Is your kitchen dementia safe? Take our simple test to find out.
The kitchen is a busy space, full of cupboards, tools and equipment. When you're living with dementia, it can become very daunting trying to keep track of where everything is and how it is all used. Worryingly, all too often people end up becoming overwhelmed and find themselves missing meals and drinks.
The good news is, with some careful forward planning, it's possible to make a few simple changes that can transform your kitchen into a much more dementia-friendly place.
So take an objective look at your kitchen, and follow our checklists below to help you make a few changes for the better....
THINGS TO REMOVE from your kitchen
- 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 the stuff inside.
- 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 THINGS TO CONSIDER ADDING
These 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!
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. These have been shown to make people feel hungry and therefore more interested in eating.
Fitted in, or just outside, the kitchen, this will 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
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.
These are often advertised as wine coolers but by swapping the shelves they work very well as a fridge.
Do 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!
For further information about products that could help make life easier in the kitchen visit The Disability Living Foundation's website ASK SARA http://asksara.dlf.org.uk/
This is a fantastic free source of information and advice about products that can make daily life easier.