Adaptive Tools, Equipment, and Other Kitchen Considerations

With grace, acceptance, reluctance, or kicking and screaming, we’re all aging - and with that comes changes in our bodies: vision, coordination, mobility, cognition … .

Not lovely or fun, but a reality.

Others of us are dealing with ongoing, sudden, or emerging health challenges along the same lines.

I’m curious to read what changes you have made or considered (for your home kitchen or to help someone else), to adapt to a changing body and abilities.

Complete kitchen redesign? Different mixing bowls or cookware? New tools/equipment? Mats to cushion the floor? Different drawer pulls or cabinet handles? Anything and everything - I’d like to learn from your experiences, good and bad.

As for me, I’m dealing with the general changes that happen with age, plus a neurological disorder(s) that primarily manifests as movement issues. I have specific trouble with repetitive motions (stirring or whisking), intention tremors (fine motor skills - knives are a concern), and actions that require muscles/groups to do two things at once (grip a handle and stir).

My project this weekend involves going through accumulated cooking utensils (spatulas, peelers, spoons, and such) and figuring out which I can still use safely, comfortably, effectively, and efficiently. That which is no longer useful will be donated and then I’ll determine what I need to replace. I’m gravitating to the OXO Good Grips brand, but am wondering what else is out there.

I am grateful I’ve the time to figure out how to adapt.

What I’m really curious about, though, is you: how are you navigating your way through the joys of aging in the kitchen?

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My arthritis hasnt , as yet, really affected me in the kitchen - I have had to change a number of gardening tools to cope with my difficulty bending and almost impossibility of kneeeling. That said, we do have a number of Good Grips items - vegetable peeler, garlic press and the like which we bought because they were ergonomic and which I would throughly recommend.

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I don’t choose my large cast iron frying pan as much :confused:

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Shout out to you for being so proactive and real. I’m a Good Grips fan too and of universal design overall. Functional, long-lasting household items that are easy to clean—that would be law if I ruled the world.

I like some of the Oxo cleaning tools, too. I’m not a tall person so this extendable duster has proven handy. I bought an extra microfiber head so that I can have a microfiber to use while one is in the wash.

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I’ve not done much… but did add a Google speaker so I could set timers by voice instead of fiddling with physical timers, and now have a small loupe on the counter so I can read the minuscule text that is the norm on food packaging these days.

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Under the counter lights is about it for now. The loupe sounds like a good idea, though.

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I asked Mr Bean for suggestions (he’s a neurologist) but without more info he didn’t have anything specific. He did suggest you may get some help from an occupational therapist as they are very up-to-date on adaptive devices. For example, there are gyroscope-enabled utensils to counterbalance tremors.

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Dexter Russell has a line of arthritic oriented knives called duo glide that fit the requirement.

https://www.knifemerchant.com/products.asp?productLine=803&device=c&keyword=Dexter%20Duo%20Glide%20Knives&campaign=54007520&utm_term=Dexter%20Duo%20Glide%20Knives&identifiers=kwd-74011049156145:loc-190&Campaign=**LP%20-%20NonTM-%20Cutlery-%20Brand%20Specific&CampaignId=54007520&AdGroup=Dexter%20Duo%20Glide%20Knives&AdGroupId=1184174898180875&AdId=74011109197016&Network=s&msclkid=9fb5c8e319d61f922642a92778cee575&utm_source=bing&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=**LP%20-%20NonTM-%20Cutlery-%20Brand%20Specific&utm_content=Dexter%20Duo%20Glide%20Knives

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I’m not sure it’s completely age related but opening jars can sometimes be difficult. We were gifted a battery-operated contraption that grips the lid and turns but it takes quite a while to work. I mostly use an automotive gadget that’s used to remove oil filters. It’s a rubber belt that cinches around the lid and uses a handle as leverage. It’s often very helpful.

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Interesting and well priced, johnb,

Kitchen knives can be very personal, so it’s not clear whether they would work so well for all arthritic hands, but this looks very promising. My own knives have handles that are quite different from each other, but feel right for the tasks I use them for.

Ray

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In 2013 I ruptured my bicep tendon at the elbow. Today a full 350 ml Rauk Heavy Tumbler is causing some discomfort so I’ve adapted by using a straw.

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Gel mats at the sink and at the prep station; I don’t tend to stand “at the stove” for as long as the other places. Food processor for large volume chopping. Heavy appliances on a trolley, so that I can move them to the prep station, rather than carrying. The other important tool? Grace. Grace to myself to be slower, to purchase pre-prepped ingredients, to ask for help with reaching, to be less exacting.

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Gel mats are nice.

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Another adaptation, is that I use my food processor more often for tasks such as grating and chopping. At some point, I expect that I’ll be moving the machine to a permanent spot on the kitchen island. For now, all my “heavy machinery” such as stand mixer, slow cooker, pressure cooker and food processor, are on a wheeled trolley.
I also have stools at the kitchen island, so that I can sit whilst doing things like picking thyme leaves, trimming beans, peeling (anything), etc.

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