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.