Aging in Place Kitchen Design

This guest blog was written by Lindus Construction. Lindus Construction  is proud to have served over 75,000 happy customers in Western Wisconsin and the Twin Cities since the company’s founding in 1979. One Call. One Contractor.

As the Baby Boomer generation retires, a consistent theme those in the home remodeling industry hear is their desire to age in place, rather than incur the expense of moving into a long-term care facility. Because the kitchen tends to be among the busiest areas of the home, clients often ask how to make it an accommodating place to cook and entertain as the homeowner continues to mature. Here’s what you need to know about aging in place kitchen design.

Doorways

kitchen with wide doorways

Older homes tend to have a more compartmentalized feel. At times, kitchen doorways may be too narrow to allow entry for wheelchair- or walker-users. It’s recommended that undersized doorways be widened to at least 36 inches for this reason. Pocket doors are also an optimal solution for the ease of which they can be opened and closed. This concept also applies to levered doorknobs.

Flooring

Excessive wax and polish on kitchen floors creates a falling hazard, so keep this chore to a minimum. Steer clear of rugs, which can also create the perfect environment for a fall. It’s worth noting that the smaller and closer together floor tiles are, the lesser chance there is of a tripping hazard being present. Linoleum, tile and wood are the easiest materials for a wheelchair to glide across.

Cabinetry

As homeowners age, retrieving items stored in upper cabinets becomes more tedious. For those embracing aging in place, it’s wise to install cabinets that have multiple drawers in the lower levels. This allows quick access to items used daily, like plates, bowls and dishes.

Pullout trays and garbage can dividers also prove convenient.

Faucet

Not only are touchless faucets advantageous from a cleanliness standpoint, but they’re easier for people with limited mobility to operate. Sinks should have a depth of no more than 6 inches and include a pullout sprayer to prevent straining the user’s back.  

Appliances

Side-by-side refrigerators are the friendliest to the aging in place movement. That’s because both sides can easily be opened, allowing for access to all compartments. Pullout shelving helps reduce back strain.

Microwave drawers are also becoming increasingly popular, because they eliminate the need to reach up for hot food. When shopping, ask for ADA-compliant appliances.

kitchen with pullout microwave drawer in island

Lighting

A brightly illuminated kitchen allows for easier food prep. Consider under-cabinet lighting to brighten an area that oftentimes is starved for light. Skylights and sun tunnels allow consistent natural light to filter into the kitchen. Many seniors opt for their lights to be on motion sensors.  

With a few modifications, people can continue to live comfortably at home into their senior years. What other kitchen considerations are there? Let us know in the comments!

Categories Kitchen Design

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