Planning ahead to age in place is one of the most valuable things you can do for yourself or a family member or loved one as they approach their later years. The physical and emotional comfort of being able to stay in your own home as you transition into a new phase of life is incredibly important, but if your home isn’t designed in a way to accommodate new needs that come with age, this can be impossible to do. Aging in place renovations make it possible again, and the kitchen is often a room that undergoes a big transformation during these upgrades!
If you’re currently planning an aging in place remodeling project, you’re probably going to be making some changes to your kitchen. Here are some features to consider adding that can make it much easier for you or an older family member to operate in this room!
Aging in place kitchen features are all about increasing ease and convenience and decreasing body strain, and pullout shelves in your cabinets are a great way to do that. Trying to shuffle items around and look for things in the back of a cabinet is a hassle that requires lots of reaching and bending that isn’t easy on stiff joints. Being able to simply slide a drawer out, find what you’re looking for, and slide it back makes a big difference! Plus, this can be a great way to store heavy appliances like stand mixers while keeping them usable and accessible for someone who can’t or shouldn’t be doing much heavy lifting.
The most common places in a kitchen for a microwave these days are usually above the stove or in another high spot, which can make them hard to access for anyone with aching arms or a bad back. Choosing to set your microwave in a different location, ideally at counter height, can make it much easier to use for an older resident of the home!
Choose Rounded Edges
Sharp, clean edges on countertops and cabinets might look modern and appealing, but they can be a hazard when you’re aging in place, potentially leading to bruises and cuts that you don’t need to be dealing with. Instead, try to opt for the safer option of rounded edges wherever you can. This has the added bonus of being safer for small children, so if you have grandkids visiting, they’ll benefit from this choice as well!
Increase Clearance Space
There are often minimum amounts of “clearance space,” the space between countertops or between countertops and walls, outlined in building codes. This creates usable aisles that allow people to move around safely in the kitchen. However, when aging in place, it can be a good idea to increase these clearance spaces beyond what’s required. If you or a resident of the home is even limited to a wheelchair, having wider spaces in the kitchen can make life much easier, and even if this never becomes a problem, more space to maneuver around can be very helpful!
Consider Your Flooring
Falls are always a potential hazard in the kitchen where the floor is often wet or dirty, but you can reduce the risk by being very particular about your choice of flooring materials. You want to avoid anything that’s particularly slippery and will increase the risk of falling and go for materials that provide better traction, like textured tiles. Vinyl flooring is also a great option, and it’s easy to keep clean and softer on your feet as well!
With features like these added to your kitchen, staying in your home as you age will be much easier and more comfortable! If you’re interested in an aging in place upgrade for your kitchen or another room in your home, Schuler Service can help you! Contact us today to learn more.