Senior safety at home should be a priority, especially in the kitchen. The risks of electrical fires, injuries, and falls make the kitchen one of the most dangerous rooms for seniors in the home.
The CDC states that one out of five falls cause serious injury such as broken bones or head injuries.
While most seniors might not be involved in cooking or food preparation, they are at a higher risk if they experience issues related to mobility, cognitive decline, or agility.
Accidents in the kitchen require a quick response and with age, seniors are unable to rapidly respond which results in falls, injury, or fires.
Issues related to cognitive decline such as memory loss could lead them to forget to take a meal out of the oven, turn off the stove or unplug appliances resulting in fires, burns, or even death.
Therefore, let’s get into some kitchen safety tips to keep seniors safe.
Workspaces and Floors
These should be kept clean and dry at all times. Avoid cluttering workspaces with unnecessary items and the sink with dirty utensils. Floors should be wiped and kept dry to avoid falls.
Keep Essential Items Within Reach
If there are items that your loved one uses every day, keep them within a reach, on countertops. Ensure that they remain in the same places to avoid confusion especially for seniors with memory loss complications.
You can also consider removing cabinet doors to make items accessible for your loved one.
Install Bright Lighting in the Kitchen
Adequately lit spaces will prevent accidents as everything is visible for your loved one. Installing a night light will also help them access the kitchen easily at night if they need anything.
Replace Glass with Plastic
It is important to minimize breakages in the kitchen, therefore, consider replacing glass items with plastic ones. Keep the plastic items away from the burners to prevent fires.
Check for Leaks, Broken Appliances or Exposed Wires
Regular inspections in the kitchen for leaks, exposed wires, and broken appliances will ensure the kitchen for your loved one to use. Any faulty equipment should be replaced or repaired immediately.
Equip the Kitchen for Emergencies
Consider installing domestic fire extinguishers in the event of a fire. Remove all flammable material in the kitchen and avoid spraying or placing aerosols near an open flame. Ensure that the smoke detectors are working all the time.
Seniors should avoid wearing loose-fitting clothing when cooking as they can catch fire easily. Place mittens and table clothes within reach to make it easier for them to transfer or hold hot utensils or cooking pots.
Use the back burners for cooking to avoid spills that could result in burns or falls. Keep the pot handles turned towards the back of the stove while cooking to reduce the risk of clothing and other items catching fire or pulling from the stovetop.
Proper Food Storage
Separate cooked food and raw food in the fridge to avoid cross-contamination. It is also necessary to avoid leftovers as some might cause food poisoning for your loved one. Encourage them to eat fresh food every day.
Mats or Rugs
Place a mat or rug in front of the sink to soak up water to prevent a fall or slip hazard.
In case your loved one is experiencing age-related health conditions that could put them at risk while cooking, consider supervising or being present as they cook. Some seniors might leave cooking food unattended or leave devices on to attend to other things in the house. Your presence could prevent severe accidents if they are not keen on everything they do while cooking.