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Avoiding Falls: Making Your Home Safe if You Have Limited Mobility

Home Safety: Be Creative in the Kitchen

You can be kitchen savvy with simple solutions that minimize stretching, bending, lifting, and carrying:

  • Don’t leave things hanging. Put pans on a countertop rack -- or simply leave them out on the stove -- instead of hanging them or putting them in a drawer. Store plates, bowls, cups, and other heavy-use items in a single, easily accessible drawer or shelf, not spread around the room. Try to reserve high shelves for things you don’t need often.
  • Invest in a reacher. These clever, inexpensive tools have multiple uses around the house. You can retrieve items from the floor without bending over and from high shelves without using a footstool, which can be a safety hazard. In the kitchen, you can use a reacher to wipe up spills while seated or standing.
  • Stay seated. Put sturdy chairs with arms in strategic kitchen locations so you can sit when you cut vegetables or do other kitchen tasks. “If you can do everything from a seated position, that’s ideal,” says Tracy L. Van Oss, DHSc, assistant clinical professor of occupational therapy at Quinnipiac University School of Health Science in Hamden, Conn.
  • Let shelving do the heavy lifting. Slide-out shelving or a Lazy Susan -- a round, revolving tray -- in corner cabinets and refrigerators can make things easier to reach. A wheeled cart such as a tea cart is a little more of a financial investment but can provide extra storage and help move heavy items safely and easily. For example, use it to move a pot from the refrigerator to the cooking range.
  • Keep the floor dry. Kitchen floors are prone to spills. Have paper towels and a reacher handy for cleanup.

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