Meaningful Modifications to Make Your Parent’s Kitchen More Accessible
Your role as a family caregiver is not just about making sure that your aging parent’s basic needs are met. Being an effective caregiver means approaching your senior as a whole being, meaning that you take the necessary steps to encourage independence, autonomy, and control while also addressing their needs and keeping them safe, healthy, and comfortable. If your aging parent is dealing with challenges and limitations that make their daily activities more difficult, making meaningful modifications to their home can address these difficulties so that your parent can manage more of their tasks on their own and enjoy a higher quality of life.
One area of the home that poses particular risks is the kitchen. From cuts and burns to fire and falls, this room can be quite dangerous for your aging parent. Some meaningful modifications that you can make to make your parent’s kitchen more accessible so that they can stay safer and more independent include:
- Replace old-fashioned appliances. If your parent has had the same appliances and gadgets in their kitchen for years it is likely that they are outdated and possibly even dangerous to use. Replacing these with newer versions tailored to simpler use and safer operation can help to prevent injury and encourage your parent to do more cooking, which can support a healthier, stronger mind and better nutrition
- Add mats. Just like restaurants have mats in the kitchen and behind the bar to catch spills and make the floor less slippery, adding mats to your parent’s kitchen can reduce these dangers as well. Look for mats that you can add to the area in front of the sink and the dishwasher, as well as any areas where your parent does a considerable amount of preparation. This can help to reduce slick spots that might increase fall risk
- Add lower storage. Trying to get heavy or large items out of cabinets or off of shelves that are above their heads can be extremely difficult for elderly adults. They may lack the strength, flexibility, range of motion, and balance to handle this safely. Remember that even something that weighs just a few pounds can throw your parent off balance and possibly lead to an accident or emergency. Look for ways to add storage lower to the ground so that your parent does not have to climb or reach for items that they use frequently. For those items that they cannot store lower, transfer some into small containers and keep them in more accessible spots, such as on the counter.
If your aging parent has been suffering mobility, physical, emotional, or cognitive challenges and you want to encourage them to live the highest quality of life that they can as they age in place, now may be the ideal opportunity for you to start elder care for them. An elderly home care services provider can with your aging parent to help them evaluate their specific needs and create a personalized approach to care, support, companionship, and assistance tailored to help them stay independent, active, and engaged while also remaining safe, secure, and comfortable throughout their later years. When it comes to making their home more accessible, this care provider can also identify challenges, help your parent to avoid or manage them, and provide services that will handle the tasks that they are unable to handle on their own.