In most homes, the kitchen is the central hub of the home where the family gathers. However, for those with mobility, balance, or sight problems, the kitchen is a dangerous place filled with difficulties and potential accidents waiting to happen.
Regardless of the reason for the difficulty, the inability to safely function in the kitchen can lead to a loss of independence and the need for help with simple tasks. Fortunately, some modifications can make the kitchen a safe place which people of all ability levels can easily navigate.
Top Five Tips to Improve Accessibility in the Kitchen
- Avoid Trip Hazards – Having small rugs scattered about the kitchen can cause serious accidents. One slippery spot or rug folded over on itself can lead to serious falls. Instead of throw rugs, a slip-resistant floor can make moving through the kitchen much more manageable.
- Add Pull Inserts to Cupboards – Baskets on wheels that slide into low cupboards eliminate bending and stretching, and pulldown cupboard inserts make reaching things on shelves easier. Full-extension slide-shelving and lazy susan trays also assist those with mobility issues to get otherwise inaccessible items.
- Lower Sink and Easy to Use Taps – Reaching an average sink is nearly impossible from a wheelchair. Likewise, taps that require turning can be painful and difficult for many people. Having an accessible sink and fixtures with lever and mixer taps make functioning independently possible. Additionally, taps with a thermostatic feature can eliminate the danger of scalding.
- Easy Pull Drawers – Drawers that have small knobs are difficult to hold. These can be replaced with D-shaped handles, which are easier to grasp. Also, make sure drawers have stops attached. Trying to catch a heavy wooden drawer can cause serious injuries.
- Widen Doorways – Depending on when your home was built, the doorways may be too narrow for some wheelchairs, walkers or motorised scooters to pass through. Not only is this inconvenient in the day to day of life, but in the event of a fire or other emergency, impassable doorways can also be deadly.