What to Consider for Your Aging in Place Kitchen
By Ryan Horvath
Last week, the Twitter chat group, #kbtribechat, discussed the topic of aging in place. Aging in place isn’t a new concept. More homeowners are choosing to own their homes longer than in previous years. It’s about how your home can grow and meet your future needs. There are two main considerations with aging in place. They are accessibility and safety. Keep them in mind when remodeling your current kitchen layout.
Plan Your Aging in Place Kitchen
One of the biggest challenges for an aging in place kitchen is accessibility. We’ve all had to deal with trying to find that missing Tupperware lid. You’re on your hands and knees while half of you is in the cabinet, and you still can’t find it. As you get older, you might not be able to do that. For kitchen storage, consider installing pull-out shelving and a Lazy Susan or two. They make finding pots, pans, and even those elusive Tupperware lids easier. They help reduce bending at the back and knees. Pull-out pantries make finding cooking sheets or spices easier as well.
Whether it’s in cabinets, pantries, or pull-outs, any solution which allows the contents of that area to be brought down to the user is a win. – Hafele America Co. @hafeleamerica on Twitter
Raising dishwashers and ovens is another great way to reduce unnecessary bending. Make sure that they’re stable and anchored. Shallower sinks reduce the need to reach and bend as well.
As we age, safety becomes an issue. Slips and falls are the leading cause of injury and even death. To avoid this, consider installing flooring that has some texture to it. The texture helps create a slip-resistant surface while remaining easy to clean. For the kitchen, consider using a luxury vinyl tile (LVT) or luxury vinyl plank (LVP). The LVT looks like stone tile while the LVP looks like hardwood flooring. Depending on what construction grade you choose, both are waterproof or water resistant. Add rubber anti-fatigue mats for around the sink and prep areas for peace of mind.
Consider the lighting in your kitchen. Replace old bulbs with newer and brighter LEDs. Add extra lighting throughout the kitchen. You can eliminate shadows and make tripping hazards easier to spot. Under-the-cabinet lighting would be a great start. These are perfect for making reading recipes and directions easier.
Accessibility and safety are two key contributors to an aging in place kitchen. They also contribute to our sense of independence. A kitchen design that accommodates a wheelchair or walker is a good place to start. Aging in place is about planning for the lifestyle you’ve grown accustomed. It’s also considering your future and future needs. It’s like what our friends at Federal Brace say:
Biggest challenges to address for someone who chooses to Live in Place are PLANNING for meals, household chores, & personal care. – Federal Brace @FederalBrace on Twitter
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