Every home is filled with memories, and the kitchen is likely at the heart of many of your best moments of life. With the population of U.S. adults aged 65 and older expected to double between 2006 and 2030, it’s becoming increasingly important for those who are aging to make accommodations to the home to remain comfortable and safe — so what better place to start than the kitchen?
When it comes to aging in place, the kitchen might not be your first thought for places to begin remodeling, but making this room accessible is an essential part of updating the home to meet your changing needs. There are countless decisions to make with any home remodeling project, and it can be tough to figure out exactly where to start. To get you off on the right foot, we’ve broken down the most important kitchen updates to increase the functionality of the space without sacrificing on style and luxury.
Top Upgrades for a More Accessible Kitchen
The most important tip when transforming your home’s kitchen into a place where you can gracefully age is to focus on accessibility. From installing pull-out shelving to relocating outlets, getting around your new kitchen without a struggle is the primary goal of a kitchen remodel that will allow you to age comfortably.
Cabinets and Storage
Cabinets are an essential fixture of the kitchen—as well as one of the biggest areas of concern for the elderly or those with mobility challenges. Reaching high cabinet shelves can be a struggle (or downright dangerous) for many homeowners, and there are several remodeling options that can help you make sure your cabinets are both beautiful and useable.
Consider the following tips for more accessible cabinets:
- Adding pull-out shelves for lower cabinets
- Make high cabinets more accessible with pull-down shelving
- Installing “D” shaped pulls or handles to your cabinet doors and drawers for easier gripping
- Considering a pull-out pantry if space allows
A kitchen isn’t much of a kitchen without working appliances, and there are ways that you can make your appliances work better for you as you age. If you are choosing new appliances during your remodel, look for sleek, standard-width designs that won’t add any extra obstacles to the space. You can also look for features such as slide-out shelving in fridges or large, illuminated displays on your new appliances to make life a bit easier.
Countertops and Sinks
If you are in a wheelchair or have trouble standing for long periods of time at a standard-height counter, there are several options available to update both the look and accessibility of your kitchen! A professional remodeling company will be able to design your kitchen countertops to be lower and have rounded edges—giving you better access to the countertop and eliminating a potential safety hazard.
What goes on your counter is just as important as the counter itself, and this includes your kitchen sink and small appliances! Keep items like your microwave at counter-height for easy use, and look for quality sinks that feature some of the following:
- Shallow sink design
- Roll-under sinks with ample wheelchair clearance
- Anti-scald devices
- Hands-free faucet or one with a lever handle
- Motorized sink that raises and lowers for the perfect height
Floors in the kitchen should be durable, water-proof, and beautiful—regardless of the age of those who live in the home. However, when you’re remodeling your kitchen to age in place, there are additional considerations to take into account.
At the top of the list? Slip-resistant flooring.
Smooth floors can create a major fall hazard, especially when they get wet. There are countless options for kitchen flooring, but vinyl and tile frequently top the most popular list. Economical vinyl flooring offers a naturally slip-resistant design, and tile with grout and texture is excellent for adding more grip for your feet.
Creating a Luxurious, Easy-to-Use Kitchen in Your Home
As discussed above, there are plenty of simple fixes for creating a fully-accessible kitchen that complements your style, and you don’t have to break the bank to turn your home into an ideal space to age in place. The costs associated with kitchen remodeling can vary widely, and the type of upgrades you need will factor heavily into the overall cost—but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a cost-effective, affordable remodeling experience!
Having a functional kitchen that works for all members of your family is necessary for a comfortable home, and with a little ingenuity, you can make remodeling choices that are affordable, accessible, and beautiful.