Aging in place is the concept of living a full, independent life in your home as long as you are able. It ensures your home is prepared for changes you may have in health and ability as you get older and allows you to continue to enjoy a positive quality of life. The goal is to live in a home that’s safe, secure, and easy to access as your needs change.
There are many aspects to a home that will continue to make it comfortable to live in independently. A functional kitchen is one of the most important. If you feel comfortable in your kitchen, you will be better able to prepare healthy meals, entertain friends, and maintain an active lifestyle. Just some of the considerations for an aging-in-place kitchen include the counters and cabinets, the appliances, and the lighting.
Adjusting Counters and Cabinets for Aging in Place Kitchens
A variety of options make counters and cabinets easily usable and accessible by everyone.
- A motorized kitchen sink raises and lowers to meet the comfortable height of the person using it. Leave the space open below to allow a wheelchair to roll underneath. If it’s not needed immediately, cabinet doors will conceal convenient storage. A hands-free or lever-handled faucet adds extra convenience.
- Make items stored in cabinets easy to access with pull-out lower cabinet shelves or large drawers and pull-down upper cabinet shelves. Open shelves for frequently used items keeps clutter off the countertops and turntables make smaller items easy to find.
- Multi-level countertops using the standard height of 36 inches, sitting height of 30 inches, and standing height of 42 inches create flexible workspaces.
- A minimum clearance of 42-48 inches for walkways between cabinets allows plenty of room for those in the kitchen to get around.
Finding the Right Appliances
Modern, universally designed appliances have lots of interior lighting and intuitive controls to make them easy to use. Other considerations for kitchen appliances include:
- A faucet next to or in the wall behind the cooktop allows for easy pot filling.
- Drawer mounted or counter-height microwaves instead of the traditional over-the-cooktop models makes food transfer safer and controls easier to see.
- An elevated dishwasher makes it easier to load and unload.
- Selecting an oven and range with automatic shutoff features for peace of mind, as well as energy savings.
Use the Best Lighting
- Windows are perfect for letting natural light into the kitchen. Clerestory windows in the roof and backsplash windows over the counters (see the photo above) add light in creative and unexpected ways.
- Specific task lighting under cabinets and over work surfaces make areas brighter and jobs easier.
- A home automation system can be configured to turn the lights on as soon as someone enters the room.
We have created many kitchens with aging-in-place features. Please contact us if you’d like to know more about what we could do in your existing or new home.