If your goal is to “age in place,” now is the time to consider some remodeling. And there’s no room that demands more physical agility than the kitchen. It’s impossible to foresee how your body may change over time. But making a few thoughtful accommodations now could extend your comfort and independence. Plus, such an investment may well forestall or eliminate a move to assisted living. Money ahead for you!
A kitchen for your future
Looking at the most likely issues to arise as we age—you may be feeling some of these already—consider these kitchen improvements:
- Lighting. Overhead ceiling lights are notorious for creating shadows. Install under-the-cabinet lighting to illuminate food prep areas.
- Pull-out shelves. Whether in a cabinet or refrigerator, these allow you to bring items stored in the nether regions into closer view. Lazy susans can also help in this regard.
Bone and/or joint issues: Arthritis and/or osteoporosis affect bending, lifting, and gripping.
- Microwaves. Relocating a microwave to countertop level reduces the need to lift heavy bowls up or bring hot containers down.
- Stovetops. Stove controls should face the front to eliminate reaching over the stovetop. Also look for flat top burners so heavy pots can be slid across without lifting. For gas stoves, you want a continuous grate design.
- Sink and faucet. Get a sink with a hose and a single-handle faucet, ideally with a sensor option. Minimize heavy carries by placing the sink near the stove and using the hose to fill pots in place.
- Drawer pulls. Replace small knobs with loops, levers, or D-shaped bar pulls.
Balance and fatigue
- Side-by-side refrigerator. Reduce the need to bend and reach by giving commonly used freezer items a mid-height shelf, just like items in the refrigerator space.
- Multi-height counters. Create a workstation that has knee space underneath to permit sitting while you work.
Weighing the pros and cons of a remodel?
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