If you’ve been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, there are likely many areas of your life that have gotten more difficult. You may have trouble with balance, personal grooming may have gotten harder, and you may need help with small buttons and buckles on clothes. And the idea of cooking a meal may be starting to seem impossible.
With the right tools, however, cooking for Parkinson’s patients can be completely manageable. Read on to discover some of the tools every person with Parkinson’s needs in the kitchen.
1) Jar Opener
If you’re cooking with Parkinson’s disease, one of the first things you need to get is a jar opener. Jars can be tricky for young, healthy people to open, but if you’re dealing with muscle tremors, it can be almost impossible. There are a few different styles of jar opener that you can get, depending on your specific situation.
Some jar openers fasten under your countertop and grip the lid of the jar while you turn the jar itself. You can also get large silicone grippers, which give you extra leverage on the jar, as well as making it easier to grasp. Strap wrenches can also be a good option, especially in combination with a non-slip mat to hold the jar in place.
2) Two-Handled Knife
One of the most dangerous tasks for Parkinson’s patients in the kitchen is chopping. One slip could mean a serious injury, and traditional knives don’t provide the stability or grip you need as your condition progresses. Luckily, there are some options that are safer and will still allow you to stay active in the kitchen.
A two-handle rocker knife is easier to grip and maneuver than traditional knives and provides less risk of a serious cut. These blades are long and curved with short handles on either end. You can set these on a cutting board and rock them back and forth by pushing down on either handle to chop veggies, herbs, and some more tender meat.
3) Stand Mixer
A stand mixer is an amazing investment piece for any kitchen, but especially so for someone living with Parkinson’s. Hand mixers get the job done, but they require a fair amount of coordination and control to make them work. As Parkinson’s progresses, it can get harder to hold the bowl in place, and the mixer steady with all the torque from the paddles.
A stand mixer does all the hard work for you, mixing up your ingredients with the flip of a switch. You may want to look for the style with the head that flips back since that can be easier to maneuver. Stand mixers may also come with a variety of attachments to make other kitchen tasks simpler for people with Parkinson’s.
4) Tray Trolley
Having a tray trolley in our homes isn’t something most of us would think about as an accessibility tool. But when you’re living with Parkinson’s, carrying heavy dishes full of food from the kitchen out to the dining table can be difficult and dangerous. A tray trolley is a rolling shelf that will be much easier and safer to maneuver.
Look for a tray trolley with a sturdy base and large wheels that can handle carpet, door thresholds, and other such small obstacles. It’s also a good idea to find one with a large handle that will be easy to grip and push along. You can find some stylish options that will fit in with the décor of your home and look wonderful in your kitchen when you aren’t using it.
5) Smart Appliances
Smart appliances are one of the latest developments in the Internet of Things. These ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators connect to home assistants and allow you to control them by voice command or on your phone. For some people, this is more about a coolness factor than anything, but for Parkinson’s patients, this can be an important tool for staying active in the kitchen.
When you’re dealing with muscle tremors, pushing buttons on stoves and microwaves can be difficult. Refrigerators and freezers may also be difficult to maneuver, especially if you have a model with a bottom chest freezer. Smart appliances make it easier to see what you have in your refrigerator and set your oven and microwave to the settings you need without having to fiddle with buttons.
6) Foam Padding Grips
As Parkinson’s progresses, it becomes harder and harder for patients to grip small objects. Things like spoon handles, whisks, spatulas, and knives may become harder to handle, and you may find yourself dropping them more often. This can make cooking not only frustrating and messy but also dangerous.
Foam padding grips look something like miniature pool noodles, with a hole through the center of a flexible foam tube. They slide around the handles of your utensils, making them softer and easier to grip. You can keep using your favorite spoon or spatula without having to buy new specialized utensils.
7) Scoop Dish
Once the cooking is done, it’s time for the best part of all – eating the delicious food you’ve made. But for Parkinson’s patients, tremors can make it hard to scoop food out of a dish and keep it on a spoon. A scoop dish can make this easier and can help you manage independent eating for longer.
A scoop dish has special padding on the bottom designed to hold it in place while you push against the sides of the bowl. It also has higher sides and compartments to keep food separate as you eat. These scoop bowls can also be helpful for stirring and mixing during the cooking process, so be sure to get plenty.
Get Help Cooking for Parkinson’s Patients
Cooking when you have Parkinson’s disease can be challenging, but with the right tools, it’s very possible. Look for tools that will make it easier to grip and maneuver objects or things that will do the work for you. And always remember to put your safety first in the kitchen.
If you’d like help cooking for Parkinson’s patients, check out the rest of our site at Training for All Ages. We help educate, motivate, and inspire people to get into their best shape, no matter what their age. Check out our services today and discover what new results you can get when you take on a new mindset.