Aging in place is an important thing to consider when purchasing or design your home for the rest of your life. If you’ve found the home that you want to grow old in, then you’ll want to make sure that it’s both comfortable and safe. This is especially true for the space where accidents frequently occur: the kitchen. Here are seven kitchen design tips for aging in place:
Simplify Your Design
While traditional, ornate kitchens with corbels, legs and other fancy decorations may seem appealing, these “extra” pieces can often become sites of injury. Opt for a more no-frills modern or contemporary kitchen design. You’ll also want to choose a countertop edge style with round edges, as sharp edges can also be dangerous. Large, rounded handles may also be preferable to knobs, as these may cause unfortunate snags.
For your base cabinets, you may find it easier to navigate through drawers rather than having to go into a cabinet with doors. Large drawer cabinets tend to provide ample space for even your pots and pans.
Install A Lazy Susan
Corner cabinets are notoriously hard to get into, and attempting to get into those deep corners will get increasingly more difficult as you age and lose mobility. The spinning shelves of a lazy susan bring those hard-to-reach pots and pans directly to you.
Reduce Chances of Spills When Aging In Place
In order to reduce the chance of spills, you’ll want to locate your stove and sink close enough to each other. This way, there’s less space to travel in between them and therefore less of a chance to spill something. If they’re located on the same wall, leave at least 12″ of space between them just in case the weight or temperature of the pot forces you to have to set it down.
If for plumbing or electrical reasons they can’t be located on the same side, try to still keep them as close as possible. An ideal setup would be a galley kitchen where the sink is located directly across from the stove.
You may also consider installing a wall-mounted pot filler above the stove for convenience. Large pots can be quite heavy once they’re filled with water. With a wall-mounted filler, you won’t have to worry about having to carry it all the way to the stove.
Install Comfortable, Slip-Resistant Floors
If a spill does occur, it’s extremely important that it doesn’t cause anyone to slip & fall. This is why choosing the right flooring material is important. You’ll want to choose a non-slip material that doesn’t become slick after spills. You’ll also want to choose a flooring material to is comfortable enough to stand on, and that will provide enough cushioning just in case a fall does occur. Vinyl is the perfect choice for all of these scenarios.
Make Your Sink Time More Convenient
Install a hands-free motion-activated faucet to prevent having to twist knobs, as this may become a problem for arthritic hands. Pair this with a shallow sink that brings the contents in the sink closer to you to prevent having to bend over or reach down.
Keep Your Microwave Close
As you age in place, it will become more difficult and riskier to raise your arms overhead to use your microwave. Locating it on top of your countertop or directly underneath it is the safer, more convenient alternative to keeping it overhead.
Keep Enough Clearance Space
There is a possibility for the need of a wheelchair or walker upon getting older, so you’re going to want enough space to be able to travel through the kitchen. While standard clearance space is 36 inches, the Americans with Disabilities Act guidelines suggest 60 inches of space. Galley kitchens require 40 inches. This will allow enough room to maneuver through the kitchen comfortably.