Renovating Kitchens for Wheelchair Accessibility
Improving the usability of more spaces in homes for seniors will extend their independence. Kitchens and kitchenettes can be difficult to manoeuvre around for someone using a walker or wheelchair. There are ways to renovate kitchen space to accommodate senior’s abilities‚ making it easier and safer for them to do more for themselves.
- Appliances: Having a stove with control buttons in the front is a safer option‚ so someone in a seated position doesn’t have to reach over hot elements‚ risking getting burnt. ADA Refrigerators are designed to accommodate physical limitations‚ by making sure that fresh food storage and at least 50% of freezer space is no higher than 54”.
- Cabinet and Counter Lifts: These are great options for many situations. The Approach Wall Cabinet Lift brings the upper cabinet down to counter level, reachable from a seated position. Approach Adjustable Sink Lift or the Approach Adjustable Stovetop Lift can move kitchen work surfaces down to a usable level for someone in a wheelchair.
- Design: Make sure the layout of the kitchen space is usable for anyone‚ allowing lots of space to roll a wheelchair or walker around. Adding a pantry with middle level shelves is better than having all upper cabinets. Lever style faucet controls are easier to use‚ and having a long handheld pull out spray hose will make filling pots easier. Also make sure to add lots of bright lighting and use colour contrast to help those with vision problems.
Designing kitchen space so that elderly residents or those with a disability can safely and easily prepare meals for themselves will allow them to retain independence longer. They will need less assistance and be able to stay in their homes longer‚ keeping seniors happy and empowered.