Watch a few hours of those house renovation programs on cable television and you’ll quickly get an idea of how expensive it can be to update a kitchen. Seniors need to have modifications made that’ll make the kitchen more accessible to them, and most of us don’t have those generous cable TV house makeover budgets.
There are ways to make a kitchen more senior-friendly without spending a lot of money—especially if you’re willing to participate in the process. Here are some DIY suggestions.
This tip might not cost you anything at all! It’s not a wise idea for any of us—let alone seniors—to have to reach above our height and retrieve things from overhead cupboards.
Rearrange the contents of the kitchen so that things used every day are in lower cabinets. That’s especially important for someone who’s in a wheelchair. Frequently used items kept between waist and shoulder height make it easier for seniors to use the kitchen.
Inexpensive dowels can help to guide everything from dishes to baking sheets into place. Relatively inexpensive sliding shelves that pull out make it easier for older adults, who will appreciate not having to crouch over to access the contents of a lower cabinet.
Go Big with Handles and Knobs
They may be attractive and stylish, but small round knobs aren’t that easy for people to pull on if they have arthritis. It’s easy and inexpensive to replace these with wide drawer pulls on both cupboard doors and drawers.
They used to be expensive luxuries in high-end kitchens, but the prices have come down. You can save even more when you do it yourself and install the hardware on kitchen cabinet doors and drawers that pop open when someone presses against them.
Replace the Kitchen Faucet
Twist knobs can be difficult to use and adjust. It’s likely not possible to switch out those knobs for an easier-to-use lever, but the good news is that you don’t need to be a professional plumber to replace the entire faucet fixture yourself.
The prices continue to fall, and it’s possible to purchase kitchen faucets with motion sensors. These make it easy to wash dishes, and there’s never any worry about whether the water is turned off.
Add a Work Table
The cost of lowering the countertops might be a budget-buster, and that’s going to be a problem for wheelchair-bound seniors, especially. There’s a simple DIY solution, though. Add a kitchen island or corner table. These are usually lower than countertops—about 30 inches high.
A work table makes it easy for food preparation, and even someone in a wheelchair will be able to fit right up to it.
It’s the center of the home and the hub of activity. Don’t let the lack of accessibility shut seniors out of the kitchen. Being able to participate in making meals is a major self-esteem booster.