The kitchen is full of a variety of tools, objects and locations. It’s so easy to get confused about what things are and where they’re stored that you end up just giving up, and find yourself missing meals and drinks.
Eating and drinking are obviously essential to good health so finding ways to keep your kitchen safe and dementia friendly so you don’t neglect this is more important now than ever.
So, be honest, is your kitchen safe & dementia friendly?
Take an objective look at your kitchen and see how well you do against our suggested list of improvements below.
Here’s our checklist of things to remove:
- Anything poisonous or dangerous. It may sound obvious, but it’s amazing how easy it is to forget what lurks at the back of cupboards or under the sink! Cleaning products, ant powder etc. could all too easily be mistaken for foodstuffs so should all be hidden away out of sight.
Anything you don’t use regularly. Clutter is your enemy, so keep surfaces clear and have to hand only the stuff you use most often.
Cupboard doors! It may sound drastic, but simply removing the doors makes it easier to see what’s inside and prompts you to use it.
- The electric kettle – it’s surprisingly common for older people to put an electric kettle on the hob to heat up. The very first time this happens, it is essential you throw the kettle away and buy an old-fashioned hob kettle complete with whistle to remind you to check when it has boiled.
And possible things to incorporate:
- See-through food containers, which not only make identification of the contents easier but also help as a reminder to eat , particularly if there are tasty treats inside to act as a temptation.
An ode! Sounds a bit space-age doesn’t it, but is actually a small plug-in machine that releases selected food odours, at carefully timed intervals, that have been shown to make people feel hungry and therefore more interested in eating.
A smoke alarm, in or just outside the kitchen, to warn if food is burning and a pan, grill or oven has been forgotten. It’s a good idea to connect the alarm to the mains, rather than have to worry about remembering to check the batteries at regular intervals.
A gas sensor that will detect if someone forgets to turn the gas off, and a device that will automatically shut off the supply and raise the alarm.
A fridge and/or cooker with glass door. These are often advertised as wine coolers but by swapping the shelves they work very well as a fridge.
- Last, but not least, if you have space, put a comfortable chair at the table or worksurface in the kitchen so the person with dementia can join with, or even just watch, food preparation activities.
Remember the changes you make don’t have to be big ones to make a difference. Even small alterations can have a big impact so take one step at a time and have a go!