Senior Caregiving: Assessing Needs in the Kitchen, Bedroom, and Bathroom


Most seniors want to age in place, according to AARP, but sometimes the biggest threat to that goal is their home itself. Keeping seniors safe at home requires making adaptations that reduce risk and help meet daily needs. Whether you’re moving an aging loved one into your home or helping them stay in their existing home, this guide will help you plan modifications in the kitchen, bedroom, and bathroom.


In the Kitchen
The kitchen is the heart of your home, but for seniors with growing disability, it’s also a room rife with danger. Whether it’s a senior in a wheelchair trying to reach a pan on the back burner or a person with dementia eating expired food, it doesn’t take a house fire to land a person in the hospital. Ask these questions to assess your loved one’s function in the kitchen:

  • Can she plan, prepare, and serve meals independently?
  • Is she able to stand at the stove or sink for extended periods?
  • Can she access controls on the stove, sink, and other appliances?
  • Are cabinet handles and drawer pulls easy to use?
  • Does she understand and practice safe food handling?
  • Can she eat and drink without assistance?

Common kitchen adaptations include installing a stove with front controls and adapting counters, sinks, and appliances for wheelchair accessibility. Even if a senior doesn’t use a wheelchair, it may be more comfortable to sit while cooking. Cabinet hardware and kitchen utensils can be swapped out for ergonomic designs that are easier on arthritis. And of course, every kitchen should be equipped with working smoke detectors and fire extinguishers.


In the Bathroom
The bathroom is where 80 percent of senior falls happen, according to reporting by the National Safety Council, and it’s not hard to see why. Between slick surfaces, low toilets, and high tubs, this small room houses a lot of hazards. Consider these questions as you plan for modifications:

  • Does the layout allow ease of movement?
  • Can she get in and out of the tub or shower without help?
  • Can she stand comfortably in the tub during bathing?
  • Are faucets easy to use?
  • Can she bathe and groom herself independently?
  • Does she have trouble getting on or off the toilet?
  • Is she experiencing incontinence?

All seniors benefit from non-slip flooring, a grab bar at the toilet, and a raised toilet seat. Redfin advises going further, suggesting that "Safety rails with textured grips, shower seats, transfer
seats, and roll-in showers are also valuable options to make bathing safer and easier for your loved one. A single lever for the faucet is usually easier to turn and operate than two separate knobs, so consider a new faucet head if necessary." In addition, caregivers should account for incontinence in the elderly and install nightlights for overnight bathroom trips and locate the senior’s bedroom nearby a bathroom.


In the Bedroom
The bedroom is a senior’s safe space, so shouldn’t it be safe? Prevent accidents while dressing and sleeping by asking the following questions:

  • Can she dress and undress independently?
  • Does she select clothing appropriate for the weather and occasion?
  • Is she able to get in and out of bed comfortably?
  • Is nighttime visibility adequate?
  • Are there clear, wide pathways through the room?

The biggest concerns in the bedroom are falls, incontinence, and dressing. Minimize bedroom furniture and secure area rugs and loose cords to eliminate trip and fall hazards and install nightlights or bedside lamps so the senior can see, even at night. If she frequently gets up to urinate at night, a bedside commode can help. If the bed is too low or too high for comfortable transfers, a bed rail or another adaptive device can aid getting in and out of bed. Seniors with balance problems benefit from a chair that allows them to dress while seated.


While these three rooms are the most hazardous in any home, they aren’t the only places that hold danger. Watch your family member as she goes through her daily activities so you can identify other areas where extra help is needed. Since seniors are often reluctant to admit when they need assistance, it’s up to you to stay aware of changing needs and adapt as necessary.

Image via Unsplash

Healthy Recipes in App in Time for the Holiday Season

It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the one with the most calorie-heavy dishes. With Thanksgiving next week and the following month full of once-a-year treats, abandoning healthy eating for indulgence can be tempting. However, caregivers can use the Kitchen Stories app to find new recipes to make at home or for senior clients to eat in moderation, despite the time of year. 

When caregivers download the Kitchen Stories app and open it to their main feed, they will see a rotating set of featured items as well as several recipes below. When caregivers click on "Filter" in the upper right-hand corner, they can adjust the recipes they see on the home feed by category, difficulty, diet or preparation time. The diet preferences include: vegetarian, vegan, sugar-free, lactose-free, gluten-free or alcohol-free.

Under the Search tool, the app features a variety of recipes sorted into several categories, such as 20 minute dishes, low carb, weeknight dinners, vegetarian and under 400 kcal. While not every category represents a "healthy" recipe, caregivers can sort through the options and find a recipe to meet certain dietary needs. However, for other dietary needs such as low-sodium or low-fat, caregivers might need to make their own adjustments and substitutions to the recipes. 


Once caregivers pick a recipe, they can click on it and see how to make that recipe two different ways. At the top of each recipe page, the app provides a video showing each step of making the recipe, from raw ingredients to cooking methods to the finished product. Underneath that, caregivers will see the traditional recipe format, showing the text list of ingredients and step-by-step instructions for how to cook the item. 

Also included on the recipe page is the basic nutritional information for the dish: calories, protein, fat and carbohydrates. A rating system on the recipe also shows what other users thought of the dish after having made it on a scale of one to five stars. The one-star rating says, "I didn't enjoy this," and the five-star rating says, "Absolutely delicious!"

The How To section of the app features short videos showing different cooking techniques for those who are still learning. The topics range from "How to prepare beets" to "How to knead dough (and why)." On average they range from one to three minutes long, so caregivers can watch them and emulate the techniques in their own kitchen. 

Once users find recipes they like, they can add them to their saved recipes for reference. They can also add ingredients to the shopping tab so they know what they need to buy when they go to the store. 

The KitchenStories app is available for Apple and Android platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko 

Find Recipes and Designated Meal Ingredients Delivery Service Using App

For senior caregivers, planning a nutritious meal can not only be difficult in terms of deciding on a recipe and figuring out the correct portions, but also in shopping for ingredients. We've all had the moment when a recipe calls for two tablespoons of something like buttermilk and the remainder of the half gallon we bought then goes unused. The Blue Apron app includes an optional service that sends users predetermined recipes and the exact measurement of ingredients needed to make that recipe each week. 

When users first open the Blue Apron app, they are presented with the option to create a new user account or browse as a guest. Guests have all of the same options to view recipes, but if they would like to use the meal delivery service then they need to create an account. Even if users have no interest in using the delivery service, they can still see full recipes including ingredients lists and instructions to shop for the ingredients themselves. 

Caregivers can search the recipe catalog by type of food or ingredient, or they can browse the menu put together by the chefs at Blue Apron for that particular week. Once caregivers find a recipe they're interested in making, they can click on the title to read more about it. Directly under the recipe title users can see the number of serving and calorie total for each serving, the amount of time it will take to make the recipe and if it is vegetarian. 

Under the directions for each recipe, the chefs also offer tips and tricks specific to cooking that particular recipe, such as "How To: Hold a Chef's Knife." The directions also include step by step photographs in the app for caregivers to follow along with at home. The recipes are created specifically to feed two or four people, as the subscription service includes three recipes per week.

Users can save favorite recipes and take photographs of their own food once it's made to save alongside the recipe. They can even add fun filters and effects, such as animated steam or a chef's hat graphic, to their photo before sharing it on social media sites. The app is easy to navigate and users who decide to sign up for the subscription service can also manage their upcoming meal choices and delivery preferences within the app. 

The Blue Apron app is available for Apple platforms. 

Senior caregivers, let us know your feedback on this app and keep us posted if you discover additional apps that assist with caregiving duties and help relieve caregiver stress. You may also refer-a-friend to a senior caregiving job and win prizes weekly and monthly on Caregiverlist. 

-Paige Krzysko

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