Kitchens: The Heart of the Home

Posted on 06/03/24

In many homes, kitchens are a hub of activity. Families and friends congregate there– chatting over coffee, preparing meals, and gathering to eat. Though the kitchen is a place of togetherness, they harbor risks, and these dangers worsen as we age.

Kitchens can pose risks

One of the most prevalent risks in the kitchen are those associated with fire. In fact, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) reported that adults age 65+ have a 2.5 times greater risk of dying in a fire as compared to the total population, and cooking is a leading cause of home fires and injuries. Kitchens should be a safe place for everyone- following a few key safety tips could make a world of difference.

Kitchen safety tips:

  • Focus on fire prevention safety: A major cause of kitchen fires is leaving food unattended while cooking, so automatic appliance shut-off devices are helpful. Also, clothing and kitchen towels can easily catch fire, so keep these flammable items far away from stove tops and ovens. Knowing where you keep your home fire extinguisher in case of emergencies is critical, as is having a qualified electrician check wiring and outlets to ensure safety compliance, especially in older homes.
  • Pay attention to physical hazards: reaching for an item stored too high or low can throw older adults off balance and lead to a fall. So, keep frequently used items within reach and store heavy objects- like pots and pans- at waist level. Replace knobs with D-shaped pulls that are easier to grasp.
  • Always stay aware: it is important to be cautious when in the kitchen, so that an everyday task doesn’t become potentially dangerous. Be cautious when cleaning up spills, and always keep your eyes on the task at hand when utilizing a knife or other sharp object. It’s also helpful to remove kitchen clutter and install bright lights.

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