There are specific areas of the house that become hotbeds for danger and accidents for an older person. Seniors who still happen to live independently, or even those who are living with family members, may cook, prep meals and navigate the kitchen numerous times a day. This is why the kitchen can be a prime environment for accidents, falls and other catastrophes that may severely injure senior citizens. To prevent these types of accidents from taking place, follow these tips and safety measures for your kitchen:
Many slips and falls take place in the kitchen because of slippery spots or too much clutter that is left around the kitchen unnecessarily. Falls happen when the refrigerator leaks water and the senior doesn’t realize it, or when something is dropped, and they forget to pick it up, or can’t because of their physical health. These things can be very troublesome, alarming, and could potentially end in a dangerous fall.
It’s essential to make sure all clutter is removed from the kitchen and that even the littlest of spills and drops are taken care of right away. Installing bright lighting can help this process as sometimes lack of adequate lighting can contribute to a senior being unable to see things throughout the kitchen, including on the floor. Install mats in front of the sink and the refrigerator to prevent any type of unforeseen spills or leaks by absorbing them when they occur.
Replace breakable kitchenware
This can be difficult, especially if your grandmother is very fond of her old china or her glass casserole dishes. Heavy duty ceramic and cast iron are good alternatives for cookware, though they can be on the heavy side. All dishes and cups should be replaced by hardened plastic or other nonbreakable options.
You’ll need to store all of these alternatives at waist length and not in any drawers below the counter. Also, opt out of using any drawers or cabinets that require any leaning or are out of reach. Some may recommend employing a step stool, but those can pose even more potential harm than good. Focus on making everything in the kitchen easily accessible as that mitigates risk.
Never leave the oven or stove unattended
Housefires almost exclusively begin in the kitchen when something is left on too long or catches on fire from an open flame. This is why a senior should never walk out of the kitchen when anything is on the stove or in the oven. Natural reflexes slow down as seniors age and reacting quickly to a flame that may spring up from the stove can be much more difficult.
If they happen to step away, even for a mere five minutes, things could quickly get out of hand if something caught fire. Have a fire extinguisher in an accessible place in case of emergencies and always double check that ovens and stoves are turned off after use.
While a bout of food poisoning is not very pleasant to experience, it typically isn’t a long-lasting or big deal for those who are healthy. But for the elderly, these, preventable occurrences can cause grave illness and may even turn deadly. This is because the immune system of an older individual is more susceptible to these type of foodborne diseases and fighting them off can be a much trickier undertaking than their system can sufficiently handle.
Always inspect the temperature on your fridge. Many foodborne illnesses are caused by bacteria that can grow on food that is kept at room temperature, or warmer, for too long. Store food in sealed, airtight containers and ensure that all food is thoroughly cooked before it is served. Those who are of a certain age should steer clear of raw foods as risking getting sick.
Overall, access the amount of space in your kitchen. Making things as accessible as possible to the senior and taking safety measures for your kitchen could mean the difference between a senior suffering from a terrible kitchen accident and going about their day completely safe and undeterred. Kitchen safety is abundantly critical for those who are getting on in age.