Kitchen safety is important at any age, but it can be a serious problem for the elderly. The kitchen is said to be one of the most dangerous areas in the home, especially for seniors. Many seniors are harmed by fires, spills or spoiled food in the kitchen. We at Carefect Home Care Service would like to share some kitchen safety tips that seniors can follow to ensure that they are safe while in the kitchen.
Fires in the kitchen are often a concern for seniors and can be very dangerous. Seniors should make sure that the outlets in their kitchen are safe and have cover plates and that the wiring in their kitchen is properly installed to prevent electrical fires from occurring. When cooking, seniors should make sure that they do not wear long, loose sleeves because this can easily cause their clothing to catch on fire. Wearing short sleeves or rolling the sleeves up can help prevent the sleeves from touching the stove or other hot areas. Stoves with front or side controls are often good for seniors to have because this keeps them from having to reach over the stove to operate it which can prevent burns and fires. Family caregivers should also make sure that their loved ones do not have any dish towels or curtains that will touch the stove while it is on. If possible, it is helpful to have a gas stove that will shut off automatically. Those who do not have a stove that shuts off on its own can try clearly marking the on and off switches on appliances as this can also help prevent fires by making sure that heated objects do not get left on the stove in the kitchen.
Spills and Clutter
Spills and clutter in the kitchen can be another hazard for seniors. Many seniors spill things in the kitchen and do not notice it and then slip and fall in it later. Buying pots and pans with handles on both sides can help keep seniors from spilling things when cooking. If family caregivers notice spills, they should make sure to clean them up as soon as possible so that their loved one will not slip. Clutter around the kitchen can also cause seniors to fall, especially when there are cluttered cords on the floor. Small appliances should be unplugged when not in use so that seniors do not trip over the cords.
Keeping an organized and well-lit kitchen is another way to make sure that seniors are safe while in the kitchen. Lighting might not seem like a big deal but it can make a big difference for seniors who have trouble seeing by allowing them to see what they are doing better. When it comes to organization, sharp knives should be stored in a knife rack or in a separate drawer so that seniors do not cut themselves while looking for silverware. All appliances, silverware and dishes should be stored in easy to reach places so that seniors will not get hurt getting them down. A sturdy step ladder can be used if necessary, but it is usually best to avoid using all out of reach cabinets. If possible, seniors should get unbreakable dishes so that if they do drop them they will not have to clean up broken glass. It is especially important to store heavy objects at waist level so that seniors will not drop them when trying to get them out because this can cause serious injury.
To avoid poisoning or illness from expired food, family caregivers should regularly check their loved one’s kitchen. Hazardous items such as cleaners or chemicals should be stored away from food so that your loved one’s food will not be contaminated with things that are not safe to eat. After carefully organizing the kitchen, family caregivers should make sure to regularly check their loved one’s pantry and fridge to ensure that there are no expired items. Eating expired foods can be very dangerous, but many seniors forget to check expiration dates when cooking. The kitchen should also be bug and vermin free, so family caregivers should check to make sure that their loved one’s kitchen does not have rodents, ants or roaches which can contaminate food. If your loved one does have bugs or vermin in the house you should call in an exterminator to get rid of them so that your loved one will not get sick.
Those who need extra help ensuring that their loved one is safe in the kitchen can consider hiring a homecare service to help out. Homecare services, such as our services at Carefect Home Care Services, offer seniors help with cooking. Having someone cook for your loved one or assist them in meal preparation will ensure that your loved one is always safe in the kitchen.
Other related articles on our Home Care Blog:
- Nutrition Tips for Seniors
- Home Safety Modifications for Seniors
- Tips to ensure senior drinks enough water
- Nutritional Risks: Warning Signs of Poor Senior Nutrition