Family Cooking: The Kitchen & Seniors

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COOKING UP SOME MEMORIES

Cooking helps us bond and provides us with a chance to make lasting memories with those we 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 us better prepare our loved ones’ kitchens for cooking. This will allow our loved ones to engage fully and independently in the stimulating, fun-filled activity of cooking! 

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UNDERSTANDING THE RISKS OF COOKING WITH PARENTS

From fires to falls and foodborne illnesses, kitchens can be a dangerous place for our loved ones. We can plan for the unique needs of our loved ones by using a kitchen safety checklist before prepping our first meal together. 

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BURNS & 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 our loved ones or catch on fire, posing a threat to their safety. Despite these dangers, we can make many quick fixes to our 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 a 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 a loved one has difficulty seeing or hearing these alerts, try to ensure the alarm flashes or vibrates.
  • If using a gas range stove, consider investing in an electric burner to use with s 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 our loved ones.

  • Provide a 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 a loved one can be safe as they cook.  
  • Install drawers that close automatically after being opened to make the kitchen more reliable for a loved one.
  • Use plastic, unbreakable dishes when cooking with a loved one; if a dish is dropped, it’ll be a safer cleanup.
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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 hand-washing in the kitchen and encourage a loved one to do the same. An automatic sink with an anti-scald device can allow a 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 always the most accessible room for our aging adults, especially if they have any disabilities. Kitchens can be made age-friendly with just a few quick changes to the layout.

  • Rearrange the 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 a loved one has an easier time picking them out of the cupboard.
  • Invest in a spiked cutting board so that a loved one can independently chop foods.  
  • Make sure the kitchen is well-lit to prevent accidents. Motion sensor lights can be installed in cupboards to make them safer and easier to use. 

More 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.

reading is everything

Cooking and your loved one

Cooking is a rewarding way to spend quality time with our loved ones. While cooking can be hazardous, these simple changes can make a kitchen safer and easier to use for a loved one. These are just a few of the many changes we may have to make to ensure our loved ones can be safe and independent in their silver years.

Creative cooking ideas with your loved one

While the aging process may feel daunting, Beverly’s Daughter is here to make things easier for you and your loved ones. Send me your questions about your kitchen’s unique needs, and I will reach out within 48 hours with a customized action plan tailored to your loved one’s individual kitchen needs.

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