Cooking is one way older adults maintain independence, but with falls the top cause of accidents in adults over 65, the kitchen can be ripe with risk for senior falls. Slippery floors and accidents from reaching and climbing are the main causes of elderly falls in the kitchen. There is an added danger of risk of burns when there is active cooking.
Here are five tips to help assess the kitchen and minimize the chance of falls:
1. Rearrange: Make sure the items that are most often used are in low, easily accessible locations. All it takes is one slip from a stepstool while reaching for the dishes to cause a fracture. Store frequently used items at waist level. And make sure all cabinets and drawers are easy to open and close.
2. Keep it tidy: Wipe up spills immediately. There are many new lightweight sweepers which can act as both mop and broom and are easy to use for those unable to bend down.
3. Skip the wax: Do not wax floors with high gloss shine products, or anything that will add a slip factor.
4. Take a seat: For involved recipes, arrange to do the food preparation while seated to prevent fatigue or loss of balance. Use a sturdy chair with arms.
5. Wear skid-free shoes: Shoes, not slippers, are the best bet indoors, especially when walking on linoleum, tile or wooden floors. Look for shoes with support, but avoid deep treads which can cause tripping.
Additional safety alert: Consider burner locks for seniors with Alzheimer’s or certain other conditions. These easy-to-install child safety devices will help prevent burns and fires.
Jewish Home can provide a full home senior falls prevention assessment. To arrange for a Geriatric Care falls consultation call 800-544-0304 or email Connections *protected email*.