Have you heard of the phrase “the kitchen is the most important room in the house”? Indeed, with the kitchen filled with all kinds of good food, it is no surprise that families gather there the most. But what happens if the kitchen is inaccessible or unsafe for you to use, pass through or enter? This is an issue that you may potentially struggle with. If you are handicapped or face physical limitations like reduced mobility, flexibility, balance issues, or general physical weakness, revamping your kitchen for better accessibility is a serious issue to consider. Here are some ways you can revamp your kitchen to be more senior-friendly.
Change the Lighting
It goes without saying that walking in the dark or in low lighting is dangerous, but it is even worse for those of you who are more at risk of falling. In fact, falls are the leading cause of injury for mature adults. Hence, this is why you need to ensure that there is sufficient lighting in your kitchen. In addition, make sure the light switches are accessible and easy to turn on and off. Here is a tip. Use rocker light switches instead, as they work for your whole hand and require less effort than regular light switches. It is also recommended for you to switch out the old bulbs with LED lights. This is because LED lights are more soothing to the eye. In addition, you need to place lighting at other places besides the ceiling. Think about where you are more likely to visit in the kitchen. For instance, you can install task lighting below upper cabinets and in storage spaces.
Modify Your Cabinets
One of the most commonly visited areas in the kitchen is the cabinets or storage spaces. Hence, it is vital for you to make them more accessible and safe for yourself. This is especially important if you struggle with mobility, reduced flexibility, or have less stamina. Change your cabinets and countertops to a suitable low height, to ensure you can perform tasks like chopping while sitting, instead of tiringly standing. In addition, shift the storage spaces around so you have sufficient space to walk in the kitchen. One tip is to arrange them into a “working triangle” to save space in the kitchen, hence giving more space for you and your family members to walk comfortably. If you have an arthritic hand, consider changing the knobs of your cabinets to wide drawer pulls (also known as D-shaped pulls) or touch drawer systems. These options are much easier to open and place less stress on your hands.
Use Contrasting Colors
Do you have limited vision or dementia? Consider using contrasting colors and labels. This will help you to see things even clearer. For instance, you can add non-slip tape on the floor to create a contrasting border to differentiate where the floor ends and where the wall begins. In addition, you can also use red nail polish on the stove knob to differentiate the “off” and “on” positions.