There are many reasons why you might want to optimise your refrigeration use as a senior- reduce your energy costs, ensure you're consuming safe food and medication, and keep your fridge clean and organised. Let's look at some handy refrigeration tips for seniors, to help you get the most out of your refrigerator for less:
- Clean the door seals of your fridge regularly with a damp cloth, and check that they are creating a proper seal when closed. If they don't seal well, cold air will escape and the thermostat will not be regulated effectively. If your door seals are perished, consider having them replaced by refrigerator maintenance professional.
- Keep your fridge full. While this may seem counter-intuitive at first, the cooling equipment will have to work harder to keep an empty fridge chilled. Don't overfill it, however, as you may block the flow of air and your food will be at risk of a temperature drop. If as a senior without young kids around you don't keep your fridge full of food, fill empty spaces with bottles of water- even old milk or juice bottles filled with water will do the job nicely.
- Where you place your fridge is very important for reducing energy consumption. For maximum efficiency, move your fridge to a space in your kitchen that is not directly adjacent to cooking equipment such as your oven, microwave or kettle. Also ensure that there is plenty of room either side of the fridge for good ventilation. If you need to move your fridge, ask a physically-fit family member, friend or neighbour for help. When moving your fridge, give the vents at the back a good vacuum to increase ventilation.
Keeping your food and medications safe
- The optimum temperature for your fridge is below 5 degrees Celsius. If you are concerned that your fridge is not cold enough, check the thermostat and adjust the settings. Alternatively, invest in a small refrigerator thermometer and check it regularly to keep your fridge within the ideal temperature range.
- Do not store your medications in the fridge, unless the packaging specifically says to do so. By refrigerating medications that are not intended to be kept cool, you may damage the active ingredients and reduce their effectiveness. If you're unsure, ask your pharmacist. For medications that need to be refrigerated, it is best to store them in their original packaging on the top shelf of your fridge, so that they are kept cool while staying out of reach of small children.
- Store your food correctly in the fridge to protect against cross-contamination. For more information on preventing cross-contamination, see this handy food safety factsheet.
Organising for easy access
- If you find it difficult to bend over to retrieve foods out of the crisper draws, consider storing seldom-used foods in the crisper, and moving your fresh fruits and vegetables to the fridge shelves. Store foods that are prone to wilting, such as lettuce and carrots, in airtight containers to keep them fresh and accessible.
- Storing smaller items in baskets keeps your fridge organised and tidy, meaning less time searching for lost items and less time cleaning. Label your baskets to ensure items are grouped together, and it'll be even easier when retrieving foods or storing items you've just bought.
- Consider placing a lazy Susan on the top shelf of your fridge, for quick and convenient access to your most-used smaller items. This is particularly handy if you're suffering from arthritis or carpal tunnel syndrome, as you can pick up the item you want immediately and reduce strain on your hands and wrists.
With a little forethought and effort, you can have a well-organised, energy efficient and healthy fridge that will save you time, money and effort in your twilight years. Contact a company like WMCA with any questions or concerns you have.