The home kitchen is a popular space to gather, and a place where seniors who live independently prepare various meals throughout the day. It’s also a place where injuries and mishaps can happen. The following 10 kitchen safety tips can be helpful for independent-living seniors, in-home caregivers and everyone who cares for an older adult.
Avoid Cooking in Long Sleeves
Many people may not put much thought into what to wear when standing over a stove cooking. However, everyone working in the kitchen should remember to roll up long sleeves or wear clothing with short sleeves while working at the stove. This can help avoid the possibility of sleeves catching on fire.
Simplify Kitchen Appliances
It’s time to get rid of those heavy, bulky appliances that are not used much and take up so much space. Replace them with easy-to-use, sleekly designed kitchen appliances and cooking aids that help seniors perform a single task well. Also, look for appliances that include added safety features such as light indicators and/or automatic shutoff. Keep one or more timers nearby to help seniors hear when a cooking or baking session is over.
A Clean Workspace
Remove any built-up dirt, grime and gunk from kitchen work surfaces, and make sure kitchen workspaces are kept clean. This helps avoid introducing bacteria, mold and other health hazards into food when it’s being prepared. If workspace is limited, consider turning a table into a clean workspace by covering it with an easy-to-clean protective table cover.
Clutter in the kitchen increases the potential for accidents. Seniors can decide what kitchen items are most useful for their current cooking needs and discard the rest. This is a great time to give unwanted items in good condition away to family, friends and local charities.
Install Nighttime Lighting
Dark kitchen spaces can be dangerous, especially for seniors who have limited vision or mobility. Installing nightlights in the kitchen helps ensure there is always another source of light. It’s also a good idea to keep emergency flashlights in one or more kitchen drawers.
Replace Glass Items with Plastic
Glass items can be nice to look at, but they are quick to shatter when accidentally dropped. Even cleaning up the glass can be risky, as it can cause injuries. It’s better to remove glassware wherever possible, replacing it with items made from durable plastic or another break-resistant material.
Keep Cooking Utensils Within Easy Reach
Place all cooking utensils into drawers or containers that are kept in a designated spot. Seniors will always know where to find them and they won’t need to spend time trying to remember where they put the spatulas or can opener.
Keep Flammable Items Away from Stove Burners
It’s not just shirt sleeves that can go up in flames. Other items that should never be kept near stove burners are potholders, kitchen dish towels and plastic or wooden utensils.
Keep Ventilation Systems Clean
A clean kitchen ventilation system is one that is not going to turn into a fire hazard.
Make sure the kitchen has an easy-to-use fire extinguisher and that anyone who uses the kitchen knows how to operate it.