Whether you're aging in place, have a loved one who's doing so, or are acting as a family caregiver, creating a safe, functional kitchen is important. As seniors experience age-related changes in balance, coordination, and cognition, having a well-designed kitchen can make a world of difference. With a clutter-free and accommodating kitchen, aging adults can enjoy more autonomy and independence. They can do more for themselves and maintain many important skills. Moreover, the risk of unfortunate accidents is greatly minimized. At Senior Helpers of Santa Rosa, we're sharing a few quick tips to make refining the kitchen in your Rohnert Park, CA home easy.
Keep Things Accessible
Put high-use items in an accessible area. Rather than storing glasses, dishes, or other essentials in top cabinets that require the use of a footstool or deep bending, use eye-level storage space and countertops instead. If your loved one wants to make a snack, they won't have to work hard to get the necessary implements. You can also reorganize your refrigerator to ensure that needs-specific items are on top shelves in the most well-lit areas of this appliance.
Invest in Needs-Specific Drawer Hardware
Joint stiffness and arthritis become increasingly common as people grow older. If your loved one suffers from arthritis, invest in drawer hardware that includes large-sized knobs or hand-pulls. These are easier to grasp with arthritic hands than are standard knobs. They also represent a small, low-cost change that can make life infinitely easier for your loved one. If you or someone else in the home has Parkinson's disease, consider tying a small amount of rope or fabric to drawer pulls and cabinet knobs as well. Rope or fabric strips can be much easier to grasp and pull as fine motor control declines. It also gives seniors with Parkinson's disease multiple ways to gain access to these spaces depending upon how they feel and how well their bodies are responding to their commands.
Install Lever-Style Fixtures to Make Water Access Easier With Parkinson's Disease
Even turning kitchen faucet handles can be a challenge with Parkinson's disease. Lever-style fixtures are much easier to turn off and on than are standard faucet knobs. They require minimal force and they allow for a much larger grip. If you can afford to make the upgrade, there are also kitchen faucets with motion-sensor activation. This way, when gripping and manipulating handles is no longer an option, Sebastopol, CA seniors can simply pass their hands in front of sensors to initiate and stop the flow of water.
Use Contrasting Colors to Make Things Easier to See for People With Alzheimer's Disease
As Alzheimer's disease progresses, deficits in color recognition and detection often arise. Contrasting colors will make it easier to establish where one thing begins and another ends. Fortunately, this upgrade is an easy one. You can use colored tape to outline fixtures and appliances. You can also place colored, non-stick tape on the floor to show your loved one where the wall begins. Even putting a drop or two of brightly colored nail polish on faucet knobs can be helpful. At the stove, colored tape or colored nail polish can be used to indicate "Off" and "On" positions so that aging adults aren't at risk of walking away from hot, active burners.
Remove Kitchen Rugs or Secure Them to the Floor for Seniors With Parkinson's
Short, shuffling steps are a common side effect of the functional and neurological changes that occur with Parkinson's disease. Also known as Parkinsonian gait, this manner of walking increases the likelihood of trip and fall accidents. In the kitchen, hot surfaces, hard countertops, and sharp objects make falling especially dangerous. Having slip-proof mats or using non-skid tape to secure mats in areas where spills are most likely to occur can mitigate this risk. However, any floor covering that is not securely attached to the floor should be taken out. If rugs or mats can slide, curl at their edges, or otherwise move, they can be the source of trip and fall events too.
At Senior Helpers of Santa Rosa, we aim to make aging in place as safe, comfortable, and easy as possible. We offer specialized Parkinson's and Alzheimer's care, and we're always available to assist with the changing needs of your loved one. For more tips on refining your kitchen for aging adults or to find out more about our services, get in touch with us today.