Kitchen Safety for Seniors

If your senior loved one is living at home, it is a good idea to understand the safety risks involved with senior independent living. Often times those with Alzheimer’s or Dementia may wish to live at home while receiving home care help, but safety for seniors can still be tough to implement when there can still be potential dangers for seniors.

Sometimes seniors with a gas stove may forget to turn off the burner after cooking or reheating their meal, and this can be extremely dangerous. Gas stoves may also have pilot lights that could get blown out, and your senior loved one may not realize that there is gas leaking from this spot due to their inabilities to smell as well as they did when they were younger. Gas leaks can cause death, stroke, and extreme illness, especially in older individuals. Even if your senior loved one is using an electric stove top, they may forget to turn off the burner, and may set the newspaper on it which will cause a fire. The kitchen can be a dangerous place for seniors.

Another danger is that of pots and pans falling onto the senior while they are cooking, or after being used. A hot dish, pot, or pan can cause a senior to break a bone or receive medical treatment for burns or other problems. They may not set the pots properly on top of the burner when cooking, and this may cause a disaster for your senior loved one. Some caregivers choose to remove the knobs from the cooking devices to ensure safety for their loved ones, or they may even get child-proofing devices if they do not think their senior loved one should be cooking for themselves.

Microwaves may also be a danger for your loved one as many items should not be cooked in a microwave. For instance, your senior loved one may forget that steel or aluminum should not be place in a microwave. A fire will occur due to this mistake, and your senior loved one may become injured. If you feel that your loved one should not be using a microwave, you can unplug the microwave or take the device out of the home all-together.

It is unfortunate, but some seniors with Alzheimer’s may forget that you have to cook raw meat before consuming, or they may not wash their fruits and vegetables. This can be a huge concern for many caregivers because their loved one can fall ill due to eating unsafe, or uncooked foods. Locking the refrigerator is an extreme measure, but sometimes it is necessary if you or someone else is caring for a loved one that may get into this situation.

Some suggestions you may want to follow for a safer kitchen for your senior loved one are: removing the spices and medicines from the counters and keeping cleaning supplies locked away, just as you would a child. You may want to remove sharp objects such as knives and scissors, disguise the garbage disposal switch, put labels on shelves and cabinets, disable kitchen appliances when you are not in the room with the senior, use burner covers, have an electric start instead of a gas pilot, lock the oven door, use safety devices on doors and cabinets, and install gates so your senior loved one cannot access the kitchen when they should not be accessing that part of the house.

Some other important safety precautions you may want to take if your loved one is suffering from Alzheimer’s Disease but lives at home are: put a temperature gauge on the faucet to help your loved one from being scalded, hide small appliances such as toasters or waffle makers, unplug any unused appliances, use an electric tea kettle to ensure safety, step stools are convenient and seniors may need to use them to reach higher objects in the kitchen, and always keep an eye on your senior loved one while they are in the kitchen. Safety with seniors can become challenging, as there are many things you need to do to ensure that safety. But, taking the steps to a safer kitchen, and safer home, for those who wish to age at home, is often the best solution to healthy aging. Homecare providers will help ensure that your loved one is safe when you are not able to care for your loved ones. If your senior loved one is planning on staying at home as they age, it is best to talk with your local area agency on aging, or a geriatric care manager to determine which Home Care steps you should take to ensure your senior loved one’s well-being and the safety in their home.

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