Family caregivers face many challenges keeping senior loved ones with Alzheimer’s or dementia safe. The first challenge is understanding how Alzheimer’s and dementia affect a senior’s behavior and safety awareness.
Caregivers have to navigate a new complex world while coping with the heartbreak of having a loved one who is slowly experiencing a decline in their mental ability and losing the memory of their own home and loved ones.
But the confusion that caregivers experience when coping with this new world is nothing compared to the increasing frustrations on the part of the senior family member who cannot cope with their deteriorating condition.
Making The Kitchen Safe
Dementia sufferers face many dangers in the kitchen – a room they might have spent decades navigating easily – as they begin to lose awareness of their surroundings. But while some people living with dementia might not be able to prepare their favorite meal anymore, they can still enjoy doing some activities in the kitchen for themselves; provided that the physical environment is safe and familiar to them.
The caregiver must take precautions to minimize hazards in the kitchen for the dementia patient and make it clear where appliances and other items are. This is because for a person with dementia, whether it’s in a care home or their own home, a familiar physical environment can help them cope with their condition and allow them to maintain a sense of who they are.
What Makes Kitchen Appliances “Dementia Friendly”?
Dementia-friendly appliances are kitchen appliances that are specially designed to improve the overall kitchen safety of people with dementia or Alzheimer’s. These appliances give dementia sufferers an easy time in the kitchen. They are usually convenient and intended to create a safe, comfortable, and familiar environment for loved ones with dementia.
Thanks to technological advancements, you can choose safe appliances according to your loved one’s taste. They allow your loved one to live somewhat independently and also give you peace of mind. For instance, there are appliances that are easy to access and others that make cooking easier – and safer – for seniors with dementia. Dementia-friendly kitchen appliances and many other gadgets have made caring for a loved one with dementia much less stressful.
Dangers Associated With Kitchen Appliances For People With Dementia
Dementia-friendly appliances act as safety nets. They protect loved ones from a range of hazards in the kitchen. Besides, they ensure safety against your biggest fears, including:
- Fires caused by forgetting to turn off conventional kitchen appliances
- Flooding due to forgetting to turn off taps
- Falls caused by wet floors in the kitchen (leaky appliances can cause wet floors)
- Scalds and burns from appliances
- Food poisoning: Eating expired or contaminated food due to inadequate lighting
- Lacerations from appliances
Best Dementia Friendly Kitchen Appliances
Below are examples of the best dementia-friendly appliances to make the kitchen safer for people with dementia:
In recent years, electric pressure cookers have become quite popular because they make cooking much easier even for people with dementia. While these devices have some safety concerns, if you pick the right one, you will be able to avoid these issues. Today, you can find different electric cookers for the elderly with advanced safety features that reduce the chances of accidents and injuries.
Examples of dementia-friendly cookers:
These multi-cookers have some of the most advanced safety features, including pressure and temperature monitoring capabilities. They also keep time and adjust the duration and heating intensity accordingly to achieve desired results every time. They cook fast and come with extra safety protection features such as a safety lock and overheat protection to ensure the safety of your loved one.
Microwaves are a must-have in most homes and even care homes; they allow you to reheat food whenever you want to grab a bite. Microwaves are quite handy when it comes to senior loved ones with dementia or Alzheimer’s because seniors tend to eat smaller portions, which means they have leftovers they need to reheat. Conventional cooking appliances could end up burning the food or even worse start a fire. This is dangerous for people with dementia.
When shopping for a microwave for an elderly loved one with dementia, consider the following features:
- Easy to use
- Clear, large display panels
- Few set programs
- Easy to clean
- Built-in sensors to automatically change the cooking time
Examples of dementia-friendly microwaves:
A tasty cup of coffee can make anyone feel great. However, a complicated or faulty coffee maker can be hazardous to people with dementia. People with dementia might have mobility and memory issues, and in the event, they forget to turn off the coffee maker, it can cause electrocution, or make a mess in the kitchen, which can lead to falls. Fortunately, there are many simple coffee makers for the elderly with safety features built right in.
Below are features to consider when looking for a dementia-friendly coffee maker:
- Ease of use: Coffee makers for people with dementia should be easy to use even if the person using it has shivering hands. You don’t need a coffee maker with a million functions; instead, opt for a machine that is simple to operate
- Safety features such as automatic turn off function
- Easy to clean
Examples of dementia-friendly coffee makers:
People with dementia might not be able to pull up some of the modest tasks. The right toaster can make the life of your senior loved one much easier by providing them with a safe and efficient method to prepare their breakfast.
The best part about dementia-friendly toasters is that they have advanced safety features making them a safer option for a loved one who is getting a bit more on the forgetful side.
Below are aspects to consider buying a toaster for a loved one with dementia or Alzheimer’s:
- Automatic Shut-off timer
- Clear buttons and large display screens
- Fewer buttons
- Auto-eject wire rack in pop up toasters
- Front crumb tray removal feature
Below are some examples of dementia-friendly toasters. Check out my guide to the best toasters for seniors for more choices.
Conventional kettles can be quite dangerous for people with unsteady hands, and it’s easy to spill the boiling water at any time. Kettle-related accidents can not only cause burns but could also be the source of bad fires.
If your loved one uses a manual kettle in their kitchen and suffers from dementia, they are at high risk of getting burned. A kettle for people with dementia should be an automatic one. Fortunately, there are many automatic electric kettles for the elderly on the market. When looking for dementia-friendly kettles, look for one with the following features:
- Automatic shut-off mechanism: the kettle should automatically shut itself off in case someone leaves it on
- Large handle: to allow a solid hold even for unsteady hands.
- Sturdy base
- Lightweight: so that your loved one can handle it with ease.
- Cool-to-touch: this feature means that the heating elements are concealed, which makes the kettle safer for people with dementia.
- Overheating protection
Examples of dementia-friendly kettles:
Bottom line, if you’re caring for someone with dementia, turning the kitchen into a safe space is something you must do. The most crucial aspect of caring for people with dementia is ensuring their comfort and safety. Also, keep learning more about how to create a dementia friendly environment and how to better serve your loved one right from the start.