The Ultimate Home Survival Guide For New Widows

These 10 items will help make your transition easier

By Laurie Burrows Grad

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new widows

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(This article appeared previously on HuffingtonPost50.com.)

When my husband Peter died, I had to face the practical aspects of living alone. I had to change light bulbs, hang pictures and open jars by myself. So I devised a list of key items for widows to keep on hand to make their lives easier. Here are 10 of them, in the following slideshow.

1. A Secure Stepladder

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A woman who lives alone surely needs a secure stepladder. Invest wisely and use your coupons at Bed Bath & Beyond to get the top-of-the-line ladder. Be honest. How many times have you stepped on a chair instead of a stepladder and almost taken a nose dive? More than one I bet! Be safe, please!

2. Tap Lights

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I live in Los Angeles where earthquakes are common, so I keep a tap light in every room of the house in case of a power outage. Tap lights also double as great toddler toys.

3. A Screwdriver

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This item is a must for every household, but not always on the radar for newly single women. Color me so proud. I just put my new license plates on my car by myself with this nifty little sucker.

4. EZ Moves Furniture Moving System

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This dolly doesn’t take up space and can be used for a variety of household chores. When you have to move heavy furniture, simply lift, place and slide the item.

5. A Rubber Jar Opener

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I love the rubber disc jar openers which work easily to not only open jars, but also to hold onto tools tightly while doing chores.

6. A Powerful Flashlight

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Tap on lights work well in power outages, but they are no substitute for a powerful flashlight.

7. An Easy Corkscrew

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Invest in a self-pulling corkscrew, designed to glide smoothly through corks, with arms that extract the cork when pulled down. We have to have our vino, ladies!

8. Spinner Suitcases

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These suitcases are the easiest way to whip through an airport without breaking a sweat. There are deals to be had at Costco and Target on some lightweight ones.

9. Hide-a-Key

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Always keep a spare key available in a very, very well-hidden place.

camera surveillance system

10. Camera Surveillance System

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It’s costly, but I like the safety features. I have an app that tells me when a package is in front of my door. I can then text my neighbor to take it in for me, making my house more secure.

Person using iPhone app

2 More Safety Tips

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A couple more safety tips and ideas:

  • If you have an iPhone, there is a health app that comes with the phone that gives you information on your heart rate, calories burned and more. It also has a medical ID that allows you to fill in vital information, such as blood type and a list of your medications. If you are in an accident, an EMT knows to go to your locked screen, swipe and hit emergency. You have to set it up as “view in locked screen,” but this is a fantastic safety measure.
  • I also just learned about Kitestring, which I signed up for on my computer. If you find yourself on a sketchy street at night, simply punch in your emergency contacts, let Kitestring know when you’re somewhere dangerous and it will text you a little later to see if you’re OK. If you don’t respond, it alerts your contact or your bestie that something may be wrong.



By Laurie Burrows Grad
Laurie Burrows Grad is a grief blogger and the Huffington Post Editor-in-Chief of epicurus.com. Grad has is also a cookbook author, television chef, food journalist and an activist/fundraiser for the Alzheimer's Association.

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