Kitchen Safety

Next to the bathroom, the kitchen is one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, particularly for people with mobility issues. Burns and fires as well as risk of falling while using the oven are just a few of the hazards in the kitchen. For the elderly and others with disabilities that affect movement, the kitchen can become a scary place. Fortunately, steps can be taken to make the kitchen safer and help retain independence.

Conduct a Safety Audit

Look around your kitchen. Are there throw rugs or mats that may be a tripping hazard. Tripping while carrying hot liquid or food is especially dangerous and can cause burns in addition to injury from falling.

 

If you have tile or linoleum floors, look for loose sections that may snag while you walk. Have the floor either repaired or replaced to remove this tripping hazard.

 

Also look at countertops and other surfaces. Are there sharp objects like knives that may be accidently pulled down if the counter is grabbed quickly?

 

Move or remove any hazards so that they’re no longer an obstacle.

Placement Matters

Often, preparing a meal involves many trips back and forth through the kitchen to get the various tools and supplies needed. For people with balance issues, this also increases the likelihood of falling.

 

Look around your kitchen. Frequently used items should be placed close to your meal prep area while lesser used items should be further away. This will decrease the amount of work required to prepare a meal and help prevent falls and other injuries as well as conserve your energy.

 

Move breakable items away from the edge of the counter so they can’t be knocked off if you need to grab the counter quickly or use it for balance while preparing a meal. Include dish drains and small kitchen appliances when thinking about the ideal placement for items in your kitchen.

Check for Grip

Knives and other meal prep tools can become difficult to grip, increasing the likelihood of cutting yourself. Unless your favorite chef’s knife has a solid grip and fits comfortably in your hand, you may want to replace it with one that’s easier to keep hold of.

 

If you can’t go without your afternoon tea, consider a kettle tipper to avoid burning yourself and a two-handled mug to keep your beverage steady.

Put it Within Reach

Even sturdy stools can be unsafe for people with balance concerns. Move frequently used items to lower shelves so you can access them without stretching or climbing. Lesser used items can be relegated to harder to reach places.

Quickly Clean Up Spills

Food and liquid spills aren’t just an eye sore that invite ants into your home. They create slippery, sticky messes that are a falling hazard. Clean them up as soon as they happen and be sure to dry the floor so you’re not left with a slippery wet spot that’s just as dangerous.

Proper Footwear

Although house slippers are comfortable and great for relaxing with a book or afternoon footie match, they’re not ideal for the kitchen. Soft soles increase the likelihood of falling. Instead, wear a solid pair of house shoes that gives you support and is also comfortable for standing at the stove or sink.

 

With a few simple steps and adaptations, your kitchen can be your domain once again. The independence and joy from cooking your own meals is within reach.

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More information

Please note: VAT is removed in the checkout process

In the UK, disabled people do not have to pay VAT when buying certain disability aids and services (This can be claimed by friend or family member purchasing on their behalf). Not everything supplied to disabled people is necessarily zero-rated for VAT. Goods and services on which you do not have to pay VAT are usually known as 'zero-rated' or 'eligible for VAT relief.

Who is eligible for VAT relief?

You must be 'chronically sick or disabled' to qualify for VAT relief. The HMRC comment on this is as follows. A person is 'chronically sick or disabled' if they either:

VAT Relief on our Disability Aids

All products on the Aids for Mobility website are flagged with an option to claim VAT relief during Checkout if it applies to that item. When you add a zero-rated product or service to your Basket, you will be asked to tick a checkbox to confirm that you, or the person for whom you are buying the item, are eligible for VAT Relief.

How VAT relief works

If you are claiming VAT Relief you will be asked to complete an extra few questions during Checkout, where we will ask you to provide brief details of your disability and confirmation that the product is for 'personal or domestic use'. We will keep a record of this declaration along with your order details. You can then buy the product(s) in your Basket at a price that excludes VAT. You will be asked to make this declaration each time you place an order that includes zero-rated products. It is a legal requirement that we record this information for every order, and we apologise for the inconvenience.

More information from HMRC

You can find out more about VAT Relief for disabled people on the HM Revenue and Customs website. If you cannot find the answer to your questions there or would prefer to speak to an adviser, you can call their Helpline on 0845 302 02 03.

The helpline is open from 8.00 am to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. (Closed weekends and bank holidays).