Staying safe in your home is very important. It is easy to become complacent in an environment that you are used to and familiar with, but the reality is around one in three adults over 65 who live at home will have at least one fall a year. The kitchen, in particular, can become a hazardous area with heavy items, wet floors and hot substances all contributing to potential accidents.
That being said, there are steps and precautions you can take to help make your home, and your kitchen, a safe space as you get older.
Adjusting cabinets and appliances can make a world of difference when you are cooking and using the kitchen space. You may need to raise appliances up, such as a dishwasher or oven for example, or lower cabinets where the top shelves are becoming a struggle to reach. Also make sure you consider the height of your sink, as this may also need raising slightly to prevent stooping or unnecessary bending.
It is crucial that your kitchen floor is safe, as having a fall due to slipping or tripping can result in some nasty consequences. You may have had your kitchen floor for years, which is a perfect reason to have it looked at and, potentially, replaced. There are specially designed non-slip tiles, low-pile carpet or textured vinyl that can all be used as safe flooring solutions in your kitchen.
Here are a few other tips to consider when making your kitchen floor safe:
- Never place a rug in your kitchen as this could cause a tripping hazard
- If you are having tiles installed, go for slightly smaller tiles as these give better texture and grip
- Use a floor covering that is non-glare to help improve visibility
- Make sure the floor you choose is easy to keep clean
Having a well-lit kitchen helps to reduce eye strain and also prevents accidents occurring due to poor visibility. Try and aim for a mixture of artificial light and natural light when considering how best to light your kitchen. Bright LED lights are ideal for working and chopping, and natural light for more general kitchen use. Another top tip is to place light switches at the entrance way to the kitchen, so that the lights can be easily switched on before getting too far into the room.
Within the cabinets in your kitchen, add some pull-out shelving for the lower cabinets and pull-down shelving for the higher cabinets. This simple solution makes accessing items at the back of shelves easier and more efficient.
Here are a few fantastic storage solutions for your kitchen:
- Fit ‘D’ shaped handles to cupboards and cabinets as these are easier to get a comfortable grip on
- Hang utensils such as spatulas on open racking, instead of storing them at the back of a drawer, as this makes them easily accessible
- Add some low open shelving to store frequently used items and dry goods without cluttering up the work surfaces
There are plenty of easy solutions to help make your kitchen a safe space to cook, socialise and relax. Make sure your kitchen is remodelled to specifically suit you and help make your life easier as you get older.
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