With a few adaptions to your kitchen setup, independent cooking and eating can become fun, and most importantly, safe again.
Sam - the Independent Living Expert from Betterlife - shares his top tips for enjoyable cooking.
Adapt the kitchen:
“A few simple adaptions can make this room a much safer and enjoyable place for those of us with stiffer joints and more brittle bones. Try creating a continuous worktop for lots of preparation space to assist less dexterous hands. Handles, rather than slippery cupboard doorknobs, are easier to grip and, likewise, lever taps are more practical. If replacing the sink facets isn’t an option, simply add a tap turner, such as Betterlife’s Derby Tap Turners for a quick and easy fix. Similarly, store frequently used items at hand or eye height to reduce the need to keep bending down. You can also insert non slip material, pulleys and pull-out racks or trays into deep cupboards, so items can be accessed easier. Finally, the kettle is often a source of accidents with boiling water so try using a specially designed tilt and pour ergonomic kettle such as Ucello’s Power Pour Kettle Tipper which directs hot water to the fixed position of the cup, without removing the kettle from its cradle.”
“Ergonomic utensils and tools with grips can make cooking and eating much easier for those with less mobility or coordination. Betterlife, by LloydsPharmacy, has a range of products specifically designed for older people and those with mobility issues. It includes a non-slip grip cutlery set and the Unforgettable Easy Eating Kit, a mug, bowl and plate designed for those with conditions like dementia or Parkinson’s. A well-lit kitchen and dining room with minimal reflective surfaces will also help, as will cooking finger foods and food which sticks to utensils like mashed potatoes. Avoid fiddly food packaging, such as tins with ring pulls or key-mechanisms.”
Increase liquids and be more adventurous:
“Moist foods, like soups, stews and braises, as well as sauces and dressings, can be more suitable as we get older for two reasons: Firstly, they need less chewing and, secondly, as we age our stomach shrinks so we feel full much more quickly. If getting enough calories is a worry, then add nutrient dense beans, lentils and softened potatoes to soups and stews. You can turn up the flavour with spices and fresh herbs, or use stocks and wine to intensify liquids so foods do not taste bland. Also, try serving bread for dunking on the side - non slip spread boards can be a helpful gadget for butter spreading with ease.”
Three of the best dining and kitchen aids
The Newstead Cutlery (£10.29*) is ergonomically designed to give a soft, non-slip grip, and the handles are cushioned to allow the user to hold the utensils firmly but comfortably, even when wet. The handles’ rounded shape allows them to fit naturally into the palm of a hand and is ideal for conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, neurological impairments, arthritis or any condition that can cause poor grip.
Derby Tap Turners
Durable and functional with rubber grips, the Derby Tap Turners (£16.09*) makes the operation of taps easier, especially those with weak hands.
The Tap Turner is an economical alternative to replacing taps and are easily and quickly fixed to most crosshead and crystal taps without the use of any tools. An internal rubber coating ensures an effective grip with smooth operation and with protection for the tap.
Uccello Power Pour Kettle Tipper
The ergonomically designed Uccello Kettle (£41.66*) has a ‘tilt and pour’ action that arcs on a rotating axis to deliver hot water safely and steadily, without removing the kettle from its cradle. It features an auto shut-off for overheating protection and is ideal for people who live with arthritis or Parkinson’s.