Cooking with ease as you age

Handy tips to help your loved ones cook with ease as they get older.  

As your loved one’s mobility decreases they may find it harder than usual to cook for themselves. But ageing doesn’t have to mean an end to cooking especially if they enjoy it. 

Occupational therapist Sharon Howell shares some handy tips on changes you can make to your loved ones’ kitchen and suggests some simple strategies to make cooking easier.

Changes to the kitchen

The changes you can make to your loved ones’ kitchen will depend on your loved ones’ needs and physical abilities.

 The changes don’t need to be expensive or complicated – simply adding a basin to the sink or putting a chair in the kitchen can help make cooking an easier task. 
kitchen infographic
Adapting your loved ones’ kitchen as they age

Help cooking 

Simple strategies can also help make cooking easier for your loved ones. Talk to them about:  
  • Breaking cooking tasks into smaller chunks and doing them throughout the day. For example, they could cut vegetables earlier in the day and keep them in the fridge until they are cooking their meal.  
  • Cleaning dishes and saucepans immediately after they have used them. Then they won’t need to scrub any dried food off them later. 
  • Alternating sitting and standing when preparing a meal. For example, your loved one may want to sit at the dining table when cutting vegetables or meat and then stand when cooking the items on the stove. 
  • Using two hands to carry pots or oven dishes to distribute the weight evenly and reduce the strain put on one side of your loved one’s body if they were just using one hand. 
  • Placing items that they regularly use on the bench top to avoid having to bend over and reach into cupboards.
If you notice that cooking and other domestic tasks are becoming harder for your loved ones, speak to an occupational therapist, who can assess their kitchen and provide specific strategies and equipment to help keep them cooking for longer. 

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