In most American homes, the kitchen is usually not only a place for preparing meals, but also the central gathering place in a home. When it comes to the importance of kitchen safety for adults, research says it all – According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), people aged over 65 years are 2.5 times more likely in a kitchen fire than other individuals. Furthermore, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention states that over 70 million foodborne cases are reported every year. Due to their decreased immunity, seniors are at a high risk of succumbing to food poisoning. These are just a few examples that show the importance of kitchen safety for the elderly. This article will discuss essential safety tips for seniors while using the kitchen.
Safety Tips to Prevent Fire
Kitchen are usually a major concern at home for seniors and can be extremely dangerous. The elderly should ensure their kitchen have cover plants, and that their electricity is properly installed to reduce any instance of electric fires. While preparing meals, seniors should not wear long sleeves, as they can easily catch fire. Instead, they should consider rolling up their sleeves or wear short sleeves to prevent their clothes from catching fire. Caregivers should also ensure that the kitchen, where seniors operate, does not have any curtains or towels close to the stove. This helps prevent these materials from catching fire.
Avoid Spills and Clutter
Kitchen spills and clutter can be a great hazard for seniors. Most of them spills things around the kitchen, and barely notice it. Due to this, they end up slipping and falling on it. Using pans and pots with handles on both sides can assist to prevent spillage by seniors when cooking. If you happen to notice spills around the kitchen, consider cleaning them up to minimize any accidents. Clutter also has the potential to cause accidents and falls, mostly when the floor is full of cluttered cords. Consider unplugging small appliances when not in use, to reduce instances where seniors trip over them.
Avoiding Food Poisoning
Everyone is at a risk of food poisoning, but according to research conducted by the U.S Food & Drug Administration; seniors are at a higher risk due to their weak immune system. To avoid any issues of food poisoning, consider keeping your refrigerator’s temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below, use cut boards for vegetables and meats, store vegetables and meats in sealed containers. Also, remember, stored food does not have to smell or look bad. If you doubt spoilage, consider discarding the food.
Install Easy-to-Hold Handles
This safety tip might require you to do some little remodeling. However, everything you do will be worth it. Seniors usually have issues grabbing doorknobs because of arthritis or general muscle weakness. To ensure they have an easy time, consider installing new handles and knobs, which are non-slippery and quite convenient to use. If you find this work overwhelming, you can just remove hallway doors and cabinets, which will make it easy for seniors to access kitchen equipment.
Make the Kitchen Seniors-Friendly
Making several changes to your kitchen can make it friendly for use by seniors. Changing up the storage space and work areas can be extremely helpful. Some things you can consider doing here include” ensuring there is enough counter space, installing a lever-handled faucet, ensuring cabinets are reachable, and clearing counters of any unneeded items.
Install Appliances that Turn-Off Automatically
Due to old age, seniors often forget to turn-off appliances. Therefore, instead of worrying about what will happen if an appliance is left on, you should consider getting equipment with the automatic turn-off feature.
Add Bright Lights
With old age, eyesight becomes weaker, making it hard for an individual to see things clearly. If you have seniors around your kitchen, you should consider installing bright lights to make the kitchen more visible. This will make it easy for seniors to move around the kitchen without any trouble.
Use Fall Protection Mats
There are mats you can purchase and place them on your kitchen that will help prevent falls and any serious injuries without affecting mobility. Fall protection mats are made with a high-end technology, which provides balance for seniors and also offers a life-saving cushioning in case they fall. In addition to this, fall protection mats provide a unique and outstanding kitchen design.
Kitchen Safety Tips for seniors with Alzheimer’s and Dementia
Seniors experiencing health complications such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s need extra kitchen measures to be undertaken. This is because these health conditions affect mental cognitive abilities like reasoning and memory. To ensure everything goes smoothly with a senior experiencing these conditions, you need to do a few things such as eliminating the junk drawer, because many Alzheimer’s patients tend to eat plastic, matches, washers, and other objects.
In addition to this, consider installing childproof locks and latches to drawers and cabinets containing cooking utensils, knives, and other equipment that could cause injury. Also, consider using unbreakable dishes whenever possible. It is god to remember that reminding a senor with such mental cognitive problems not to place canned foods or metal objects like spoons in the microwave is not enough. Moreover, seniors might forget when you advise them to be cautious with sharp objects like knives. To make sure no injuries happen, it is your job to unplug the microwave when not in use and place the sharp objects in a secured place to make sure no injuries.
A kitchen is supposed to be the most exciting place in a home. However, it can be very dangerous especially for seniors. Due to different physical issues like diminished vision, reflexes, and balance, accidents and falls involving cooking fires, floor spills, appliance injuries, and hard-to-reach objects are deemed to happen. This is one of the main reasons why kitchen safety for seniors need to be emphasized. With the aforementioned tips, you and your loved ones will be able to prepare meals without any worry. It is understandable that you might not want to make the mentioned changes because you are afraid of hurting your senior’s feelings. However, safety is of utmost importance, and your loved ones will appreciate the concern.