Apart from the tool shed, the most dangerous part of your home is the kitchen. Sharp knives, hot stovetops, and slippery floor tiles make the kitchen hazardous not only for children but adults as well. Seniors, moreover, can be especially vulnerable. So, as we age, it’s a good idea to adapt our kitchens to make them senior-friendly in every regard.
As the days get shorter with the approach of winter, the proper lighting at night grows in importance. There are many people who are struggling with their eyesight and when you’re wielding a sharp knife, you want to be able to see as if in broad daylight.
An LED strip that you glue under the bottom of the kitchen cabinets should shed enough light on the countertop where the cutting and peeling takes places. LEDs should be placed above other workspaces and in the storage room, such as the basement or the larder.
Furthermore, light switches should be easy to turn on and off: rocker switches are ideal for this purpose. They are great for seniors because they require less force to flip. Since physical activity decreases, we tend to lose our former handgrip strength.
An easy-to-use kitchen faucet
Making things easy to use in the kitchen should apply to the faucet as well. Namely, replace the old tap with a more modern and easier tom use lever-style fixture. Twist knobs become harder to turn over time, forcing the homeowner to exert more and more power until the faucet finally snaps on the inside.
Another neat solution is motion sensor faucets, like the one you see at shopping malls and in restaurants. These faucets do away with the need to grip and turn, as well as eliminating the possibility that a senior man or woman will forget to turn the water off; this occurs automatically.
Make sure that all appliances are safe to use
No room in the house poses a greater sock hazard than the kitchen. Tens of appliances located there, from the refrigerator to the hand blender, can turn deadly in case of a short circuit. It might seem like an obvious thing to state but you really ought to make sure that all the appliances in the kitchen are 100% safe to use.
However, this doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg, as it is perfectly OK to look for the home appliance parts you require. Have them replaced instead of buying a brand new toaster or a kitchen hood. Also, make sure a certified electrician performs the repairs and replaces the old, broken parts.
Using colours to navigate the kitchen
Age gracefully is a goal for many but the fact remains that certain people start developing dementia or their vision is significantly impaired. It proves hard for these individuals to navigate the kitchen and find the different apparatus and more importantly, operate them safely.
Instead of buying coloured labels, you can use what you already have inside the house: nail polish. Colour all the switches, knobs, and taps with the colour red signifying the “off” position and the colour green the “on” position. This will make the switches easily discernable from across the room. In addition, raised markings can be used to spell a message in Braille alphabet seniors have already noticed at pharmaceuticals.
Getting older is unavoidable but falling inside the kitchen certainly is something you can prevent. Just like you have probably secured the edges of steps around the house, the kitchen floor should also be taped over with stripes of non-slip tape.
Another solution to prevent slipping is to use anti-slip mats like the ones used in factories and warehouses. As mentioned above, you can use colours to distinguish where the floor ends and the wall begins or where a low step is located.
Accessible storage units
We’ve mentioned the importance of solid lighting fixtures inside storage units. Apart from correct lighting levels, the storage units need to be easily accessible. For example, cutlery pieces that are used every day should be stored in near-at-hand cabinets, and shelves from you can easily pick them up.
Another great storage option are pullouts, such as drawers. These should be well oiled and equipped with cushions and liners that prevent the drawer from slamming shut, hurting your fingers. Spring-assisted shelving is yet another functional décor option for the kitchen.
Finally, everything that isn’t used often, such as large pots and pans, should be placed on top shelves and in the back of the cabinets. You won’t need them everyday but can easily use them whenever children or grandchildren come to visit their parents.
Adapting the kitchen to be seniors-friendly is a smart move even if your or your parents still haven’t felt the difficulties of getting old. The time when it is physically demanding to do the dishes will most definitely arrive, so better be ready for it.
This guest post was graciously provided by Ron Wolf. Ron is a hobby designer and a DIY enthusiast, and, above all, a very blessed father of two. Besides that, he has a strong passion for writing. He is a featured blogger at various blogs and magazines in which he shared his research and experience with the vast online community. If he is not working he enjoys being outside with his family. Hiking, bike riding, and BBQing are always a thing for him. In the evening, he likes to watch documentaries or build something with kids in their lego corner.