In my last blog, I discussed safety in the kitchen, primarily involving children. I’d like to end my month on safety by discussing safety tips in the kitchen for older adults. While you may think that you already take precautions to assist our senior members of society, there are several things that you might want to think about. Kitchen accidents are one of the most common and serious types of accidents older people encounter. While falls are the most prevalent problem, fires in the kitchen and elsewhere in the home follow closely.
Here are some tips for protecting our seniors from kitchen accidents.
- Have smoke alarms installed near kitchen area – Important if items are forgotten on the stove or in the oven.
- Encourage cooking using the back burners of the stove – Burns are less likely to occur in this area.
- Provide a kitchen timer on a cord that can be carried with the person – This provides a reminder that something is cooking and lessens the chance of forgetting that food is cooking.
- If knobs are removable, check that they can only be replace in the proper position after cleaning – You don’t want a knob to say low heat when it is really high heat.
- Make sure potholders and towels are kept away from heat sources – Fires easily occur when either are hanging too close to heat sources.
- Check for grease build-up on surfaces – Many elderly may not have the vision they once had and can’t tell that surfaces are getting a build-up of grease.
- Have a fire extinguisher handy – Easy access is important as well as making sure the person knows how to use it.
- If using gas – Check to see if the range has an automatic shut-off feature.
- Ventilation – Verify that it is functional and does not have a build-up of grease.
These tips are just reminders of safety features for our seniors. Slight burns for most people will heal quickly, but for the elderly, these burns can be a major issue. Let’s protect our elders by keeping them safe in the kitchen.