With all the unpleasant stories about nursing homes and assisted living facilities in the news, it's no wonder that more and more elderly adults want to keep living at home until they absolutely need round the clock care. If your parent or loved one is living in the same home they occupied during their 40s and 50s, their is likely in need of kitchen remodeling for both aesthetic and usability reasons. Try these four ways to make a remodeled kitchen safer and easier to use.
Start by installing a sink that fits the specific needs of your elderly loved one. For example, people who need wheelchairs or people that prefer to sit for chores like washing dishes should choose an open design so they can fit their legs under the sink. Shallow sinks are also easier for people with limited strength and dexterity. Look for models that place the sprayer and faucet handles in the front of the sink instead of the back to eliminate the need to stretch across it.
Slips and falls are not only common in elderly adults, a simple spill is surprisingly damaging to fragile bones too. Invest in a non-slip flooring for the kitchen, like
- Rough and unpolished stone like slate, as long as the tiles are free from small ripples that can trip anyone shuffling their feet.
- Textured linoleum and vinyl tiles with no slippery high gloss coating.
- Concrete floors poured in place with a brushed or exposed aggregate finish.
You can also find spray-on anti-slip epoxy that seals a fine grit to the existing floors without interfering with vacuuming and mopping chores, or turn to anti-slip tape if you don't mind the work of covering large areas of floor with strips of the material.
It's very easy for elderly adults living on their own to turn the heat down dangerously low or forget to turn the stove off after cooking. Smartphone connected appliances let you check in on your loved one without letting them know you're keeping an eye on them. Keep their thermostat properly programmed and receive instant alerts if a smoke alarm goes off by putting this technology to work.
Finally, consider getting rid of all the upper cabinets and switching to floor level storage exclusively. High cabinets encourage unsteady elderly adults to climb on chairs or step stools, increasing the chances of a catastrophic fall. If your loved one can't bend over, try raised cabinets that mount around waist level for the best access.