The kitchen is the heartbeat of any household. When friends and family come to visit the kitchen becomes the place where everyone congregates. However, for those who are chronically ill, disabled, and elderly the kitchen can become a hazardous place. We hear the same story often. “My Mom no longer likes to cook. At one time cooking was per passion.” There can be many reasons why someone no longer enjoys cooking but one of the common reasons is that physically the elder is incapable of using their kitchen due to a disability. Whether it is a mobility problem, vision impairment, or just the natural aging process, here are some to home care tips to make the kitchen more accessible for your loved to participate in cooking again.
Home Care Tips for the Kitchen:
- Make sure aisles are wide enough for two people to pass or for a wheelchair to turn around.
- Appliances, countertops, sinks and faucets should be within easy reach for someone in a sitting position.
- Use nonskid flooring and finishes and remove all throw rugs (tripping hazard).
- Create colored or raised markings on control knobs. This can be done with colored tape, puffy paint, or stick-on bumps
- Replace old kitchen tools with the more ergonomic versions. OXO tools offer easy-to-grip comfort handles
- Create a tight work triangle. The stove, sink and refrigerator should be in close proximity to each other with ample counter space in between. You want to limit the amount of moving space for carrying heavy and hot dishes.
- Replace round pull knobs with ‘C’ or ‘D’ shaped handles. This is especially helpful for those who have weak and arthritic hands.
- Contrast the colors on cabinets and countertops. This helps those who have vision problems decipher their space, for
- example, where the countertop ends.
- Contrast colors also on the table. Light colored dishes on dark placemats or visa-versa.
- Choose flatware with large easy to grip handles in a color that contrasts with the placemat or cloth.
- Use divided plates with non-slip bottoms to make eating easier for those with tremors or vision impairments.
- Place frequently used or heavy items in lower cabinets. Spring-assisted shelving is particularly helpful for heavy appliances like a mixer.
- A Lazy Susan or turntable in the refrigerator and pantry brings items to you rather than having to reach for them.
- Consider putting child safety locks on cabinets if your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s or dementia.
Source: CareAdvantage Summer 2012 and the book, “Home Assessiblity: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier” (Demos Health 2012)
Stay At Home is dedicated to helping families and their loved ones enjoy their independence at home. We consider it an honor to provide compassionate home care services to the elderly, ill and disabled in every market that we serve.