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Having fun in the kitchen

Cooking with Parents: Cook Up Some Memories

Cooking helps families bond together and provides them with a chance to make lasting memories with the ones they love. For older adults, food is an opportunity to pass down family recipes, share stories, and even sharpen their minds. Despite these benefits, the kitchen can be a dangerous place for loved ones. Understanding these risks can help families better prepare their kitchens for cooking with their relatives, allowing them to engage fully and independently in this stimulating, fun-filled activity. 

Recommended Products for Family Cooking

*Disclosure: We only recommend products based on our expertise in caring for aging adults. This site may contain affiliate links that (at no additional cost to you) we may earn an affiliate commission from. Read our full privacy policy here.

Cooking with Parents

We understand The Risks

From fires to falls and foodborne illnesses, kitchens can be a dangerous place for loved ones. Plan for your loved one’s unique needs by using a kitchen safety checklist before prepping your first meal together. 

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Burns

and Fires

Data from the Federal Emergency Management Agency show that adults 65 and over are 2.5 times more likely to die in a kitchen fire. Stoves, ovens, and other kitchen appliances may burn your loved one or catch on fire, posing a threat to their safety. Despite these dangers, there are many quick fixes you can make to your kitchen to make it safer and age-friendly.

  • Keep towels away from the stove and oven to reduce the risk of them catching on fire.
  • Use silicone potholders and oven mitts around the kitchen. This will protect your loved one from burns and help prevent fires from starting.
  • Make sure there’s a fire extinguisher readily accessible in your kitchen.  
  • Set timers for food on the stove or in the oven. If your loved one has difficulty seeing or hearing these alerts, try to ensure the alarm flashes or vibrates.
  • If you have a gas range stove, consider investing in an electric burner to use with your loved one while you cook.  
  • Add labels to on and off switches on all appliances in the kitchen.
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it can be scary

to have a parent fall

Cooking can be taxing on older adults due to the physical demands of the work and layout of a kitchen. These tiny hazards can create a significant fall risk for loved ones.

  • Provide your loved one with a chair to use if they become fatigued.
  • Clean up any spills in the kitchen right away. Use non-slip mats around the kitchen so your loved one can be safe as they cook.  
  • Install drawers that close automatically after being opened to make your kitchen more reliable for your loved one.
  • Use plastic, unbreakable dishes when cooking with your loved one; if a dish is dropped, it’ll be a more accessible, safer cleanup.

falls

are a real concern

Cooking can be taxing on older adults due to the physical demands of the work and layout of a kitchen. These tiny hazards can create a significant fall risk for loved ones.

  • Provide your loved one with a chair to use if they become fatigued.
  • Clean up any spills in the kitchen right away. Use non-slip mats around the kitchen so your loved one can be safe as they cook.  
  • Install drawers that close automatically after being opened to make your kitchen more reliable for your loved one.
  • Use plastic, unbreakable dishes when cooking with your loved one; if a dish is dropped, it’ll be a more accessible, safer cleanup.

Foodborne

Illnesses

Older adults are highly susceptible to germs and disease. In the kitchen, foodborne illnesses can wreak havoc on a parent’s body and put them at risk of new disease and infection.

  • Start a habit of washing your hands in the kitchen frequently and encourage your loved one to do the same. An automatic sink with an anti-scald device can allow your loved one to wash their hands in hot water comfortably.
  • Be sure to wash all fresh produce. Store it away from any raw meats.
  • Store food safely in the refrigerator and freezer when not in use.  
  • Cook foods thoroughly.
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planned

Accessibility

A kitchen isn’t the most accessible place for an aging adult, especially if they have any disabilities. Kitchens can be made age-friendly with just a few quick changes to their layout.

  • Rearrange your cupboards so that commonly used items are within reach, and heavier items are at waist level. Consider keeping like items close to each other, so your loved one has an easier time picking them out of the cupboard.
  • Invest in a spiked cutting board so that your loved one can independently chop foods.  
  • Make sure your kitchen is well-lit to prevent accidents. Motion sensor lights can be installed in cupboards to make them safer and easier to use. 

Cooking is a rewarding way to spend quality time with the loved ones in your life. While cooking can be hazardous, these simple changes can make your kitchen safer and easier to use for your loved one. These are just a few of the many changes you may have to make to ensure your loved one can be safe and independent in their silver years. While the aging process may feel daunting, Beverly’s Daughter is here to make things easier for you and your loved ones. Send us your questions and about your kitchen’s unique needs, and we will reach out within 48 hours with a customized action plan tailored to your loved one’s individual kitchen needs.

Using Technology to Communicate Care

For many American homes, voice-controlled speakers and personal assistant devices have become a norm of convenience. From turning up the music volume to dimming lights, Amazon’s line of Echo products have become a source of home-living ease for many. However, an often overlooked benefit of the Echo product line-up is the added ease of daily living it can provide our aging adults. And, in the time of social-distancing and medical isolation, these products can also increase connection and interaction with our loved ones without the need to compromise safety.

Learn More »

Home Away From Home: Granny Flats

If you thought having your aging parent move into your house was the only alternative to expensive assisted livng facilities when they are no longer able to live independently, you may be the perfect candidate for an ADU, or Accessory Dwelling Unit.  ADUs are also sometimes referred to as granny flats or mother-in-law cottages.  These are small standalone units added to the backyard of an existing single family home, or apartments converted from extra space in the house such as a garage or basement. 

Learn More »

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