Your Kitchen As You Age: What To Change And What To Keep
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the home. On average, Americans spend six hours a week in the kitchen – longer, of course, if you love to cook or prefer home-cooked meals. It’s also one of the most dangerous rooms in the house, especially as you get older. Common hazards include: knives, faulty appliances, spilled water, and high, inaccessible cabinets. This means that as you get older, you should think about renovating your kitchen. Your needs have changed, and your kitchen likely needs to change with them.
Be Mindful Of The Wear And Tear On Your Appliances
Your kitchen contains some of the most useful – and most used – appliances in your home: oven, fridge, and dishwasher. In your own home. It’s likely that some or all of those appliances are wearing out, which means it’s time to think about new ones. Before you look for appliances, think about what you need: how much storage space do you need? Do you want to look into more heavy-duty appliances? And, most importantly, how much space do you have for your appliances?
Because moving around is harder as you age, your main work triangle (oven, fridge, dishwasher) may need to be moved or opened out. You may want a more user-friendly dishwasher because washing dishes can get harder as you age, and a good dishwasher can make that process easier. As you renovate your kitchen, plan out your ideal placement of your work triangle, and fit your counters and cabinets around that.
Open Out Your Kitchen For Better Access
If you have the space, you should consider opening out your kitchen. Opening out your kitchen means putting the counters further apart and allowing yourself more space to move within your kitchen. If you or your partner are wheelchair users, this could be essential: your current kitchen may not allow you free movement. Giving yourself more space not only serves a utilitarian purpose, but also makes your kitchen more welcoming and less enclosed.
The kitchen is traditionally a gathering place, but as you get older, your current kitchen layout might make that impossible – with your renovation, more space means more opportunities for working together. This goes hand-in-hand with reworking your main work triangle: widening that triangle gives you more space, not only for storage, but for accessibility.
Counters, Cabinets, And Floor Coverings: Ease And Safety
As you get older, you can become less able to grip, pinch, or twist, so it might be harder to open cabinets. You’re also more at risk of slipping and falling – so when you renovate your kitchen, keep all that in mind. When considering counters and cabinets, think not only about aesthetics, but about what will be easiest for you. Looped handles and soft-close drawers can be helpful if you have trouble closing your fist, and tile or linoleum flooring can help decrease the risk of slipping. For counter tops, the ball’s in your court – but you should think about how easy what you choose will be to clean. Granite and marble counter tops are easy to clean, rougher or more porous materials can be more difficult.
You can find yourself becoming frustrated by your own kitchen, even if you found it easy to navigate 20 years ago. It’s important to be aware of your own abilities and accommodate them, so as you age, renovating your kitchen might be a must. When you think about renovating your kitchen, your main concerns should be safety and accessibility – and, of course, your own needs.