Cooking with a Disability

By Ayo Ola, Guest Writer

can openerThere are few things more pleasant and rewarding than inviting friends and family over for a pleasant evening of conversation and dinner. While many of us take such pleasantries for granted, the job of cooking a meal can be fraught with danger for some people. A kitchen can be a potentially hazardous environment for anyone, but for people with profound disabilities it can be an almost impossible environment in which to work. However, by making a few adjustments and using specially designed equipment people with disabilities can enjoy the thrill of cooking without the constant worry of potential accidents.

Getting Around the Kitchen

Designers typically create kitchens with the able-bodied in mind. Irregularly-shaped kitchens, tight turns and cupboards that are out of reach can all make the cooking experience a frightening one. However, the careful use of certain mobility products will make moving around far easier, so even the most ambitious of culinary creations should be a very real possibility.

bottle corkerIn many cases, people can get around by using walking aids for extra support and balance. This might involve the use of a simple walking stick, but extra support and functionality can often be possible with a rollator. For example, a bariatric rollator features a heavy-duty steel frame, four wheels, handles and brakes. The latest models often feature storage compartments and a seat – ideal for long periods spent at a hot stove.

The compact nature of many kitchens means moving around can be highly problematic for those in wheelchairs. However, there are some excellent models currently on the market that include smaller wheels for improved agility. With the latest fire-resistant materials, easy folding mechanisms and wipe-clean seat fabric, these essential mobility aids make cooking up a storm more comfortable and safe than ever before.

Specially Adapted Utensils for the Kitchen

veggie chopperMoving around the kitchen is not the only barrier to success in the kitchen for people with disabilities. Dealing with hot surfaces, boiling liquids and sharp knives can make cooking a dangerous activity, but a range of ergonomically designed kitchen utensils can reduce much of this danger substantially. The simple act of slicing bread, for instance, is a task that many people don’t necessarily associate with significant danger, yet struggling with mobility issues can lead to a slip – with disastrous consequences. A non-slip bread board not only stays in position, stainless steel spikes hold the bread steady as it is cut.

A simply pan handle holder ensures that a hot pan is held steady over heat as it is stirred. The preparation of ingredients often requires the use of sharp utensils, but items such as peelers and clamp allow people to peel fresh vegetables with only one hand. Ergonomically designed saucepans make one of the most hazardous tasks of much easier. Pans with specially designed handles mean the muscles and tendons in the arm are give maximum support – essential when transporting hot liquids to and from heat.

A huge part of independent living is the capacity to perform daily living activities, such as preparing a lovely meal for friends and family. Still many individuals with disabilities often find cooking beyond their capabilities because they lack necessary mobility aids and adaptations to the kitchen. With careful planning and the right equipment, individuals with disabilities can cook safely and comfortably in their own homes.

About the Author

Ayo Ola is a writer interested in mobility aids and helping people with disabilities live independently. For more information, please visit the Mobility Super Store.

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