Making meals and drinks may be difficult if you have problems with strength, range of movement, stamina, memory or sensory loss. Our Occupational Therapists can help you find ways to get involved with these everyday tasks, using the equipment that is familiar to you, finding techniques to make this safer and easier for you or helping you to find the right gadget to get the job done. We have an accessible kitchen installation from First Class Independent Living and can show you clever storage and access features.
Jar openers may be simple non-slip or long-handled or battery-powered gadgets to help with grip or leverage when opening screw-top lids. You can try out the best openers from our selection at the Independent Living Centre. The ‘Undoit’ jar opener is useful and popular with our visitors, as it can assist you to open bottles and jars of all sizes and it can’t get lost in the drawer as it is fixed securely and discreetly to a shelf in your kitchen!
Taps can be difficult to turn on and off when you have reduced strength and movement in your hand. Lever taps are easier to operate than crystal topped or crosshead taps. If your taps are difficult to grip there are different plastic lever adaptations that you can try at the Independent Living Centre or we can show you details about how your tap tops can be converted into levers and where to buy new easy-grip taps for your home.
Tin openers may be manual or powered and you can try out the different styles; we always keep a supply of empty tins here for you to practice! The easiest is the ‘One Touch’ opener from Culinare which can pierce the tin and take off the lid smoothly, with just a touch of a button.
Knives for food preparation have to be sharp and safe to use as well as easy to grip. Expanded handles make kitchen knives easier to grip but sometimes that may not be enough. Rocker knives reduce the amount of arm movement required as the knife rocks over the food, keeping it in place, unlike traditional knives that cut with a sawing action. Knives with ergonomic handles, like these knives from Peta, enable you to hold the handle with a powerful fist grip, maximising your strength and movement when cutting. We also have an innovative pivot knife, connected to a chopping board, visitors to our centre find this makes knife use much safer, particularly if they have a tremor of problems with vision.
Scissors may be safer to use when preparing food than a knife, particularly if you have a tremor or are worried about safety when using a knife. Peta ‘Easy-Grip’ scissors are an ingenious design with a simple plastic self-opening feature that only requires a gentle squeeze to cut. These scissors still look innovative, decades after they were invented! We have a selection of other gadgets with this self-opening feature that may be just what you are looking for.
Chopping boards may have a raised edge or spikes and extra grip features to hold food in place while chopping. This is always safer if you are using one hand, or if a tremor prevents you from holding the item steady. Come and try out the range that we have at the Independent Living Centre and find the best design for you.
A non-slip mat under a chopping board will also help to stabilise the base while you chop, there are endless uses in the kitchen for this simple non-slip material, we love finding new ways to use it. We also have the colourful Staybowliser which is a perfect non-slip holder for supporting a mixing bowl, as it can be positioned at just the right height and angle to suit your mixing style.
Kettles can be risky, especially if you have a tremor or have difficulty seeing or lifting the kettle. At the Independent Living Centre, we have some kettle tippers and the Uccello tipping kettle for you to try. We also have the Breville Hot Cup hot water dispenser; visitors find this so much easier than a traditional kettle. The dispenser holds 2 litres of cold water and at the touch of a button, just the right amount of boiling water is dispensed for your cup, mug or pot, while the body of the water dispenser remains cool. We would love to show you this alternative to a kettle so you can see how easy it is.
A wire cooking basket is a simple solution to the risk of boiling water spillage when draining veg in a saucepan. The basket is placed inside the saucepan and then vegetables and water are added before cooking begins. The cooked veg can then be lifted from the pan in the basket, and the hot water left in the pan to cool. Visitors are delighted with this simple solution when they visit us. It takes the strain and the hot water risk out of cooking veg.
Microwave pans can be lighter than traditional pans, you can try our plastic pan to see if the long handle and lighter weight makes it easier for you to lift and move safely.
A perching stool in the kitchen may be just what you need if you aren’t able to stay standing in the kitchen at your hob, sink or worktop. You can try our perching stools and we can find the right height for you to ensure you feel safe and supported but are in a functional position to work in the kitchen.
Worktops height will also affect how easily you can work in the kitchen. You can see examples of powered height-adjustable worktops and our handy pull out worktop hidden in a draw, to provide an extra worktop for someone seated in the kitchen.
The household trolley may be just what you need to help you to carry food and drink in the kitchen or around the house, especially if you rely on using walking equipment or if you have a tremor or weakness in your hands or arms. You can try out the traditional height-adjustable trolley and compare it with a trolley with brakes, a trolley with forearm supports and other walkers with caddies or trays to find what works best for you.
Storage solutions in the kitchen can make the room safer and more accessible for all. We can show you some clever designs from a multi-shelf pull out larder giving access to both sides, cantilevered pull-down shelves, a really neat pull out shelf unit for a corner cabinet and even some powered shelves in an eye-level cupboard, bringing the storage area down to worktop height.
Talking labels are so helpful for someone with a visual impairment to help them find the right items in the cupboard. We can signpost you to the RNIB and other online specialists who make a range or textured, braille or talking labels and lids. We are also lucky in Devon to have some specialist services for people with sensory needs to find the right equipment and services.
Liquid level indicators help someone with a visual impairment to pour a drink without spilling. We have this innovative gadget at the Independent Living Centre for you to try, it has been around for decades, but nothing has improved on its design yet! See equipment for eating and drinking.
Washing up brushes can be fixed with a clamp or suckers to make washing up easier if you are using one hand or have a tremor, we have a selection at Independent Living Centre. We have a height-adjustable kitchen sink too, so everyone can take a turn with the washing up.
Cleaning and laundry gadgets are often advertised in newspapers and magazines. We keep up to date with developments and can give you information about lightweight or robotic hoovers, as well as easy reach dustpans and brushes and simple clothes pegs and accessible lines.