When a loved one has dementia, it can become dangerous to have some kitchen appliances around as they can become potential fire hazards.
A microwave that is simple to use 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
|Brand||Power||Handle or Button||Knobs or Buttons||Internal Capacity||Turntable|
|#1. Panasonic NE-1025F |
Our Best Pick
|1,000 watts||Handle||1 for timer, none for power level||0.8 cu. ft.||No|
|#2. Westinghouse WCM660W |
|600 watts||Handle||2 knobs, one for timer, one for power level||0.6 cu. ft.||Yes|
What makes a microwave dementia friendly?
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 an automatic shut-off feature on a simpler microwave for elderly would be great to prevent food being overcooked and possibly starting a fire.
1. Westinghouse WCM660W
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
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.
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 for users with dementia.
- More tips on caring for someone with dementia.