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Innovations That Help Solve Seniors’ Everyday Issues

March 23, 2020

Technology is all the rage nowadays, and can go a long way toward improving the lives of seniors. But the mission here is to point out low-tech (not to mention cost-effective) hacks that can accomplish much the same thing.

This includes things like putting colored covers on one’s keys. That way, each of them can be easily matched to the correct door, as pointed out in a post on the website Also mentioned in the piece:

  • Using two-sided tape to keep throw rugs in place, thus reducing the chance of falls.
  • Wrapping rubber bands around drinking glasses, making them easier to grip.
  • Putting a bar of soap inside a sliver of Pantyhose, enabling seniors to hang onto that when bathing.
  • Using a spice rack to organize medications.


The Two Best Hacks

The Care Giver Connection post lists 50 life hacks in all. But two that go unmentioned might be the most important of all: attitude and attentiveness. In other words, understanding that one’s life is bound to change during the aging process, but there’s no reason to wallow in self-pity. It is instead a matter of gauging the world around us. One must engage in problem-solving, adapt to circumstances, and understand what’s in front of you.

A case in point is Barbara Beskind. In 2015 she became a conceptual designer at Ideo, a Silicon Valley-based global design firm. She was 91 at the time. She had previously served for two decades in the U.S. Army, rising to the rank of major. Then she headed her own occupational therapy center in New Jersey.


Geared Toward Design

At her core, however, she was always geared toward design. She created her own hobby horse out of discarded tires at age 8. While working as an OT, she secured six patents on devices that enabled children to maintain their balance.

It was therefore, no surprise that she reached out to Ideo. Never mind that macular degeneration had rendered her legally blind by that point. As a child of the Great Depression, she embraced limitations. She refused to let such things knock her flat. 

She was dedicated to the idea of being a lifelong learner as she put it in a 2017 interview with AARP:

“Never let age define you nor limit what you can do! Always cultivate and contribute to active, engaging relationships with younger generations.”


Spurned Walkers

Even before working at Ideo, she spurned walkers. She believed that such devices adversely affected posture and resulted in other physical problems. She walked instead with the aid of two modified ski poles. She affixed duct tape and flannel to the handles to minimize the chance of blisters. She also attached a flashlight to one of the handles. That would help her find her way in the dark.

In addition, she placed a Lazy Susan in her refrigerator. That made it easier to reach items placed at the back of the shelves. She also placed tactile bumps on things like phones and pill cases. This enabled her to identify the respective numbers and medications.


Other Ideas

While working for Ideo, she expanded on her walking-pole idea. She also helped design a specialized brace to make it easier for seniors to rise from the couch. In addition, she was part of a team that designed a magnifying glass to aid those limited by conditions such as hers.

In many other ways, her vision has been limitless. That might be the best life hack of all.

Categories: General