Helpful products are geared toward aging homeowners

Several days ago, I was looking up a recipe for "avocado egg bake" on the Internet and, instead, came upon a catalog from a company called "Health Advocates for Older People." (www.hafop.org)

A few years ago, I might have just kept up my recipe search, but I'm at a life stage where 30 pages of products that create "easy-living for aging adults" totally caught my attention. And I've since found that it's not the only resource out there. If this beckons, you might choose to check out www.activeforever.com or www.thewright-stuff.com/ (1-800-750-0376)

Do your own search, but let me give you a little preview. There's a product that measures grip strength. Buy it and find out why you have trouble turning doorknobs or opening jar lids; it comes with a chart that compares personal "grip strength" to that of your age peers. Actually, we already have one of those in our household. It has many purposes, and you can always bring it out if conversation lags at a dinner party.

If you measure your own grip strength and find it wanting, you might also consider purchasing a "Handle Key Turner" to give you needed leverage in turning the ignition in the car or the lock on your front door on a dark and rainy night.

Come holiday time, that item might make an interesting stocking stuffer? You can package it with "Perma TY Elastic Shoelaces" which "allow you to slip in and out of a shoe without having to tie or untie" or the "Ring Zipper Pull' that gets you into the dress in the back of your closet. If any of this beckons and you want even more gifting options, check out a site that has been around forever, www.goldviolin.blair.com/ (1-877-648-8466)

The most often recommended product for people of almost any age is a large-button, lighted keypad, universal remote for your television. These remotes are a little spendy, so choose wisely, but they're hard to misplace, and grandchildren are less likely to treat them as a toy. (At least that was one of the arguments I used in convincing my initially reluctant husband to purchase one.)

Here's a product that's less expensive and worth every nickel. If you do not already have a "grip 'n' grab," ergonomic "reacher" with a rotating claw, you should definitely consider purchasing one. I recall my mom asking me, in all seriousness, if she should put hers in her will and bequeath it to me. It's my mother's "reacher" that I now use to pull down something from a higher-than-I-am-tall shelf.

Wall-mounted grab bars for the bathroom are important purchases — but you really need an expert to help you identify which ones make the most sense for you and the appropriate mounting process. Which brings me to this very important point — the room in all our homes that will be the most challenging as we age, because of accessibility issues and overall safety, is the bathroom. The products available to address possible problems include bath chairs, nonslip bath mats and a padded and elevated toilet seat.

Think about this — make a purchase if inclined. Start by evaluating your bathroom needs. Now.

Sharon Johnson is a retired Oregon State University associate professor emeritus. Reach her at Sharon@hmj.com.


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