The kitchen plays a big part in our lives, especially for those who love to cook. It is a place where you get to create good memories, but it can also be quite unsafe.
You’ve probably noticed that some electrical appliances are way too complicated for the use of the regular person, and the older generation in particular.
If you aren’t careful enough, those items can be quite dangerous.
With all of that in mind, do you know which cooking appliances are safe for the older population?
8 Types of Safe Cooking Appliances for the Elderly
- Stoves & Hobs– visually clear status on/off & automatic controls & alarms
- Pressure cookers – multiple safety features to prevent overpressure and scalding on opening
- Safest microwaves for everyday use – simple, clear controls, easy to open, visually clear, auto cook shut off
- Smart refrigerators – fresher for longer, energy saving, food consumption monitoring (helps carers)
- Kettles – cordless, cool touch, drip free
- Waste disposers – only in double bowl sinks
- Dishwasher – secure but easy to open, installation heights, clear controls
- Additional paraphernalia – such as kettle tippers, jar openers, etc.
You never know when you, or any of your family members, will face problems because of the presence of hazardous cooking appliances.
A problem anticipated is a solution that much closer to hand.
Are you interested in finding a solution to this problem ahead of time? If so, stay tuned and learn more about the safest appliances you can find nowadays!
The Risks the Elderly Face in the Kitchen
We face a lot of challenges in the kitchen on a daily basis, as we often have to deal with fire and electrical appliances regularly.
But as years go by, more and more risk pop up in unexpected places:
- Forgetting to shut off the tap or switch off electrical appliances can lead to fire or floods
- A lack of balance increases your chances of falling while handling hot or sharp items
- Various medical conditions can lead to general forgetfulness of how to use certain kitchen items
- In some cases, you might find yourself ignoring the “use by” dates on packages, thus eating foot that has gone off
There are simple solutions to every one of those issues, and there will be a time and place to discuss all of them.
Right now, let’s look at how to reduce the risk of fire and other dangers by choosing the safest appliances you can find. Are you ready?
How Do I Choose a Safe Stove?
Most kitchens around the world feature a stove that combines a hob and an oven in one piece.
This kind of stove is not the safest choice for your kitchen. For starters, more often than not, the oven door is quite low and bending to retrieve food from it might be an issue. Also, it is hard to monitor the gas or electric cookers and avoid burns, gas leaks, and fires on occasions.
So what can you do?
First of all, you should consider buying a separate inbuilt oven and place it in a higher, more convenient location so you will be able to spare your back some extra work.
You can also choose to install an electric hob which is usually built into the counter. This type of hob cools off faster than the regular stovetop, and it allows easier access to the counter, so dropping hot pans becomes less of an issue.
Stoves have burners that can run on gas or electricity but have grids to stand saucepans on that sometimes cause smaller saucepans to tip up. Elderly people usually use smaller saucepans as they are cooking small qualities, rather than for families, and it is, therefore, more of a problem.
Nowadays, there are induction hobs available on the market, and they are the safest of the bunch. Since they operate on electromagnetic fields, the stove doesn’t get hot – which reduces the chances of getting burned by a mile. Not only that but the surfaces are flat so less of a tipping risk. The downsides are less control of heat as they tend to cycle power and not all pans work with them.
No matter what kind of stove you buy, make sure that there are color indicators that will tell you when the burners are still on and when they are hot. Also, pick a stove with a large visual display you won’t be able to miss. And one with the controls in the front where they are easily accessed.
I did some research on ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Compliant Induction Hobs and this Frigidaire Hob (links to Amazon) stood out as the one I would choose for my elderly mum.
Do you think that buying a new stove is not an option right now? You don’t have to worry!
There are plenty of items you can use to make your current stove safer without making drastic changes to your kitchen. So let’s explore some of those.
Ways to Make the Kitchen Stove Safer
So what kind of gadgets can you use to ensure your stove is safe to use?
- Knob turners – Usually, knobs are small and difficult to use, especially if your coordination is impaired. The turners allow you to have a better grip when you deal with knobs.
- Stovetop monitors – In this case, we are talking about automatic stove shut-off devices. They turn the stove off whenever the sensors fail to detect motion in the kitchen for a long while.
- You can adjust the monitor’s settings according to your needs and the safety precautions you want to take.
- Kitchen timers – make sure that your stove has a timer that rings loud enough for you to hear in any other room in the house.
This is a handy knob turning assistant. The pins retract about the knob which is gripped by the pins that remain extended. The grip handle allows for some leverage to enable users with lower strength to turn difficult knobs. The image links to Amazon.
An alarm designed to be easy to use and easy to read. With a large backlit display and loud alarm, it beats the competition easily for suitability for people who need an easy to control kitchen timer. Many kitchen timers sold today have very weak alarms, use turn knobs to set which can be difficult if you lack mobility in your hands or are small and fiddly. ADA approved and not too pricey. The image is to Amazon.
This is a smart plug for cookers. What is smart about it? The plug will alert carers if a stove is turned on for too long or unexpectedly. It also enables a timer to be set by the app to sound a loud audible alarm after a given amount of time. It does NOT auto turn off and nor can you turn it off remotely which a feature that really should be added. It is not suitable if there is no one nearby to check if the monitoring person becomes worried.
If you want a comprehensive solution, and who doesn’t, then the iGuardStove is a great product with remote control and a whole lot more. It also works for gas cookers! You can check the product out at the iGuardStove website.
Should I Invest in a Pressure Cooker?
In recent years, pressure cookers became quite popular around the world because they allow you to cook faster. However, those devices came with some safety issues.
We’ve all heard about pressure cookers exploding and causing injuries, but that was due to faulty materials and unsatisfying safety mechanisms. If you choose the right pressure cooker, you will be able to avoid all those issues.
Today, you can find various cookers with multiple safety features that reduce the chances for injuries exponentially.
So if you are a fan of this kind of fast cooking, you can keep doing your thing.
What to Look For in a Safer Microwave
Microwaves are a staple in most homes around the globe, as they allow you to reheat meals in a fast manner whenever you wish to eat.
That might come handy when it comes to the older population since seniors tend to eat smaller portions, and they often have leftovers they can reheat.
When you choose a microwave, make sure that it is not overly complicated. Choose a device with large display panels, a few set programs that you can activate at any time, and which is easy to clean.
Smart Refrigerators You Should Buy
Since most of our food is stored in a refrigerator, choosing the right one is crucial if you want to be able to use it freely. But how do you pick the right one?
First of all, the fridge you purchase should have strong inside lighting and a long grab handle.
You can also splurge a bit and purchase a smart refrigerator, which can be quite useful if you think about it.
Some refrigerators use various technologies to scan and keep track of your food, and you can get listed reports on your smartphone.
That way, you will be able to keep track of what you’ve eaten and what you need to buy on your next trip to the grocery store.
Amazing how far technology has come, right? Always remember that the product has to be smart enough to be easy to use and not technologically daunting for the average person. So it pays to check out any app or other control that is used to provide the ‘smart’ benefits – that would be smart right?
What Makes a Kettle a Safe Choice
Kettles can also prove to be quite dangerous if you have unsteady hands and you can spill boiling water at any time.
When you buy a kettle, choose a device with an automatic shut-off mechanism. Also, make sure that there is a large handle that will allow you to have a solid hold on the kitchen item at all times.
There are additional kitchen items that can help you handle the kettle with more ease, which we will discuss further on.
Perhaps the most useful type is the cordless kettle which are usually lightweight and can be lifted without the cable getting caught up. Will ‘cool touch’ kettles the design reduces the risk of burning as well.
Waste Disposers Suitable for the Elderly
Waste disposers are quite useful, and they can help you get rid of your garbage in an eco-friendly way, but since they are sharp and fast-moving, they can also be dangerous.
If you are determined to use a waste disposer, you can purchase a model with some safety features. Some devices won’t run until you close them off with a special cover, and you can always turn it off when you don’t use it.
Waste disposers are better where the kitchen has a double bowl. This enables the user to avoid dropping teaspoons and other small things into the waste disposer that should not be there and may cause a jam.
You don’t want to go to the ER after getting your fingers caught in the disposer!
How to Choose the Right Dishwasher
Standing at the sink and washing endless amounts of dishes can be a bother, especially if you have back pains. Choosing a dishwasher can solve a lot of your problems, as long as you choose the right device.
First of all, you should always go for the green dishwashers since they allow you to wash large batches of dishes at once with minimum cost.
Pick out a device with buttons rather than a touch-pad since those are easier to decipher, and make sure that they are big enough for you to use. Also ensure the doors are not too difficult to open and that the displays and controls are really clear.
Other Countertop Appliances You Can Obtain
When you spend a lot of time in the kitchen, you need to think of ways to make your life easier. If you find it hard to lift heavy items, you need to be careful – especially if we’re talking about something hot.
For example, if using the kettle is an issue, you should buy a kettle tipper that will help you pour the hot water without any mishaps.
Also, opening jars can pose a problem if you lack in coordination, but it can be easily solved with a good jar opener. Those openers give you a better grip on the object you hold, so you will be able to open any jar or can you want.
What are some of the Mandatory Kitchen Safety Features?
Every kitchen, no matter who uses it, has to have a few safety gadgets to keep you safe at all times:
- Smoke detectors
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Panic buttons or monitored alert systems in case of emergency for the elderly or those living alone
If you have all three systems installed, your kitchen is a much safer environment for you and your family members.
What are the Best Kitchen Organization Tips?
Do you ask yourself if there is anything else you can do to improve the safety of your kitchen?
Well, there always is something else you can do in the organization department. You can place stools near high shelves to avoid back pain when reaching for items.
Also, you might want to place a serving trolley neat the stove so you won’t have to move around with hot pans in your hand.
Last but not least, try to reorganize the kitchen so everything you need will be accessible and easy to reach at all times.
Turning your kitchen into a safe environment is something you should do as soon as possible, so you will be able to enjoy cooking without a single worry on your mind.
Choose the right appliances, and you will be able to create more memories at one of the warmest rooms in the house. So hurry up and get a move on!
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Ian has a degree in Civil Engineering & ran a construction company for some years. He spent many years as a professional in the construction industry with his own surveying practice. He has designed many social housing projects in London as well as worked as an Arbitrator. Ian is interested in design and having just turned 60 is keen to share a wide and varied experience to help people his own age and older.