How can I help my husband realize he can't cook anymore?

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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?

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Good ideas here! The induction hot plate sounds awesome. As you say, he's good with making sandwiches and such - I'd look into all sorts of foods that can be assembled vs. cooked. Fruit, vegs, cheeses, nuts, there are millions of types of crackers and breads now... these may lead to healthier eating, explore it that way with him. Good luck.
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Can you substitute with some other type of meal prep besides cooking? Setting the table, preparing a salad, buttering bread or rolls?
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shorelinelady: He is not realizing it on his own? I ask because my own late mother close to her death age of 94 said "I can't bake pies any more." She knew that she couldn't get them in and out of the oven!
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Shorelinelady,
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.
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ferris1 The one I am talking about does not fit over a burner it is a unit itself, can be used on any counter or table. Lots of people use them for dorm rooms since they are safer than hot plates. (hot plates not permitted in most dorms now) Also great for campers.
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An occupational therapist has special expertise in adaptive living solutions. Insurance usually covers this. Might include cooking equipment, arm braces, body position, much more.
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Grandma1954 - I had ordered one of this plates to fit over an electrical burner, but it didn't work very well, but what a great concept anyway! I'm a grandma at 1948, with a daughter 48, granddaughter 28.
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For some things get one of the Induction burners. They are the "new" hot plate.
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.
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Putting numbers into a microwave is not dangerous. He could select what dinner he wanted (or whatever warm food) and push a button. So what if he gets angry? I'm angry my once highly functioning husband, pilot, war veteran got dementia, but I just have to accept that fact. He's only voicing his anger at his disease/disability and it comes out in angry words to you because you are the closest and dearest to him. Let him vent, walk away until he calms himself, and then let him eat whatever he can fix. Trying to "fix" dementia is impossible, and the best you can do is develop a thicker skin so any words do not bother you. My husband has told me he "hates" me, he wishes I would "go away" and he wants to "divorce" me. Then I say to him, "But I love you and I will take care of you!" About five minutes later he tells me he loves me. The brain is not functioning properly so you have to convince yourself your husband has changed and he is NEVER going to get better. All you can do is take each day at a time and go with whatever is happening with his thinking. Yes, it is difficult, but no one said life was anything but...Hang in there!
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Are you able to reason with your husband, and will he remember that conversation? Like jeannegibbs mentioned, safety is a huge concern. If you could make him understand (and remember) that in order for him to maintain his independence and be safe in his own home, he will need to give up a little independence. He can "help" you prepare meals when you are together, but he needs to stay away from the stove when he is by himself. Good luck and best wishes.
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