When our loved ones step into their senior years, a few home updates become necessary for their safety and independence. Home care has many benefits but they can only be reaped if the environment does not pose a hazard. Besides the bathroom, the kitchen is certainly one of the rooms that should be on top of your priority list. So, here are a few remodeling tips for a senior-friendly kitchen space.
Make Storage Accessible
High cabinets are a major issue in a senior’s kitchen. By placing upper cabinets at least 3 inches lower, you already help your elderly family member a great deal. To further prevent overreaching, adding pull-down shelves to these cabinets would be an amazing solution. Nevertheless, you should place everyday-use items in easily accessible places, such as in drawers and on countertops. As for lower cabinets, adding pull-out shelves and drawers eliminates the need to crouch down, so it’s a practical solution.
Update the Sink
The next item on your to-do list should be the sink. Firstly, ensure the sink isn’t too deep as it can get difficult for a senior to reach down too low. 6 inches or 5-5½ inches for wheelchair users would be an ideal depth. As for the faucet, swapping it for a lever-style one makes its use much easier. However, make sure the lever is in an accessible place. If you want to go a step further, a motion-activated faucet is even more suitable. Not only is it hands-free but it’s also impossible to accidentally leave it on. Consider also adding an anti-scald device and a pull-out sprayer, too.
Add a Lower Table
High countertops can become inconvenient as we age. However, swapping them can be expensive and complicated if they are built in. A simpler solution would be adding a kitchen island or even just a work table that is an appropriate height. If we’re talking about a wheelchair user, the table should be still high enough to accommodate a wheelchair underneath. Adding some grab handles along the counters is also a great idea. It can be a lifesaver in case a slip happens.
Update the Floors
Of course, carpet is the most recommended flooring option for senior homes. It eliminates the danger of slips and is even cushioned in case a fall does happen. Needless to say, this option is not viable in the kitchen where spills happen daily. One of the best options that you have here is upgrading to vinyl flooring. It’s very durable and low-maintenance. You don’t have to worry about water damage and stains as it’s water-resistant and easy to wipe. There are even cushioned variants that provide extra comfort and warmth for the feet. On the other hand, special slip-resistant vinyl floors lower the chances of falls and injuries.
Adjust the Appliances
We use appliances on a daily basis, so it’s essential that they are also accommodated to be senior-friendly. First of all, their controls should be simple and displays large enough for seniors to read. It’s also a plus if they have automatic shut-off in order to steer clear of accidents and injuries. Furthermore, make sure you keep in mind the accessibility of the appliances. For instance, the dishwasher can become problematic at a low height, so elevating it will make it easier to use. A wall oven is also a much better option than a standing one. It allows you to incorporate it at an accessible height. Needless to say, the same applies to the refrigerator and the freezer. Make sure the elderly person doesn’t have to crouch down to reach the lower shelves.
Improve the Lighting
Many kitchen accidents happen due to poor visibility. Elderly people whose eyesight has also deteriorated are even more exposed to these dangers. To eliminate this issue, make sure you amp up the lighting in the kitchen. Add task lights above the countertops and any other work areas, but don’t forget storage spaces either. It is also essential that the light switches are at accessible places. Additionally, choose light switch models that are easy to use.
The kitchen is a notoriously dangerous room where the majority of home accidents happen. So, when remodeling a home to be senior-friendly, you have to pay special attention to this space. Make all the necessary adjustments for the sake of your loved ones’ safety. Start with the above-mentioned tips and explore even more adjustments if necessary!
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