The kitchen is the heart of every home. That’s why as you age, you shouldn’t stop using it just because your living conditions have changed. Make your house a home again by modifying or renovating your kitchen so you can keep the family coming back for seconds.
For seniors, the two biggest hazards in a kitchen are fires and falls. You’ll need to consider how to modify your kitchen to ensure your ongoing safety. Keep in mind that your abilities will change as you age and while you’re modifying your kitchen you may want to include elements that will continue to meet your current and future needs.
Here are a few steps you can take to ensure your kitchen remains a safe space as you age in place:
1. Clear Pathways
Modify your kitchen to have clear and distinct pathways with plenty of space for you to move around easily; including enough room to access cupboards and drawers.
This process may also involve widening passageways to accommodate a wheelchair or walker in case your situation changes in the future and you or your partner are required to use one to get around.
2. Change up the flooring
Shaggy carpeting, throw rugs and mats are all tripping hazards, removing them will reduce your risk of slips, trips and falls. Instead, consider nonslip tiles, vinyl, linoleum or wood flooring and refrain from using any highly polished flooring as they can become very slippery – wet or dry.
Uneven flooring that causes lips in the floors are tripping hazards, so levelling out the floor will eliminate this tripping hazard.
If you require a wheelchair or walker, smoother floors will make it easier to navigate around your kitchen.
3. Update your oven
Upgrading your stove to a magnetic induction stovetop will reduce the chances of burns because heat is only applied below or next to the corresponding magnetic pot or pan. These cooktops also cool down much quicker than standard stove tops, making your kitchen safer by reducing the likelihood of injuries and fires.
Another alternative is to install an electric stove without a raised hotplate to reduce the likelihood of spills or grease fires since there isn’t a visible flame to pose a direct fire threat.
4. Flick the Taps
Installing lever faucets ensures you can still use your taps if you develop arthritis or have reduced hand mobility or dexterity.
These taps are much easier to operate and prevent you from having to strain yourself when opening and closing the taps.
5. Pull out cabinets
Fitting pull-out cabinets throughout your kitchen makes your kitchen essentials more accessible for you as you age. You can ensure that you can still reach your Tupperware containers right up the back, without placing unnecessary pressure on your back from bending.
6. Add a rail
Installing grab rails and custom bannister rails provide additional support around your kitchen. A seemingly minor installation, these support rails could prevent trips and falls.
7. Raise it up or lower it down.
Installing height adjustable or adjusting the fixed height of common fixtures in kitchens will prevent unnecessary strain on those with back problems.
This could include installing a wall oven to make them more accessible for you or lowering your microwave to the countertop. Consider lowering your bench tops so that they can still be accessed from a seated position.
Don't know where to start?
Contact our team of registered builders to organise a home assessment so we can get you back in the heart of your home.