It is always said that the kitchen is the heart of the home. This is true for older adults as well that now may be cooking for one. However, kitchens can also be very dangerous for seniors as there is a risk for electrical fires, falls, and slips. Seniors are at a higher risk of these situations due to poor mobility and sometimes even cognitive decline.
At times, in the kitchen it is crucial to react quickly, and an elderly person may not be able to do so which can cause a fire, fall, or major injury. Also, there are instances where seniors with cognitive decline forget to shut off the stove, appliance, or oven which can cause burns or even death.
There are many things that can be done for seniors that can prevent kitchen injuries and fires. Here are a few safety rules to consider for your senior loved one. Keep in mind that each home is unique in its design and make sure that you are taking that into consideration when evaluating the safety of your senior loved one’s kitchen.
General safety rules in kitchens
Cuts, burns and slips are all potential hazards in a kitchen and are common injuries for those working in the industry. While some of these injuries can be easily avoided, others are unavoidable. However, it is possible to reduce your risk of such injuries by following a set of safety rules in kitchens, especially if you’re an older adult.
- Make sure that they are using timers so that there is less of chance of forgetting something on the stove
- Automatic shut-off devices such as stoves and other appliances are a must
- Surfaces should be clean and tidy, especially the stove to prevent fires
- Cooking pots should be turned inside to prevent burns
- Do a thorough check of all outlets, wiring, and smoke detectors
- Make sure that your loved one wears short sleeves or rolls up their sleeves when cooking to prevent them from getting caught and possibly burning
- Store a fire extinguisher in the kitchen and make sure to review how to use it with them
- Remove sharp objects if your loved one is suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s
As we age, our bodies naturally become less resistant to illness. Foodborne illnesses in particular can create many more health problems for seniors. Food safety is important for seniors as it can prevent illness that can be caused by storing food improperly. Here are a few tips:
- Wash your hands thoroughly before, during, and after all kitchen activities including cooking and cutting up raw meat.
- Have your loved one use a marker and mark the date they bought the item to ensure that they are eaten within the proper date for use.
- Refrigerate perishable foods within a two-hour period after they were exposed to warm temperatures.
- The refrigerator should be kept at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to ensure perishable food is safely stored.
- If your loved one is forgetful, make sure to install a device that provides automatic shut off for various appliances if it does not detect movement.
Falls and slip in the kitchen happen all too often, especially among seniors who are more likely to have accidents at home than any other age group. According to CDC, over a quarter of the adults over 65 reports falling each year. Majority of these occur in bathrooms and kitchens, making it necessary for one to take extra precautions to ensure his/her safety. Here are some tips you can follow to prevent falls in the kitchen.
- All appliances should regularly be checked for leaks to prevent falls
- Pots and pans should be within easy reach and should have two handles to avoid using stepstools to reach items
- The kitchen should be brightly lit in all areas
- Implement non-slip mats
- Remove any clutter in the walking areas of the kitchen
- If they have tile flooring, make sure that they use non-slip slippers
- Install motion sensor lights along the path the senior takes at night
- Heavy items should be moved out of the way or be at easy reach
- Use dinnerware that cannot break such as plastic to avoid injuries from broken ceramic or glass
If you notice that your loved one is losing agility and becoming more forgetful, you may consider putting a meal service in place to prevent possible dangers in the kitchen such as leaving the stove or other appliances on and causing a fire.
It is important that your loved one is safe in their home and especially in their kitchen. Therefore, it is crucial to make sure that they are aware and comfortable with the changes you are making and know how to use new utensils or appliances you put in their kitchen. This will help avoid hazards, falls, and injuries. You should always make sure you are doing these changes with your senior loved one, as after all, it is their home and their environment that they will be using. Make sure you explain why the changes are being made and how it will help keep them safe and prevent slips, falls, and fires in their home.
Is your loved one in need of daily care at home?
Assisting Hands Home Care can help by providing your loved one with senior home care services right in their home. We offer elderly care services in Hollywood, Pembroke Pines, Miramar, FL and the surrounding areas in West Broward County, FL.
Our highly skilled and professional caregivers will make sure to evaluate the care needs of your loved one and create a care plan that works for their unique needs. All our caregivers are licensed, bonded, and insured which means that we handle the liability, insurance, and other employment matters. You can rest assured that your loved one is in good hands. To learn more about our senior home care and elderly care services, call us today at (954) 859-2271.