Kitchen Safety for Seniors

By Ruby Cemental

Cooking in the kitchen is not without peril, especially for older adults. It sometimes seems like there is a danger at every turn with heated surfaces, knives, and upscale electrical appliances that require some skill to operate. Learn about some of the kitchen dangers for seniors and how to make the kitchen a safe place.

Leading Kitchen Threats to Seniors 

  • Kitchen Fires are a common occurrence in homes occupied by elderly residents. Seniors are often forgetful and may leave the stove on. Fire can also accidentally erupt if a dishcloth or paper towel inadvertently falls onto a hot burner. 

  • Spills & Clutter: Spills and clutter can be another hazard for seniors. Unseen spills on the floor can cause seniors to slip. Clutter can also cause seniors to trip or accidentally drop items, resulting in injury. 

  • Expired Food: If a senior has poor vision or is just forgetful, they may ingest expired food. Eating food past its expiration date can be a hazard.

  • Bug Infestations: Seniors who have a lot of clutter or food laying around may experience ants, rodents, roaches, or other insects that can contaminate food. They can cause seniors to get sick if not taken care of properly. 

These are just a few of the kitchen threats that seniors may experience. Next, let's discuss how safe appliances in the kitchen can help seniors. 

Safe Appliances for Seniors 

No matter how much you want to protect your aging loved one, independent living means that the senior will be cooking in the kitchen and using appliances. The kitchen is typically the hub of the home and many seniors genuinely enjoy cooking. Taking that freedom away is often emotionally devastating. However, there are ways to help ensure the senior's safety with senior-friendly appliances. 

  1. Microwaves: Microwaves do not pose the significant fire-danger of a stove top. It is a relatively safe way for an aging individual to quickly and efficiently cook an entire meal. However, above-the-stove microwaves can pose some threats. If a senior has to reach to get food out of the microwave, there is a higher risk of hot or heavy items falling on the senior. You should choose one that is user-friendly without excessive controls. 

  2. Stove: New stove models have an automatic shut off which help prevent accidental fires. Many also come equipped with a stove top light that lets a person know that the stove's surface is too hot to safely touch. 

  3. Cook Top Fire Suppressor: A cook top fire suppressor instantly suppresses any fire that might erupt on the stove top. You can even purchase one separate from the stove and quickly install it using magnets. 

  4. Jar Opener: Arthritis and aging often make opening a jar difficult, if not impossible. A jar opener is a handy kitchen gadget that helps open jars without straining or hurting hands. A simple tool like this can help seniors feel more confident in the kitchen. 

  5. Safety Can Opener: A senior can sustain a severe cut from the metal lid of a can. However, there are can openers that open a can efficiently without leaving a sharp edge. This prevents seniors from accidentally cutting themselves. And automatic openers can also help seniors with arthritis. 

Kitchen items that help a senior continue to live independently in a safe environment are an ideal addition to any person's home during their golden years. For more information on senior safety at home, refer to our Home Safety Assessment. You can access it in our content library by first finding your local Caring office.

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Tags: Senior Safety