Adaptive Living transforms your house into a home. We are experts on Adaptive Living, and allow us to provide you with pieces of advice to make your house truly your dream home.
In planning to design or remodel your home for adaptive living, especially for people with limited mobility, one of the important facilities to consider is the kitchen.
Did you know that the kitchen, aside from being essential to daily life at home, is also one of the most hazardous areas of the house? Yes, most accidents happen, if not in the bathroom, in the kitchen. Slippery floors, uncontrolled fire, falling utensils are some of the common hazards in the kitchen. With this, utmost consideration should be given when designing or remodeling this area. Though style and function should be present, safety and convenience must be the priority.
Here are practical tips on designing your kitchen for adaptive living.
- Hallways and Doorways
The hallways and doorways need to be wide enough for a wheelchair to fit. There should be at least a 5-inch clearance on both sides of a wheelchair or walker to ensure accessibility and easier mobility.
Besides the size of the door and hallways, the swing of the door should be considered as well. It is beneficial to swing the door out, rather than into the room, so as to provide adequate maneuvering space. Better yet, simply make it an open doorway or install sliding doors or pocket doors.
For someone on a wheelchair and those with diminished grasping abilities, installing a lever-typed handles, rather than door knobs, for opening doors is recommended. These handles are much easier to use than the latter. An alternative to this is remote-operated or switch-operated doors if budget allows.
It is advisable to have a wooden, laminated or tiled flooring and never carpeted because they are easier to maintain and less hazardous. Just see to it that it is not too smooth leading to slippage.
Counters of an inclusive kitchen are quite different from a regular kitchen. Ensure that there are no base cabinets so as to allow people with wheelchairs or walkers to do their task without obstruction.
The counter height must be based on the comfort range of the user/s. This will also direct the location of appliances and storage cabinets. Adjustable counters or tables prove to be beneficial and are space savers as well.
Installing pull-out shelves is another good way of creating accessible working space for preparing food, and these are space-savers as well.
Use appliances that are convenient to use, easy to reach and not heavy to move. Install appliances lower compared to the usual. Again, it must be based on the comfort range of the user/s.
For burners, controls must be in front for easy access. It would be better a choice to use electric cooktops rather than gas ranges. They are much safer and convenient.
The refrigerators should have the proper height. Use bottom-drawer freezer style refrigerators that would allow the user to access frozen goods with ease.
Place dishwashers to a level of comfort. Make it accessible to either side.
- Switches and Plugs
Electrical outlets and switches must be placed to a height accessible to the user. Switches and thermostats must be installed in multiple areas of the kitchen, and to the comfort range of the user, especially to wheelchair users. Use switches with light indicators for easy location. Remote operated devices are also preferred for convenience.
Outlets for other appliances and devices must be located in front of the counters for easy access as well.
For individuals using wheelchairs or walkers, kitchen sinks will be accessible if the base is open and free from cabinets. The height should be at the level and comfort of the user. Piping underneath must be at the rear of the sink so that it will not obstruct the individual with wheelchair from rolling underneath. Remember to insulate the pipes properly to protect the legs of the person.
Install the single lever faucets for convenience. If budget permits, a touch control faucet would be a better option to allow the user to turn on and off the faucet with a single touch.
Lower the height of the cabinets depending on the needs of the user/s. Pull-out or down shelves and drawers are essential in the kitchen. This allows the user to access utensils, dishes, pans, etc. quickly and with ease.
Although more expensive, electric powered and remote controlled adjustable cabinets that lower and raise cabinet heights with one click provide more convenience to the user and make everything accessible.
Check cabinet designs suited to ones needs.
Lighting is very important in the kitchen. To increase visibility and to create a safe cooking environment, a glare-free lighting should be installed. In areas for food preparation, another set of lighting maybe provided. The better lighting there is, the safer the working area will be.
There are so many other accessories and appliances you can still install in your kitchen to make more accessible and adaptive to your kind of living. Remember, choose accessories that will provide safety and convenience for you. It’s our honor to partner with HÄFELE, an international company based in Germany, which has been helping people in different parts of the world in making their dream homes a reality. Their fittings, hardware and systems can help you improve the way your kitchen suit your needs, and supply you with essential resources for Adaptive Living. Please visit their website to know more about their business and products.