Aging-In-Place Kitchen Must-Haves
Many today resist moving to retirement communities or assisted living facilities. As per AginginPlace.org, AARP reports that many seniors want to age in place–prefering to grow older in their own homes
Kitchen experts will tell you, there are several ways for you to have a safe and functional kitchen space in the very comfort of your own home.
Here are kitchen improvements that can help people who are looking for life in the comfort of their own home and amidst the company of (little) loved ones.
Open Plan Living
Knowledge of ADA (American Disability Act) compliant kitchens can be very helpful for people looking a head during home remodels. As per ADA-compliance.com, clearance between all opposing base cabinets, counter tops, appliances, or walls should be a minimum of 60 inches for pass-through and u-shaped kitchens. This would provide adequate space for wheelchair/walker access and safer navigation through work areas. This is a key piece of information that will ensure good design and a good overall kitchen layout. Not to mention, the additional clearance will provide ample space for little ones who want to be wherever their grandparents are.
As per ADA standards, the kitchen work surface should be at a maximum of 34 inches from the ground with no sharp or abrasive surfaces under the work surface. Rounded-edges are always a safer bet for aging homeowners as well as high-energy grandkids who are often on the run. Counter height microwaves or under-cabinet microwaves work great from an accessibility standpoint, while also helping free up some ever-in-demand counter space.
Planning for an aging in place kitchen design means making careful considerations for the present as well as the future. The last thing older clients need is to reach out for the unreachable by stepping on a stool or doing a tippy-toed balancing act.
A pull-down cabinet system with a lowering mechanism for the upper cabinets, can improve accessibility around the kitchen. Pull-downs are also a plus for grandparents caring for those little ones – keeping unsafe materials out of reach from those eager hands.
A crucial thing to consider for safety in the kitchen for both the young and the aging is ample lighting.A well lit kitchen is a safe kitchen. Not only can under-cabinet lighting boost the beauty cabinets and backsplashes, they also eliminate shaded work areas minimizing potential kitchen hazards. Overhead options such as recessed lights are great for illuminating the overall kitchen space. Sensor-enabled, automated lighting in the kitchen is effective for preventing trips and falls.
As people age, the probability of slipping and falling is higher than ever before. Recovery time is indeed slower and more complex as one gets older. Even when exercising caution, kitchen spills prove to be quite common. Materials such as non-slip vinyl, rubber, and cork can help enhance sure-footedness in the kitchen while aiding with easy cleanup.
Whether you are preparing for retirement or looking to care for their elderly parents at home, the pointers above can contribute to aging-in-place kitchen design. Seattle Cabinets offers an ADA compliant line of cabinets which maximize function and improve accessibility in the kitchen without compromising on aesthetic appeal. These cabinet options are available in select styles within our Allure, Value and Quest lines, helping minimize the need for expensive customizations. Do talk to your sales rep or log into EZP to learn more about our ADA options.
So, go ahead and plan a safe haven for that special grandparent-grandchild alone time. Also don’t forget to share in the comments section below, any tips that would benefit the well-being of the duo, all at the same time!
Wishing you happiness in style,
Susan Klinge, Interior, Kitchen, and Bath Designer