The kitchen is often considered the heart of the home. Cooking and eating food is not only a necessity, but for many, an enjoyable pastime. The kitchen is also one of the most dangerous areas of the home when it comes to accidents and injuries. Fires, burns, choking, and foodborne illnesses are just some of the potential hazards for seniors in the kitchen. There are many ways that adult children can help older parents or loved ones to stay safe in the kitchen.

Environmental Concerns

The kitchen itself can present hazards to older adults, especially those with physical or mental impairments. Prevention is key in maintaining a safe environment in the kitchen.

  • Slick kitchen floors can be a fall hazard. Rugs, particularly by the sink, can prevent slipping and absorb water in case of leaks or spills.
  • Difficult to use appliances or sharp tools can be a safety concern. Check frequently used items to make sure they are in safe working order and consider transitioning to senior friendly tools.
  • Maintain clean surfaces, appliances, and vents.
  • Replace glass and ceramic with plastic and wood to prevent breaking.
  • Good lighting is a must for visibility.
  • Consider clearing out the kitchen to only necessities and being conscious of efficient storage for ease and accessibility.

Heat Related Problems

Fires and scalding are one of the main kitchen-related safety concerns where prevention is key.

  • Check cords, outlets, and appliances regularly to ensure they are working correctly and don’t have any wear or broken parts.
  • Do not wear long sleeves, flowy clothes, or hair down when cooking near the stove and hot surfaces.
  • Keep surfaces clear with items like towels and pot holders away from the oven and stove.
  • Make sure there is a working smoke detector and accessible fire extinguisher in the kitchen.
  • Use timers and consider automatic shut off devices for stoves, ovens, and other electric appliances.

Food Issues

Allergies, choking, and expired or not hygienically prepared food can all be concerns when it comes to food itself.

  • Meal planning can help with balanced eating and avoidance of problem foods.
  • Write clear expiry dates on food, and dates on leftovers so they are eaten in a safe time range.
  • If choking is a concern, aim for soft food cut into small pieces.
  • Monitor fridge and freezer temperatures to ensure proper food storage.

If cooking alone is no longer safe there are many options like meal delivery services, microwave meals, and cooking together, especially doing meal preparation to have options for extended times.

The associates at CJ Care & Consulting want to support you in keeping your elderly loved ones safe. For more information or to make an appointment, contact us today.