The kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s where we prepare meals and come together as a family. However, it can become progressively difficult to function in the kitchen space as we age, and our abilities decrease. If you plan to live in your home for the long haul, you should consider remodeling your kitchen to ensure it is more senior-friendly.
Here are some aging-in-place design ideas to make your kitchen safer and more convenient:
Create Extra Room to Move Around
The kitchen in your aging-in-place residence should be located on the main floor for accessibility. It is also important to have additional clearance around thoroughfares and doorways to ensure proper access in case a wheelchair is ever needed. There should be plenty of room for maneuvering both now and in the future. Lastly, remember to place your sink, oven and refrigerator as close as possible to each other so you can use your kitchen efficiently.
Make Storage More Accessible
When designing an elder-friendly kitchen, it is important to have accessible storage. Consider installing overhead cabinets a few inches lower than their usual height or adding a pull-out step to ensure ready access to the storage spaces. A pull-down shelf in the upper cabinets will also allow you to access what you need conveniently. When it comes to lower cabinets, add pull-out trays and racks to help reduce back strain when bending over to retrieve items at the back of the cabinet. Think about replacing round pull knobs with wide drawer pulls that are easier for an arthritic hand to grab.
Update Light Fixtures
The right lighting can help to prevent accidents, reduce eye strain and change how you function in the kitchen. To create a senior-friendly space, let in as much natural light as you can and install artificial lighting to increase visibility. Task lighting above workstations, under cabinet lighting and in-cabinet lighting are great options to keep your kitchen illuminated. Using contrasting colors will make things easier to see if you have limited vision.
Change Up Your Countertops
The counters in your aging-in-place kitchen should be accessible and functional. Depending on your budget, you can lower countertops or even install slide-out work surfaces. This is extremely helpful and convenient in case you end up in a wheelchair. Consider durable and easy-to-maintain countertop materials to make your life less stressful.
Install Slip-Free Flooring
Flooring should be a top priority when designing your kitchen for aging in place. Go for materials that reduce the chances of falling when there is a spill, are comfortable to walk on, and easy to clean and maintain. You should also get rid of loose rugs in the kitchen as they may cause slip-and-fall injuries.
To make a smart long-term investment, you should consider hiring professionals for a project like this. Tom Curren Companies has creative and experienced remodelers who can help you create a stylish and functional aging-in-place kitchen design. Contact us today to learn more – 617-969-4900!