. Holding up these devices for prolonged periods certainly isn’t an exciting prospect for many so make sure to utilise a hands-free hair dryer stand to make your morning routine that much easier. This one from Health and Care clamps onto desks and tables and holds the dryer steady with great stability to enhance your self-reliance at home.

Fall alarm

If you’re worried about your elderly loved one falling over when you’re not around, of if you want to provide your family with peace of mind about your own wellbeing, the top gadget known as Buddi is a must-have. This fall alarm device fits neatly around the wrist, links to a smartphone app, and contains alert buttons and fall sensors that will immediately alert family members to any trouble should an accident occur.  

TV listeners

Do you have trouble hearing your favourite TV shows and want to be able to listen at a volume appropriate to you without annoying others close by? Well, a TV listening device is a great idea. One such gadget is this set of wireless headphones available from Action on Hearing Loss. These comfy headphones remove the use of annoying wires and connect to your TV, allowing the user to enjoy their favourite content with stereo sound and adjustable balance controls - perfect for those suffering with hearing loss.

For further tips and advice for older people and those suffering with mobility issues, make sure to take a look at our other helpful articles and visit our advice page to help guide you on finding the perfect stairlift.