Cooking fires are a major problem in retirement communities and stovetop breakfast- time cooking can be especially problematic. Seniors are often not able to react as quickly as necessary to halt a cooking fire. This is a serious issue as seniors, for multiple reasons, are more apt to die in a fire. It’s worth examining what can be done to reduce the number of fires and find out why seniors are more apt to be victims of kitchen fires.
One of the easy ways to detect a fire is to have smoke detectors throughout the area, especially in the kitchen, but seniors with poor hearing may not be able to hear a smoke detector at all. If they can’t hear this alert and take immediate action, it can dramatically impair their ability to get control of the fire or alert others for help. This is a major problem and could lead to someone being unable to escape the fire before it’s too late.
Forgetfulness and senility
Seniors may forget that they are cooking and leave food unattended. Also, the possibility that once they are finished cooking, they forget to turn off their oven or stove can be a serious issue, especially if they are using a gas appliance.
Two helpful suggestions: remind seniors to stay in the room while they’re cooking, or if leaving the kitchen, to take a spoon, spatula, or another kitchen item to remind them that they have something cooking.
There are devices you can purchase to automatically turn off your stove after a certain amount of time. While these can be in the hundreds of dollars price range, it is a small price when you consider the potential to prevent fires and save lives.
Mobility and strength
For seniors with arthritis or more serious conditions like Parkinson’s, it can be hard for them to cook. When you consider their limited range of motion due to this, it’s easy to see why traditional pots and pans cause a problem. There are pots you can purchase that offer two handles, to make it easier to manage for seniors and others with limited strength or mobility.
Kitchen safety steps
In addition to these safety tips, it’s crucial to still focus your fire prevention efforts by practicing general fire safety in the kitchen. Keep your kitchen orderly, being careful with loose clothing and hair, and make sure you have smoke detectors and fire extinguishers at the ready. In addition, make sure the senior is able to and understands how to get help. This could be a cell phone, or through alert bracelets/necklaces and other auto-alert means. Make sure seniors know whom to contact for help and how best to do this.
Additionally, property managers can take smart proactive steps to protect their senior residents and properties. Paul Davis Restoration offers preventative solutions and mitigation services to owners and property managers for fire safety, vandalism, flood damage, and more. Call Paul Davis today at 888-473-7669.