Since kitchens tend to be filled with sharp objects, extreme temperatures, and heavy equipment, they’re full of potential hazards for elderly people. Kitchens are particularly dangerous for seniors with dementia, but they can even be problematic for a perfectly healthy senior. Whether your aging loved one lives alone or with you, you need to make some changes in the kitchen. Follow these tips to help your loved one remain safe in the kitchen.
Store Everything in Reachable Areas
As a rule of thumb, anything your loved one needs in the kitchen should be stored between shoulder and waist height so he or she can easily get items without having to risk falling while crouching down or using a stepladder. Storing items in reachable areas also reduces the chances of dropping a heavy item while trying to pull it out of a high cabinet.
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Put Timers on Appliances
Cut back on the risk of fires and toxic gas fumes by installing timers that automatically shut off appliances after a certain period. You can also install timer locks that keep the stove from being used during certain times of day, which can keep your loved one safe when you’re not present.
Reduce Water Temperatures
Many kitchens have the capability of expelling extremely hot water from the faucets. Hot water might get rid of grease, but it poses a scalding risk for seniors. You can install a lever handle that’s easier to operate than a twist knob, but some seniors may be at risk for burns because they’re less likely to notice the heat. The safest thing to do is reduce the maximum temperature on the water heater.
You can reduce the risk of fires by not overloading outlets and ensuring the range hood works properly. Make sure the kitchen has a working smoke detector. Store a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place and teach your loved one how to use it.
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Get Rid of Tripping & Slipping Hazards
Seniors are at risk for falling in the kitchen and injuring themselves on sharp or hot surfaces. You can greatly reduce the chance of this happening to your loved one by removing rugs from the kitchen and taping electrical cords against walls. It’s also a good idea to remove short step stools and low-hanging tablecloths.
Secure Sharp Objects
If your loved one is unable to handle sharp objects safely, you’ll need to collect all the knives from the kitchen, store them in a lockbox, and keep the key in a place where your parent can’t access it. Even seniors who are capable of chopping and slicing food can get hurt. Encourage your loved one to keep knives in a safe place out of the way, sit down while using knives, and avoid walking around while holding a knife.
A few preventive measures can help your loved one age in place safely and comfortably. Some seniors only require help with a few daily tasks so they can maintain their independence. However, those living with serious illnesses may need more extensive assistance. Luckily, there is professional live-in care Carmichael, CA, seniors can rely on. Home can be a safer and more comfortable place for your loved one to live with the help of an expertly trained and dedicated live-in caregiver. If your loved one needs professional care, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at (916) 485-4663 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.