Often, seniors find that one of their biggest obstacles in independent living is day-to-day meal preparation and healthy eating. Adult children of aging parents can help Mom or Dad with a few simple adjustments in kitchen organization.
Family members can help their independent-living senior by suggesting a few minor adaptations in the kitchen:
1. Organize a few key pots, pans and skillets. The cookware that was just perfect for preparing dinner for a growing family may be over sized, heavy and awkward. Consider packing away all but the smaller pans and skillets.
2. Locate easy-to-use microwave cookware. A few individual-sized bowls for the microwave make steaming a few favorite vegetables an easy dinner option. Also, make certain Mom or Dad has access to a counter-height microwave oven; the overhead designs may cause a scalding hazard.
3. Position frequently used appliances on the counter top. A mixer or toaster oven may be used a bit more often if they remain on a counter top and don’t have to be removed from a drawer or a cabinet. Also, consider substituting the blender with its hard-to-clean parts and sharp blades with a handheld mixing wand.
4. Evaluate dinner ware and glass ware. Are full-size dinner plates or drinking tumblers too large and cumbersome? Maybe a salad plate is just the right size for small meals. Did you know that the average dinner plate has increased from 10″ to 12″ since the 1970s?
5. Develop a labeling and dating system for the fridge. A diminished sense of smell and taste makes it more difficult for seniors to recognize food spoilage. Also, clear storage containers make it easier to recognize leftover contents.
6. Check out kitchen lighting. A dark and gloomy kitchen makes it difficult to prepare meals. Additional lighting beneath cabinets and inside pantries can lighten the load of kitchen chores.
And, before leaving the kitchen, consider preparing a few ready-made meals that can be warmed for a quick and nutritious meal for the solo diner.