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Tips to Keep Older Adults Safe in the Kitchen

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Since kitchens tend to be filled with sharp objects, extreme temperatures, and heavy equipment, they are full of potential hazards for the elderly. Kitchens are particularly dangerous for seniors with dementia, but they can even be problematic for a perfectly healthy senior. Whether your aging loved one lives alone or with you, you need to make some changes in the kitchen. Follow these tips to help your loved one remain safe in the kitchen. 

Store Everything in Reachable Areas 

As a rule of thumb, anything your loved one needs in the kitchen should be stored between shoulder and waist height so he or she can easily get items without having to risk falls while crouching down or using a step ladder. Storing items in reachable areas also reduces the chances of dropping a heavy item while trying to pull it down out of a high cabinet. 

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Put Timers on Appliances 

Cut back on the risk of fires or toxic gas fumes by installing timers that automatically shut off appliances after a certain period. You can also install timer locks that keep the stove from being used during certain times of day, which can keep your loved one safe when you are not present. 

Reduce Water Temperatures 

Many kitchens have the capability of expelling burning hot water from the faucets. Hot water might get rid of grease, but it poses a scalding risk for seniors. You can install a lever handle that is easier to operate than a twist knob, but some seniors may be at risk for burns because they are less likely to notice the heat. The safest thing to do is to reduce the maximum temperature on the hot water heater. 

Prevent Fires 

You can cut back on the risk of fires by not overloading outlets and ensuring the range hood works properly. In case of a fire, make sure the kitchen has a working smoke detector. Store a fire extinguisher in an easily accessible place and teach your loved one how to use it. 

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Get Rid of Tripping and Slipping Hazards 

Seniors are at risk of falling in the kitchen and injuring themselves on a sharp or hot surface. You can greatly reduce the chance of this happening to your loved one by removing rugs from the kitchen and taping electrical cords against walls. It is also a good idea to remove short step stools or tablecloths that hang to a low level. 

Secure Sharp Objects 

If your loved one is unable to handle sharp objects safely, you will need to collect all knives from the kitchen and store them in a lock box that he or she does not have the key to. Even seniors who are capable of chopping and slicing food can get hurt. Encourage your loved one to keep knives in a safe place out of the way, sit down while using knives, and not walk around while holding a knife.

A few preventive measures can help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably. Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. Fort Worth respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities. To schedule a free in-home consultation, call us at (817) 369-8525.