We all value our privacy and our independence, but these shouldn’t come at the expense of our health and well-being. As we age, staying in our own home becomes more difficult because of the rising safety concerns. We tend to spend a lot of time in our kitchens and engage in a variety of potentially risky tasks. Adjustments to our kitchens are particularly important.
The costs of a kitchen renovation can range from small to large; the following list provides some helpful ideas of senior-friendly adjustments.
Slip-Resistant Flooring – Falls are the most common of injuries sustained by seniors in all areas of the house. To limit the chance of a fall, remove any mats or rugs that present a tripping or slipping hazard. A rug in front of the sink may be keeping your floor cleaner, but it’s hardly worth the risk you face of taking a serious spill. Likewise, flooring should have enough texture to grip your feet.
Increase Lighting –In the kitchen, where a lot of tasks require using knives, holding pans, and moving hot items, maximum lighting is necessary and as we grow older our eyesight tends to diminish. This may be counterbalanced with something as simple as increasing bulb wattage, or with something as complex as installing motion-sensor lights, or light switches that can be operated with a simple nudge.
Allow more than Adequate Clearance Space – Kitchens are particularly prone to acquiring clutter. Look around to see what items (step stools, chairs, pet dishes) may be limiting your movements, and determine better locations for these things to “live.”
Make Appliances and Utensils Easier to Reach – One of the most consistent problems voiced by seniors is the difficulty they experience trying to reach lower and higher storage. Obviously, everything can’t be kept at waist level, but the most commonly used items can be made more accessible. The following list are a few ways to ease the burden of hard to reach places.
- Place the microwave at or just below counter height.
- Consider installing pull-out shelves which allow you to retrieve items without stretching or bending.
- A side-opening oven door enables you to insert and remove items without having to lean across the standard lowered door, especially when the surface is hot.
- Shallower sinks make it easier to rinse dishes, fruits and vegetables.
- Replace smaller knobs and handles on drawers with larger, easy-to-grip ones.
- When the time comes to replace an appliance, look for newer models with larger, easy-to-read controls.
If you are contemplating making changes to your kitchen—whether to make it “senior-proof” or for any other reason— The Grey Army team have tradespeople who can assist you. Call us on 13 11 98 to discuss the possibilities.