There are many bright minds out there salivating over the product opportunities presented by the aging Baby Boomers. Though innovation often trends toward tech-savvy developments to make life easier, I have a few decidedly low-tech suggestions.
Anyone besides me have trouble fastening those clasps on necklaces or bracelets? I hesitate to wear some of my previously favorite pieces of jewelry because they are simply too hard to put on. Why don’t more jewelry makers consider other alternatives like magnetic clasps or ones with large toggle closures that are much easier to handle.
Another pet peeve is food containers that are nearly impossible to open. Oils and condiments with a screw top often have a seal inside that must be removed. Much easier said than done. Some include tabs that when pulled will remove the seal but too often the tab breaks off leaving the bottle well-sealed. Now try getting that seal off the bottle. Or how about the bags of chips or frozen food with an illustration of a zipper indicating that they can be opened easily by pulling along the dotted line. That rarely works so it’s good to have a pair of kitchen shears handy.
Do I sound appropriately crotchety yet? Probably, but it would behoove any manufacturer to try out products on a few pairs of arthritic hands before introducing them to the marketplace.
Another problem I have observed from my 91-year-old father’s perspective is the difficult task of changing batteries in his hearing aids. He has suffered from hearing loss for years, partially attributable to his service as a flight instructor during World War II. Thankfully, the technology in hearing aids has improved markedly in recent years and the advent of digital devices has made life much better for lots of people.
The problem, however, comes when the batteries die – which they tend to do every 10 days or so. As the hearing aids have gotten smaller so have the batteries and changing them is no easy task especially when age takes its toll on dexterity. Rechargeable batteries are available but not widely used, partly because cost is an issue.
The goal here is quality of life. Sometimes simple solutions are all that is needed to make big improvements.
About Kathy Silverberg
Secretary of Senior Friendship Centers' Board of Governors, Kathy is currently a newspaper columnist/ freelance writer, and previously was Southern Region Publisher for the Sarasota Herald Tribune and Editor/General Manager of four New York Times regional newspapers. She serves as liaison between United Way of Charlotte County and the Senior Friendship Centers. She is past chair of the Board of the Punta Gorda Chamber of Commerce, is a board member and past president for United Way of Charlotte County; and, is chair of Charlotte County’s Senior Leadership Council.