4 Kitchen Safety Tips for Caregivers
If you were to name one room that families spend the most time in, we’re positive you’d agree it’s the kitchen, right? Chances are your client grew up cooking together with their family and still enjoys spending time in this cherished space with you not just to cook and eat, but work on various crafts and activities. Yet it is so important that we take the necessary steps to protect both ourselves, and our loved one from accidents, as the kitchen poses a wide variety of safety risks. From sharp knives, that glitchy old-fashioned oven, and slippery floors, we’ve realized that in order to enjoy our time in the kitchen, we should be aware of the safety hazards in our kitchens and what we can do to protect our seniors from any accidents.
Drips, Spills and Smears
Chances are you’ve cooked with oil before that may have found its way to floor beneath you, or spilled water while carrying your client’s glass across the kitchen. Oftentimes however, we don’t realize just how often we spill or drop foods that are extremely slippery. Be sure to keep a lookout for spills on the floor, and to always clean up the area thoroughly, especially in cases when not only foods, but a large dish or glass finds its way on the floor.
Out with the old, in with the new
Your client may like to use their old dishes every day. Some may be just fine, but others can be uncomfortable to carry and heavy. If you realize that they may become too heavy or uncomfortable to handle, suggest replacing then with hardened plastic and non breakable items that are also microwave safe. Whenever you and your client are cooking together, make sure you help with taking out heavier, hot dishes out of the oven.
Watch out for hot surfaces!
Speaking of the oven, never leave the oven or stove unattended. If a flame or electric oven is on too long, almost anything laying nearby can light on fire. Make sure that you never leave your client unattended for too long if they’re cooking in the kitchen. We can all forget to turn things on or off sometimes. If your client forgets, looks away or turns to get something to add to something they’re cooking on the stove, if something happens, they won’t be able to respond as quickly to a sudden kitchen fire. Also, always be sure you have a functioning fire extinguisher in the kitchen in plain sight just in case!
As much as we’d like to not think about it, foodborne illness is a very real and very dangerous safety risk that we should be more aware of. Be sure to maintain a neat pantry and throw away foods that have expired promptly. In addition, be sure to clean out your client’s refrigerator often, and wipe it down to prevent bacteria and mold from contaminating any fresh foods like fruits, vegetables and meats. Be mindful of how you store these meats and produce to prevent contamination between the food groups. While food poisoning can be an extremely painful experience that goes away in a few days, seniors won’t have it as easy. Our immune systems weaken as we grow older, which means that a bout of food poisoning can turn into a much more serious illness and even death.