My husband used to cook for himself all the time. But now the weakness in his arms and position in his wheelchair makes it dangerous, very dangerous, for him to use the range or toaster oven. He also is having some memory problems. I've made the electrical appliances off-limits, and he is furious about this. I tried telling him we are "partners," and that he would choose what he wanted, and I would cook it/heat it up for him, but this makes him even angrier. He will fix cold foods, like sandwiches. How can I help him come to terms with this change in circumstances?
Your post indicates that your husband has weakness in his arms, mobility problems and memory issues. Handling hot food is an issue and I wonder if you can get around this by using some of the suggested items like microwave and crock pot. He could still burn himself if he drops hot food on himself while trying to heat, cook or transfer it.
You are being proactive and that's good. I suspect the challenge of getting your husband to see the risks and dangers will be difficult, since people with dementia may not be capable of using good judgment, seeing it your way or appreciating what is the safe route.
Even in seniors with no significant cognitive decline, they seem very resistant to use proper safety measures. I know of many seniors who are fall risks, but refuse to use a can or walker. Many seniors who have balance issues, but insist on stepping up on step ladder. It's amazing that so many seniors refuse to heed concerns about safety. This resistance you encounter could be an ongoing issue. I wish I could say that explaining it to him would be helpful. I just don't see that working with the seniors that I encounter.
the unit does not get hot. You can place a hand on it right after removing a pot of boiling water and the unit is not hot. You can turn it on and put a piece of paper or a towel on it and it will not burn.
The unit can be placed on a table, low enough for him to be able to reach it with no problem.
He can cook one thing at the table and you can do other things at the stove.
This will still allow him to cook but it will be done safely.
The Induction burners usually come with a pan or two but any pot or pan that a magnet will stick to will work on an induction burner.
Bonus...they cook faster than a regular stove.
Letting him keep and maintain some sense of "usefulness" is so important.
The longer he is able to do for himself the better he will feel, the better he feels the less anger and frustration.
It is anger and frustration that leads to more problems.
Meals on wheels is an excellent way to provide people with nutritional meals that they do not have to prepare for themselves nor do they have to go shopping. Additionally someone will be checking in on them daily to make sure they are OK and they are eating. I highly recommend this program for your elderly dad. It is low cost or free..
If by "some memory problems" you mean dementia, that is a different situation altogether. In that case, he may very well not be safe to cook alone. But could you cook together, at least some times? Instead of him just getting to pick out "grilled cheese" for lunch, could he butter the bread, place the cheese slices, etc., while you place them in the pan and watch them? Yes, this will increase the time it takes to make lunch, but if he has the beginnings of dementia that is the least of your worries.
I can understand making the full size range off limits, but what would happen if he used the toaster oven? If the issue is his ability to reach from his wheelchair then you can move things so they are within his reach, perhaps on a small microwave cart. You could also invest in a small induction cooktop or one of the many small grills available so he can cook without having to reach up to counter height.