The kitchen is the hub of the home, and that means it has to be accessible to everyone. Whether you have aging parents who visit regularly, or you are getting older yourself, it may be time to design a kitchen you can age in place in.
Creating a Plan
When remodeling your kitchen ask yourself, “What does my future look like?” If accommodating an older resident is part of the plan then it's best to make some adjustments now. Remember, it is always easier, and cheaper, to plan for the future rather than retrofit the space later.
When it comes to the kitchen, there are plenty of stylish features you can add now to make life easier as you get older, without sacrificing the design now.
Opt for Safer Flooring
Let’s face it, some tile flooring can become slick when wet, making them a tripping hazard for family members of all ages; but especially senior adults. When choosing your new kitchen floor, be sure to check out the myriad of non-skid options. Also, take note of height variations and make everything level.
Add Plenty of Lighting
As we age, our eyesight tends to wane. Keep your kitchen bright with plenty of lights both on the ceiling, around the sink and under the cabinets. Use separate switches and dimmers to allow you only to use the lighting you need.
Lower Outlets and Switches
This may be something you don’t think about, but while you are remodeling your kitchen, ask your contractor to raise your outlets to 18 inches above the floor and light switches to 48 inches. This is a comfortable height for those who are both standing and sitting. Also, consider replacing those standard light switches with paddle styled toggle switches. They are both fashionable and easier to use.
Installing wider door frames now is a great way to plan for the future. This allows all members of the family at varying ages and mobilities to move with more flexibility. Maybe you don’t want larger doors right now, and that’s okay. But consider making the frames larger to make any adjustments easier later. Your doorways must be a minimum of 30-inches wide, but 36-inches wide is ideal.
Varying the height of your countertops will not only make them more accessible for everyone in the family, but the design is very stylish too. At Quality Craftsmen, we can also mechanically raise or lower the countertop. And remember, rounding those corners is a lot safer. After all, you don’t want to risk an injury by bumping into a sharp edge.
Install Age-Friendly Appliances
You may not have considered it before, but when remodeling your kitchen with the future in mind, you will want to opt for age-friendly appliances like:
- Smart refrigerators. Today’s refrigerator designs offer plenty of options for those who want to make using them easier. For instance, side by side models make it easy to get what you need without a lot of bending or stretching. Opt for plenty of door space for items you use regularly, and watch for shelving depth. After all, you won’t want to be digging inside a large refrigerator when you are older.
- Stovetops. Be sure that your new stovetop has plenty of safety features like large displays and easy to use features. Also, you may want to consider installing a wall-mounted stove and oven to avoid a lot of bending while cooking
- Microwave. If your microwave is currently located over the cooktop, you may want to move it to a safer place like on top of the counter or at cabinet height.
- Dishwasher. Standard dishwashers can get harder to load and unload as you get older. Consider raising the height so you don’t have to bend and lift as much or opt for a drawer dishwasher.
Install an Easy-Use Sink
Larger deep sinks can be hard to use as you get older, so consider installing a more shallow 6-inch version instead. Also, be sure to relocate the sink during your remodel so that it is closer to the stove, and add a pullout faucet with an extra long hose to make filling pots easier.
Make Your Kitchen Storage More Age-Friendly
When it comes to kitchen storage, nothing beats plenty of pull-out doors and drawers. This makes items easier to see, find and retrieve by eliminating the need to bend and lift as much. Adding a pull out pantry can also make storing kitchen items much easier for aging adults.
Trade in That Old Hardware
Common kitchen knobs and fixtures can be difficult to use for some older family members. Opt for lever style hardware that reduces the need for twisting or pinching.
Designing the Aging in Place Kitchen of Your Dreams
When it comes to renovations, it is always smart to think toward the future. When it comes to preparing the space for aging residents, you really need an expert to help make it perfect. That is why the experts at Quality Craftsmen specialize in helping residents of East Cobb create custom renovations that are designed to last a lifetime. Our team is a Certified Aging in Place Specialist as well as a Certified Professional Home Builder. Call today for an appointment!