This is a world with an aging population. It is a fact that approximately 750 million people globally are over the age of sixty-five. This has largely been because of better access to high quality healthcare and improved standards of living on a global scale. Clearly this is a great triumph for humankind, but it also raises numerous challenges. One of these is the fact the homes for the elderly need to be designed with safety in mind, specifically in the kitchen area of the house. By paying attention to the following key points, you will ensure that the kitchen remains a safe place for the elderly generation.
Fit safe countertops
Elderly people’s skin is weaker and less resilient than younger adults so installing countertops with rounded edges minimizes the risk of cuts and skin tears if accidents or slips occur. Consider also that if the elderly resident is wheelchair bound, they will need lower-level countertops to allow them to prepare food effectively. A height of around thirty inches will allow them to use countertops effectively from a seated position. In terms of materials for countertops, choose stone materials such as granite or quartz. These are exceptionally durable and long-lasting building materials which also have the additional benefit of being easy to clean.
Install bright lights
Whilst all kitchens need well-lit areas for spaces where food is being prepared and cooked, this is even more important for kitchens that are designed for the elderly. As people age their eyesight becomes less effective, and brighter than normal lighting is vital for senior citizens. A good commercial electrical supply store will be able to supply lightbulbs that are a minimum of one hundred watts. Unless the kitchen space gets significant amounts of natural light throughout the day and across the seasons, one hundred watts should be the lowest level of lighting for task areas.
It is also good practice to choose LED lights for the kitchen and other areas of an elderly person’s home. LED lights can last between 5 and 20 years which is significantly longer than most filament bulbs. This means less need to spend time changing bulbs which can be quite a dangerous task for the elderly.
Consider the flooring
As people grow older their mobility tends to decline. Muscle mass can decrease making slips, trips and falls much more common for the elderly. Flooring in a kitchen must be non-slip to minimize the risk of such accidents. If the floor is made of marble or some types of tiles this can increase the risk of falls so should be removed and replaced with flooring of a non-slip nature. Vinyl material is a good option to ensure that floors are non-slip and some companies manufacture the vinyl flooring to offer high levels of traction and slip resistance.
When you are looking to make a kitchen space safe for elderly people, 3 key considerations are having the area well lit, installing safe countertops and choosing non slip flooring materials.
Read More: Remodeling my Kitchen Expert Interview