Killer Kitchen Shortcuts and Safety Tips for Senior Cooks

Grandma in kitchen, senior safetyWine improves with age and so can Senior “Chefs” as they get older.

Have you noticed a spouse or senior loved one avoiding the kitchen and/or losing their appetite? This can be troublesome and have nutritional implications if over the years they enjoyed cooking for the family and special occasions. Often prescription drugs and medical conditions can interfere with our love for food and cooking, sometimes it is due to a physical or cognitive impairment that makes it impossible to stand at the stove, stir a sauce, or cook the casserole. If the problem is a momentary lack of appetite or merely the fact they are now cooking for “one,” it is easy enough to correct, but even problems with mobility in the kitchen can be managed with certain modifications.

As we age our bodies have a harder time absorbing important nutrients so “convenience” foods like canned items or frozen microwavable meals may not be the healthiest. Fresh is better! Every day tasks in the kitchen can be enjoyable even with arthritis, tremors, poor eyesight, etc., if culinary utensils and appliances are adapted to special needs! Try these tips, techniques, and technologies to keep your Senior chef cooking and eating more healthfully:

1).  LiftWare is designed to help people with hand tremors. It has a stabilizing handle with a selection of attachments that include a soup spoon, a tea spoon, and a fork.  Visit www.liftware.com for more info. it is also available on Amazon now.

2).  Yes there are kitchen appliances that can talk for the visually impaired! There is a scale and a microwave as well as timers and magnifiers, label makers etc. Visit www.activeforever.com. They also have a hands free faucet and automatic paper towel and soap dispensers, even automatic trash cans. There is an automatic peeler for those with limited hand movement, and a slicer that can be used by those with only one good hand.

3).  Grip can prove elusive especially if hands are wet or items are hard to grasp. There are hand tools and knobs, grabbers and cooking items available for those with arthritis. Consider installing grab bars and ergonomic cabinet/drawer handles in the kitchen strategically just like you have in the bathroom. Visit www.aidsforarthritis.com or Amazon’s arthritis kitchen tools page.

4).  If travel and transportation are an issue, sign up for a grocery delivery service for fresh fruits and veggies which are more nutritional and inspirational to cook with! Fresh ingredients are more appetizing to cook with, and provide more nutritional value.

5).  When you buy a juicer, blender, crock-pot, steamer or salad spinner for yourself, get one for your parents!

6).  Consider casseroles – one dish meals with a protein/meat and carb/veggie that usually are easy to make and yield leftovers for a meal later in the week.

7).  Hearty soups and stews, soft crock-pot meals work well for those that have difficulty chewing and swallowing due to dental issues or reduced saliva.

8).  Smoothies can sneak in extra fruits and veggies to the diet.healthier foods for Seniors

9).  As taste buds blur, spice recipes up with fresh herbs and spices NOT salt or sugar. Amazon offers some great Senior cookbooks for those with dietary restrictions – you don’t always have to sacrifice taste.

10).  Re-purpose everyday items like melon ball makers and pizza cutters, that garlic press, etc. They can be used to remove seeds and cut a variety of items.

11).  General safety tips include: using plastic not glass, putting non-kid mats at the sink and stove, turning the hot water heater temp down so nobody gets scalded, removing extension cords, hanging a fire extinguisher and checking smoke detectors in the kitchen, checking stove vents to the outdoors, and hiding the step stools so Seniors don’t slip and fall while reaching for something. Transition anything they need in the kitchen to shelves they can reach.

12).  Remember it may be hard for your Senior to see, so improve lighting wherever you can, color code items for convenience, take important safety precautions like having longer oven mitts accessible, and keep trivets for hot pots handy. Look into a CookStop Automatic Stove Shut Off home safety device for Seniors at www.absoluteautomation.com.

Generally when you have fun cooking something you enjoy eating it as well. The preparation of the meal in and of itself stimulates the senses and appetite. Of course, always supervise and assist a Senior in the kitchen if they have any form of cognitive impairment. Cooking together as a team, even if in a limited way, can have benefits. You may want to read our prior article regarding activities for cognitively impaired Seniors: click HERE.

CONTACT US: Healthy senior meals don’t have to be devoid of flavor or excitement. Remember meaningful activities like cooking can provide stimulation while promoting a feeling of usefulness, and raising spirits any time of year. If your Senior loved one is suffering cognitive or physical decline, they might benefit from an in-home care plan that supports their lifestyle while providing assistance with certain activities of daily life. The changes that may need to be made in the home environment and daily routine can be complex – Regal can help! Regal caregivers assist with all the activities of daily living, and can manage challenging behaviors, improve communication and mood through targeted activities while keeping your loved one safe. Regal can coordinate a plan of care with family members and healthcare professionals so Seniors can be cared for comfortably and cost-effectively while remaining in the less restrictive environment of the home. For a consultation, please contact Ferial Andre, RN, CCM, CDP, at 561-499-8382 or ferialandre@regalcares.com.

This article is not intended as medical or financial advice

 

 



Friday, July 29, 2016 @ 02:07 PM