The kitchen is the heart of every home. It’s the place where families gather to chat, cook, and share memorable moments. Having enjoyable experiences in the kitchen is vital for a senior’s overall health and functioning. Easy accessibility to gadgets, storage, and appliances is essential to keeping meal preparation safe and efficient, while allowing older adults to maintain their independence and self-esteem, as they feel productive in accomplishing household tasks with ease.
Remodeling a kitchen to accommodate an older adult’s evolving needs can be costly and beyond the means of many. Replacing appliances, cabinetry, or utility access involves large expenses that may be unnecessary once minimal effort is put into smart planning. While considering some of the common challenges seniors face in the kitchen, we’ve compiled a helpful list of various budget-minded adjustments you can make to ensure safety, independence, and convenience at home for your loved one.
1. Senior-Smart Storage
Putting a bit of thought into how kitchenware is being stored can go a long way. Do a full check to make sure that items most commonly used are positioned at a height that is easily reached without bending or using a stool. Avoid keeping cookware in higher cabinets, and opt for cutlery organization at waist level. There are countless storage solutions available for purchase, as well. Consider installing pull-out shelves to lower cabinets, keeping bottled ingredients on a lazy susan, or organizing spices on a 2 tier spice rack for easy access.
2. Better Lighting
Vision clarity is essential for seniors working in the kitchen. With sharp tools, heat, and a variety of items to choose from when cooking, proper lighting can spell the difference between danger and protection. By increasing lighting above and inside cabinets, over work areas, and in storage areas, seniors will find it easier to locate what they’re looking for and more enjoyable to work in well-lit areas. In addition to adjusting the brightness in the kitchen, consider replacing standard light switches with rocker switches to accommodate adults with weakened muscles or decreased hand-eye coordination.
3. Comfortable Seating
Being able to sit comfortably for long periods of time can increase efficiency in meal preparation and allow seniors to get off their weary feet while accomplishing tasks. While seniors’ living spaces are often far from spacious, it is important to consider seating options that accommodate company and convenience in the kitchen area. A medical kitchen stool offers padded seating, adjustable heights and arm supports to maximize comfort and productivity. Now your loved one can be active in the kitchen, pain-free!
4. Lower Workstations
Adding spaces that accommodate a wheelchair or lost height is another practical way to encourage your senior to take an active role in the kitchen. Installing a lower island or corner table makes meal prep simpler and more enjoyable for someone who finds standard counter height to pose a daily challenge. Being able to stay seated while accomplishing important tasks will offer your loved one a chance to relax and feel productive simultaneously.
5. Upgraded Sink
Upgrade the faucets at the sink to lever-style fixtures instead of twist knobs to make them easier to operate. For people with limited mobility, motion-activated faucets can be installed to reduce the need for reaching. In addition to eliminating the need to grip, these innovative faucets also eliminate the possibility of forgetting to turn off the water. Save effort, save money, and let your elder enjoy simple conveniences that make a difference. Alternatively, adding a motion sensor faucet adapter is a simpler and less expensive option to consider, as well.
Washing at the sink can also become a breeze with a faucet sprayer attachment that includes a lever for controlling water flow. Use the powerful water spray function to rinse hardened food remnants on dishes, or opt for the gentle water flow function that is more suitable for rinsing fruits or vegetables, and clearing the sink.
6. Useful Handheld Gadgets
Older adults often struggle with chronic conditions like arthritis, osteoporosis, poor vision, and fatigue. Many are also challenged by post-stroke effects that significantly limit their mobility and coordination. To aid seniors with their daily activities, geriatricians and experts recommend installing adaptive kitchen aids for your loved one’s meal preparation. Explore useful senior-friendly gadgets like automatic openers for jars, cans, and bottles, as well as oversized grip utensils, and more.
7. Effortless Reaching
Help your elder reach with ease. This lightweight reacher grabber stick allows older adults to navigate hard-to-reach places and enjoy their independence more. No more asking others to pick up, reach, or return items to their places! This product offers a strong gripping device that can handle both small items that require strong fine motor skills, like coins, as well as larger items that demand strength and flexibility, like pieces of fallen trash. Easy to handle, easy to store, this is a worthwhile investment for your senior’s kitchen.
8. Improved Time Tracking
For seniors challenged by maintaining focus or memory loss, cooking times can easily be forgotten and result in food that is all too well done, or no longer edible. Prevent your loved one from feeling frustrated when dishes prepared with effort are lost due to time oversight and add this magnetic timer to their kitchen routines. With minimal effort, the large knob can be set to pace cooking times and remind those present to monitor readiness. It can also be a useful tool in setting goals, motivating seniors to focus on specific tasks around the house for limited time frames.
Regardless of which kitchen upgrades you choose to undertake, your loved one will surely appreciate increased accessibility and independence in their kitchen experience. Paying attention to details that can improve task performance and kitchen safety can go a long way in making aging at home a pleasant experience. In addition to planning home improvements to accommodate senior needs, family members caring for the elderly should keep in mind that home caregiving services relieve many of the stresses associated with eldercare responsibilities. Caregivers offer valued assistance with meal preparation, grocery shopping, and various other daily household tasks. Feel free to peruse our variety of additional caregiver resources throughout our website, and explore relevant topics such as medical assistance, personal care, and senior companionship.
Reach out to us today to learn more about our team of caring and experienced personal caregivers, registered nurses, and home health aides who expertly serve families just like yours.
We’re here for you and happy to assist your family. Give us a call at (845) 425-6555 with any questions.