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Kitchen Remodeling for Senior Citizens

You might be retired before you can afford to build your dream kitchen, and if that is the case, you'll want to prepare for the coming years. Senior citizens have special needs, and catering to these needs can help you create a functional kitchen that is used more often. Let's talk about some ways to remodel your kitchen if you want to optimize it for your twilight years.

Move Items off of the Floor

You might not be as flexible as you once were, but that doesn't mean that you can't enjoy your kitchen. To keep things easier on your back and knees, though, move your most-used items off of the ground so you don't have to bend as much. Here are some tips for moving stuff to your waist or eye level:

  • Build your oven into the wall. Instead of an oven on the ground, raise it up so that you can bake without bending. You can still have burners on a cook top - just build them into your counter.
  • Choose flooring that can be easily cleaned. You can't exactly move your floor off of the floor! What you can do, though, is choose tiling or other floor materials that are easy to mop up without a ton of bending or scrubbing while on your knees.
  • Choose lower cabinets with shelves on rollers. If you have to bend, you can at least prevent having to reach into deep cabinets or get on your hands and knees to find the items you need. Roll out shelves are easy to install and look great.

Plan a Kitchen Layout that Makes Sense

The layout of your kitchen should be optimized for your lifestyle. Keep in mind that although making your kitchen as safe as possible might not seem like a big deal now, it could be super important for your health in the future. Use these tips to play to your kitchen's layout:

  • Don't use steps. Even if you live in a ranch home, you still might have one or two steps when moving from room to room. If possible, plan your kitchen so that you don't have any steps at all - and therefore no tripping hazards.
  • Think about your future mobility. Ten or twenty years from now, you might need a wheelchair or walker to help you get around. Is your kitchen layout optimized for this, while still having enough room to cook? If you're going to use islands or furniture, make sure that there is enough space to move.
  • Keep your kitchen as close to your dining area as possible. It might be difficult to carry heavier dishes as your get older, so having your dining table just a few steps away is key. If possible, create a pass-through or consider a cart to help you move plates and other items.

Floor Safety is Important

Every year, thousands of senior citizens break their knees and hips because they fall. As you age, your footing might not be as sure as it once was. Here are some tips you should use when choosing a material for your floor in order to stay safe:

  • Look for a floor with texture. Tiles that are slick and slippery when you're wearing just socks. They can also be dangerous with canes and walkers. Textured tiles have a non-slip grip meant to protect you from falls.
  • Avoid rugs. When planning with your decorator, keep rugs out of the kitchen. It is too easy for your foot or a cane to catch on the edge, and unless you use a non-slip backing, rugs actually increase the likelihood that you'll fall.
  • Choose flooring that is “softer.” Natural materials like bamboo are spongier than ceramic tiles or stone. You don't have to choose carpeting, but by looking for a material that is a bit softer, you can avoid broken bones if you fall. These materials are also easier on your back when you have to stand for long periods of time to cook, wash dishes, etc.

Odds and Ends

When putting the finishing touches on your kitchen, here are some things to keep n mind that will make your life easier as a senior citizen:

  • Choose faucets that are motion-sensitive. This will be easier on arthritic or weak hands.
  • Install lights under the cabinets. As your vision worsens, you'll be thankful for the extra brightness, even during the daytime.
  • Look for adjustable countertops. About 36 inches is optimal for most people, but you can move these up and down as needed.
  • Use cabinet and drawer handles, knobs, and pulls that are easy to grip.
  • Do away to sharp corners. Bruising is much easier when you're older, and if you're on blood-thinning medication, it is harder to stop any bleeding that could result from smacking a corner.

Growing old isn't easy. That said, by planning a kitchen for your later years in life now, you can have peace of mind that you'll have a functional home even as you age.

For more information on remodeling your kitchen consult our Contractor Directory or simply post your project. Local remodeling contractors are waiting to compete for your business.

Posted by: TrustedPros
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