15 Home Care Products for Older Adults

By 2034, the number of adults over age 65 is expected to be larger than the number of children in the United States for the first time in history. Having so many older adults means that the need for caregivers will continue to increase.

As a caretaker, you may be responsible for assisting with activities of daily living (ADLs). Depending on what your loved one needs, you might be responsible for feeding, bathing, dressing, grooming, or even transferring them from bed to wheelchair. 

Caregivers report physical and emotional strain as a result of their caregiving tasks. Thankfully, there are products that can help ease some of the demands of caregiving and help to keep your loved one in good hands.

This article discusses a variety of different products that make caregiving easier and help to ensure that older adults are well cared for.

Female senior in wheelchair talking with family caregiver
Home care products can help when caregiving for older loved ones.

kate_sept2004 / Getty Images

Personal Alert System

Several personal alert systems can be used to identify and notify a caregiver of changes in the health status of an older adult. Personal alert systems can watch for abnormal heart rates or irregular rhythms, identify and report falls, provide medication reminders, and monitor home safety.

Shower Transfer Bench

A shower transfer bench extends outside the tub so the person can sit down and slide sideways to sit over the tub. This eliminates the need to step over the raised edge of the tub to get into the shower stall.  A tub transfer bench is especially helpful when caring for people with mobility issues, balance issues, or flexibility issues.

Back, neck, and shoulder injuries are the most common caregiver injuries, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS).

Bidet Toilet Attachment

Some caregivers find a bidet attachment helpful for cleaning people after using the toilet. One study confirmed that bidet toilets can reduce the physical burden on caregivers. A bidet has a nozzle that gently sprays water on your bottom to wash it. Bidet fixtures also can be attached to traditional toilets.

Positioning Transfer Sheet

A positioning transfer sheet, or a patient transfer sheet, is a bedsheet made of specialized fabrics like nylon to make it easier to reposition a person in bed. Transfer sheets are typically water resistant and waterproof, and many have handles. They can be used to turn, lift, scoot, and reposition a person in bed.

One study demonstrated that a caregiver requires much less force when moving a patient with a friction-reducing sheet than otherwise.

Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat

Anti-fatigue floor mats are designed to help reduce pain, fatigue, and pressure in the feet, legs, and lower back from standing on a hard surface (like a concrete or tile floor). An anti-fatigue floor mat may help lower the physical stresses on the person doing the caregiving work.

Products for Older Adults

There are many products that can help older people be more independent and safer at home.

Bath Brush

Shoulder and hip flexibility decrease with age. This can make reaching and cleaning certain body parts much more difficult. A bath brush features a long handle that helps to extend a person's reach without requiring straining.

Shower Chair

A shower chair allows a person to sit in the shower while bathing. They are plastic, have at least four nonslip feet, and generally fit fully within the tub or shower. Chairs are available with or without a back and are good for those who may struggle with balancing in the slippery environment.

Bathroom falls are a frequent cause of hospitalization for older adults.

Adjustable Bed Rail

Static (stay in place) or adjustable bed rails can be added to many standard household beds. You can choose one that swivels (turns), one that extends (can get longer once the senior is in bed), or one that flips up. Bed rails help reduce falling out of bed and provide additional support. Be sure that the rail you choose has an easy release in the event of an emergency.

Overbed Table

An overbed table is similar to those found in hospital rooms. These tables usually have wheels and can be adjusted to different heights. Tray tables can provide a surface on which to eat, write, read, or work while in bed. Tables can also be used when sitting at the edge of the bed or in a wheelchair, or as an extra surface in the room.

Since overbed tables are on wheels, they should not be used for support when walking or standing.

Motion-Sensor Nightlights

Motion-sensor nightlights not only keep people safe from falls but also help caregivers know if their loved one is up during the night. Place them by staircases, in the hallway, in the kitchen, and in the bathroom.

Pill Crusher

Pill crushers are used to crush tablets into powder form. Powdered medication can then be mixed in liquids or given with a portion of soft food like applesauce or pudding. Pills can be crushed if they are hard for an older person to swallow or if they are too large to swallow easily. 

Not all medications can safely be crushed. Check package information and ask your pharmacy or healthcare provider if you are planning to crush medications for yourself or another person.

Disposable Underpads

Disposable underpads have an inside layer of cotton that absorbs liquids and a waterproof outside layer. These can be used to line a bed to help manage incontinence or to help absorb body fluids like vomit.

They can also be used in wheelchairs, on regular chairs, or with other furniture. A study showed that using disposable underpads resulted in fewer hospital-acquired pressure injuries (pressure ulcers) than reusable underpads.

Wheelchair

Wheelchairs are mobility aids that can be very helpful for people who have a limited capacity for getting from place to place because of weakness, fatigue, breathing issues, poor balance, or other health issues. Wheelchairs are widely available, and in some cases, health insurance will cover the cost.

First Aid Kit

A home first aid kit should include basic supplies to manage cuts, scrapes, and minor injuries. Keeping the kit well stocked and easy to reach is critical to be able to use it effectively in an emergency. First aid kits are available as ready-made sets at major retailers, or you can create your own.

Set a phone reminder for one or two times a year to check expiration dates and to restock the first aid kit supplies.

Emergency Response System

A personal emergency response system (PERS), or medical alert system, is a small device that connects to a monitoring system and comes as watches, necklaces, and other wearable devices.

They often require one touch to connect to the system and can be used to activate an emergency response system like an ambulance. Keep in mind, some systems are only effective in the household, while others can be used when out in the community.

Vision-Hearing Phone

There are special phones that can help with the loss of visual and hearing acuity. There are large button phones, some with extra loud amplification, and hearing aid models that can connect to a cell phone. Some cell phone providers have simplified phones with larger icons, large numbers for dialing, and fewer pages of apps and menus to sort through.

Summary

There are multiple disability products for older adults that can help to keep them and their caregivers safe and make caregiving easier. Personal hygiene products, bed assistance devices, mobility aids, and other products can be helpful when providing home care. Work with your healthcare team and try out different options to find the device that works best.

A Word From Verywell

Many of us will become informal caregivers for a loved one at some point, especially as the population continues to get older. It can be hard to know how best to help and what to do to keep our friends and family members safe at home. Reach out to healthcare providers with questions and for information regarding how to obtain the needed products for assisting with home care.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What products do older adults need most?

    As a caregiver, you are likely able to identify products that can help keep the person you're caring for safe and independent. Each person will have unique needs and their healthcare team may have some specific recommendations.

  • What do you put in a care package for older adults?

    Older people may have sudden changes in their health and mobility. A care package could include mobility aids, entertainment items (crossword puzzles or magazines), special treats, or a comfort item like a blanket.

  • What safety equipment would be helpful in the shower?

    Bathrooms are one of the most frequent locations for elderly people to fall. Safety equipment includes grab bars, a shower chair or transfer bench, a handheld shower, and a shower brush. You may also consider adding nonslip mats or decals to the bottom of the tub or shower and removing any loose rugs or bath mats.

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8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
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