Aging In Place? Here's Four Kitchen Modification You Need To Know About

Posted on: 17 March 2021


As an increasing number of retirees decide that they would prefer to age in place in their own homes rather than take up residence in an assisted living facility, many are finding the experience extremely rewarding and fulfilling. However, most homes require modifications for safety's sake. The following are four ways to optimize the senior-friendliness quotient of your kitchen. 

Light Switches at Both Entrances

Nearly all kitchens — even those featuring open-concept designs — have two points of access. In some areas, building codes actually require it. Placing an easily accessible light switch at each entrance greatly reduces the chances of someone entering the kitchen during the evening hours and bumping into something or slipping in the dark. Using a long-lasting LED bulb will minimize the chances of the bulb becoming burned out.

Nonslip Flooring

Slip-and-fall accidents are a leading cause of death in those over the age of 65, and wet kitchen floors are a common culprit in this scenario. Even falls that don't result in death have the potential to wreak havoc in the lives of those who experience them, causing issues such as temporary or even permanent reductions in mobility and independence — not to mention the associated medical bills. Having nonslip flooring installed helps prevent this type of accident from occurring. It's also important to remove any throw rugs because they can cause slip-and-fall events as well. 

Bright Overhead Lighting Above Work Surfaces

Lacerations caused by kitchen hand tools while preparing food is another common cause of injury among older persons. Strong overhead lighting directly over workstations such as counters, butcher block islands, sinks, and stoves helps cut down on this by eliminating shadows. Investing in a set of kitchen tools with easy-grip handles will add an extra layer of protection. 

Customized Kitchen Cabinets

The kitchen cabinets in most homes are placed above and below the counter, which can cause significant accessibility issues for senior citizens even if they aren't impacted by mobility limitations. Reaching into the lower cabinets involves reaching and bending, and the higher ones often can't be accessed without using a stepstool. For many seniors, these obstacles mean that they can only use the cabinet space that doesn't pose a safety hazard when they reach into them. Custom cabinets can be placed at a level that makes accessibility easy, such as along a wall. In kitchens without a lot of empty wall space to work with, cabinets can be modified for enhanced ease-of-use by adding pull-out shelves to lower cabinets and pull-down shelves to their upper counterparts. For more information about kitchen cabinets, contact a supplier.