Kitchen Organization and Set Up for People with an Upper Limb Difference
by Amber Henson, on Aug 16, 2022
We have covered cutting, chopping and baking tips for people with an upper limb difference in this blog before, and in this article, we’ll focus on organization. With some special tools, a little forethought and the use of assistive materials such as Dycem® (pictured above), the kitchen can become easier to navigate.
Please note that none of the links to the products we list are recommendations – rather just ideas to help get the kitchen modification process started.
Minimizing clutter while maximizing efficiency can be key. An under-the-cabinet jar opener can do just that. It’s easy to use while not occupying priceless real estate on the counter. Our Arm Dynamics team member, Kristi Wolfgram, has a congenital limb difference, and she recommends electric salt and pepper mills for any spice that needs to be ground: “They work great. The manual twist grinders are hard to use with or without a prosthesis.” You can see other options for helpful kitchen tools in the photo below.
Storage can be a problem in any kitchen, but making every item accessible is key. Our patient Taylor Eastlack uses glass containers with a snap lid and finds those work for her (another tip from her is to use measuring spoons with rectangular bottoms so that they can sit on a countertop with the food item in them, ready to use). If counter space isn’t at a premium, try keeping as many high-use items as possible on the countertop, including a microwave and the most used utensils in a container. Not reaching above shoulder height is much easier and means less chance of dropping something or having it slip out of your prosthetic hand. Speaking of not breaking things, you might want to consider using lightweight plastic dishes. If you’re looking for some more permanent remodeling solutions, including recommendations about cabinetry and drawer pulls, check out our article, Using Universal Design in Home Remodeling for People with a Limb Difference.
For cleaning, either before cooking or after, there are scrubbers available that attach to the inner side of a sink by suction cups. A fruit and veggie scrubber can clean veggies with one hand, and Evriholder’s Cutlery Cleaner can get the gunk off of silverware before it’s loaded into a dishwasher.
To keep messes to a minimum, anchoring items can be key. Check out items that have a no-slip base to them, such as this mixing bowl or this cutting board. A big shout out to Dycem®. The company’s non-slip mats and gripping aids can keep cutting boards steady, glass cups safe in hands, and bowls from tipping over when being manipulated by one hand.
Be sure to check out more kitchen tips in our Life Hacks for People with an Upper Limb Difference article.
Could your prosthesis be a little more kitchen-friendly? Would you like some help from our clinical therapy specialists on how to function in your kitchen with your prosthesis, while reducing overuse issues? Please contact us for a complimentary consultation. If you have any tips for your fellow limb different individuals or you would like to leave a comment, please do so below. Thanks for reading and happy cooking!