There's plenty of things to consider when undertaking kitchen renovations, but you need to take extra issues into account if you're renovating for an older person. Due to decreased strength and mobility issues, seniors can have a tougher time doing things in the kitchen that younger people take for granted.
Here are just five renovation ideas to make their lives easier.
1. Raise the Dishwasher
Seniors can benefit greatly from having a dishwasher since manually washing dishes can be tough on older hands. However, even dishwashers can present problems since older people may find it harder to keep bending down to place or retrieve items. Dishwashers usually can't be raised up until they're at eye-level, but you can ensure that they are slightly raised to make loading and unloading the machine less taxing.
2. Use Lever-Activated Mixer Taps
Elderly people are at increased risk of developing arthritis, and their hands will not be as strong as they once were. This can make having to tighten and untighten taps something of a chore. Instead of going for the traditional turn-activated taps, install a lever-activated mixer tap instead. All you need to do to start the flow of water is move the lever upwards, and changing the temperature is as easy as swinging that lever to the left or right.
3. Pick Non-Slip Flooring
One of the most important considerations when dealing with the elderly is the type of flooring you will use. In general, try to avoid slippery materials, including hardwood, laminate and vinyl. Rough tiles can be a good option, but you can also try using very light-pile carpet. This will provide a cushioning effect if any falls do occur, and it comes with the added benefit of staying quite warm. Just make sure if you have multiple flooring surfaces that where they meet is always level and even so as to prevent trips and stumbling.
4. Lower the Cabinets
The kitchen will be in use every day, so you need to make sure that everything can be accessed easily. Try to provide more cabinets at around chest-level rather than installing cabinets higher up or lower down. Not all cabinets will be able to be placed at this level, but you should make sure that most everyday items can be accessed without having to bend right down or climb onto a step ladder. Be particularly wary against having larger, heavier items, such as Dutch ovens, stored on higher shelves.
5. Install Ground-Lever Vacuums
This is one of the most expensive renovation ideas, but it's one that works well for elderly people. Vacuum tubes are placed in select locations along where the bottom of cabinets meets the floor. When the tube is opened, all you need to do is sweep kitchen debris towards it to have it gone. This helps seniors keep their kitchens clean without the worry of bending down to scoop up any mess in a dustpan.