With the rapidly growing aging population in the United States, a larger percentage of our citizens are seniors. This means there will be a greater demand for residential housing that will accommodate elderly, disabled and infirm individuals. The aging in place population are people who “desire to remain living independently in homes they have long cherished.”
Many homes require extensive kitchen and bathroom remodeling to make the home accessible for an elderly resident. The following are aging in place tips for accessible kitchen design.
Kitchen Space Planning.
The primary requirements for aging in place kitchen design are to maintain accessibility of storage areas, cabinets and pantries; include a five foot turning radius for wheelchair mobility; allow for space in front of and alongside appliances; optimize work space comfort and coordination with utensils, sliding trash bin, etc.; and finally, provide low storage for easy reach.
The adjustable height roll-under sink is an essential kitchen device for a wheelchair bound, scooter bound, or seated elderly individual. Faucets with lever handles should include anti-scald devices.
Counter heights should be designed to be flexible, although setting the counter at the height that is exactly positioned for the primary user is also an option. Standard heights are 42″ to 45″ for standing, 36” at a working surface, and a work surface height of 30″ to 32″for individuals who are seated.
Design for Visual Impairment
The primary way to accommodate visual impairment in kitchen design is to provide plenty of light generally, and particularly at the task level. Fixtures should be oriented to minimize glare at the work surface. It is helpful to use contrasting colors at edges, and generally throughout the kitchen. Additionally, the kitchen floor should be made of a non-slip material.
Visit a Klaff’s location for a look at our kitchen design products.