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Aging in Place  /  January 31, 2023

3 Tips for Making a Kitchen More Senior-Friendly

How to create a senior friendly kitchen in Calgary

Because the kitchen is the center of the home, it is often the place that elderly people miss most when they go into long-term residential facilities. On the other hand, a standard kitchen can often be a dangerous place for people who have disabilities, especially if they live alone. With aging-in-place updates, you can help elderly loved ones to live safely and independently in their homes, the place where they built wonderful memories over the course of a lifetime.

Aging-in-place renovations can be extensive and include things like painting services in Calgary, but in many cases, it makes sense to start with something relatively simple. Here are some helpful aging-in-place updates for your loved one’s home.

1. Better Lighting

Insufficient lighting in the kitchen can be dangerous for anyone. It can conceal slipping or tripping hazards on the floor and increase the risk of injury while preparing food. Elderly people are at even greater risk as many have poor vision due to cataracts, glaucoma, or age-related macular degeneration.

The first thing to do is to check all the lights to see if they are working. Once you’ve done that, you can identify the types of bulbs in each kitchen fixture. Any incandescent bulbs should be replaced promptly. These are inefficient and don’t last long before they burn out. This means decreased lighting, and elderly people with balance or mobility issues could sustain an injury by attempting to change the bulbs themselves. Try replacing them with LED lights whenever possible. These are less harsh than fluorescents and much more efficient than incandescents, meaning that it may be years until they burn out and have to be replaced.

The next thing to do is to add more lighting. Task lighting over workstations helps elderly people to see what they are doing, and lighting in storage spaces makes it easier to find things. If your loved one has arthritis, have rocker switches installed to turn the lights on and off. These take less effort to operate than traditional switches, and your loved one doesn’t have to try and grip them.

2. Lower Countertops

Standard counters are 36 inches tall. This can be too high for people who use a wheelchair or who have osteoporosis and are not as tall as they used to be. Home repairs for seniors in the interest of aging in place often involve lowering the counters to 30 inches, which is much easier to reach. Putting a kitchen island or a work table at the correct height is an effective temporary solution to this problem until you have the opportunity to have new, shorter counters installed throughout the kitchen.

3. Easier-To-Use Drawer Handles

For a person with arthritis, it can be difficult and painful to grasp round pull knobs at the front of many drawers. An effective solution, which can also give the kitchen a sleek, modern look, is to have touch drawers installed. Rather than pulling on the handle, pushing on these drawers releases a mechanism that allows them to pop open.

If your loved one struggles with round knobs but still prefers that the drawers have some hardware, you can install wide drawer pulls instead. Also called D-shaped pulls, these allow you to slide your fingers between the front of the drawer and the handle and do not require gripping to open.

Living independently in their own homes helps elderly people to increase their self-esteem and improve their mood. Making sure the home is safe and accessible for them also gives you peace of mind. Handyman Connection is proud to help elderly and disabled people stay independent in their own homes. Find out more about the aging-in-place services we offer in Calgary.

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