The kitchen can be a comforting place for many as it is often a place of pleasant memories and familiar smells and sounds. If an individual with Alzheimer’s disease can no longer prepare meals on his or her own, prepping food so that he or she can put ingredients together or mix sauces can be a rewarding Alzheimer’s care solution and activity . You may also want to consider purchasing kitchen utensils such as knives and scissors designed for children so that the patient can also participate in cutting without hurting him or herself. Otherwise spoons or melon ballers can be used for softer food items. The following are a few points to think about when making a kitchen safe for a person with Alzheimer’s disease:
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- Check your appliances. Remove all electrical appliances from counters that pose a threat. If it is in the early stages of dementia, you may be able to replace them with automatic shut-off appliances. Also, microwave ovens can be used by those with a high level of cognition, but should have easy step-by-step instructions next to them along with an explanation of what cannot be placed inside. In advanced stages of Alzheimer’s disease, most likely all appliances will need to be removed entirely in order to adhere to recognized Alzheimer’s safety measures.
- Decide about the control knobs. Depending on the individual, marking the off position in red for control knobs may be sufficient; however, in moderate or later stages, some individuals can only be kept safe by removing control knobs from the stove, oven and inside the refrigerator.
- Keep the fridge closed. If closing the refrigerator is an issue, make the front at a higher angle so that gravity causes the door to swing closed. Keep non-food items out of the refrigerator.
- Organize the cabinets and drawers . Keep cabinet and drawer contents simple with just a few options. Some caregivers find that removing cabinet covers can make it easier for dementia or Alzheimer’s care patients to find what they need. Placing pictures of what is inside cabinets or drawers can also help. A picture of cutlery placed onto a drawer will signal what can be found inside it.
- Disconnect the garbage disposal. Occasionally, individuals with Alzheimer’s disease may shove inappropriate things down the garbage disposal so you should consider whether to disconnect it as part of your Alzheimer’s safety precautions.