Choosing the right flooring can improve how safe your kitchen is. Falls hospitalize elderly people every day, so your choice of flooring can help prevent them. There are many options available; some are functional, some visually appealing and some both.
As with any floor in the house, throw rugs should not be used. They are a tripping hazard and can slip. Don’t use carpet tape, either. Here are a few other flooring ideas:
- Non-slip tile, low-pile carpet or textured vinyl are all viable choices.
- There are also some cork floor coverings available that can help prevent slips and feels good on the feet.
- If you want to re-use your existing tile or stone floor, you can apply a texture to it to prevent slipping.
- If you go with tile, don’t use larger tiles; use smaller ones. There is less distance between tiles which means lower chance of slipping.
- Install a floor covering that is non-glare
- Regardless of the type of flooring you choose, make sure it is easy to clean and maintain.
Proper lighting is a key feature of any usable space. It can help prevent accidents, makes tasks easier and helps reduce strain on our eyes. You should strive to have a good mix of artificial light and sunlight.
- Where possible, use windows to let in as much natural light as possible.
- Put light where it needs to be. Add task, track or under-cabinet lighting to shine on work surfaces or areas that are dark.
- Light switches need to be easily reached and properly placed so they can be safely reached when entering the room.
- Rocker-type light switches are easy for everyone to use.
- Consider installing automatic light (a feature popular in home automation) that turn on lights when people enter the room.
Keep in mind that the colors and surfaces you choose for your kitchen can influence not only how well your lights will illuminate the space, but also the amount of glare in the room. Light colored cabinets and surfaces that are not shiny will help make the most of your lighting.
So much of what is listed here has safety in mind. There are a few other things you could do to improve the safety of any kitchen.
- Install smoke alarms throughout the house
- Keep the appropriate & up-to-date fire extinguishers in the kitchen
- Use electric appliances that have an auto-shutoff function
- 42 – 48 inches of clearance is recommended to allow access through kitchen pathways by everyone (including those in wheelchairs).
- Doorways need to be a minimum of 36″ wide for easy access.
- Outlets need to easily accessible and properly placed.
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