Tuesday, February 13, 2007


In honor of St. Valentine's Day....a blogger's fancy turns to kissing.

Keep It Simple, Stupid!

Microwave ovens are a great aid for people with cognitive impairment. They are far safer to use than a conventional stove top and quite handy to heat up a snack. Not all microwave ovens are created equal however, particularly when used by a person with some cognitive impairment.

The microwave shown to the right is typical of the kind that might be found at WalMart or Target. Lots of buttons, lots of features and really confusing to use. Even the simplest act of heating up a cup of water requires pushing a number of buttons in the correct order. If the previous cycle wasn't allowed to finish before the door was opened, more buttons must be pressed just to make hot water. Eric and I have a hard time with a similar microwave with even the basic features....and forget about the clock ever being set properly.

Cal didn't stand a chance of getting his microwave popcorn to come out right, even with a map and note to press 4 or 5 buttons in the right order!

A trip to WalMart revealed the right answer, similar to the microwave shown here. One knob sets the power level. The second knob sets the time. A few marks with a Sharpie indicate the correct power level and the proper times for some of Cal's favorite foods. Couldn't be simpler to use and it always works - sometimes some additional time is needed to get something hot but there's no frustration just trying to get the thing to turn on! And there's no clock to confuse Cal with the wrong time.

When purchasing appliances for the cognitively impaired, try it out. If you can't make it work without referring to the instruction book, chances are that it's going to lead to frustration and feeling bad. Also keep an eye out for controls that are too small to turn with arthritic fingers and labels that are too small for old eyes. Trying to make a cup of coffee shouldn't make somebody feel bad.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Just the item I am trying to find. My mother is so confused I think she would rather eat cold food or bread.