Empower Your Senior Customers with Aging-In-Place Kitchen Must-Haves
Is there anything more endearing than the bond between a doting grandparent and a grandchild? Grandparents are often endowed with the responsibility of caring for their grandchildren, and needless to say, the advantages of staying in close proximity of the other are multifold. While children get that extra love, wisdom, and a rollicking good time only grandparents can provide, grandparents enjoy unconditional love, a stimulating environment, and a happier life!
As per AginginPlace.org, AARP reports that a vast majority of seniors want to age in place, which means, they prefer to grow older in their own homes instead of moving to a retirement community or assisted living facility.
As a kitchen expert, there are several ways for you to enable a safe and functional kitchen space in the very comfort of your customer’s home. Living close to family is priceless after all!
Here are five kitchen improvements that can help aging customers who are looking to spend their life in the comfort of their own home and amidst the company of (little) loved ones.
Clearances and open plan
Knowledge of ADA (American Disability Act) compliant kitchens can be very helpful while discussing a remodel with your elderly clients. As per ADA-compliance.com, clearance between all opposing base cabinets, counter tops, appliances, or walls should be a minimum of 60 inches for pass-through and u-shaped kitchens. This would provide adequate space for wheelchair/walker access and safer navigation through work areas. This is a key piece of information that your clients will benefit from while they begin their groundwork for their overall kitchen layout. Not to mention, the additional clearance will provide ample space for those little ones who look to set camp wherever their grandparents are. An open layout can also facilitate easier supervision of little ones.
As per ADA standards, the kitchen work surface should be at a maximum of 34 inches from the ground with no sharp or abrasive surfaces under the work surface. Rounded-edges are always a safer bet for aging homeowners as well as high-energy grandkids who are often on the run. Counter height microwaves or under-cabinet microwaves work great from an accessibility standpoint, while also helping free up some ever-in-demand counter space.
Planning for an aging in place kitchen design means making careful considerations for the present as well as the future. The last thing your aging customer wants is to reach out for the unreachable by stepping on a stool or doing a tippy-toed balancing act. Help them avoid the unwanted strain of overstretching and injuries caused by a loss of balance.
Recommend a pull-down cabinet system with a lowering mechanism for the upper cabinets, which can significantly improve accessibility around the kitchen. Pull-downs are also a plus for grandparents caring for those little ones – the most delicate or messy stuff can be stored out of reach from those eager hands.
A crucial element for safety in the kitchen for both the young and the aging is ample lighting. Emphasize the importance of avoiding kitchen accidents while handling sharp objects or hot utensils/food by recommending the use of under-cabinet lighting for meal prep. While under-cabinet lighting can add to the aesthetic appeal of cabinets and backsplashes, they eliminate shaded work areas thereby minimizing the chances of potential kitchen hazards. Overhead options such as recessed lighting are great for lighting up the overall kitchen area. Sensor-enabled, automated lighting in the kitchen are effective in preventing trips and falls for seniors and juniors alike.
As grandparents age, the probability of slipping and falling is higher than ever before. Recovery time is indeed slower and more complex as one gets older. Even while exercising caution, kitchen spills prove to be quite common. Materials such as non-slip vinyl, rubber, and cork can help enhance sure-footedness in the kitchen while aiding with easy cleanup. Also, for the proactive runners, who devotedly follow their grandparents around at all times, soft, non-slip flooring can facilitate a worry- and accident-free environment.
Whether your clients are preparing for retirement or looking to care for their elderly parents at home, the pointers above can contribute to aging-in-place kitchen design. Fabuwood offers an ADA compliant line of cabinets which maximize function and improve accessibility in the kitchen without compromising on aesthetic appeal. These cabinet options are available in select styles within our Allure, Value and Quest lines, helping minimize the need for expensive customizations. Do talk to your sales rep or log into EZP to learn more about our ADA options.
So, go ahead and help your clients achieve a safe haven for that special grandparent-grandchild alone time. Also don’t forget to share in the comments section below, any tips that would benefit the well-being of the duo, all at the same time!