If you have family member with dementia cooking safety tips are important.
More than most ADLs, cooking is one of the activities of daily living that most of us take for granted. Many people retain their ability to safely cook nutritious meals well into older age. But those who have dementia will find it more challenging to prepare their own food independently.
Dependence on meal preparation
Nutritional decline is one of the expected hallmarks of the dementia process. Dementia patients will forget if they’ve had a meal, and they’ll forget the steps to properly and safely prepare their food. Your family member will eventually rely on someone to prepare their food for them. This is vital, if they are to receive proper nutrition and maintain optimum health and stable weight.
Safety in the kitchen
Stories abound of the dementia patient in the home environment who left a stove burner on, dry-boiling a pot of soup, or burning something in the oven. Moreover, the person with dementia is more likely to place a food item in an inappropriate place, such as a piece of pizza on the stove top, or crackers in a microwave oven. Fires from such unsafe practices are not uncommon. Lack of safety awareness, reduced reflexes to heat and cold, forgetting the proper steps to cooking or improper use of electric and gas appliances have contributed, unfortunately, to many dementia patients having burned themselves. I recommend www.homesensers.com as a fire prevention product- talk to Deb and told her I sent you.
More dementia cooking safety tips …What you can do
As with all ADLs, the first thing we can do to avoid harm or promote good health with cooking is to recognize when your family member needs assistance. Dementia cooking safety tips includes starting by paying attention to what they seem to be forgetting. You will probably first intervene in the area of cooking and meal preparation, since these involve a reasoned, step-by-step approach, something that dementia patients lose the ability to handle.
Your family member will probably not ask for permission to use the stove -they will just do it. Your will need to put safety systems in place and monitor, if that are prone to this. It is imperative that smoke detectors and heat sensors be installed and operational at all times. Check batteries on a regular basis, if you use detectors. A gas detector is a good idea, if you use gas appliances. A better bet is to use an electric range for cooking instead of a gas stove. Of course, burns and fires are always a potential hazard, even with an electric range, but at least you won’t have the added risk of gas asphyxiation.
More Dementia Cooking Safety Tips …
Should the person with dementia be allowed to do the cooking at all? The short answer is: maybe. With supervision. Many folks, especially ladies who have a long tradition of preparing family meals, consider cooking an enjoyable and fulfilling pleasure. You will need to weigh safety issues against functional and cognitive abilities. As long as you are present with your family member in the kitchen, you can help assure their safety. It is still important that while your family member can still enjoy some simple pleasure from this basic most of ADLs, at least through the early stage dementia and perhaps a little beyond. As your family member looses their abilities, you will need to offer assistance and introduce adaptive equipment to allow them to continue to do simple tasks in the kitchen. It is important to encourage self esteem to promote well being to avoid or decrease negative behaviors.
For more information on various dementia activities click here
Series on Successful Dementia Home Care Tips
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