Kitchens and Aging in Place Remodeling

Written by Haley Burres
Updated September 11, 2015
wheelchair accessible kitchen
This kitchen remodel was done to accommodate a power wheelchair user as a 9-inch kick space on cabinets allows someone using a wheelchair to get closer to the cabinet tops. (Photo courtesy of Angie’s List member James C. of Belleville, Ill.)

If you are having mobility issues in the kitchen, a remodel could help make things easier and more enjoyable. Here are some tips to help you age in your home.

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As you age in your home, a kitchen remodel might be a good avenue for you to pursue.

If you have issues with mobility in the kitchen, or if you would like to prepare for possible issues in the future, it’s proactive and responsible to find ways to improve your kitchen’s setup.

There are a number of steps you can take when it comes to an aging in place remodeling project.

Making Your Kitchen Work for You

By making changes in your kitchen, you'll be able to:

1. Continue to independently prepare your food.

2. Enjoy your cooking and/or baking hobby.

3. Keep eating nutritious meals in your own home.

4. Use your kitchen longer.

Many times, a kitchen remodel is the best way to assure that you can stay in your home, functioning safely, for longer.

Talk with Your Doctor

First, consult with your geriatrician. He or she has experience with aging patients and most likely can tell you how your mobility might be affected in the future.

Your doctor also can recommend helpful adaptive equipment or give you other suggestions about what you might want or need to change in your kitchen.

RELATED: Read Angie’s List Guide to handicap equipment.

Find a Contractor

Next, you’ll want to find an experienced and recommended contractor. Be sure to pick a contractor who’s worked with senior clients, plus adaptive equipment and layouts.

Talk candidly with your contractor about how much you are willing to spend and if you are looking for a full kitchen remodel or if a few alterations would make a big difference.

RELATED: 11 Tips for Hiring a Home Improvement Contractor.

Figure out What You Need or Will Need

You can brainstorm with your contractor to develop your new kitchen.

If you use a wheelchair, or have a progressive disease that will likely have you using a wheelchair in the future, consider putting cabinets and countertops at wheelchair level. Chopping vegetables is much easier and safer if you don’t have to reach up to the countertop.

Smaller Changes

If a complete remodel of cabinets and countertops isn't in your budget, there are other ways you can ensure your kitchen is safe.

Installing grab bars in strategic kitchen spots can make mobility much easier. Think about where you’d want to stand and add a grab bar so you can do that safely. Perhaps you’ll want one near the counter where you prep food or near the stovetop.

Be sure that when you are cooking, you are standing comfortably and feel stable.

Make Supplies Accessible

You can also adapt your kitchen without getting out a hammer or screwdriver.

Moving your most used supplies to a cabinet that’s easy to access is a great way to keep things close. And remember to use any adaptive equipment you’ve gotten to make your kitchen time less frustrating.

Conclusion

Are considering an aging in place remodeling project? Take a proactive step by designing your kitchen with your life and mobility in mind.

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