If you are one of the many Americans helping their parents cope with aging issues or you are dealing with aging issues yourself, here are some ways to help function more effectively in the kitchen with a major remodel. These suggestions will not only increase the kitchen’s functionality, it can increase its value to a larger pool of home buyers.
Many of these tips can be applied to bathrooms and other areas in your home, like laundry rooms, home offices and workshops. ..
- Replace base cabinet half shelves with roll-out trays. This also will increase the storage of that cabinet by about 25%.
- Add roll-out trays to the bottom of base cabinets, as well. This will make it easier to reach items at the back of the cabinet. (Shown right, Rev-a-Shelf’s roll-out tray in wood keeps items organized and accessible.)
- Add a swing-out or lazy susan accessory to hard-to-reach base corner cabinets. Corner cabinets can be the toughest to access, especially those called “blind corner cabinets” that typically are placed next to a range or a dishwasher. Unless you have great knees and a flashlight, you’re going to be hard-pressed to reach anything stored in that cabinet! Thankfully, there are now accessory systems that bring the back items to the front and save your back and knees.
- Replace cabinet knobs with easier-to-use pulls. These are especially helpful for older users with arthritis or Parkinson’s. You’ll probably have to add a back-plate to cover the knob hole, but there are some attractive ones on the market.
Faucets. Replace a knob-style faucet with a lever-handled faucet. These also are easier for older hands to operate.
Stovetops and ovens. Replace a gas or electric cooktop with an induction cooktop. Induction cooktops use magnetic energy and only generate heat directly below and next to the pot. They can reduce the chance of someone with vision or memory challenges from burning themselves on a hot surface. For the same safety reason, they’re great for kids, too. Induction cooktops offer additional benefits for all of us, too: they use far less energy and, because they don’t heat up your kitchen, save on your air conditioning bills, too.
Lighting. Add task lighting to your kitchen by illuminating your countertops with under-wall cabinet lighting. Brighter work surfaces can mean the difference between a perfectly julienned carrot and a painfully jabbed fingertip – especially for those with vision challenges. As an added benefit, under-cabinet lighting can make your kitchen look bigger.
Floors. Treat super-slick floors with an anti-slip treatment. Polished travertine is incredibly beautiful for high-end kitchens, but presents a risk of serious falls to older residents and visitors. To avoid this potential hazard, look into an anti-slip treatment like SureStep.
It is important to find a Certified Aging in Place Specialist to work with you when making any modifications to your home. CAPS professionals are specially trained in the skills essential to work with older and maturing adults when remodeling and making home modifications in order to age in place.
About the Author : Jamie Goldberg, CKBD, CAPS
Jamie Goldberg, AKBD, CAPS, owns Jamie Goldberg Kitchen and Bath Design LLC. She is an NKBA-certified kitchen and bath designer and Certified Aging in Place Specialist. Goldberg specializes in universal design, which helps homeowners adapt their kitchens and baths to meet changing physical needs, open plan design and kosher kitchens. She has written for numerous publications and blogs. Goldberg may be reached at 813.810.0467 firstname.lastname@example.org.