Seniors are vulnerable to injuries in the kitchen area. However, they need to be able to prepare nutritious meals each day. The La Mesa home care specialists at Coast Care Partners offer these strategies to make the kitchen safer for an aging loved one who prefers to live independently.
Select Appliances that Automatically Shut Off
Kitchen fires are a serious safety concern for older adults, who may forget they have food on the stove or in the oven. When possible, look for appliances that automatically shut off after a certain period. Although these appliances tend to be pricier, the peace of mind is worth it if your loved one experiences memory loss.
Add a Nonskid Mat
Between washing dishes, spills, and potential plumbing issues, the kitchen floor could get wet at any time and create a risk for falls. If your loved one is remodeling the kitchen, choose slip-resistant flooring that has just enough texture to provide some grip. At the very least, add a nonskid mat in wet areas, such as near the sink, so your loved one has a sturdy surface to stand on while cooking and cleaning up.
Explore Ergonomic Cooking Utensils
Seniors with health conditions that cause shaking, tremors, or weakness in the hands are at greater risk for getting cut while they prepare ingredients. There are knives and other cooking utensils that reduce this risk by helping older adults maintain their grip. Rocking knives are a favorite style of cooking utensil for many seniors who are no longer comfortable with traditional styles.
Move Essential Items to Lower Shelves
Discourage your loved one from climbing on a ladder to reach common ingredients and cookware. Cluttered shelves also create a situation that could lead to items falling on your loved one’s head. Spend a day helping your loved one organize the cabinets and pantry space so everything he or she needs is easily accessible.
Choose Plastic Containers Instead of Glass
Stiff and weak muscles and joints in the hands make it more likely that your loved one could drop objects, and he or she could get seriously injured trying to clean up the glass from a broken jar. When you have a choice at the grocery store, choose items that are already in plastic containers. You can also transfer items such as condiments into plastic jars when you get home.
Encourage Proper Cooking Habits
Take the time to cook with your loved one and remind him or her of proper cooking habits that reduce the risk of an injury. For instance, your loved one should always keep flammable items, such as potholders, away from the stove. If you notice your loved one consistently forgets important safety rules, such as turning off the stove, arrange for a caregiver to drop in each day for cooking sessions that allow your loved one to still be involved with meal preparation without compromising safety.
If your parent needs assistance living independently in safety and comfort, a professional caregiver can be a wonderful source of support. For the highest quality in senior home care, La Mesa families rely on Coast Care Partners. As San Diego’s premier caregiving agency, we can assist your elderly loved one with everyday tasks while making sure his or her safety is paramount. We offer a variety of types of home care, including live-in and respite care as well as specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia. To create a customized in-home care plan for your loved one, reach out to us today at 619-354-2544.