As we and our loved ones grow older, creating a safe, comfortable, and functional living environment becomes a clear priority. The kitchen's daily activities, such as cooking and cleaning, can be especially difficult for people with mobility challenges. They are likely to require heat, water, lifting, and moving through the space. An age-in-place kitchen design ensures seniors can enjoy cooking and eating independently and promotes safety and flow for anyone using a well-designed senior-accessible kitchen. Oxland Builders is here to show you how.
Top Design Ideas for Aging-in-Place Kitchen Remodels
Touch-to-open dishwashers and refrigerators are excellent kitchen modifications for older adults. These appliances are user-friendly and eliminate the need for gripping or pulling, reducing the force required to use them.
Microwave and Oven Placement
The placement of appliances like microwaves and ovens can greatly influence kitchen safety for seniors. A microwave drawer or an under-counter microwave placement can reduce lifting and manipulating hot food risks. Placing the oven higher up as a wall oven, rather than a traditional stove and oven setup, reduces the need for bending and lifting. Features like slide-out oven shelves or racks and slide-in/away oven doors enhance ease of use and safety, minimizing the risk of burns.
Induction Stovetop and Single Burner
An induction stovetop is an adaptive kitchen equipment you should consider for your senior kitchen makeover. It's safer than traditional stoves because the heat is only activated by contact with certain types of cookware. This reduces the risk of accidental burns. An induction single burner is also an excellent choice for those who live alone or cook small meals. There are also smart phone enabled appliances that allow for remote monitoring and in-app control, which could be helpful for unobtrusive supervision.
Multiple Sinks and Pot Fillers
Incorporating two sinks into your kitchen remodel can create a more efficient workspace. One can be used for food prep, while the other can be for cleaning. Multiple sink locations ensure that there is always a convenient water source and minimize trips across the space. Pot fillers, installed above the stove, save seniors from the strain of carrying heavy, water-filled pots from the sink to the stove.
Replacing traditional twist knobs with lever-style faucets can significantly enhance a kitchen's accessibility. They're easier to operate, particularly for those with arthritis or limited hand strength, as they require a simple up or down motion. For an even more hands-free experience, consider installing a touchless faucet. Equipped with motion sensor technology, these faucets are activated by the simple wave of a hand, reducing the physical effort required and promoting better hygiene by eliminating a common touchpoint.
Smart Cabinetry and Storage
Modifying kitchen cabinets for the elderly involves considering accessibility and ease of use. Lower cabinets should be designed with drawers rather than shelves. Pull-out spice drawers and other pull-outs enhance visibility and accessibility, minimizing bending and reaching. Including a mixer lift can make baking a breeze and continued pleasure, allowing for easy access and storage of heavy kitchen appliances.
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For those cabinets that you want to keep, installing pull-down shelves can enhance their accessibility. These innovative shelves can be lowered and raised easily, providing access to items stored at the back without the need for a step stool or excessive reaching. With a gentle pull, the shelf comes down to a comfortable height, making the retrieval of items both safe and effortless.
D-Shape Cabinet and Drawer Handles
In an age-in-place kitchen design, the minute details can make a significant difference. D-shaped handles on cabinets and drawers, for instance, are much easier to grasp compared to traditional knobs. They require less precision and strength to operate, making them a great choice for seniors or individuals with limited dexterity. They allow for the easy opening and closing of storage spaces, minimizing frustration.
Safety is the top priority in any senior kitchen remodel. Non-slip flooring reduces the risk of falls, a common concern as we age. Besides the functional advantage, the variety of non-slip flooring options available today means you won't have to compromise on aesthetics.
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Contrast and Lighting
A well-considered color scheme and adequate lighting are essential in a kitchen designed for seniors. Ensuring good contrast between countertops, cabinets, and floors can aid those with vision impairments to better navigate the space. Light-colored cabinets against a darker floor, for instance, can provide clear visual indicators of the room's layout. Additionally, proper lighting in a kitchen is vital to promote safety and functionality. Under-cabinet lights can illuminate work areas effectively and ensure all kitchen areas are well-lit to prevent accidents caused by poor visibility. Consider bright, energy-efficient LED lights that evenly distribute light and reduce shadows.
Adjustable Countertops and Sinks
Adjustable-height countertops and sinks are a crucial consideration when creating a kitchen space that's accessible for everyone. They can be particularly beneficial for wheelchair users or individuals of different heights. Typically, they should be approximately 28 to 34 inches off the floor, a stark contrast to standard countertop heights. These counters and sinks can be manually adjusted, or, for an easier experience, motorized versions can be installed. The adjustability allows for comfortable use whether the individual is standing or seated. It enables tasks such as food preparation or dishwashing to be performed without strain, enhancing the kitchen's overall usability and accessibility.
Rounded Countertop Edges
While they might seem insignificant, the edges of your countertops can pose a safety risk. Sharp countertop edges can lead to injuries from accidental bumps, especially for seniors who may have less mobility or stability. You eliminate this risk by opting for rounded edges, creating a safer environment. This simple change doesn't compromise on style, yet offers added peace of mind.
Oxland Builders Creates the Perfect Kitchen For Your Golden Years
Kitchen remodels for seniors must balance aesthetics with functionality. Here at Oxland Builders in the Seacoast of New Hampshire, we understand the importance of creating a space that doesn't just look good but works seamlessly for its users. Contact us when you’re ready to start your own senior kitchen remodel project today. We can’t wait to create something you’ll love to use for many years to come!