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Kitchen & Home Safety for Seniors

February 21, 2016

The average family spends more time in the kitchen than any other room in the home: over 175 hours each month. Seniors are no exception.

Kitchens are a hotspot of activity in a retiree’s day-to-day life. It’s where many seniors spend hours cooking and enjoying meals. It’s a fond corner of the home where older adults like to work on bills and read magazines or newspapers.

But kitchen hazards like grease and electrical fires as well as trips, slips, and falls are common. Nearly 1 million people over age 65 go to hospital each year for injuries associated with home products they live with and use everyday, according to estimates by the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

Because of the amount of time spent there, kitchen safety should be top-of-mind for seniors and caregivers alike. Conducting a kitchen safety assessment to identify and correct problems is one of the best ways to keep seniors happy and healthy. Below we’ve compiled a list of home safety tips for seniors to keep  your loved one safe.
Elderly Man smiling
Kitchen Fire-Proofing for Seniors

  • Remove dish towels hanging from oven handles. Store potholders and plastic utensils away from the stove. Shorten curtains so they cannot brush against heat sources.
  • Encourage your senior loved one to keep long sleeves rolled up when cooking so they don’t fall against a burner or flame and ignite. Hanging hair or pieces of clothing should be fastened with elastic bands or clips.
  • Make sure kitchen ventilation systems and exhausts are clean.
  • Check to ensure smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors work properly.
  • Unplug appliances when they are not in use.

Cooking and Food Safety Advice for Seniors

  • Set the refrigerator temperature at 40 degrees Fahrenheit to keep meats, dairy, and other perishables properly chilled.
  • Remind your Mom or Dad not to leave pans simmering on the stove or in a crockpot unattended.
  • Install an automatic shut-off feature on gas ranges or purchase a tech product such as Cook Stop that monitors activity in the kitchen and turns the burner off if no movement is detected for a pre-determined amount of time.
  • Install good lighting over the stove and countertop area where food is prepared. Reduce glare by using frosted light bulbs.
  • Keep knives and sharp utensils safety stored.
  • Color code water faucet handles: red for hot and blue for cold.

Avoiding Falls in the Kitchen

  • Install night lights to illuminate a clear walking path through the kitchen.
  • Place frequently used food items and spices in easy-to-reach areas so the senior doesn’t have to use a step stool or ladder.
  • Place a non-slip mat by the sink.
  • Encourage your senior family member to clean up spills and wet spots quickly.
  • Buy unbreakable dishes to avoid injuries from broken glass.

Following this home safety for seniors checklist can help seniors and caregivers make sure the kitchen is one of the happiest and safest places to spend time! Discover more advice for caregivers and family members on our blog!

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