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Caregiving Forum What gadgets have made caregiving easier for you?

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Make Your Life Easier with Helpful Gadgets

As we get older, what used to be easyŚclimbing stairs, fixing meals, answering the phoneŚgets tougher. Luckily, gadgets called assistive devices can make it easier for you and your loved one to:

  • Get dressed
  • Take a shower
  • Reach out-of-the-way places
  • Open doors
  • Read and write
  • Remember to take medicine
  • Hear someone on the phone
As we get older, what used to be easyŚclimbing stairs, fixing meals, answering the phoneŚgets tougher.

With a little thought you can even make some of these gadgets from items around the house. For instance, color-code your pill bottles with different-colored rubber bands to tell them apart.

Others you'll need to buy. Find out what's available, and if your health insurance covers some of the cost. Ask a doctor, nurse, or other health care professional for advice. Consider these areas:

Trouble Hearing

  • Telephone amplifiers with adjustable tone, pitch, and volume
  • Flashing-light phones, doorbells, and smoke alarms or carbon monoxide detectors
  • Cordless headphones for televisions
  • Vibrating alarm clocks to go under your pillow

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Trouble Seeing

  • Talking watches, clocks, timers, calculators, scales, and indoor/outdoor thermometers
  • Talking heart and blood pressure monitors
  • Writing aids such as large-grip pens that reduce shaking and muscle pain
  • Tactile knobs for stoves with raised dots to show settings
  • Battery-lighted magnifiers to let you enjoy a book or magazine
  • Magnifiers for television and computer screens
  • Voice-activated, automatic telephone dialers
  • Remote controls with large buttons and numbers for televisions, cable boxes, and VCRs and DVD players
  • Computers with large-letter keyboards, or voice-recognition and speech software

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Trouble Remembering

  • Electronic pill boxes with an alarm signal to take medicine
  • Telephone with memory dialing and spaces for pictures of frequent callers
  • Timed faucets that automatically turn off
  • Electric appliances with automatic shutoff switches

Trouble Getting Around and Performing Everyday Activities

  • Long-handled "reachers" to grasp items from higher shelves
  • Gadgets that help you put on socks or stockings
  • Lever-style adapters that make turning door handles and faucets easier
  • Wide tub edges and grab bars to ease getting in and out of the bath
  • Clothing and shoes with Velcro fasteners
  • Specially designed cooking tools, such as cutting boards with finger guards and can openers that won't leave sharp edges
  • Rails and platforms that make it easier to get in and out of bed, chairs, or cars
  • Kitchen gadgets with large, easy-to-hold handles

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© 2003, 2004, 2007 AARP. Reprinting by permission only.

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