Kitchen appliances and aids for the elderly

Kitchen appliances for the elderly

Making a few small adjustments to your kitchen appliances to make sure they meet your needs can make a big difference to your confidence in the kitchen.

Ovens and hotplates

If you begin to have difficulty using the cooker, possibly due to reduced vision or reduced strength or dexterity, there are certain products that can make the cooker easier to use.

  • Bumps: these are self-adhesive raised dots, available from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB). You can attach them next to the most frequently used oven or hob settings. Also use them on other devices, such as microwave, dishwasher and washing machine.
  • Button turners: knobs can become difficult to turn if they are small or stiff, or if they require more than one type of action, such as pushing and turning at the same time. Knob turners that offer a large grip to grip are simple products that help give extra leverage.

If you’re having trouble getting food in or out of your oven or on the hob, there are a few changes you may want to consider to make cooking as safe as possible. If carrying heavier items is a problem, get a cart to move hot pots from the stove or oven to the work surface or kitchen table. Double handle pots are also safer to lift than traditional pots because you can use both hands.

Choose a new cooker

If you are having difficulty using the stove, perhaps because the oven is too low or the hob is too high, consider purchasing a new one that better suits your needs. Check out the following useful features:

  • a large visual display, placed where it can be easily read
  • large controls that are easy to read, use and reach, preferably on the front so you don’t have to lean over the hob
  • controls that do not heat up when the hob or oven is in use
  • for a gas oven, look for an automatic ignition for the hob and oven, and an automatic shut-off function if the gas hob is on but not on
  • a built-in oven timer, with a clearly audible alarm.

If you have trouble bending down to access the oven, consider installing a separate oven at a height where you can easily see what’s inside and can place dishes on a level oven rack. of a work surface. A sliding shelf under the oven can provide a useful temporary resting place for hot dishes.

For more help, read our expert advice on buy the best built-in oven, buy the best cooktop and buy the best freestanding cooker.

Microwave oven

It is true that microwaves are not as versatile as conventional ovens, but for some tasks a microwave can be very useful. They can cook or reheat food faster and therefore are more energy efficient while being small and compact.

Here are some features to look for if you are buying a microwave oven for someone with limited mobility, dexterity, or vision impairment:

  • a simple and straightforward template to use – you are unlikely to need a wide variety of settings or additional features
  • large, clear billboards
  • an integrated sensor to automatically adjust the cooking time
  • touch controls are available on some models; and just like with conventional ovens, you can place raised dots (bumpons) near the microwave controls
  • Some mini-ovens or microwaves have a “talk” function, which is useful for the visually impaired. Among other things, they advise the user to “stir the food”, “let the food cool” or “close the door”.

For more detailed advice, see our guide to buying the best microwave.

Choosing a new fridge-freezer

Buying a new fridge-freezer is no longer a simple matter of choosing between a stand-alone model or a built-in model – there are now more features to choose from than ever before. Models with the refrigerator on top are generally best for older people because they require less flexing, as refrigerators tend to be used more frequently than freezers.

Visit our guide to buying the best fridge freezer to help you determine which one is right for your needs.

Choosing a dishwasher

Washing up can take a lot of time and energy. If space permits, consider installing a dishwasher. The best not only save time and effort, but can also be more efficient in terms of hot water and energy consumption. Several manufacturers are now producing compact dishwashers that are about half the size of standard models and ideal for kitchens where space is at a premium or if you live alone.

Some useful dishwasher features to look out for include:

  • buttons for controls rather than electronic touchpads, which are more difficult to use
  • buttons raised from the surface rather than flush with the surface might be easier to handle
  • anti-flooding devices that prevent a dishwasher from filling up more if there is water in its base.

To help you choose a dishwasher, visit our dishwasher buying guide or find our recommendations from best dishwashers for 2021.

Kitchen security monitors and alarms

Monitors are available to detect different hazards in the kitchen and other areas of the house. As good as smoke detector, which should be installed in all homes, other detectors relevant to the kitchen include gas, heat and carbon monoxide detectors, as well as flood alarms to detect water overflows.

Stove alarms are useful for people who are easily distracted or forgetful, and might leave the stove on and unattended. Learn more about stove alarms and more memory aid that help people with memory problems stay safe at home – from smart pill organizers to digital memory aids.

Monitors and alarms can also be integrated into a telecare system who can send an alert to a monitoring station or to a caregiver in the event of a problem.

Open and close the taps

Check that kitchen faucets are well maintained and do not require great force to turn on and off. If you have trouble turning the taps, the following products may help.

Faucet Turners: These usually have a handle on one end and a “head” on the other that fits over a faucet head to give you more weight. There is a range of turners available to accommodate different types of taps. Lever taps: are easier to use than taps that must be turned or twisted. They can be installed on most sinks in place of existing faucets. Some systems have a single faucet, instead of two separate hot and cold faucets. If you choose this type, it is important to verify that the heat and cool settings are easy to see and select.

The kettle in the kitchen

If your kettle is getting heavy to lift, look for one that is light or consider getting a travel kettle as they are smaller and lighter.

Single-cup kettles boil enough water for a single cup and reduce the need to pour – a task that is often difficult if you have limited strength or dexterity.

Electric kettles are generally safer than stovetop kettles because they have an automatic shut-off feature. The following features may also be useful:

  • an easy-to-read water level indicator
  • a visual alert, such as a blue or red light, to show when the water is boiling
  • an on / off switch that is easy to use and in an accessible position.

Learn more about how to choose an easy to use kettle.

Kettle rockers

Kettle rockers are special frames that fit most types of kettles. They allow you to tip the kettle and pour it without needing to lift it.

Dumpers are suitable for people who have difficulty lifting the kettle and are at risk of burns. It is still necessary to be able to fill the kettle, because it will be fixed in the tipping body. Using a plastic jug can often be the best solution.

Instant hot water faucets

A good alternative to using a kettle is to install an instant hot water faucet (also called boiling water faucets) on the kitchen sink. These provide boiling water on demand. Although expensive, they offer several advantages over a kettle. They produce instant hot water for cooking and drinking.

Learn more about the Boiling Water Faucets Pros And Cons – Are They Worth It?

Safety tips for preparing food and drinks

  • Stay organized: Think about where everyday food and items are stored. Make sure the items you use regularly are easily accessible – not too high or too low, and not too far away in a closet. Adding labels to cabinets or drawers can also be helpful if you sometimes forget where certain items are stored.
  • Sit down to prepare the food: If you have trouble moving around or getting up in the kitchen, try to keep an open area where you can sit while preparing food. You can also consider a perched stool, which can be useful as long as there is room for your knees under a work surface.
  • Use a cart: If you are mobile enough, it can be helpful to use a cart to move food and drinks from the kitchen to another room. Make sure there is enough space to use the cart, especially when turning over, and that there are no loose rugs or carpets that could prevent the cart from moving.
  • Use suitable cutlery or utensils: there is a wide range of products available for those who find it difficult to manage with standard utensils. These range from angled cutlery, multi-function cutlery, and tilting edge knives that operate without using the sawing action of a standard knife, to specially tailored plates, bowls and cups that make eating and consuming easy. You will find many examples on the Live with ease DLF handicap association website.
  • Ready meals: If it is too difficult to cook yourself, it is possible to introduce ready-made meals and freeze them. Companies such as Wiltshire Farm Food and Oakhouse Foods offers a home delivery service with a wide range of meals.

Identify your needs

If you are unsure of the most useful aids or if you need more information, it is worth making an appointment with a occupational therapist (occupational therapist), who can help you assess your needs and make recommendations.

Karl M. Bailey

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