After my mom passed away, Dad lived alone in their home for more than a year. He had no idea how to cook on the stove or use a microwave. Mom had always done the cooking and Dad had probably heated food on the stove about a dozen times in his life.
You can see why I was concerned about him cooking alone.
Not to be a Gloomy Gus, but the National Fire Protection Association reports that cooking fires are the #1 source of home fires and injuries from a home fire. Mix in an elderly person who is aging in place like my dad, who may be somewhat frail or on medications that can make them dizzy or fatigued and when you see that statistic, it’s pretty scary.
Because I was worried about my dad, I took steps to put safety measures in place in his kitchen. Now I’m passing that information on to you.
Here are the top things I think you need to have in a senior parent’s kitchen (well, probably these should be in everyone’s kitchen).
Easiest Fire Extinguisher For Seniors To Use
I could hardly imagine my 95 year old father trying to figure out how to use a traditional fire extinguisher in a panic situation, so we got him a fire extinguishing blanket (available on Amazon). If you want an easy-to-use alternative for putting out a stove fire, consider a fire extinguishing blanket. This will put out a pan fire (liquid or grease). All the senior has to do is pull down the tabs on the wrapper, open the blanket,and toss it onto the fire.
Gas stove alarms monitor for gas leaks. They give an audible alert if they detect one.
The most budget-friendly model is a gas stove alarm that you can just plug in and walk away from. I like the Nighthawk Plug-in Carbon Monoxide and Explosive Gas Alarm. It plugs into any standard outlet and detects natural gas, propane gas, and carbon monoxide.
Automatic Shutoff Devices
Gas stove automatic shut off devices will turn off the range after a few minutes of non-use. NOTE: you’ll likely need a certified plumber to install one of these devices.
I’m impressed with iGuardStove. It has a built in motion detector and will shut off the gas after no motion has been detected for 5 minutes. For your peace of mind, it will send an alert to your smartphone. It also has a secret lock that allows a caregiver to lock the stove. The upgraded version also offers gas leak detection. NOTE: you’ll need a certified plumber to install
Other Stove Turn Off Devices
Some other devices we can recommend are…
- Simple Touch C30004 Auto Shut-Off Safety Outlet – this is a simple wall outlet with a built in timer.
- Fire Avert Electric Auto Stove Shut-Off Safety Device – this comes in a 3-prong or 4-prong model. This device syncs to your smoke alarm and cuts power to an electric stove if the smoke alarm goes off.
- Wallflower Smart Monitor for Electric Stoves – this plugs into the wall behind the stove and notifies you when an electric stove has been let on too long
Simplest Fire Suppressor – For Electric Stoves Only
A simple device for fire suppression on an electric stove is the StoveTop FireStop. It’s basically designed to put out grease fires and automatically deploys when it comes in contact with flames. Mounted by magnets to the underside of the range hood, StoveTop FireStop gives you invisible peace-of-mind.
These are just a few of the many kitchen products that are available for seniors today. As more and more elderly age in place, it’s paramount to do what can be done to make the home as safe as possible.
These gadgets and more can help to create that safe environment for your elderly loved ones.