Next to the bathroom, the kitchen can be one of the most dangerous places in the home for seniors and those dealing with disabilities. One of the greatest dangers is fire. In the United States over 3500 people are killed in home fires each year with cooking fires being the number one cause. To help prevent this risk, try to keep flammable fabrics like curtains and dish towels away from the stove. Be sure not to wear loose-fitting clothing which may easily catch fire when you’re cooking. Make sure pot holders are easy to get to but not hanging above the stove. Above all, be sure you have an easily reached and working fire extinguisher in the area and that a smoke detector has been installed in the kitchen.
Another source of kitchen fires is faulty electrical wiring or overloaded circuits. It’s a good idea to have an electrician give the wiring and outlets a once over so you don’t get a nasty surprise when faulty wiring starts a fire within the walls. If an appliance isn’t in use, unplug it — this’ll keep you from overloading the outlets.
Try to make the storage space in the kitchen easily accessible by a senior who probably has arthritis or mobility issues. Things that are used on a regular basis should be within easy reach so no one has to climb on a stool or chair. Slide out drawers in cabinets are a good option and pull down shelving removes the need to climb up. Frequently used small appliances should be located near an outlet so you don’t have to move them around. If possible purchase small appliances (such as coffeemakers) that have an automatic off feature.
Try to arrange seating room beneath a counter top to accommodate those who cannot comfortably stand while working in the kitchen. The countertop is also the safest place to locate the microwave. This will prevent accidental burns while reaching up and removing hot items. Make sure there are heat-resistant trivets located near stoves so hot items can quickly and safely be set down.
Don’t use floor polish or wax and skip the kitchen throw rugs. They increase the chances of slips and falls and are a major contributing factor for trips to the emergency room.
Just making a few of these changes and using some common sense can go a long way to making your kitchen senior safe. What have you done to make your kitchen a safe haven? Share below and visit us at http://www.trilliumhomecare.com