When a loved one has dementia, it can become dangerous to have some kitchen appliances around as they can become potential fire hazards. In this review, you will find the things to consider for buying the best microwave for elderly with dementia.
An easy to use dementia-friendly microwave helps a person maintain some independence in preparing meals without causing so much worry to you that they may hurt themselves.
Quick Comparison: Best Dementia-Friendly Microwave
Why are Microwave Ovens Safer for Seniors Than Regular Ovens?
Sometimes senior citizens can have issues preparing food, especially if they live alone. Everyday tasks can become dangerous and regular ovens could even turn into a fire hazard. It is not uncommon for aging people with memory loss to leave things on. This is obviously not their fault, but there is, however, a solution: a simple microwave.
Microwaves for elderly people can be a helpful tool, not only for cooking and heating. But also to help them stay active. Simple controls, noticeable alert sounds and automatic shut-off are some important features. To make their lives easier and safer, microwaves for seniors should include all of them.
Benefits of a Microwave
Microwaves are one of the most convenient appliances. Traditional ovens and stoves can radiate a lot of heat to their surrounding space. Microwaves, on the other hand, are self-contained machines. Radiation can not escape the microwave chamber and most of the heat stays inside (or flows away). Microwaves also don’t burn food and heat faster. Cooking in a microwave can be much healthier too, since there’s no need for large amounts of oil or butter. Less expensive, more efficient and easy to use, microwave’s advantages are plenty.
What makes a microwave dementia friendly?
Simplicity is key. Microwaves for senior citizens need to be as straightforward as possible. No overcomplicated settings or controls. Fewer options and a pull handle door are perfect. Pushing buttons can be difficult for senior people; knobs are the better alternative. Ideally, one for time setting and one for power levels should be more than enough.
There are some key features to consider before buying a microwave for elderly with dementia.
When you’re looking for a microwave, focus on the simplest of designs. The models that we describe here are very simple to use, and they don’t take up much counter space.
Turn Knobs or dials
Look for microwaves that are simple to use. First, find one that has just two knobs: one for the cooking time and one for the power.
Get one with a timer with no more than 30 minutes for safety reasons, and make sure the knobs are easy to grab and turn.
Colors, Large font, and Handle
Also, you want a microwave with contrasting colors and with large font that is easy to read. A handle is easier to use to open the microwave than a push-button release.
Additionally, get a microwave with a sound alert to remind your loved one of the food that is in the microwave. Get a smaller one so that it uses less energy and is not too overwhelming in size to use.
Automatic Safety Shut-off
Although they are not usually present in simpler microwaves, finding a microwave with automatic shut off sensor feature on a simpler microwave for elderly would be great to prevent food being overcooked and possibly starting a fire.
Easy to control
An easy to use microwave is a key feature for seniors. It shouldn’t overwhelm the user with too many options. Controls need a clean and readable layout. One touch for starting it should suffice.
Technology has come far. But sometimes it can be confusing, especially for the elders. And if they don’t understand it, they won’t use it. A good microwave for seniors can avoid that.
Big and bold display
Numbers and letters need to be easy to read. Eyesight problems are not uncommon among elderly folks. So it is important that every text is clear, with high contrast and a simple font for optimal legibility. A larger than average display will be also helpful.
Microwaves can work with continuous processing. They can heat faster than conventional ovens thus, saving time and energy. But how does it work? Microwaves send electromagnetic waves through the chamber that makes food molecules vibrate. Hence, there’s no need for a hot surface reducing the risk of burning preparations.
Caring For Countertop Microwaves
Microwaves are sturdy devices, but that doesn’t mean they don’t need proper caring. With the right conditions, microwaves can last up to 10 years or more. Good maintenance always makes the difference. These are some recommended practices to extend a microwave’s life cycle.
Don’t slam the door
Even though it is a common practice, a microwave door should never be closed with force. If damaged, the lock mechanism won’t work and the door will remain open. Then, two outcomes are possible: either the microwave never starts, or the open door causes a fuse to blow up. Neither are good.
Avoid turning it on empty
Do not use microwaves for any other than its intended purposes. Don’t run it empty as a timer. This can damage the internal parts that are not designed to resist the energy emissions. The best microwaves have these kinds of functions already built in. Furthermore almost every brand includes a timer and a clock.
Always use safe dishes only
A foreign material inside a microwave can be a serious matter. It can ruin the electronics or even cause fire and explosions. Never heat anything wrapped with aluminum foil and try not to forget forks or knives on plates. Some plastic ware is safe (as long as it is marked that way). But if it comes way hotter than the meal in it, refrain from using it. That means the electromagnetic waves are passing right through it.
Cleaning and sanitation
Foods and liquids can burst sometimes, leaving dirt and stains. If that dirt is not cleaned, it could result in burn spots and damaged parts. Microwaves are pretty easy to clean, and it is not a time consuming task usually. Just unplugged it, take out the spinning tray and proceed with sanitation. A paper towel, soap and water will do the job just fine. Still dirty? There are many homemade cleaning recipes. Most of them use lemon or baking soda with a mix of other supplies. However, avoid bleach products at all costs. It is unnecessary and it will break the plastic parts.
Pay attention to airflow
Air needs to circulate so heat can escape. If this doesn’t happen, then a safety thermal trigger will trip and the microwave will shut off. It won’t start until it cools down again. A way to prevent this is to measure beforehand space where the microwave will be set. If the area is not big enough or doesn’t aloud air to flow, then there could be heating issues. Most modern microwaves have vents at the front, bottom and rear. So avoid using them as a counter, placing items on top. This could block any air entrance or exit and cause accidents. Better safe than sorry.
Top 5 Best Dementia- Friendly Microwave
1. Westinghouse WCM660W dementia-friendly microwave
- Kitchen countertop microwave oven for preparing snacks, heating up last night’s leftovers or food preparation.
- "Durable strong construction with a white front display and cabinet for compact durability."
- Easy to grasp grip type handle to open and close the door
- Mechanical, rotary dial controls make it great for those seeking simple, basic operation
- Speed and Weight Defrost allows for multiple uses in the kitchen
This microwave has a 30-minute timer with a tone that sounds at the end of the cooking time. After the first 10 minutes, the minutes go from 1- to 5-minute increments.
If someone accidentally turns the dial timer to, say, 25 or 30 minutes, when they were only supposed to put the dial to 7 minutes, there is no automatic safety shut-off sensor, so the food becomes overcooked and could burn.
Instead of a push-button release, it has an easy-to-grasp handle that makes it easy to open and close the door. The rotary dial is mechanical, and it’s easy to operate.
It has six cooking power levels: low, defrost, medium low, medium, medium-high, and high. The interior space has a 0.6 capacity with a 9.5-inch turntable.
The defrost function can be based on speed or weight, making it a great option for versatile uses. It is a great size for apartment use and for preparing small items.
It is a 600 watt microwave, so it may take a bit longer than it says on the instructions of different foods to cook. Since it is a smaller microwave that can fit on the counter and not take up the entire space, it uses less power.
You can buy the microwave in either black or white, and the dial labels are written in high contrast, which makes them easy to read.
When you open the door before the cook time completes with this model, the cook time will continue when you close the door. You have to turn the knob back to zero minutes to stop it.
2. Panasonic NE-1025F Silver 1000W Commercial Microwave Oven
- COMPACT COMMERCIAL MICROWAVE OVEN Occupies minimal space on a countertop or table, ideal for vending, break rooms, waitress stations, offices, hotels and cafeterias
- BOTTOM ENERGY FEED SYSTEM FOR FAST COOKING RESULTS 1000W power, and 0.8-cu. ft. capacity fits 1 half-size, 6-inch deep steam table pan/cover; Energy travels less distance to reach the food, for increased efficiency in heating a variety of items
- GRAB & GO HANDLE ON STAINLESS STEEL DOOR Ensures fast, smooth, long-lasting performance; Commercial microwave oven also features see-through oven door, interior light and anti-theft component, and chef technical support is available
- 6-MINUTE ELECTRONIC DIAL TIMER User-friendly dial timer counts down in 10-second increments; Timer resets automatically after countdowns
- COMPACT DESIGN SAVES SPACE Occupies minimal space on a countertop or table; Exterior dimensions (HxWxD): 12-inch x 20-1/8-inch x 16-1/2 inch; Interior (HxWxD): 8-1/16-inch x 13-inch x 13-inch
Panasonic produces a microwave that is very dementia-friendly. This microwave has a silver front and 1000 watts of power, and it takes less time to cook food than the Westinghouse model. This microwave has just one knob, so it simplifies the cooking process for the user.
Its internal capacity is 0.8 cubic feet. It also has a handle instead of a button to open and close the door, and it produces a chime when the cooking process is done.
You can clearly see the time and cooking instructions on the face of the microwave with white lettering on a black background.
An additional feature of this microwave that is helpful for individuals with dementia is that it does not have a glass turntable. This can be a potential safety hazard for users with dementia.
Instead, it has a hidden, rotating, internal antenna. When you open the door, the cooking time stops.
This model does not have the option to change the power settings, and there is no defrost option. The cooking power is adjusted automatically. This last feature is great for a dementia-friendly microwave.
3. Toshiba Microwave Oven
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Toshiba manages to combine simplicity and convenience in this elegant device. It is ideal for any sort of kitchen since it occupies less space than previous models. There is a bright LED light on the inside (to check dishes with ease through the door) and also a luminous display. The buttons are big and clearly labeled for better readability.
The handle is solid and provides a good grip. It only takes one touch to start and works quietly. It is an efficient appliance but, like other small microwaves, cooking can take longer. Controls are self-explanatory, but navigating through settings can be troublesome for elders. Fortunately, the quick access options can fix this. Truly a one-touch device
4. Nostalgia Countertop Microwave Oven
- 800 watts cooking power: At 0.9 cubic foot, this microwave provides the cooking power needed to quickly cook and reheat foods
- Convenient cooking controls: 12 pre programmed cooking settings, delay timer and express cooking provide options for the optimal heating of popular foods like popcorn, pizza, potatoes, veggies and more
- Digital clock: Easy to read LED display, lights up the digital clock and highlights each cooking setting
- Even cooking: Rotating glass carousel helps cook food evenly
- Retro accents: A sleek chrome door handle, control panel and accents add fun and flair to this unique retro styled appliance
Compact and stylish. The Nostalgia Retro Microwave has a vintage design with modern traits. The microwave door looks like something straight out of the 50s. A single knob on front controls the different programs. Above it, there’s a big LED panel that displays time and the current setting. There are only four other buttons so any senior citizen should be able to use this without too much trouble. Changing power levels is easy, as well as using the 12 pre-programmed functions. The child safety lockout mode is another great included feature.
Power is a little drawback. With only 800 watts, it can take more time than other microwaves to cook. Timer also works with multiples of 10 only. Is not a deal-breaker but it could be a minor inconvenience for some people
5. Impecca Countertop Microwave
- Elegant design: This countertop microwave oven features an interior capacity of 0.6 cubic foot - 9.65 inch turntable size. Enhance your kitchen experience with innovative cooking and reheating feature, distinctive capacity options and minimalist design that fits your aesthetic space and style. Defrost function further helps to avoid cold centers and overcooked edges.
- Assured convenience: Customize cooking experience by adjusting the six power levels for a variety of different cooking tasks. Keeps foods like vegetables, soups, gravies, sauces and desserts warm and delicious in the oven until they're ready to serve. Choose your optimum power level to have pleasurable experience.
- Safety feature: A 30-minute timer will helps keep things safe; the user can’t accidentally enter a longer cook time. Easy to clean interior makes cleaning accidental messes a breeze, while offering variety of customized settings. Spend less time in waiting for food preparation and more time in enjoying your appetizing dishes.
- Seek control: Mechanical dial controls make it great for those who are seeking simple, basic operation. Go beyond the usual defrosting and reheating with digital microwave oven offering smart technological functionality. Easy to use especially for senior citizens and people with vision impairments.
- Compact size: Expand your cooking versatility with easy to operate white digital microwave. Perfect for small apartments, studios, dorms. Good for preparing small items. Enjoy quick, custom cooking in a generously sized microwave that fits your counter.
This is another perfect example for a microwave for seniors. There are no buttons on it, only two mechanical knobs for time and temperature. This makes life easier for people that can’t press buttons down without effort. There are five cooking settings and one for defrosting. The timer dial has a 30 minute cap as a safe measure, so it can not run longer than that unattended. Although the knobs are easy to use, the writing on them is pretty small. Elderly people could have trouble reading labels. Another minor detail is the door. A pull handle door would have been much better suited for seniors. This device has instead the typical push-to-open system. Nonetheless, this is a very fitting option to consider.
The Panasonic NE-1025F Compact Light-Duty Countertop Commercial Microwave Oven with 6-Minute Electronic Dial Control Timer, Bottom Energy Feed, 1000W, 0.8 Cu. Ft. Capacity Silver is a somewhat better choice for a dementia-friendly microwave than the others model. It has more power and just one knob which make it an easy to use microwave.
The cooking power adjusts automatically based on the time set, and it can help cut down on any confusion for users with dementia.
It also doesn’t have a turntable, which can be dangerous if mistaken for a plate or accidentally dropped when cleaned or otherwise taken out.
The Panasonic is easier to clean with a solid interior, and you don’t have to clean under and around the turntable mechanism. The Panasonic is typically more expensive, but it is generally a better model as dementia-friendly microwave and also is the best microwaves for seniors citizens.
- More tips on caring for someone with dementia.