3.3 - The kitchen

2. The kitchen

Kitchens can be potentially hazardous as a person’s dementia progresses, but there are lots of steps you can take to make this room safer and easier to navigate. Making sure that everything the person may need is in easy reach can help, as can clear instructions and labels for commonly used kitchen equipment. Signs can be very useful to help people with dementia know when to expect visitors or carers. Pictures can also be useful to describe what the next meal will be.

Here are some other ideas that can help keep people safe and as independent as possible:

  • Keep cups, tea bags, spoons, or other commonly used things on the kitchen counter where they can be easily seen. If it is becoming dangerous for somebody to use things like a kettle then there are ways that they can be supported with this that maintains their independence where this is possible.

The video bellows shows an example of this way of thinking in action.

• If possible then replacing solid cupboard doors with clear doors, so that the contents are easy to see can be helpful; or sticking photographs of the contents, or a simple sign, on the cupboard door.  
An alternative to this is to simply take the doors off! This can work if there is no danger of things falling out of the cupboard and the cupboards are easy to reach. 

• Replace any patterned plates with plain white ones or plates with a single colour rim. This helps the food stand out on the plate. You can also use different coloured place mats so that the edge of the plate is easy to see. 

• Regarding food, it is very important to keep on top of use by dates and to regularly check what food is being used. People with dementia can become fixated on one type of food or with thinking that other foods are going to make them ill so there is a careful balance to be struck between maintaining their independence and ensuring that a healthy diet is maintained. 

• Clearly label hot and cold taps or if possible reduce the temperature of the hot water so that there is no change of the person burning themselves. 

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