The World of Small Things

An older woman sitting on a couch looking down at her mobile phone

Most of my life, I’ve been advised to “not sweat the small stuff.” Now that I’m retired –except for writing–and searching for ways to work smarter while making life increasingly pleasant, I’m beginning to regard the “small stuff” as equally important to the so-called “big stuff.”

I’ve always liked gadgets and devices that make daily matters quicker and easier to accomplish. As retirees, it matters a great deal if we’re able to navigate our homes without assistance. Can we open a bottle of wine at the end of a trying day or that can of chicken noodle soup when we feel feverish?

Happily, these days, there are new gadgets to help us with the small stuff. The small stuff can make the difference between remaining in our own homes longer, and under safer and happier circumstances.

Here are a few examples:

The magnetic shirt for men and women means you can snap shut the buttons on shirts for those with reduced hand dexterity. People with Parkinson’s, arthritis, or recovering from strokes can dress without the hassle or embarrassment of asking another to close the buttons on their shirts. Magnetic shirts are available at Wal-Mart, The Bay and online for a wide variety of prices and styles.

Electric can openers have been around for a long time. I’m left-handed, so I’ve relied on one for years. If you’re having trouble prying open cans, consider investing in an electric can opener. It will save you hours of frustration. You can buy a good one in Canada for about $40.

Electric wine bottle openers are lifesavers. Never having been expert at uncorking a bottle of wine, I’m going to buy an electric wine bottle opener this week. When friends join you for a drink, you won’t need to worry about opening that bottle of wine, and they’re sold for under $50.

If you’re anything like me, finding your keys is a daily adventure. Recently, I tried out a key finder, which instantly made my life easier.  With a handy key finder, you can track down your keys and other belongings in a matter of seconds. If you want to keep track of your keys, dogs, wallet, car, backpack and phone all at once, you might consider the Magicfly RF remote, available on Amazon. For about $20, you can keep tabs on six of your possessions with a central remote. The wireless finder contains six numbered tiles that are thin and can be attached to key rings or stored in your item of choice. Press the on/off button on the receiver to locate your item, causing an 80-decibel or higher ring throughout the house. The maximum range is 100 feet of open space and you can replace the batteries on your own whenever they run out.

These four devices may sound simple, and essentially they are, but when buttoning your shirt or finding your keys becomes a problem, daily life is negatively impacted, making it seem like you need more support than you actually do. Smart ways to being as independent as possible are often a click away.

Remaining in my own home is at the top of my list for the retirement years, but I’m also trying to be realistic about what it might take to make that happen for as long as possible. The more I learn and listen about assisted living communities, the more hesitant I’ve become about considering them as a viable alternative for my husband and me. Assisted living is expensive and if you become seriously ill or require medical intervention, they are not set up to support you on a continual basis.

Along with the world of small things, there is, of course, the world of big things. The National Institute on Ageing (NIA) released a report in early October projecting that long-term care costs for older Canadians will more than triple within 30 years, from $22-billion today to $71-billion by 2050. The authors of the report argue, “With baby boomers starting to turn 75 next year, time is running out to improve system sustainability and the availability and quality of long-term care options in Canada. A generation of Canadians is at risk of going with unmet care needs as they age,” they say.

It’s incumbent on baby boomers to think long and hard about their plans for the future, given the findings in this thoughtful and comprehensive report. Small things like magnetic shirts and key finders can make a difference. So can being hard-nosed and realistic about the future by taking stock of your current living conditions, your budget and your projected income over the long term.

In my case, the family home is by far our biggest asset, and there may come a time when we’ll need to get creative about ageing in place. That could mean investigating options such as reverse mortgages, co-operative living, or simply ensuring that our home is safe and accessible for my husband and me. If that means starting with the small things, I’m all for it.

CTV Morning Live

As seen on the CTV Morning Show with Yvonne Ziomecki, check out these smart tools that can help make your life easier.

Gadgets Where to Find Them
Adaptive Pants: VELCRO® brand closure and magnetic fly for no-fuss dressing Link
Adaptive Shirt: with innovative hidden magnetic closures Link 1 Link 2
Cordless and Electric Wine Opener Link
Hamilton Beach Electric Can Opener Link
Schlage Electronic Keypad Lever: keyless entry for enhanced security Link
Google Home: Hands-free help from the Google Assistant Link
Google Nest Wi-fi Smart Learning Thermostat: remembers what temperatures you like, learns your schedule, and programs itself to save energy Link
Gardening Seat: designed to move with your body so you can enjoy your time in the vegetable or flower garden without the aches and pains Link

Call 1-833 357 2447 (CHIP) today so you can find out how much tax-free cash you can get to help you live a “smarter” retirement in the home you love.

Do you think a Reverse Mortgage might fit your needs? Find out if the CHIP Reverse Mortgage is right for you!

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