Help Automate Dishwashing Duty: We've got one of these simplehuman sensor pumps in our own kitchen and it's been a surprisingly useful addition in a busy kitchen (my better half writes/cooks for our cooking site, The Kitchn), doling out just the right about of dishwashing fluid every time (thus saving a little money, since we weren't over-squeezing the bottle like we sometimes would) and also allowing us to keep the kitchen more clean since we didn't have to touch a slippery bottle while pulling dishwashing duty. This is definitely a device which at first seems like pure luxury...and it is, but in a good way...mom and dad will enjoy the no-brainer operation, whether used in the kitchen or bathroom.
Automate Floor Cleaning Duties: As your parents get older, regularly vacuuming the house can become more difficult. Although Roomba vacuums can't completely take over for a thorough canister or upright cleaner, they're pretty adept at the upkeep of floors in-between major cleanings. For price vs performance, we like the iRobot Roomba 560, since it offers onboard scheduling for up to 7x/week and it automatically docks when the battery is low. All your parents will need to do is occasionally empty out the bin...or wait for you to visit to do it for them. Make Mowing the Lawn Easier, Safer: Remember when you were a kid and dad made you mow the lawn for a dollar and a pat on the back? Well, it might be time to help dad out again, as mowing the lawn isn't easy when you're at the age when your best friend's name is Ben...as in Bengay. Awhile back ago, one of our team tested our the Neuton battery powered lawn mower and reported it was super quiet...like a Prius creeping up on your street, while also being emission-free, and push button start operation, so dad doesn't pull out his arm while trying to arm yank start the mower (again). You can pick one up for $349 new or for $20 less for a reconditioned model with the same 2 year warranty. Ditch the Huge Ring of House and Car Keys: The one thing my mom misplaces more and more as she gets older: her keys. We always eventually find them, but we think maybe installing a keyless entry could help. This Samsung model is super sleek looking, while also utilizing the same heavy duty deadbolt locking mechanism as found inside Medeco door locks. There's also an option to just wave an entry card, just in case you parents don't want to memorize an entry code (we wonder if the sensor can pick it up through a wallet or purse?). Help Mom & Dad Find Their Keys: Speaking of easily lost house and car keys: if your parents are progressive enough to own a smart phone (despite my own mom's opinion, more and more older folks love their smartphones as much as us whippersnappers), help them find their keys using a simple keychain + phone app combination, the Cobra Tag Bluetooth Tag Alarm. We've tested this system ourself and it works well, the only issue is the short charge life (about a week), so you'll have to enter a reminder into their smartphone to keep this device charged!