Easy Upgrades to Make Your Kitchen More Accessible
By the year 2030, one in five Americans is projected to be age 65 and over. The U.S. population is getting older, and more older adults are choosing to live independently or with family rather than paying for an expensive nursing home. Even if you are years out from old age, it is never too soon to start thinking about how to make your home safe and accessible for yourself or an older family member.
The kitchen is a great place to start when upgrading a home’s accessibility because it is usually the room where people are the most active and spend the most time. With a few simple updates, you can make your kitchen safe and accessible for someone of any age.
Lifting up a heavy mixer or other appliance and placing it on a high counter can be difficult even for a young person. Don’t risk hurting yourself by trying to move a heavy object alone. A mixer lift allows you to store your heavy appliances out of site without taking up valuable counter space and makes it easy to raise them up to counter height. With an easy pull of the shelf, the heavy duty lifting arms do the rest of the work for you. Then, simply pull on the release levers to lower it back down in place.
Traditional round cabinet knobs can be difficult to grasp, especially for someone with arthritis or poor motor skills. Knobs can also get caught on clothing or walkers. Instead, switch your cabinet and drawer hardware to C or D shaped pulls like this stainless steel option.
Soft-Close Drawer Slides
If you’re upgrading drawer hardware, why not upgrade the drawers themselves? Soft-close drawer slides have become a staple of high-end kitchens, and they should be a staple in your accessible kitchen as well. Soft-close slides only need a gentle push to get them to close, and they won’t pop back open unexpectedly.
Full-Extension Drawer Slides
Have you ever tried to get an object from the back of a drawer and hurt your hand or scraped your knuckles in the process? Traditional drawer slides only open about three-quarters of the way. But Full-extension drawer slides allow you to pull out the drawer entirely and easily access items from the very back of the drawer.
If you want to get the most out of your full-extension drawer slides, drawer organizers are a necessary addition. Don’t dig around in a cluttered drawer full of potentially sharp objects looking for the kitchen tool you need. Drawer organizers keep everything separated and easy to locate instantly.
If you are on the shorter side then you are probably used to climbing on the counter or using a stool to reach objects in high cabinets. When you reach an older age, climbing on counters or on a stool every time you need to grab something from up high can be dangerous. Ditch the stool and install a pull-down shelf instead. Pull-down shelves allow you to lower a top shelf down to your fingertips easily and extend it away from the cabinet. Grab what you need, then simply push it back up into place with the help of the gas-assisted lifting and lowering mechanism.
Lower shelves can be made more accessible by adding organizers like lazy susans. A lazy susan gives you easy access to everything in your cabinets without you having to move things around or take them out. Nothing will be forgotten in the back of your cabinets when you can simply rotate the lazy susan to see everything.
Don’t hurt your back bending over to take dishes out of your dishwasher. By raising your dishwasher about a foot off the floor, you can easily access the lower shelves without straining yourself.
Mounting a microwave higher means reaching up for hot food and having to bring it down carefully. Instead of risking spilling a boiling bowl of soup, consider installing your microwave underneath or on your counter. Spend less time carrying hot food and more time enjoying it.
When working with knives, peelers, or other sharp kitchen tools, you definitely want to be able to see what you’re doing. Installing lights underneath your cabinets improves visibility in your work station, making it easier to see the task you’re working on. When your eyesight isn’t as good as it used to be, you’ll be glad to have this extra light.
Get Cooking on Accessibility
Getting older is inevitable, but living in an unsafe home doesn’t have to be. Considering the kitchen is likely the most frequented room in your house, adding helpful tools and organizing it differently will help you down the road. With a few simple upgrades to cabinets, shelves, drawers, and positioning of appliances, you can make your kitchen safe and accessible for a lifetime.