The kitchen can be an unsafe place for seniors who have slow reflexes, poor vision, or issues with memory. Even with constant oversight, it won’t take much for a serious accident or injury to occur if you don’t take a few precautions. The following seven tips can help you senior-proof the kitchen so your aging loved one can continue to cook and bake without you worrying about his or her safety.
1. Declutter the Floors
Anything on the floor could potentially trip your loved one and result in a debilitating injury, including mats placed in front of sinks, stovetops, and refrigerators. Remove cords, mats, rugs, and runners, and get rid of clutter throughout the kitchen area.
Consider hiring a professional caregiver if your loved one needs help decluttering and managing light household chores. Portland respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
2. Organize the Drawers
If your loved one has Alzheimer’s or another cognitive issue, keep the kitchen as clean and clutter-free as possible. Leaving unnecessary products in the drawers and cabinets could result in confusion, anxiety, or the misuse of dangerous items. At the very least, you might want to put locks on drawers your loved one doesn’t need access to.
3. Remove Dangerous Liquids
There may come a time when your loved one can no longer read labels, which is why you must remove all poisonous and flammable products from the kitchen. An older adult who is confused, tired, or heavily medicated might accidentally ingest cleaning supplies or other dangerous products. If storing those items outside the kitchen isn’t an option, consider installing safety locks on some of the cabinet doors.
4. Add Lighting
Dim or inadequate lighting could be dangerous for your loved one. In addition to having bright lights overhead, you can also install under-cabinet lights. Seniors who tend to wake up in the middle of the night for snacks and drinks need night lights leading to and from the kitchen as well.
5. Replace Glassware with Plastic
Many people enjoy the look of glassware, but these items are easy to break. Seniors who have poor grip strength or dexterity might have a difficult time holding on to heavier plates, bowls, and cups. For everyday use, invest in a set of plastic or break-resistant dinnerware.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more difficult for seniors to cook daily meals and age in place comfortably. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to assisted living facilities. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Align Home Care, a leading senior care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks.
6. Unplug the Garbage Disposal
A garbage disposal can be an invaluable tool when a sink is clogged, but it can be dangerous as well. These appliances spin razor-sharp blades at incredibly high speeds and can fling hard objects out of a drain. Unplugging the garbage disposal until it needs to be used could prevent a serious accident.
7. Create a Comfortable Workspace
Cooking and baking are great pastimes for seniors, but standing in front of a counter for long periods can be hard on the joints. Putting a comfortable chair in front of a table provides a place to chop, measure, and mix without getting tired. You can also invest in a few simple cooking aids such as a loud timer, utensils with larger grips, and nonslip cutting boards.
Safety-proofing a senior’s kitchen while managing other caregiving duties can be overwhelming. If you’re the primary caregiver for a senior family member and are looking for professional elder care, Portland Align Home Care should be your top choice. Our dedicated and compassionate caregivers are committed to helping older adults manage their health and enjoy a higher quality of life in the golden years. To create a customized care plan for your loved one, call us at (207) 835-3605 today.