Thinking Safety First

Some suggestions include:

• Plan a place to sit while working in your kitchen If standing for long periods of time is painful or you require the assistance of a cane or walker, sit down! If you don't already have a comfortable chair or stool, you can purchase a “kitchen stool” designed to allow you to sit while working in the kitchen. These stools have an adjustable height feature and three widely spaced legs with wheels that lock to give you stability and mobility.

• Use a trolley cart When transporting food from kitchen to table or even from one counter to another, use a trolley cart rather than carrying a tray.

• Purchase a “Reacher” These long-handled products enable you to reach items on high shelves. Textured easy grip and the end can either have a magnet attached to retrieve small metal objects or a claw-like attachment to grab items that are hard to reach.

• Use a lever handle on your kitchen faucet Consider replacing a two-handled faucet with an easier to use single-lever faucet.

• Easy grip utensils These products are designed to fit easily into the palm of your hand for better control and comfort. There are an endless number of items available ranging from basic utensils (i.e., forks, knives, vegetable peelers, spatulas) to cooking items (non-slip mixing bowl, flour sifter) to kitchen appliances (“easy on the wrist” tea kettle).

• Replace cabinet knobs Replace with cabinetry hardware with larger knobs or U-shaped pulls that are easier to turn.

• Roll-out shelves Consider installing roll-out tray shelves in your lower cabinets.

• Hanging Rack Install a wall-rack on which to hang commonly used pots and pans.

• Remove throw rugs Be sure to remove any throw rugs in your kitchen that may cause tripping or falling. If you cannot part with your decorator rugs, secure them to the floor by using non-skid tape to prevent slipping.

• Move objects Consider moving objects you store over the range to another location to avoid burning yourself or your clothing. In addition, store heavy objects on lower shelves or counter tops and place lightweight items on upper shelves.

• Check your lighting Be sure to have good lighting in your kitchen to avoid tripping, cutting, or burning yourself. If possible, install low wattage fluorescent lights or task lighting over work areas.

• Contact appliance manufacturers If you plan to purchase a new kitchen appliance, consider asking about special needs options on appliance design. Some appliance manufacturers have options available to customers with physical or sight limitations, for example, larger knobs or control panels with large print.

Adapting your kitchen to enhance safety, independence, and accessibility increases the likelihood that you will spend time there! Hopefully, spending time in the kitchen will result in the creation of healthy, well-balanced meals and improved nutrition.