With about 87 percent of seniors making the choice to age in place at home rather than moving to assisted living or long-term care facilities, it is more important than ever to ensure that older Americans find the tools they need to live safely and independently.
Planning is key to successful aging in place, preparing for different scenarios, and determining what daily living aids, gadgets, and durable medical equipment can help. Adaptive and assistive devices help seniors to remain as self-reliant and independent as possible, while they also enhance safety.
Aside from diagnosed disabilities and medical conditions, all of us will experience certain inevitable physical, emotional, and mental changes to some extent as we age into our golden years. Eyesight, hearing, endurance, strength, flexibility, balance, agility, mobility, and muscle mass all tend to diminish as we age, which can lead to accidents and injuries while doing even the simplest daily task or activity.
If you or a loved one are planning to age in place at home, it’s important to consider all the ways you or your loved one will require assistance, and how to stay safe and protected. And one of the first places to review is usually the main activity center of every home - the kitchen.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the home. Because it is also a room most of us tend to spend a lot of time in, it’s crucial to prioritize safety for seniors here first.
Folks aging into their elderly years aren’t able to cook and prepare food in the same ways they did in the past, nor perform all the clean-up for a sanitary kitchen.
What a number of family caregivers and seniors may not know is that there has been quite an expansion in assistive and adaptive equipment innovation in recent years, with a multitude of gadgets, tools, and devices to help people with daily living more effectively than ever before.
These exciting innovations have brought us kitchen gadgets, aids, and equipment specifically designed to take the strain out of food preparation, cooking, baking, and sanitation, and enhance safety for seniors in the kitchen.
Encompassing a wide range of products, assistive and adaptive kitchen tools have specific designs to help all kinds of users overcome their particular challenges, whatever they may be.
From food prep boards that keep items in place for cutting for one-handed users, to anti-fatigue mats for the floor to reduce pain and increase energy for users with mobility challenges, we’ve got you covered with our top 8 kitchen tools to make aging in place a safer reality for every senior.
1. Uccello Easy-Pour Electric Kettle by Drive Medical
This stylish black and white Uccello kettle will add a modern aesthetic to any kitchen, while also doubling as being more visible for seniors with low vision.
Holding the kettle in place, its tipper supports the kettle during the pour, eliminating the need for it to be lifted, making this the perfect design for users with arthritis, weakened finger, hand, and arm strength, and other upper body disabilities.
Specifically designed to prevent burns and scalding, the Uccello highlights a large, open, hinged lid for safety while filling and pouring, with a non-skid, stationary base that stays in place.
The built-in stainless steel heating element eliminates the need for stove heating, and it will automatically shut off if the kettle starts to get too hot.
Additionally, the large power indicator light is easier to see for users with sight impairments to know whether the kettle is on or off.
Features & Benefits
- Easy wide-mouth format for filling and pouring
- Non-slip base stays in place for hassle-free usage
- Kettle tilts on the base for safer and more stable pouring, doesn’t have to be lifted
- Ergonomic handle provides comfortable grip
- Prevents burns and scalding accidents with hot liquids
- Sleek, modern, black and white design is helpful for low vision users
2. Etac Cut Safety Cutting Board by Etac
Seniors can safely slice anything from a loaf of bread to a cherry tomato with this handy cutting board from Etac.
Configured to assist users living with vision impairments, hand and finger weakness or tremors, and other manual and upper body disabilities, this specialized cutting board is designed to make it easy to chop food without risk of injury when using sharp knives.
The board stays in place with its rubber feet, further reducing the risk of cutting accidents, while two tall, round-topped guides keep the knife in the proper position, ensuring that the slicing motion stays on target.
Its sliding design accommodates a variety of thicknesses, enabling the use of different foods, sizes of knives, and multiple cut dimensions.
Constructed with strong polystyrene to stand up to repeated use, the board is also lightweight and easy to clean, with a low profile for minimal counter space, or to take along on trips.
Features & Benefits
- Safe, assistive slicing and cutting for seniors with manual, upper body, and vision impairments
- Rubber feet ensure dependable stay-in-place operation
- Tall guides with rounded tops provide 13 different widths
- Accommodates a wide variety of different food and knife sizes
- Lightweight polystyrene construction is easy to clean, durable, and low profile
3. Slip Resistant Adjustable Gripping Tool by North Coast
Grippers are an absolute must-have for seniors aging in place, and this gripping tool from North Coast is one of our favorites.
Ideal for seniors who have a weakened grip, poor hand function, and other hand and finger disabilities, this device enables a tight hold on the object while it also assists with opening containers.
Concentrating the entire strength of the hand into its slip-resistant, textured rubber jaws, this innovative gripping tool can adjust into 13 different widths, and will fit objects up to 3.25 inches wide.
Constructed with durable but lightweight plastic, the gripper is easy to use, providing dependable gripping and opening assistance for just about anyone, including those with the use of only one hand.
Features & Benefits
- Offers gripping and opening assistance for seniors living with finger and hand impairments and/or weakness
- Adjusts to 13 different widths, fitting objects up to 3.25 inches wide
- Gives users a strong, non-slip hold on objects
- Provides assistance with opening cans and jars
- Textured rubber jaws ensure non-slip gripping for safety
4. Deluxe Suction One-Handed Bottle Brush by North Coast
Perfect for seniors with the use of only one hand, this suctioned bottle brush also assists users living with weakened hand strength, dexterity, and coordination to wash dishes.
Adhering to the smooth, flat surface of the sink with suction, the bottle brush conveniently scrubs out the inside and outside of glasses, cups, and bottles, while it can also be used to clean plates, bowls, utensils, and other cookware.
Requiring the use of just one hand, the bottle brush does all the work to ensure clean, sanitary dishwashing at home for easier and safer aging in place.
Dirty dishes and glasses can easily be placed in soapy water and then slid along the bristles of the brush with one hand, and then rinsed for simple one-handed cleaning.
Features & Benefits
- Easier dishwashing for seniors who have the use of just one hand, or other manual disabilities
- Can be used to wash bottles, glasses, cups, and other dishes and cutlery
- Attaches to a smooth, flat surface securely with dependable suction
- Stationary brush stays in place for simple cleaning operations
5. Pot and Pan Holder by North Coast
Another great kitchen gadget for seniors with the use of just one hand, this pot and pan holder prevents scratching damage with its protective epoxy coating.
Holding pans and pots securely in place on the stove or another surface, it enables easy stirring with the use of only one hand. It’s also beneficial for seniors living with manual and upper body impairments.
Constructed with durable steel wire for dependable, repetitive daily usage, this holder uses suction feet to secure it to the stovetop or another flat surface.
Accommodating a wide range of differently sized pots and pans, the holder prevents spills and accidents by keeping the cookware from turning or spinning while stirring. The pan and pot handles sit in the slot of the frame for reliable stay-in-place utilization.
Features & Benefits
- Stable and sturdy steel wire construction for dependable daily use
- Epoxy-coated to protect pans, pots, and stovetops from scratches
- Holds varying sizes of pots, pans, and their handles
- Secures to stovetop or another flat surface with suction for stay-in-place operation
- Stops cookware from spinning or turning while stirring, preventing spills and accidents
- Designed for one-handed users, or users with manual or upper body disabilities
6. Etac Fix One-Handed Cutting Board
This all-purpose meal prep board by Etac brings versatile convenience for a wide range of kitchen activities. Designed for one-handed operation, the board is also ideal for seniors living with manual and/or upper body impairments.
Making any kitchen task simpler and safer to accomplish, the board highlights an adjustable vise to hold food to be sliced or peeled while it also accommodates differently sized bowls, keeping them firmly in place.
The board itself stays conveniently in place on kitchen counters and tables with its large, dependable rubber suction feet, ensuring safe use.
The ball-handled vise is easy and comfortable to grip by users with limited hand strength or the use of just one hand. The stainless steel spikes on the other section of the board offer an alternative means for the safe securing and cutting of different foods as well.
Features & Benefits
- Multifunctional food prep board for one-hand use, or limited manual dexterity
- Dependable stay-in-place suction for safety
- Adjustable vise holds food or bowls securely
- Stainless steel spikes hold food for safe cutting with one hand
- Ball-handled vise is comfortable and easy to grip
7. DigiGuard Finger Protector for Kitchen Safety by LSS
Protecting seniors from cutting and slicing injuries, the innovative DigiGuard is a comfortable, hinged shield that bends along with natural finger movements.
Well-suited for elderly people who have limited manual dexterity and coordination, this finger protector provides exceptional protection against accidental cuts.
Conveniently fitting the fingers of both the right or left hand in a universal size, this simple but extremely helpful protector enhances kitchen safety for seniors choosing to age in place at home.
Features & Benefits
- Provides protection for fingers when using sharp knives
- Hinged design bends along with the natural finger movements
- Helpful for users with manual dexterity limitations and other hand impairments
- Can be used for the fingers of either the left or right hand
8. Original Wellness Anti-Fatigue Floor Mat by Pivotal Health Solutions
Although you may not immediately think of a floor mat when it comes to assistive kitchen tools, anti-fatigue mats are often a senior’s best friend in the kitchen.
Because cooking and preparing food often involves extensive standing, this can tire the elderly more quickly. Add in musculoskeletal conditions, arthritis, spinal subluxations, and other inherently painful problems, and it becomes even more challenging.
The Original Wellness anti-fatigue mats help to relieve the pain and exhaustion often connected to standing for long periods of time.
Constructed with the highest quality polyurethane materials, these antimicrobial mats will not curl up to cause tripping, or delaminate, even with heavy-duty daily use. They also won’t slide out of place, and provide that same surface on top to enhance security.
With beveled edges, the mats are ADA-compliant, enabling walkers and canes to safely travel over them. They are specifically designed to evenly distribute the stander’s weight, and help to relieve pressure and stress in the lower part of the body, resulting in more energy and comfort for the whole body.
Features & Benefits
- Durable polyurethane construction is easy to clean and maintain
- Antimicrobial, and resistant to stains, punctures, and heat
- Provides exceptional pain and pressure relief, enhancing energy levels
- Non-skid top and bottom ensure stay-in-place security
- Won’t cause tripping hazard by curling or rolling up
- Beveled edges are ADA-compliant for safe wheelchair, scooter, and walker use
As more baby boomers reach age 65 and beyond, a large percentage are choosing to age in place at home rather than move to a long-term care facility. Doing so successfully is reliant on planning ahead for specific needs, as well as acquiring assistive aids to help perform daily living tasks and activities.
The kitchen is often seen as the heart of the home, a space where people spend a lot of time cooking, gathering, and eating, but it can pose a lot of challenges for people who are aging.
Specific kitchen aids are a great solution to help keep seniors safe and independent in the kitchen. We shared 8 of our favorites that can address a wide range of needs in order to ensure safety and comfort.
For more information about daily living aids and other tips for people and caregivers, check out our full library of articles on Caregiver University.
Mike Price, OT
Co-Founder of Rehabmart and an Occupational Therapist since 1993. Mike has spent his professional career working in multiple areas of Occupational Therapy, including pediatrics, geriatrics, hand therapy, ergonomics and inpatient / outpatient rehabilitation. Mike enjoys writing articles that help people solve complex therapeutic problems and make better product choices.
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