Kitchen Mobility, Kitchen Stability
By Survivor Rosanna Radding
Grass Valley, California
I love to cook. I love to show other people with physical limitations that they, too, can cook with one hand.
Recently, I was asked a question about a subject I hadn’t paid much attention to in a while: balance, the kind of balance it takes to move around a kitchen and reach for things safely. Stroke definitely can affect your sense of balance. It did mine in the early post-stroke years, and I did have to take special care in the kitchen. Here are some suggestions about cooking and balance.
- This general suggestion can help survivors improve their balance whether they’re in the kitchen or not: Work with a restorative yoga instructor. Look for an instructor that has experience with stroke survivors. My yoga practice vastly improved my balance. That was important because I fell and broke numerous bones before I started yoga. I have not tripped or fallen since starting yoga. It may not work that way for everyone, but it’s worth a try. (For more about yoga and balance see Yoga May Help Survivors in our Winter 2013 issue.)
- Get a "standing chair." A standing chair allows you to sort of sit and sort of stand at the same time. I got one and replaced the wheels/casters with rubber feet to be safer. Look online for a model that suits your body and your budget. I got mine through the Harriet Carter catalog. They call it a Rollabout Chair. You can scoot yourself right up to your table, which may be a better height for cooking, or right up to the counter. Because you are not quite standing you may not get quite as tired either.
- Gather up all your ingredients and do all your chopping, cutting and other prep work before starting to put everything together. After you chop and measure everything, put each ingredient in an individual small bowl within safe grabbing distance of where you’re cooking.
In order to cut the number of trips to the pantry or refrigerator and, because I can handle only so much with one hand, I gather as many ingredients as I can easily lift in a bowl or basket and carry it all to my work area. Sometimes it takes more than one trip. Nonetheless, that’s a darn sight better and less fatiguing than running back and forth for each ingredient.
Happy and safe cooking.
For more great tips on cooking with one hand from Rosanna, visit onehandcan.com. Also visit our Tips for Daily Living Library for more tips and tricks from survivors and caregivers. Share your own video,audio or written tips with us while you’re there!
This information is provided as a resource to our readers. The tips, products or resources listed have not been reviewed or endorsed by the American Stroke Association.