Falls in the kitchen are common in most households. The frequency may vary based on age and a number of other factors.
While some falls may be laughed off, others can be very serious. You can limit the chances of falling in your kitchen if you make a few simple changes.
It may take a bit of an investment in some cases, but you can ensure your health and those of your loved ones are okay.
So, here’s a comprehensive guide on how to prevent falls in the kitchen.
Ways on How to Prevent Falls in the Kitchen
You should take extra care if you have adults over the age of 65 in your home. This is because the kitchen is the most common space where senior citizens fall.
Here are some ways that you can make your kitchen a safer room.
Wipe Away All Spills in the Kitchen Immediately
Whether you’re cooking or doing the dishes, you’re likely to drop some liquid onto the kitchen floor.
In that case, you should stop what you’re doing and mop the floor immediately.
A wet floor is slippery. So, if someone enters the kitchen, they may not know of the spill. As a result, they may step on it, slip, and fall.
You could also consider a vacuum cleaner that cleans wet and dry messes. It may be a bit of an investment, but it will also pick up food debris and make the kitchen cleaner.
Place a Non-Skid Mat in Front of the Sink
It’s best to place a mat in front of the kitchen sink.
It can help prevent your feet from hurting after hours of working in the kitchen.
At the same time, this mat can also help prevent falls. Most spills occur in front of the kitchen sink because it’s a water source.
So, it will absorb the spills right away and reduce slippery spots in the kitchen. In addition to that, it can prevent slippery spots around the mat from causing slippage.
Make Sure That the Rug Is Designed Not to Skid
For the best results, you must ensure that your kitchen mat or rug has a non-skid base.
Mats or rugs can move and cause you to fall if water or other slippery material gets underneath them.
Therefore, the base should be able to stick to the kitchen floor despite the presence of slippery liquids.
If possible, test the mat with non-slip backing before making the purchase.
It may be hard to find a kitchen mat with non-slip backing, or it may be expensive. In that case, you can place non-slip gripper pads underneath your mat or rug as an alternative.
Declutter Your Kitchen
Too many items in your kitchen can make it challenging to navigate through.
As time passes, you’ll start to see that there are more things in your kitchen.
Delcuttering the kitchen can reduce the chances of an unexpected slip or fall (as it makes it easy to nagate through the kitchen)
Throw Unwanted Items or Place Them in Another Room
You should start removing items that you don’t need. Also, it’s best to place items in another room if it’s not needed frequently in the kitchen.
There’s a greater chance for something to fall onto the kitchen floor if there are more items on the whole.
You can then trip and fall on that item. Even a small thing can be catastrophic.
Remove Extra Chairs and Stools
In many cases, homeowners tend to have more dining chairs or bar stools than they need. This is because it provides a great aesthetic value.
However, this may prove impractical and cause falls, especially if they protrude from the kitchen island.
So, it’s best to keep chairs and stools based on how many people live in your home.
You should follow the same idea with other furniture in your kitchen.
Wear Non-Skid Shoes
Many homeowners prefer to move around the house barefoot. However, that’s not ideal for preventing falls in the kitchen.
Also, wearing shoes or slippers with slippery soles can pose a high risk of falling.
Instead, you should invest in a pair of high-quality non-skid shoes. Most athletics shoes are designed to prevent skidding even when the surface of the floor is wet.
While athletic shoes are a good choice, it can be cumbersome to put them on if you’re already in your home.
In that case, you could get a pair of non-skid slippers just to wear in the home.
Non-skid shoes can also help reduce the chances of falls in the bathroom and other rooms with hard floors.
Consider Getting Non-Skid Socks
Some textile manufacturers also make non-skid socks. You could consider those instead of shoes or slippers.
However, non-skid socks may not be as effective as non-skid shoes.
Keep Essential Items Within Reach
Often, homeowners have to use step stools to reach tall cabinets. This can cause you to slip if you don’t place your feet on it securely or if it’s not sturdy.
That is why it’s best that you keep essential and frequently used items within reach.
Use the top-most cabinets for items that you use rarely. This way, you won’t have to use your step stool often.
In addition to that, if you have taller family members, ask them for help when they around.
Limit Your Use of Step Stools
You should try to limit the use of the step stool because they tend not to be sturdy. This is especially so if the floor is hard and slippery.
In that case, place a mat or rug beneath the step stool for better grip. You could also get one that has sturdy rubber grips at the foot of the step stool.
Install Cabinet Doors That Are Easy to Open
If you can spare the money, consider installing cabinet doors that are easy to open.
This is useful if you have senior citizens living in your home. Ideally, the cabinets should also be placed below shoulder height.
In addition, keep all cabinets and drawers closed when they’re not in use. You or someone else in the house may crash into a drawer unknowingly.
Use Appropriate Kitchen Furniture
You must get furniture that is designed specifically for kitchen use.
Don’t place any others in your kitchen.
Get Chairs with Armrests
It’s best to consider chairs with armrests when you have adults over 65 in your home. This is also useful for people with other chronic health issues.
The armrests help support people when they’re getting up or sitting down, which can help reduce falls. Chairs with armrests can take up more space.
If you have limited space, try to get chairs with armrests for only specific family members.
Avoid Chairs with Wheels
Don’t bring chairs or any other furniture with wheels into the kitchen.
Wheels don’t provide stability when a person is sitting down or even standing up. So, it can easily move and cause a family member to fall.
Improve the Lighting in the Kitchen
You can reduce the chances of falling in the kitchen if you can see everything well.
So, increase the lighting in your kitchen. Install new fixtures or use bulbs with better illumination.
In addition to that, try to let more natural light enter the kitchen. It will both improve visibility and it’ll help you see your food better.
The places that should be the best illuminated in your kitchen include:
- the countertops
- the stovetop
- your kitchen the sink
Make sure that there are light sources above all of these parts.
That said, make sure that these parts are proportionately illuminated compared to the rest of the kitchen. You don’t want specific parts to be so bright that they’re blinding.
Check the Kitchen for Dark Corners
Even though your kitchen may be well-lit on the whole, there may be one or two dark corners. In these spaces, the limited light can cause you or your family members to trip and fall.
Do a quick check of the kitchen with all of the lights on.
If you find a dark spot, try to find a lighting solution that won’t require significant construction.
Ensure That the Light Switches Are Easy to Access
You should install light switches in easy-to-access parts of the kitchen.
The ideal light switches placement is at all entrances to the kitchen. This way, you can see where you’re going even during the night.
Avoid Using High-Gloss Polish or Floor Wax
There’s no doubt that shiny kitchen floors look fantastic.
However, they tend to be more slippery than dull floors. Thus, you should try not to use high-gloss polish or floor wax on your kitchen floor.
Last Few Words
It’s important to always walk carefully in the kitchen to avoid falls.
Sit down whenever you can instead of standing. This way, you’ll tire yourself less and reduce the chances of losing your balance.
Moreover, you should get a sign that indicates that the kitchen floor is wet. Place that during and after you mop the floor.
Other family members will then know that they should be careful when navigating through the kitchen.
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