Sharing a Holiday Home with Elderly Parents: A Few Kitchen Tips

One popular way to enjoy the outdoors in the UK is by hiring a holiday chalet or cottage in the countryside. Whether you choose to holiday in the Lake District, Cornwall or any of the other gorgeous landscapes the UK has to offer, self-catering facilities are an ideal way to spend treasured time with family or friends of all ages. If you have elderly parents, for example, all generations can enjoy the proximity to the outdoors afforded by a holiday chalet. While you and your kids might want to climb the nearby hills or swim in the sea, older generations can just be content drinking a cup of tea outside and soaking up the scenery.

If you’re sharing a holiday home with elderly parents or relatives, there are a few steps you can take to make the shared kitchen easier and safer for all generations to use. Here are just a few kitchen tips to consider:

Maintain a dishwashing rota Split up dishwashing duties so no one person or couple finds themselves doing the dirty work over the whole holiday. For example, you can do the dishes the first evening, and your sibling can do the dishes for the next dinner. Consider assigning elderly people the breakfast or lunch dishes, which may be easier to clean (unless a greasy fry-up is involved). Elderly people often go to bed earlier, so leaving them the dinner dishes may be inconsiderate.

Stock up on kitchen essentials beforehand — Many self-catering accommodations come with basic dishes, a toaster and kettle, but not much else. Find out ahead of time what appliances are provided, and bring anything else you may need. And remember to bring essential food supplies like milk, bread, eggs, sugar, salt and pepper, butter, coffee, and tea — in addition to your ingredients for each meal. This is especially important if your holiday home is located somewhere remote, and it may be difficult to reach the nearest shop.

Find a kitchen with induction hobs or electric ceramic hobs, not gasoline — Gasoline hobs can be more dangerous for the elderly (and children) to use. An induction hob or electric ceramic hob has a flat surface, so it’s safer and easier to clean. You’ll need to find out ahead of time from the accommodation what kind of hob the kitchen is equipped with.

Store food items on the counter or waist level — The elderly find it difficult to bend down, while reaching up can lead to accidents or a bad back. Be considerate, and store food items and dishes on the counter, or at waist level inside the fridge. Try to use the cabinets and shelves that aren’t too high or too low for someone to reach.

Don’t leave the elderly to take out the rubbish — Again, bending down to take out the rubbish can be a strain on elderly people. And if the rubbish needs to be taken somewhere outside on uneven ground, this can also be dangerous for the elderly. The last thing you want is an accident while you’re on holiday, so make sure rubbish duties are assigned to a healthy adult or teenager.

There’s lots of other great online resources with housekeeping ideas – for both when you’re on holiday and at home. But with these simple kitchen tips, you’ll be on your way to a safer, more enjoyable self-catering holiday for your whole family.