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We had to shut off her oven and stove because she almost burned the house down after leaving food in oven at 500 degrees. Just yesterday, she ignited yet another fire in the microwave by putting food in for 45 minutes then falling asleep. She is deaf and has no sense of smell and thus cannot tell if something is burning or an alarm has gone off. We need something safe that can shut off automatically and hopefully keep her and our home safe. Help!

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I ordered a Safe-T-Sensor from Pioneering Technologies.
It includes an outlet jack and a sensor that attaches to the microwave. When the sensor detects smoke from the microwave, the connected outlet jack turns off power to the outlet.
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Hello All,
Our 88 year old Dad with dementia has meals on wheels. As someone said, you never know what adventure will be when we or the aides are there. A plastic container with his brown sugar for his coffee took out his microwave. Took hours to get the charred smell of brown sugar and plastic out of the house. We are going to try this microwave....
Hugs to all who are keeping parents safe in their homes as long as possible!!!
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Tdaniel, you say your mom overcooked food in the microwave and smoked the house. Does that mean that she was alone at the time? I ask, because, when my cousin was trying to still use her microwave, I had also turned off the breaker to stove, dryer, etc. I was afraid that she would put forks, spoons, remote, aluminum foil, etc. into the microwave.

Plus, if they are that impaired mentally, I'm not sure how you can trust that they wouldn't stick something metal in an outlet or eat some nonfood item that might make them sick.

I just wonder if it's prudent to keep accommodating a person who's symptoms are saying they need constant supervision. I realize that everyone values their independence, but to me sometimes the risk are too scary.
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I found an expensive answer - commercial break room microwaves: amazon

sharpusa

They only max at 6 minutes and have dial or preset time options. worth my piece of mind
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One of my clients covered up all the buttons except for one that only heats for a couple minutes with a piece of white cardboard and painters tape. You can see a photo of his hack on my business facebook page; Daily Dementia Caregivers.
Eventually his mother forgot about using the microwas. Simple and cheap is the way if you are going to buy a microwave for use by a person with memory loss.
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We have turned off the breakers to the stove and the oven for my mother's safety, but yesterday, she apparently set the microwave too long for what she was heating and smoked the house. We're worried if she could start a fire by over cooking in the microwave. We'd like to find a microwave that she could not push 30 minutes instead of 3 minutes. A microwave that only has the selection button: popcorn, pizza, beverage etc etc without the option of setting time.
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...Buttons allowing her to choose up only a few minutes. Long enough to oversomething but not long enough to start a fire. Good luck!
by not en
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Hello look on amazon for commercial microwaves - some have only a few butt
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One of my clients' adult son put stiff white paper over all the settings, except for the one which shuts off after three minutes. His mother accepted that solution. Now she no longer remembers how to use the microwave, I thought his solution was ingenious and super cheap. No need to buy another microwave.
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What my Mom did any time she had anything cooking in the oven, on the stove top or in the microwave, she would set her LOUD portable kitchen timer and carried it with her. It was a standard routine for her the past 70 some years. That thing would scare the daylights out of you :P
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If you've had to disconnect other appliances and you've already had fires no microwave is safe for her to use unsupervised.
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Search on amazon for "microwave for elderly". Comes up with some with only rotary knobs with max time of 30 minutes. Small, but ok for the purpose. Also look up "safe-T-sensor". Have only read about it, not tried it but sounds promising.
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If you go to Home Depot's website and do a search on "microwaves" you can look for ones with the feature called "sensor cooking". According to the website, "Sensor Cooking, when food is done it automatically turns off". They have 53 microwaves that have built-in sensors. I have no idea how well they work, but it might be worth a trip to your local Lowes or Home Depot or Best Buy to talk with a microwave salesperson. It looks like sensor cooking is a normal feature on most new microwaves.
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Just wondering if anyone has had any luck finding a microwave with an auto shut off yet? I have researched and found nothing myself. We work in disabilities and it is so easy to accidentally press an extra 0 on the end and cause a fire.
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The inability to remain attentive to the microwave task is a bigger problem than it seems. A simpler microwave is a workaround, but not a solution.

When my mom couldn't handle the microwave anymore, it was time for her to move to the assisted living unit, out of her independent senior apartment. This was one of many signs. She ended up skipping assisted living due to some major incidents that happened.

She also was not able to handle other process/sequential-step based tasks. The microwave thing was not happening in isolation as a freak problem.
She could not keep her bills paid (but said she could), her medicine sorted and taken correctly (but insisted she did). She could not do her laundry or keep her fridge cleaned out of rotten food. She could not write out a check, or address an envelope, which is why bills weren't getting paid. She couldn't make sense of the Rx bottles.

Keep your eyes, ears, nose, and brain open to look for other small things that may no longer be in order anymore. The laundry, the trash, piles of clothes or laundry that can't seem to be put away, piled up dirty dishes in the sink, home repairs that aren't getting done. One thing tends to lead to the next.
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We had a simple Kenmore, but when it went out, the new Kenmores were awful. The buttons are hard to punch and almost impossible to read -- little contrast. They changed the punch format from simple to complicated. I have no idea why they went to such a terrible appliance when they had a fairly simple and good one before. Kenmore has been scratched off my list for a replacement if we need one.

If I were buying another microwave, I would go to the store and look for one with a panel that is easy to read -- big writing with good contrast. I would look for one with a simple panel without a jillion options. Then I would get online and read reviews about the product. Of course, there will still be surprises if you buy it. We never know until we open the instruction book that you have to turn around three times, then bark, before entering a complex series of panel pushes.
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We had the 2 knob one. She would get the knobs confused and end up turning the power down and couldn't figure out why it wasn't heating. I am going to try Kenmore Model# 73092 and try and get her to use the dinner plate button. Hopefully that will work.
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My mom's was marked at 2 minutes. She would turn it up all the way any way.
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Here's one with two simple dials. I found it on Amazon. Search for "Avanti MO7082MB Rotary Dial 700-watt Microwave, 0.7 Cubic Feet, Black".

If I got it, I'd try to limit how long it would heat by taping it or marking it, so that mom wasn't trying to heat something for 45 minutes. I can't think of anything that needs to be microwaved for that long.
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If we all write to companies expressing the need for a simple microwave for elders, perhaps they will make one. Im going to contact panasonic, Whirlpool and other companies. I will send email addresses of those companies so each of you can contact them too. There is power on numbers.
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HAIER use to have one from what I understand with the pull handle but they are discontinued. Now is the time for a lot of these microwave manufacturers to go back to the old rotary dial and pull handles.
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I found a microwave with two knobs. It is made by AVANTI and the model number is MO7082MB. The price was $60.00 and I had to order it. One knob is the level of power and the other knob is for the minutes. The only problem with it I see is the difficulty in opening it - you have to push in a release button. I regret giving away one that I had for years - the only knob on it was the timer and it had a pull handle on it.
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What is required is a microwave big enough to hold a dinner plate, with one button to press that says "reheat" and a built-in reheat sensor. Also a big display that counts down the minutes left, says "ready" when it is done and beeps repeatedly until the door is opened. There is a huge market out there - the worried children of forgetful parents not yet in care.
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I looked at Consumer Research and Consumer Reports but they only give advice on buying a typical microwave and do not consider auto-shut-off features. Other reviews and blogs that I've read only talk about the internal component auto-shutoff that some microwaves have, so the electronics don't ingnite, but none of them identify an auto-shut-off feature based on the food or cavity temperature. (Some microwaves DO ~claim~ to have a shut-off based on the level defrost reached, including my own new one, but that is a too advanced feature for elders, doesn't handle cooking (just defrost) and doesn't really deliver on its promise anyway.)
I'm asking if someone has seen a "cheap-o" as I described above, with just a couple of buttons.
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What I am hoping for is that someone will identify a simple microwave that could be safer for the elderly. It might even be considered an otherwise "cheaply made" microwave because it offers very few options; which is just what would be useful in this case.
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Most home delivered meals for the elderly are pre-cooked, but arrive cold. (Beacause the drivers couldn't possibly deliver all of the meals hot). Most "meals-on-wheels" services for the elderly expect that the elder will (re)heat the meal in a microwave oven. However, many elderly, due to dimentia, alzheimers, "senility", etc., make mistakes in selecting the cooking time. E.g. pushing the buttons 1-0-0-0-start, which results in 10 (TEN) minutes cooking vice the desired 1 (ONE) minute cooking time will often burn the food and container to the point of fire or near fire. My mom does this often and walks away as soon as the buttons are pushed to do something else while her food cooks. So when it starts to burn she is not there tom see the danger, and has forgotten that she has food in the microwave. (Until her hunger tells her to go to the kitchen again). This is very common among elderly. What is needed is a SIMPE microwave that has just 2 (two) buttons: 30-second, and 1-minute. The microwave would only cook for that amount of time (at only one power setting) and no more (i.e. no cummulative time setting capability). If the elder has to run it for multiple cycles for a larger meal than the typical "meal-on-wheels", then so be it. At least the home won't be burned down with an elderly inside.
Why dooesn't some manufacturere make such a microwave: do they think there is just not enough money in it? One would think that todays elderly numbers. along with the baby-boomer retirees, would provide a large enough market.
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Perhaps the alternative would be to have home-delivered meals brought in to her. Your local Area Agency on Aging could help you out with this process. Most programs for home-delivered meals have a no-cost/donation only program for elderly individuals. I work in the industry of elderly care and haven't seen or heard of any such microwave that would shut off in the event of burning food.
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