The kitchen is the hub of the home, so re-designing it should take practical requirements into account, as well as personal style. Family members dictate the function of each room and with an investment as large as a kitchen remodel, it’s important to think how each person’s needs will change over the years. If you’re designing a kitchen with aging in place as a factor, there are several things to think about. Luckily, there are many solutions that are clever and stylish as well as practical to meet all your requirements. Read on to see how your kitchen design can adapt to your lifestyle as you age.
Lay it all out.
The kitchen work zones are central to any kitchen layout and are especially important in accessible kitchen design. Make practical changes to your kitchen layout to make life in your kitchen safer and easier for everyone using the space. Adapt the height of countertops and sinks for those who will be using the space, particularly for wheelchair users ensuring there is enough clearance underneath. Rounded counter edges are also ideal for the elderly to avoid injuries. Make sure appliances such as ovens, microwaves and refrigerators are installed at reasonable heights and easy to open, and that there is easy access between the sink, oven, dishwasher, fridge and trash. If there isn’t, then look at solutions such as a pot filler at the stove, which eliminates carrying heavy pots of water from the sink. Visiting a kitchen design showroom is an excellent opportunity to try out options that work for you.
Custom-built storage is the best way to ensure that your kitchen design is perfect for your needs, but it is especially important when planning for aging in place or any mobility impairment. There are many options available to enhance kitchen storage and make everything easier and safer to access.
- Lazy susans and roll-out shelving maximize the functionality of any kitchen remodel.
- Upper kitchen cabinets can be reached with the assistance of pull-down and remote-control shelving.
- Appliance lifts automatically bring heavy items up to a counter height, so there is no risk of injury or strain on the back.
- Pull-out shelving is also useful for heavy items, as well as making it easy to organize and access everything, especially in awkward corner cabinets.
- Drawers, large and small, are ideal for storage as bending down is easier than stretching up or having to climb on a step stool.
There is a storage solution for every awkward space and every person’s reach.
Floored for Choice.
There is no point having a kitchen designed for accessibility if you can’t get in or out of it easily. Wide entrances are essential when planning for wheelchairs or other mobility aids, and naturally demand an open plan room where there is enough clearance around islands, tables and appliances. Keep your kitchen design simple and floor clutter-free for both safety and low maintenance. The floor should be slip-resistant so choose a textured surface with the least amount of grout lines to get a good grip that’s easy to keep clean.
Get a Handle on it.
Think of how many times a day you open and close things in your kitchen. As you get older, it might become more difficult to do these tasks. Knobs are more difficult to grip than handles on kitchen cabinet doors and drawers. Likewise, it is much easier to operate faucets with levers or sensor controls than trying to twist a knob. Make sure your light switches are easily accessible and simple to turn on and off, or better yet include lighting with timers or remote control, and position electrical outlets in sensible places. Small changes like this future proof your kitchen remodel, making it a better design for your future.
There is much to consider and so many options, but a kitchen design expert has all the answers and up-to-date knowledge about products that meet your requirements. Visit our kitchen design gallery for inspiration and stop by our Lansing, MI showroom today to discuss options for aging in place that won’t compromise the style of your dream kitchen remodel.