If you're employed as a home health care worker or are in charge of helping take care of a senior loved one, you're probably already aware of certain safety issues involved with senior safety in the kitchen. For instance, it's obvious that throw rugs should be avoided in the kitchen as well as in all areas of the home, that smoke detectors should be tested on a regular basis to ensure they're functional, and that ambient lighting should be bright and shadow-free. But other things may not be so obvious. Following are five kitchen conditions that have the potential to cause harm to your senior loved one.
Always check the refrigerator on a regular basis for any sign of spoiled foods. Aging eyes and noses aren't always able to discern whether food items have gone bad, and seniors with failing memories may forget when something's been in the refrigerator for too long and should be tossed. Because the fine print of expiration dates can be difficult to see, check the contents of the cupboards as well. Dysfunctional Range Exhaust System Range exhaust systems that are not functioning properly can create situations where those using the range are exposed to dangerous fumes, and this has the potential to cause respiratory distress and may cause eye irritation so bad that vision is impaired. Even if household occupants aren't immediately affected, pollutants can build up over time.
Counter appliances such as toasters, microwaves, blenders, and coffee makers all come with cords, and this creates potential safety issues because cords tend to get tangled in each other. Cords can also dangle over the edge of counter tops and sinks, posing serious safety hazards. Keep them contained in their place using a cord organizer designed for use with items that have short cords such as small kitchen appliances.
Improperly Stored Items
Going through the cupboards and cabinets and placing items that are frequently used in easy-to-access areas may prevent accidents from occurring when seniors try to reach places that are too high or too low. If there is enough counter space, consider using a small lazy Susan for items that are used on a daily basis such as tea bags.
Leaking refrigerators often go unnoticed until there's a slip-and-fall accident due to a puddle of water on the floor. Always keep an eye out for signs that the refrigerator is leaking.
Home health care providers should ask their employers for more tips and tricks for maximizing safety in the kitchens of their clients.