Disabled people like to feel independent and being able to do things. It can be depressing for them if they feel that they can’t contribute to the household. If you have someone in your family who is disabled, a great way to make them feel better is to upgrade your kitchen to become more accessible.
This can allow them to participate in cooking and help out when necessary. Here are some changes that you can make in your kitchen to allow better access.
Flooring And Spacing
The first thing that you can change is the flooring and spacing. Flooring is important. The disabled need solid flooring for their movement. Even those in wheelchairs will find it difficult if the floor is slippery. You want flooring that is low-maintenance and slip-resistant. A good choice would be hardwood flooring.
Besides the flooring, you also have to ensure that there is adequate space for movement. Wheelchairs are very big and can limit a person’s movement. Have an open layout so that you can be sure that there is no hindrance to their movement.
Counter Tops And Sinks
A disabled person needs to be able to reach the sink or the counter if they want to be able to work in a kitchen. This will mean that you need to put these at an acceptable level. The best height is for wheelchair-bound individuals. This is around 760 mm. This puts them at around the height of seated people.
This is a good compromise since it can also be a comfortable height for even standing people to work with food. If you can afford it and you have space, you might have varying heights. You might even install adjustable countertops that can go up or down when necessary. You can also have them extend outwards so that wheelchair-bound individuals don’t have to lean too far forward.
Sinks and countertops are where people prepare their foods and if you want your loved one to be able to work, you need to add some conveniences. For example, instead of a simple faucet, you can choose to get an adjustable one. Making them touch-activated could also make it easy for them. A simple lever handle would be also good for those who don’t have a strong grip.
Cabinets and Cupboards
Kitchens have a lot of storage space. This means cabinets and cupboards are all over the place. If you want a disabled person working in the kitchen, then you shouldn’t place custom kitchen cabinets up on the walls. They should all be at a low height and should have easy-to-use drawers. Avoid deep drawers that will require people to bend over so much. Roll-out drawers are available that can allow for the entire content of a cabinet to rolled out and made easily accessible.
You can also consider lift doors instead of side-opening doors for cabinets. This ensures that wheelchairs won’t hinder their opening. They should also have loop handles so that a solid grip is not necessary to open them.
Part of working in the kitchen is dealing with the various appliances. The most obvious need is for stoves and ovens to be at an acceptable height. They should also have front controls for the burners. This ensures that people don’t have to lean over any open flame to control the temperature.
As for refrigerators, you should consider twin-door models. These are much more accessible. Additionally, drawer-style freezer sections are available which should allow the disabled easy access.
There should also be a few conveniences to make life easier for the disabled. Instead of a light-switch, you can install a sound-activated light system. Your loved one can just clap, and they can turn on the light when necessary. Electrical outlets should also be accessible so that if a blender or coffee maker needs power, your loved one can plug them in with no problem.
You can also buy a rolling tray. This allows a disabled person to deliver their cooked meal to the dining room with no extra help. Another convenience would be to buy a variety of utensils that make kitchen work easier.
An accessible kitchen is a great addition to any home. But it can be especially meaningful to a family that has a disabled member. They will now be able to help with food preparation and can even cook meals. This can be a big boost to their self-worth. Seeing them able to work in the kitchen again can be worth the expense and effort of the renovation.