Enough with the acrobatics. If you need to climb on a countertop, chair or stool to reach that box of cereal or gravy bowl, then have someone move it down where you can reach it. If you are doing the climbing act regularly, then it’s time to rethink your kitchen layout. Fall prevention starts with taking control of your environment and making the proper adjustments to your lifestyle to ensure your safety and the safety of seniors susceptible to falling. Here are some options to consider when making adjustments for fall prevention in the kitchen:
Re-organize with the help of a loved one. One of your children probably loves to organize stuff. So call him or her and make a day of it. Move everything from the top shelf that you use regularly down to a location that is convenient. Throw away some stuff. Really.
Re-organize with a professional. In more populated areas, there are companies that specialize in helping people get their homes organized. Start in the kitchen and then move to your closets. Need inspiration – watch an episode of hoarders on TV. If you cannot find help then call your local Agency on Aging (eldercare.gov).
Get new cabinet devices such as pull-out shelves, racks, pan-holders, and lazy susans. Everything will be more accessible and convenient. It’s a lot cheaper and easier than a broken hip.
Hire an architect or interior designer who specializes in Universal Design. Ask them, “Do you specialize in Universal Design?” If they say “what’s that?” then move on to the next architect or designer. If you can afford it – build a new kitchen where everything is how and where you want it without having to cause you to fall reaching for the sugar. Otherwise, ask the architect or designer to re-organize things so that it is not an entirely new kitchen – just laid out better.
Buy a grabber – some people find these to be convenient for all kinds of hard-to-reach items. So get one.
If you cannot remodel, then reorganize to alleviate some of the more prominent kitchen hazards.
We will talk more about kitchen safety in future blogs, but one quick mention – microwave ovens. If you have an over-the-stove microwave – move it! Or do not use it. Or get a countertop microwave and use it on the countertop. Reaching above your head for a cup of sugar is one kind of hazard. Pulling out a boiling cup of soup or coffee from the microwave above eye level is quite another.
*Note: Fall prevention efforts can reduce the risk of falling. Caregivers and older homeowners can become knowledgeable about what needs to be done to make homes as fall-proof as possible. Check here often and search for product ideas that can make you safer in your home!
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