My parents had all sorts of cool gadgets in their home and kitchen that made life a little easier for them. Mom had arthritis, so her hands were constantly sore and her fingers were gnarled. Dad didn’t have the strength to do certain things for her anymore, so kitchen gadgets helped them get through the day.
As I’m aging, I notice the need for more helpful kitchen tools, too. So, here’s a list of the 9 most helpful kitchen gadgets my parents owned, plus 2 more they didn’t have but probably would have liked:
1) Automatic Jar Opener (Hands Free)
Price: Under $40
I think Mom cried a few happy tears when one of us gave this item to her one Christmas. It’s super simple to use – just put it over the lid of a jar, push the Open Jar button and watch it work.
It is compact enough to fit into a kitchen drawer and will open the lids on jars of all sizes. This jar opener uses two AA batteries, which are included.
A second type of jar opener is a bit larger but also a bit easier to use as well. It’s the Black and Decker jar opener and my late husband purchased it for his mother years ago. She still uses it several times a week!
Here is a video of my very sweet mom-in-law demonstrating her Black and Decker jar opener.
2) Extra Large Impaired Vision Clock
Price: Under $50
This clock gives you the time, day of the week, month and date, period of the day (morning, afternoon, evening). You can set up to 5 alarms to remind loved ones to take their medications. It also has a battery back up in case of power outages.
American Lifetime donates 10% to charities that focus on dementia research, social services and adult education.
3) Easy Open Canister Set
By: SP Ableware – Maddak
Price: Under $30
The easiest canister set you’ll ever open! No twisting or turning required to remove the lid. Simply press on the dot on the lid with a finger or with a palm and – presto! – the canister is open.
Resealing the lid works the same way.
4) Manual Food Chopper
Price: Under $30
Years ago I gave my mom-in-law a small manual food chopper very much like this one (only smaller). She uses it every single day! It’s hard to believe that at 97 years old she still cooks for herself daily.
Made of stainless steel with built-in chopping blades, this device is easy to put together and easy to clean. It locks for storage and also to remove the blades for cleaning.
It chops softer foods like tomatoes and apricots as easily as it does onions, garlic, and nuts. The blades rotate so all food is chopped. It also has side scrapers to push the food down under the blades.
5) Open Ring Pull Can Opener
Price: Under $10
As my mom-in-law is demonstrating in this video – this wonderful little and very inexpensive tool can make opening cans so much easier for anyone with weakened strength or arthritis or other ailment that impedes their ability to pull back the pull top cans.
6) Folding Microwave Tray
Price: Around $15
This microwave tray is a great way to move hot food out of the microwave without burning your hands.
It is food safe and BPA-Free, plus it can do into the dishwasher for easy clean up. It folds in half and the handles fold in, so it stores easily.
The tray holds regular sized bowls and plates, up to an 11 inch diameter.
7) magicOpener EXTREME
Price: About $20
This is for all those water bottles and soda bottles with twist off caps. My mom couldn’t open them with her arthritic fingers, so I got one for her. I’m much younger but don’t have the strength to twist off caps either, so I ended up with one, too.
It will not only open twist top lids, it works well on glass bottles (example a beer bottle) or soda cans and other pull top can lids (say, a pet food can).
8) Cut Resistant Gloves
Price: A pair is under $15
I used to worry about Mom cutting her hands when she chopped food until she got a pair of these cut resistant gloves. She was diabetic, which means that she didn’t heal easily. Plus, she had the type of arthritis that gnarled her fingers so there was a bigger risks of cuts than someone with straight fingers.
Use them for slicing or dicing, or with a grater or mandolin slicer. A nice side benefit is that they work well for picking up broken glass.
These gloves are made of ultra high molecular weight polyethylene, glass fibre, and Spandex, providing the highest, EN388 level 5 of cut resistance (they are more cut resistant than leather gloves and fit tighter, as well). They are ambidextrous, so they fit either hand (they come as a pair).
They’re completely food safe and microwave safe, however they are NOT heat resistant. They are also machine washable (but don’t put them in the dryer – hang them up to dry).
TIP: these gloves come in 4 sizes because they are snug. Before purchasing, measure the user’s palm diameter and the length of their middle finger.
|Size||Palm Diameter||Middle Finger Length|
|Small||3.0 – 3.4||2.8 – 3.4|
|Medium||3.1 – 3.5||3.1 – 3.5|
|Large||3.5 – 3.9||3.3 – 3.7|
|Extra Large||3.9 – 4.3||3.7 – 4.1|
9) Package Opener And Cutting Tool
Price: Around $5
Seriously, don’t you HATE it when you have to open one of those blister-style plastic packages? The kind that are welded together on all edges, so you can see the item, but you can’t get into it without destroying the package (and slicing open your fingers)?
This little gadget will save your fingers and your frustration. The blade won’t rust and does not need sharpening, but you can run it over your fingers and it won’t cut them. It has a magnet on the back, so you can hang it on your refrigerator for easy access.
It cuts open those pesky plastic packages as easily as it cuts out coupons, or slices open envelopes, or cuts wrapping paper for gifts, or…you get it. The biggest problem I can see with it is that it comes into one of those impossible to open plastic packages, so you’ll probably have a hard time getting it out. But, it will be the last time you have that problem.
10) Baggy Racks (Sandwich Bag Racks)
Price: Under $10
My mom had a hard time filling a baggy (large or small) without spilling. It was too hard for her to hold the baggy, lift a pot, drop the food into it, and scrap the food off the sides of the pot.
With a baggy rack, the “holding” is done for you. Just stand the baggy up in the rack, use the little clips to hold the baggy open, and drop in your food. The rack can be used to secure a baggy that will contain any type of food (even liquids like soups).
The clips adjust in height, so the rack can be used with sandwich-style baggies, freezer bags, or storage bags.
11) Spill Stopper Lid Cover
Price: Under $15
These non-toxic, BPA-Free silicone lids stop burns from splatters and prevent boil overs and spill overs. They are easy to clean and store, too.
Featuring a steam-release lid, they are heat resistant to 482 degrees Fahrenheit, but they also can go in the freezer (cold resistant to -40 degrees Fahrenheit).
Caution: they do get hot so cooks shouldn’t take them off a hot pot without using an oven mitt.
12) Erasable Food Labels (Starter Kit)
Price: Under $15
After my mom passed away, my dad lived by himself for a year. He had a big problem understanding the nuances of food expiration and these labels helped tremendously. He could never remember when he had opened something, so he sometimes ate spoiled food without realizing it should have been tossed out.
Once we had this kit (comes with pens, eraser, and reusable labels), I asked him to use them if he opened a package or put something in the refrigerator or freezer. He could write the date he opened the package, and then knew he needed to throw it away after 5 days.
These labels are erasable – the kit comes with an eraser or you can use rubbing alcohol to take off the marker. They can be used on glass or plastic containers and will stay on in the freezer or microwave. They are dishwasher safe, too.
Refills are available here (from Amazon)
13) Berry Breeze Refrigerator Deodorizer and Food Life Extender
By: Berry Breeze
Price: Under $30.00
This refrigerator deodorizer works to oxygenate the air in your refrigerator and keeps your fresh fruit and vegetables fresher up to 3 times longer. For many seniors who live alone, keeping fresh produce fresher for longer can save alot of money and help to prevent bacteria and mold that can accumulate on their food.
This product works to eliminate odors – which older adults may not even notice due to a natural loss of senses such as taste and smell as part of aging.
To save money and keep fresh produce fresher for longer – try this Berry Breeze product. It’ll pay for itself in a short amount of time.
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