Kitchens can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. Electrical fires, slips, falls and injuries are among the many potential hazards lurking in a kitchen. And although these accidents can befall even the most chef-worthy among us, the elderly are at much higher risk, particularly if mobility, agility, or cognitive decline are an issue.
When kitchen skills require quick action, the elderly are much less equipped to respond rapidly, leading to falls, fires and injury. Cognitive decline can also lead to forgetting to turn off the stove, take a meal out of the oven or unplug an appliance, causing fires, resulting in potential burns or even death.
Nightingale Homecare works hard to keep seniors safe at home, and shares the following kitchen safety tips to help prevent an accident or injury:
- Invest in automatic shut-off devices for the stove and appliances
- Provide your elder loved one with pots that have two handles to make handling them easier and prevent spills
- Ensure the senior has a clean work space, so that oil and grease do not build up on surfaces
- Clean up clutter in the kitchen and other areas of the home to reduce falls
- Install bright lighting in the kitchen
- Move all cooking utensils to cabinets within reach
- Replace glass items with plastic
- Move heavy items either out of the house, or at waist high level for easier lifting
- Check for leaks around sinks, refrigerators, and other appliances frequently to avoid slips and falls
- When cooking on the stove, turn pot handles inward to reduce the risk of clothing or other items catching and pulling them from the stovetop
- Encourage your loved one not to wear loose fitting clothing when cooking
- Inspect wiring, outlets, and smoke detectors at least every 3 months
- Install a nightlight in the kitchen
If you notice your senior loved one is increasingly more forgetful or less agile, you may consider shutting appliances down in the kitchen altogether and getting a meal service in place. Many adult children are hesitant to make such changes because they are afraid of hurting the feelings of a parent who has found joy in cooking. However, when compared to the alternative, it’s best to be firm and make safety a priority. The kitchen can be as dangerous as a vehicle driven by an unsafe driver, so give the kitchen as much consideration as you would your loved one’s other safety checks.
For more kitchen safety tips and to learn more about making the home safer for seniors, call on Nightingale Homecare of Phoenix. We can help in a variety of ways, including meal preparation and cleanup, light housekeeping and organization to reduce fall risks, assistance with mobility, and much more. Contact us through our online contact form, or by calling 602-504-1555.