As you can probably tell by now, there are many choices that need to be made in the process of designing a kitchen. The end goal is to have a space that is easy to use and is tailored to match the needs of whomever uses it. This is especially true for people with disabilities and the elderly. They need a kitchen that meets their specific needs while also providing accessibility, safety, and the possibility for increased independence. While each person’s needs will vary, here are some solutions to help make your kitchen safe and accessible for everyone:
Mirror over cooktop/controls on the front
Placing a mirror above the cooktop allows users to see the contents of their pots and pans from a lowered position. Having the controls at the front also eliminates the need to lean over the cooktop and risk getting burned.
Open space under the counter
Removing sections of lower cabinetry allows for easier wheelchair access. You can insulate plumbing and piping and either place it at the back of the cutout or divert it to another cabinet.
Microwave and Appliance Drawers
Placing your appliances in your lower cabinetry can help increase accessibility and conserve space. Appliances such as microwave drawers or dishwasher drawers eliminate the need to open or pull down doors, which can be difficult if you have limited mobility or have trouble grasping things.
Pull out prep station
Turn drawers into pull out cutting boards, prep areas, and serving areas to increase the workspace in your kitchen and make it more universally available to all users.
Pull down shelving
Pull down shelving systems decrease the need to reach for things and increase your ability to safely access your dishware and kitchen supplies. These can also be motorized.
Low plate storage
Store and access your plates more safely from a lower storage area; you can lift them out of your drawers rather than trying to take them out of the upper cabinetry.
Base cabinet on wheels
Place your prep station wherever you need with this cabinet on wheels. Once you’re finished with it, it can slide seamlessly back into the lower cabinetry.
You can also make choices in the overall design of your kitchen to increase accessibility:
An L shaped kitchen provides good access points for the major areas of the kitchen, including prep areas and the cooktop. There’s lots of room to maneuver but you don’t have to go far to reach each area.
Open shelving gives you unimpeded access to your belongings.
Custom height light switches and appliances bring everything within reach and can be tailored to your specific abilities and needs.
Easy to grasp cabinet pulls, instead of knobs, work best for those that have limited mobility in their hands. Touch latches are also a good solution.
See you next week!