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Food preparation technology and gadgets

Food Preparation Technology And Gadgets Panel

Preparing delicious and nutritious meals at home is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. However, for older adults living independently, physical limitations due to age or health conditions can make food preparation challenging.

Common scenarios and concerns

Lifestyle and equipment options to help you

Difficulty chopping and gripping: Weak hand strength or arthritis can make gripping knives and chopping ingredients challenging.

This can lead to frustration, reduced independence, and potentially unsafe alternatives.

Adaptive utensils: Explore easy-grip knives, rocker knives, or food processors. 

Chopping aids: Utilise mandolins, food choppers, or vegetable slicers.

Reaching and bending: Limited mobility can make reaching cupboards and bending to retrieve items difficult.

This can lead to back pain, difficulty accessing ingredients, and potential falls. 

Grab bars: Install grab bars near cabinets and appliances for support. 

Shelf organisers: Utilise pull-out shelves or cabinet risers for easier access.

Reading labels and instructions: Difficulty seeing small print can make following recipes and ingredient information challenging.

This can lead to errors in measurements, frustration, and potential health risks. 

Magnifying devices: Use handheld magnifiers or countertop magnifying lamps. 

Text-to-speech technology: Explore apps or devices that read aloud text from recipes.


Common challenges faced in the kitchen

  • Difficulty gripping and chopping: Weak hand strength or arthritis can make gripping knives and chopping vegetables difficult and potentially painful. This can lead to frustration, a reliance on less healthy pre-prepared meals, or even unsafe alternatives like using blunt knives.
  • Reaching and bending: Limited mobility can hinder reaching for ingredients stored in high cabinets or bending down to retrieve items from lower cupboards. This can increase the risk of back pain, falls, and difficulty accessing essential cooking tools and ingredients.
  • Reading labels and instructions: Difficulty focusing on small print on food packaging and recipe instructions can make following recipes and measuring ingredients challenging, potentially leading to inaccurate measurements and frustration.

Equipment and aids to help you prepare food

  • Adaptive utensils: These utensils feature ergonomic designs and non-slip grips, making them easier to hold and control for individuals with limited hand strength. Consider easy-grip knives, rocker knives, or utensil sets with built-up handles.
  • Food processors and choppers: These appliances can make light work of chopping vegetables, fruits, and nuts, minimising the need for manual chopping and reducing strain on hands and wrists.
  • Mandolines and vegetable slicers: These tools offer safe and efficient ways to thinly slice vegetables and fruits, saving time and effort compared to manual chopping with a knife.
  • Grab bars: Installing sturdy grab bars near cupboards, appliances, and the sink can provide vital support when reaching for items or maintaining balance while standing in the kitchen.
  • Shelf organisers: Utilise pull-out shelves, cabinet risers, or lazy Susan turntables to bring frequently used items closer to the front of cupboards, minimising the need to bend or stretch for them.
  • Magnifying devices: Handheld magnifiers or countertop magnifying lamps can magnify text on food labels and recipes, making it easier to read and follow instructions.
  • Text-to-speech technology: Explore apps or devices that can read aloud recipe instructions from your phone or tablet, eliminating the need to focus on small print.

Additional things to consider

  • Plan your meals: Planning meals in advance allows you to create a grocery list and place frequently used ingredients within easy reach.
  • Sit while preparing food: Utilise a sturdy stool or chair to sit comfortably while preparing meals, minimising fatigue and potential strain on your legs.
  • Maintain good lighting: Ensure your kitchen is well-lit to improve visibility while chopping, reading labels, and cooking.
  • Seek professional guidance: An occupational therapist can assess your specific needs and recommend suitable equipment or adaptations to optimise your kitchen environment for safe and independent food preparation.

Where to buy equipment to help you prepare food

Plymouth City Council, NHS Devon, and Livewell Southwest have jointly commissioned NRS Healthcare to deliver the Safe+Well service, and they have over 2,500 daily living aids that you can purchase by mail order, telephone, or online.

View the Plymouth Safe+Well website

NRS has a dedicated phone line with a trained team of specialists who can answer any questions you might have. Just call 0345 6461860.

Other places to buy equipment from:

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  • Free assessment tool: Select the area of difficulty that is relevant to you. You will then be asked a few questions to guide you towards helpful daily living aids. 
  • Free telephone advice line: Complete the online form, and we will contact you to arrange a convenient time to call.



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