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Elderly Care Safety: Making the Kitchen a Safer Space

Elderly Care in Natick MA

Senior Woman in the KitchenGetting into the kitchen with your aging parent is a fantastic way to enhance your elderly care journey with her, but it can also pose serious risks. Cooking is one of the primary ways that people take care of themselves and others, and is a great means of stimulating your parent’s mind and sharpening memory skills. Any time that your loved one enters the kitchen, however, she could be at risk of serious injury.

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, nearly half of all residential fires and more than 36 percent of residential fires resulting in injuries were due to cooking. Another 7 percent were caused by appliances. This means that the vast majority of residential fires occur in the kitchen. Elderly adults over the age of 80 have the highest fire injury rate, accounting for nearly 69 percent of fire injuries. Those of 85 are at the highest risk of death due to fire, accounting for 41 percent of fire deaths.

Of course, fire is not the only risk that your parent faces in the kitchen. There are other potential hazards as well. Understanding these risks and taking steps to resolve them can help your parent to stay safer and healthier while maintaining more independence and a higher quality of life.
Use these tips to improve the safety of your parent’s kitchen throughout the course of your elderly care journey with her:

  • Consider cooking styles. As your parent ages, not all cooking styles will remain appropriate for her. Especially if she is dealing with cognitive functioning limitations such as those that come with Alzheimer’s disease, you may need to consider alternatives. Disconnecting the stove and oven can help prevent situations when your senior forgets that there is food cooking, possibly causing a fire. Microwaves and toaster ovens are safer forms of cooking for more seniors. Be sure that there is a fire extinguisher easily accessible in the event of a cooking or appliance fire, and that your parent knows how to use it properly.
  • Store sharp objects out of reach. One misstep with a sharp knife or chopper can result in a very serious injury. Remember that elderly adults have thinner, more vulnerable skin that is more prone to injury and infection. This means that a cut or scrape that would have seemed minor to you could quickly escalate into something much more serious. Prevent his from happening by storing sharp knives, peelers, and other utensils out of reach of your elderly parent. Make sure that you or her non-medical caregiver handles all of the chopping and cutting, or purchase ingredients that are already prepared.
  • Replace appliances. Pouring a cup of coffee may not seem like a challenge to you, but it could be for your parent. Lifting a large pot of coffee could put a strain on weakened joints. This could result in your parent dropping or spilling the hot coffee on herself. Instead, consider a single-cup maker that will let your parent brew just one cup at a time.
  • Store carefully. Avoid storing large containers of food such as bottles of oil or heavy containers of flour in overhead cabinets. This can result in your parent reaching for the item and having it as well as others fall down on top of her. Store these products low to the ground or purchase smaller containers so that you can refill them from the larger container and store them where your parent can easily access them.


If you or an aging loved one are considering non-medical in-home care in Metrowest Boston, MA, call Griswold Home Care and speak to one of our caring staff members today. Call (781) 559-0073