For seniors who have opted to age in place, being able to cook nutritious meals in the home can be vital for maintaining a sense of autonomy and normalcy. However, as memory, cognition, or mobility decrease, the risks of working with sharp utensils and heated appliances can greatly increase. Bridgewater home care experts suggest a few simple steps you can take to significantly enhance your senior loved one’s kitchen safety.
Invest in Appliances with Auto Shut-Off Features
Many appliance manufacturers are equipping their products with auto shut-off functions. While you will likely pay a bit more for this safety feature, it may be worth the additional spending if it helps ensure your loved one’s safety. Kitchen fires are far less likely to occur when most or all heated appliances are capable of turning themselves off after any prolonged period without use.
Remove or Secure Kitchen Floor Mats
All rugs or mats on the kitchen floor should be safely secured with double-sided tape or removed from the area. As people age, they often develop shuffling gaits, particularly aging adults with Parkinson’s disease. Mats and rugs with rolled or curled edges are serious hazards that can lead to tripping and falling. For increased kitchen safety you can also exchange standard kitchen floor mats for rubber-backed matting with slip-proof surfaces.
Store Heavy Items in Safe, Easy-to-Reach Spaces
All heavy kitchen utensils should be stored waist-high. This eliminates the need for your loved one to bend and lift heavy cookware or appliances. It also eliminates the risk of heavier items falling from overhead cabinets. Heavy items that are used frequently, such as ceramic or cast iron pots, can even be left directly on countertops near the stove.
Purchase Assistive Cooking Devices
Senior kitchen safety can be greatly increased with the right assistive cooking devices. Special knives, peelers, and other tools can be used in place of standard cutlery to prevent cuts and other accidents. These products are made specifically for accommodating the changing needs of adults with arthritis, Parkinson’s, and other age-related illnesses known to impact fine motor coordination.
Maintaining a safe kitchen can make it easier for your loved one to prepare healthy meals on a regular basis. However, even with safety precautions in place, he or she may have a health condition that makes working in the kitchen difficult. If your loved one needs mobility support or assistance with cooking, turn to Home Care Assistance. Our caregivers are available 24/7 to help keep your loved one safe when in the kitchen as well as all other areas of the home. For seniors who need more comprehensive care, we also offer Parkinson’s, stroke, and Alzheimer’s care in Bridgewater. To learn more and to schedule a complimentary consultation, call one of our experienced Care Managers at 908.450.9400 today.