18 “Life Hacks” to Help You Age in Place

Many older individuals are choosing to age in place, rather than in a nursing home. Many require obvious home modifications such as stairlifts, ramps, and grab bars, that enable individuals to safely remain in their homes. However, these products do not address the smaller day-to-day tasks that can also prove a challenge. Read on for our list of 18 cheap DIY “Life Hacks” that can help you or a loved one live comfortably and independently.

  1. Secure (or simply remove) throw rugs – these are a common tripping hazard. Consider wall-to-wall carpet instead, or secure throw rugs with double-sided sticky tape if you absolutely cannot part with them

  2. Install nightlights that automatically illuminate when it is dark along walkways and on staircases – you can buy some for just over $1 each here

  3. Place a plastic chair in the shower for those who tire easily or have balance issues

  4. Use different colored nail polish on house keys to help remember which ones go to which door – for example, green for the front door and blue for the back

  5. Use a plastic over-the-door shoe rack to hold cleaning supplies rather

  6. Get a reusable water bottle and mark hours on the side to help keep you well hydrated. That way you can make sure you’ve hit your mark by 9:00, 12:00, 3:00, etc.

  7. Use twist ties from bread bags to secure cords and prevent them from causing a tripping hazard

  8. Wrap rubber bands around glass cups to make them easier to grip

  9. Place bar soap in the foot of an old nylon stocking – the stocking improves ability to grip the soap, prevents it from falling and becoming a slipping hazard, and has the added benefit of exfoliating skin

  10. When filling prescriptions, request that the pharmacist use a non-childproof cap to make it easier so those with compromised grip can easily open bottles (but be sure to keep these bottles far away from children!)

  11. Use an old skirt hanger with clips to hold a cookbook at eye level – open the cookbook to the preferred page and secure the clips to the top of either page, then hang from an upper-level cabinet knob

  12. Attach a key ring to zipper pulls on pants to make them easier to grab. Loop the keyring around the button to prevent the zipper from coming undone

  13. Before going to the grocery store, take a picture of the inside of your refrigerator so you can easily remember what you need

  14. Use rubber gloves to make it easier to open stubborn jars and containers

  15. Swap round doorknobs with lever handles that are easier to grip

  16. Apply bright nail polish or rubber bumps to important television remote control buttons and telephone buttons

  17. Adhere grip strips to your bathtub, bathroom floor, and any other potentially slick surface to prevent slips

  18. Keep a list of all current medications in a backpack or pocket to take with you each time you go out in case of emergency