Surprisingly, you don’t have to look any further than your neighborhood dollar store to find some excellent Aging in Place friendly items. In recent years, dollar stores seem to be popping up everywhere and have seriously expanded their selection and offerings.
It is highly unlikely that any of these senior friendly items are labeled as such. They are things that can be useful for a variety of situations. You aren’t spending much money, so it’s a good way to try out some new ideas before you commit to higher quality and more expensive products.
Here are some of MY FAVORITES from my local dollar store.
Reading and magnifying glasses
Most people know that as we get older, our eyes have more difficulty reading small print. It’s caused by presbyopia (fancy medical term) and usually starts in our 40s. The solution is to use a pair of reading glasses or a magnifying glass. You can also hold the print far away from your eyes.
I bought my first pair of “readers” for $1, and although they aren’t very sturdy, they help when I occasionally need to read small print. They are adorable and stylish, so I even went back several weeks later to buy a few more of the same design. But as is often the case at dollar stores, some items are there one day and gone the next. The companies usually buy what they can purchase cheaply, so only certain things are stocked on a routine basis.
Nightlights and battery operated lights
Nightlights aren’t just for use at nighttime. I cannot emphasize enough how vital increased light throughout your home is to improve safety during the day and especially at night. Nightlights often have motion sensors and use very little electricity, which makes them energy efficient. A dollar investment can improve home safety dramatically!
Nightlights are useful anywhere there isn’t enough light, such as in poorly lit hallways and near steps, to make the area brighter and therefore easier to see. It will make it easier to find things that you need as well as avoid objects you don’t want to bump into or trip over.
Battery operated lights work well to light up dark closets, cabinets, and sheds. They are also handy during a power outage. A battery-operated light or lantern is much safer than candles when there is no electricity available.
Older eyes have difficulty with vision, especially depth perception. Adding a colorful strip of sturdy tape on floor transitions will alert you to a trip hazard. Where there is a change in flooring and often a raised piece of trim, there’s a possibility of catching your foot, which may result in a fall.
Steps are dangerous so any solution to make them safer is beneficial. Another great place to put colored tape is on the edge of steps so that you can see the edge more clearly. If you look in public places, you will often see that the edge of a step has a different color or material to stand out and draw your attention to maximize safety.
The foam type of cabinet liner has so many great uses other than in the cabinet. Because it resists slipping, you can put it under anything you don’t want to move.
In the kitchen:
- Place a piece of foam cabinet liner under anything you don’t want to slip, such as a mixing bowl, cutting board, or plate.
- If you have a chair pad on a wooden seat and it moves around, put a piece of foam cabinet liner between the wood and the pad to provide slip resistance.
- You can also cut a piece and use it to help open jar lids. Often round pieces of it are sold for this purpose, but you can easily cut your own and save some money.
- It can also be cut for coasters to absorb moisture and prevent your cup from moving, especially if you have tremors. Likewise, foam cabinet liner can also be used as a place mat to prevent items from shifting and make cleanup easier.
In the bathroom:
Use the foam cabinet liner under shampoo and soap bottles in the shower, so they don’t slide off the shelf or ledge.
In the laundry room:
Put foam cabinet liner under items that may move or shift due to the vibration of the washer and dryer.
A piece of foam cabinet liner under pet dishes prevents them from moving around on the floor, so they don’t become a trip hazard.
In the car:
Cut a piece of foam cabinet liner to put on seats or in the trunk to prevent objects from sliding, such as your purse dumping onto the floor when you suddenly hit the brakes.
Walking around wearing only socks, especially the comfy, fluffy type places you at high risk for a fall. I remember when my son was about five years old, and he quickly walked into our kitchen, which had laminate wood flooring. He was wearing socks without shoes, and within a split second, his feet went out from under him, and he fell flat onto his back and hit his head. Because he is very athletic and coordinated, he was shocked that he wasn’t able to prevent such a dramatic fall.
Luckily, he was uninjured, but my point is that a fall can happen to anyone at any age. Wearing a pair of anti-skid socks, the kind with the grippy dots or lines on the bottom can help to prevent a slip and fall accident. If you’ve ever been in the hospital, you know that one of the first items they give you is a pair of anti-skid socks in a size that fits your feet.
Anti-skid socks are essential if you are not wearing shoes!
Shower anti-slip stickers and bath mats
Most falls in the home occur in the bathroom. Anytime water is present, the risk of falls increases drastically. Mixing water, slippery soap, and hard surfaces in a shower create a recipe for serious injury, even death, so it’s an area of the house that needs extra-special consideration.
Some shower floors have factory finishes that add resistance or extra grip for safety. By running your hand over the shower floor, you can usually feel a raised or gritty surface. If your shower does not have this type of finish, special stickers can be applied to the floor to add extra slip resistance.
Using a bath mat with high-quality suction cups that grip well is also an option. Cheap bath mats generally DO NOT work well. I would not use a $1 bath mat. But if you shop at a dollar store that has items costing a variety of prices, you may be able to get a quality bath mat. Otherwise, buy a higher quality bath mat at a big box store.
Always test the suction and anti-slip capability of your bath mat before you step into the shower and begin to use it.
Make sure to follow all manufacturer instructions for correct installation of the stickers. A good product installed improperly will not work as it’s intended.
There are so many ways to use a reacher, so be creative! Whether you need to retrieve a paper that fell behind the sofa, reach a soup can on a higher shelf or pick up a tissue that dropped on the floor, a reacher is very useful. Of course, if you have back pain, a reacher may be one of your daily necessities.
What Aging in Place friendly items have you been surprised to find at the Dollar Store?
Aging in place devices don’t need to be expensive to be beneficial. Visit your local dollar store for the items discussed in this article and search for other great products. Dollar stores get new products or limited time/supply products in stock frequently.
Don’t forget to think “outside the box.” Anything that makes your life safer and easier can be considered an Aging in Place friendly solution!
I would love to hear about your Aging in Place friendly dollar store ideas and finds. Please leave a comment below or email me. Happy dollar store hunting!