Whether your senior loves experimenting in the kitchen or just needs to do some basic cooking, you can make it easier for them with some inexpensive kitchen aids. Things that we take for granted when we're young, like being able to open a jar or reach a box on a shelf, can become virtually impossible as you get older. We've rounded up must-have kitchen items that can help keep your senior living safely and independently.
1. Jar Opener
A jar opener is an inexpensive essential for any senior's kitchen. You'll find numerous options at kitchen stores and online, including openers specially meant for arthritis sufferers and the elderly. Look for one with a no-slip grip that can open multiple-sized lids, from smaller items like drink bottles to larger-size food jars.
2. Ergonomic Can Opener
Opening cans with a regular can opener can be almost impossible for seniors who have limited mobility or who have diminished strength and find it difficult to grip things. Try this can opener with a non-slip, ergonomic design and a knob that's easy to turn.
3. Reaching Stick
Also called a reacher grabber, a grabber stick, or a pick-up tool, a reaching stick is an extendable stick with a grabber at the end that allows you to reach things. This is perfect for seniors who can't reach items on shelves or who can't bend over to pick items up off of the floor, especially those with back or neck issues, arthritis, or who are confined to wheelchairs.
4. Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat
If your senior does a lot of cooking or cleaning in the kitchen, an anti-fatigue floor mat might be just what they need. An anti-fatigue mat will reduce the pressure on feet, knees, and lower back, giving them a secure, stable surface to stand on.
5. Magnifying Glass
Having a magnifying glass on hand in the kitchen can be a lifesaver for a senior. We like this one because it is lighted, has an ergonomic handle, and offers sufficient magnification that allows seniors to see comfortably.
6. Batter Pen
Getting the batter from the bowl to the cupcake pans is always a challenge. A batter pen simplifies this. The batter goes into the pen, and then a squirt sends the batter into the cupcake liners. It also works great for drawing designs in pancake batter in a frying pan.
7. Kitchen Timers
Kitchen timers are a great way to provide your senior with gentle reminders while cooking. No more forgetting about food left on the stove or in the oven. While a crockpot may time itself, a kitchen timer as a backup can't hurt.
8. Mini Bundt Pans
The biggest problem with making a bundt cake is that they are so big. One person can't possibly eat the whole thing, and giving away slices isn't very attractive. Mini bundt pans solve that problem. Keep one and give three away to friends or neighbors!
9. Talking Microwave Oven
Microwave ovens that talk can confirm the power, time, and other settings that you selected before precious time is wasted burning a meal, or not cooking it at all. However, the convenience of these appliances is lost when they cannot be operated properly.
10. Cut-Resistant Gloves
Knives, graters, scissors, and other items can cause mild to severe injuries. Cut-resistant gloves, some much tougher than leather, can protect seniors' precious hands.
11. Auto Shut-Off Stoves
Even if we smell the food, it is still easy to forget that we have something on the stove. So those with the auto shut-off mechanism prevent fires when no motion is detected for a specified period of time.
12. Rocker Knife
A rocker knife is used with one hand, with a rocking motion, to cut vegetables or cheese, or meat on a cutting board. It is a more stable way to use a knife, which is a great help for many seniors.
13. Soft Grip Kitchen Shears
A good pair of kitchen shears can cut through items as delicate as fresh herbs, as common as string, and as tough as jerky. A soft-grip handle can provide extra stability in the hand. And the scissors can be used for other projects around the house.
14. Mixing Bowl with Grip
Holding a mixing bowl in one hand with a mixer held in the other is a difficult job no matter what your age, but for someone with less hand strength, holding onto a smooth rim is often difficult. Thankfully, many mixing bowls come with grip edges or with handles, which can help any senior to keep the cookie batter in the bowl, and not on the floor.
15. LED Faucet Lights
Ever turn on the water in your sink, walk away for a minute, come back, and burn your hand? With LED faucet lights, you see red water pouring from the faucet when it's hot and blue water when it's cold.
16. Cookie Spritz Gun
Rolling out the dough and using cookie cutters is time-consuming. A spritz gun has a wide array of disks with different designs. The dough gets pressed inside the tube and a trigger is pulled to send the dough through the disk and onto the cookie sheet.
17. Non-Stick Cooking Pan
Trying to pry off burnt or stuck-on items from a hot frying pan is one of the leading ways that people inadvertently get burned in the kitchen. Hot food items can fly off the pan or the senior's hand can slip while trying to work lose the stuck-on food, potentially resulting in burns. A non-stick cooking pan makes cooking a breeze. Even cast iron cookware is available on non-stick surfaces. Cast iron also cooks at a lower temperature which makes it less likely to accidentally burn the senior.