GREENSBORO, N.C. -- Scott Silknitter from Caregiving 101 and Tom Garcia from Southern Evergreen teamed up to show you how caregivers can keep their aging loved ones safe in the kitchen.

Preventing Kitchen Fires:

One of the biggest concerns caregivers face is the worry their family member with dementia will accidentally start a fire.

Silknitter said countless people have told him stories about how their loved one forgot to turn the stove off, or didn't use an oven-safe dish in the microwave.

Garcia and Silknitter met up at the Southern Evergreen Design Center to show you easy modifications you can make to your kitchen to prevent these types of accidents:

  • Install a shut-off valve for a gas stove or a circuit breaker for an electric stove so you can disable it when you leave the kitchen.
  • Remove burner knobs and tape the stems or install knob covers.
  • Use a lock-out switch on an electric range so only you can turn it on.
  • Use an aluminum cover over the top of the stove, or use burner covers.
  • Replace the pilot on a gas stove with an electric starter.
  • Lock the oven door.
  • Install an electric cooker guard, which lets you set a specific time the device can be left on and which has an alarm alert system.
  • Have a working smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector.

Preventing Kitchen Floods:

Silknitter and Garcia also shared tips on how to prevent kitchen floods. They said caregivers often don't consider floods can happen at their kitchen sink.... until it's too late.

These type of floods can happen easily, for example, if your loved one with dementia forgot to turn the faucet off after getting a glass of water.

Silknitter and Garcia said minor changes to your kitchen can prevent a massive clean-up while still allowing your loved one to maintain some independence:

  • For a faucet spout that swings outside the sink, install a brace that keeps water in the sink at all times.
  • Install a governor on the hot water faucet or turn down the valve under the sink to control the amount of water that can be used.
  • Install an automatic turn-off on the faucet.

If you have questions for Garcia, email him at, and reach Silknitter here.