by: Jessica Dubois
The kitchen is the star of your home. It’s where you play chef–dicing, slicing, and searing your way through three square meals a day. It’s also where your dearest friends and family come to share a meal together. Many fond moments (and delicious plates!) are created here, so you’ll want a space that ages seamlessly alongside you. The kitchen can also be a very hazardous area, and fires, burns, and falls are common amongst older residents. If you want to age-in-place, consider these modifications to keep the kitchen your favorite and most accessible part of your home.
Install Flooring With Stronger Grip
With so many sharp utensils, hot appliances, and corners to fall into, you’ll want to remodel your kitchen in a way that helps secure your balance at all times. Research the safety score of each flooring material to ensure you install the best one for your lifestyle. Stone is a great option that has plenty of texture and deeper grout so that you can sustain traction throughout your most extensive cooking processes. If you’re looking for something a little softer on your feet (and in the case of a fall) cork and bamboo are also great non-slip options.
There are tons of high-tech home appliances on the market. Although they may seem complex on the surface, the benefits they can serve are worth the upgrade. Hire a local plumber to help replace your faucet with a touchless version in order to make turning your water on and off easier. Aging hands often have difficulty with traditional faucet knobs. Going with a motion sensor version will additionally help reduce water waste and prevent the potential of flooding.
Fires are another hazard within the kitchen. Install smart smoke detectors that are paired with medical alert systems. If the detector is triggered, an operator will contact your home to check in about a potential emergency. If the call goes unanswered, they will immediately contact an emergency provider. Burns also can be mitigated by installing smart stovetop technology that monitors temperatures and turns off the appliance when inactive for a certain period of time.
Eliminate sharp corners
In the case that you do lose balance or regularly lean on your surroundings for support, eliminate any sharp edges or corners that you could potentially fall into. Round out the edges of any countertops or replace angular chairs and tables with designs that have softer lines. Opt for hardware that has a blunt design, such as a rounded pull on drawers. Taking these precautions will minimize the chance of bruises and injuries.
Opt for Drawers
When you think of a kitchen design, a line of deep cabinets are usually in the picture. However, the benefits of kitchen drawers may outweigh that of cabinets. Installing large, spacious drawers are not only easy on the hands when pulling them out, but also display everything you need all at once. Unlike cabinets, you won’t have to struggle to find the pots and pans you need. Drawers also keep your kitchen’s contents at a reachable level. Consider installing drawers that are wide and deep in measurements, which will allow for plenty of organization. This is key when maximizing the accessibility and functionality of your kitchen.
Bring Your Dinnerware Closer
If you find that you have difficulty reaching up into your cabinets to retrieve your plates and glassware, consider installing hanging storage beneath your cabinets. This will allow your dinnerware to be in plain sight for easy access without having to strain to grab them.
Even if you are working with a smaller kitchen, accidents can still happen within short distances. If possible, move appliances like stoves closer to your sink area. This will help you minimize the distance you’ll have to travel in order to transfer hot pans or boiling water from stovetop to the sink. Closing in this distance will reduce the chance of spilling water on yourself and causing burns or on the floor, which can create a slipping hazard.
Your kitchen doesn’t have to be to off-limits as you age. By making the mentioned modifications, you can create a space that allows you to once again enjoy your favorite spot to share meals with loved ones in your home.