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Senior-Friendly Kitchen Remodels to Help Make Life Easier for Those Living on Their Own

Senior woman in an apron washing a carrot off in the kitchen sinkCourtesy of Anita Ginsburg

Many obstacles in the kitchen hinder seniors from cooking or performing other activities for themselves. As they age, hands become weaker and arthritis pops in, making it difficult to do tasks that rely on fine motor skills like slicing vegetables. A cluttered kitchen reduces mobility, making it hard for seniors to safely walk around. Highlighted below are some senior-friendly kitchen remodels to help make life easier for those living on their own.

Change Lighting

Many seniors have deteriorating eyesight. Updating the kitchen lighting can help them see better and provides a safe, well-lit kitchen where they can work and cook. Place the switches at the entryway so that they are easy to turn on and off. Replace the regular switches with the rocker light switches for effortless work. Use LED lights or bulbs with higher wattage to keep the space as bright as possible. Finally, consider installing task lighting in storage spaces and workstations.

Update the Layout

When you’re starting a kitchen remodeling project to make the kitchen safer for seniors, one thing you need to look at is the layout. Some seniors use wheelchairs or walkers and need extra space to get through the doorway and pathways around the kitchen. For example, if a kitchen island makes the walkways too narrow for them to easily navigate, get rid of it. This will create more open space for easier maneuverability.

Use non-slip tiles or vinyl for flooring for easy cleaning and maintenance. Prevent slips and falls with cork floor coverings. Keep the distance between tiles small to reduce the chances of tripping and accidents.

Even if your loved one isn’t using mobility aids currently, it may still be wise to make these changes now. As mobility becomes more difficult as they age, they may need a wheelchair- or walker-friendly kitchen in the future.

Make the Faucets Within Reach

A lot of work in the kitchen involves the sink. Keeping the faucets within easy reach makes cleaning the dishes easier. Use lever-style fixtures faucets when updating the sink instead of twist knobs as these are easier for aging hands to turn on and off. Alternatively, you can use motion sensor faucets. The sensor faucets turn on and off automatically, preventing the chances of flooding if an absentminded senior leaves the water running.

Install Accessible Cabinets

An innovative cabinet prevents bending or stretching when getting things. Install pull-out drawers and trays to access items freely. Replace old knobs with wide drawer pulls or touch drawer systems. Lower the cabinets to be within reach for those in a wheelchair. Open shelves help in storing frequently used things such as cooking utensils and spices.

Use Different Colors for Visibility

Using different colors and labels helps seniors with eyesight issues or dementia. Differentiate the countertops from the cabinets by ensuring that the edges have a different color. Use non-slip and colored tips to create borders to see the beginning of a wall and an end of the floor.

Some other kitchen changes include purchasing adapted tools for easy cooking for people with disabilities. Despite the changes you make in the kitchen, some seniors still need home care services when it’s challenging to cook for themselves. However, some simple kitchen renovations can help them safely keep their independence for as long as possible.

Bio: Anita is a freelance writer from Denver, CO. She studied at Colorado State University, and now writes articles about health, business, family and finance. A mother of two, she enjoys traveling with her family whenever she isn’t writing. You can follow her on Twitter @anitaginsburg.

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