March 2024


Living at home as we approach the “golden years” brings concerns and challenges that aren’t foremost in our minds while we are still in our prime years and able to function and move without any restrictions.


Making a few renovations now, before mobility and balance and reaching for things become more difficult to do, can help us live independently and safely in familiar surroundings as we “age-in-place.”


Some things to consider and evaluate when planning to remodel a kitchen: Are cabinets easy to open and reach?  Is lighting bright enough and easy to turn on?  Are drawers easy to open?  Are countertops too high or too low?  How can cluttered areas be organized better?  Is there enough work space?  Do floors need to be replaced?  Sounds like a lot, but addressing some key areas now will enhance safety and accessibility for the future.


Upper cabinets that are easy to reach and at a lower level than usual height with pull out shelves help prevent over reaching, back strain and the possibility of dropping something that is just out of reach.  Lever-style handles vs. knobs allow for a better grip to access cabinet contents.  Push-to-open technology, a hardware-free option, and soft close doors provide ease of access and help with limited movement.  Or, do away with cabinet doors and go with open shelving that gives kitchens room to breathe and an open, decorative touch.


Multiple layers of flexible lighting – ambient, decorative, and direct – that reach all areas of the kitchen help reduce eye strain and prevent accidents while preparing meals.  Lower light switch panels or light switches with automatic on/off function aid in fall prevention.


Drawers with soft close and lever handles help with limited dexterity.


Bring movement into the kitchen with adjustable countertop heights.  Multi-level surfaces configured in a sustainable style that allow for wheelchair access for use multi-purpose use as a desk, meal prep or making crafts.


Address those cluttered areas with a pullout pantry.  A pantry keeps countertops and work space clutter free and provides storage for canned goods, snacks and appliances out of sight yet easy to access.


Non-slip flooring, sink height and location, hands free faucet and relocating overhead microwaves to an under-counter drawer style are additional components to consider for an ageless renovation.


And don’t neglect the bathroom.  Smart cabinetry/vanity designs with soft close drawers and open shelves provide easy access to more frequently used items at reachable heights. Walk in tub or curbless shower, grab bars inside and outside of shower/bath area, bench seat inside shower, LED recessed can lights, and non-slip flooring are all things to be considered, for safety and convenience, when remodeling a bathroom, no matter when you do it.


Thoughtful planning to renovate now for changing needs to age-in-place will be a welcome process for you and your loved ones.


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