Occupational therapists help to develop, recover and maintain everyday activities for individuals. The kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home, a space where people spend a lot of time cooking, gathering, and eating, but the kitchen and other areas of your home can pose a lot of challenges for people who are aging. Due to shaky balance, low vision and slower reﬂexes, many aspects of the kitchen and your home can be dangerous for seniors.
- Keep often used items within reach.
- Move any items you use most out of the highest and lowest cabinets and shelves, and into easily reachable cabinets and drawers.
- Store heavy items on a counter or at waist level to avoid bending and straining your back.
- Keep drawers and cabinets closed when not in use.
Remember the Lights
- Be sure you have ample lighting near the area you are working in the kitchen or other rooms.
- Remove any rugs that slide.
- If using an anti-fatigue mat in the kitchen, be sure it is secured to the floor to prevent falls.
Useful Kitchen Tools and Gadgets
- Use an easy grip opener to help open those tight bottles and jars.
- Have access to a Reacher grabber to avoid bending over to reach for an item on the ﬂoor.
- Keep a magnifying glass handy to assist in reading labels.
- Set timers to avoid overcooking or burning foods.
- Be sure to have a steady stool in your home for times when you need a rest.
- Use diﬀerent cutting boards for diﬀerent foods. RED for meats and GREEN for vegetables to avoid foodborne illnesses.
- Use pots and pans with handles on both sides for easier lifting. Keep the handles turned so they are not sticking out over the edge of the stove or counter to avoid a spill which could lead to a fall.
Occupational therapy provides residents with the tools to optimize their home environments relative to individual abilities and promote full participation in daily life activities. As the population of older adults continues to grow, home modiﬁcations are a key factor in enabling individuals to age in place.
What is a Home Safety Assessment?
A home safety assessment is an in-person review by a licensed Occupational Therapist. The purpose of the assessment is to help the resident identify areas in the home which could lead to a fall or other injury and provide recommendations or modiﬁcations to increase usage, safety, security, and independence.
For more information on safety and independence in your home, talk to your Tx:Team Rehabilitation team!