Kitchen safety is one of the most important types of home safety to practice for the elderly, next to bathroom safety. The kitchen can be a very dangerous place for anyone, but for those 65 and older, it is even more so. This is, in part, due to the fact that a person’s responses and physical abilities diminish as they grow older.
You can help yourself or a loved one by creating a safe and usable kitchen. To start, think about the people who will be using the kitchen now; their physical and mental capabilities, habits, etc. Then, think about the people in the future. Will they be using a cane to walk? A wheelchair? What about when they begin to suffer from a decline in their cognitive abilities? Building a plan for kitchen safety with these things in mind will help create an environment that is much safer to use.
Home safety tips for the kitchen
- There is enough light at the range, sink and counter top areas
- Install night lights
- There are no shiny work surfaces
- Light switches are located at all entrances to the kitchen
Everyone uses appliances in the kitchen. When thinking about elderly kitchen safety, you should consider whether all appliances are necessary, and ensure they are maintained and used properly.
- Unplug counter appliances when not in use and ensure they are away from sink areas
- Ranges are located where no objects can touch burners (such as curtains) and the area around the range is kept clear
- The range exhaust vent discharges outside the home
- Gas ranges should have a pilot light and automatic shut-off
- Controls for the oven are easy to use, clearly marked and located on the front of the oven/range so there is no reaching over burners
- If you have an exhaust hood for the oven, it has easily removable ﬁlters for proper cleaning. Clean ﬁlters as needed
- Only use the microwave when there is food in it
Counters, cabinets and work areas
Changes to the work and storage space in the kitchen can be particularly helpful. By creating elderly friendly work areas, home safety can improve.
- Keep all cabinet doors and drawers closed when not in use
- Ensure there is plenty of counter space and keep regularly used items there
- Install a lever-handled faucet
- Keep counters clear of unnecessary items
- Cabinets should be easily reachable and/or have pull-down shelves
Cooking and food preparation
While preparing or cooking food, home safety can be improved by making little changes in the way people work.
- Keep knives and other sharp objects properly stored
- Keep handles on pots and pans turned away from the edge of the range and other burners
- Keep hot pad and pot holders near the stove
- Don’t wear clothes that are very loose fitting or have long, loose sleeves
Here are a few other home safety ideas for the kitchen:
- Disconnect the garbage disposal
- Install non-slip, anti-glare flooring
- Always wipe up spills quickly and ensure it has been cleaned properly
- Do away with any drawers or cabinets used to collect junk
- Store flammable liquids outside
Other Home Safety Ideas
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