Updating door hardware is only one of the things you might consider to make your kitchen more accessible. Changing faucet handles to levers makes sinks easier to use. “For instant-hot or instant-cold faucets, opt for a knob that can be pushed instead of turned, so it will be less of a challenge for someone who has difficulty reaching or limited strength.”
Eisenburg recommends adding rollout trays with cabinetry, which make it easier to see what’s hiding in the back. Additionally, using contrasting colors on floors and countertops can assist those who have a visual impairment. “Depth perception can be an issue with a monochromatic color scheme. Someone may think he or she is placing an item onto the counter, but may mistakenly place it onto the floor.”
If you are doing a more extensive remodel, clearing the space underneath the counters is helpful to create room for added seating at the counters.
“However, when it comes to appliances, self-cleaning ovens, like the Dacor Discovery and Renaissance Wall Ovens, are always wonderful because they make ongoing maintenance more manageable and the task less arduous.”
Eisenberg also suggests homeowners look for accessories that hook onto oven racks to help push and pull the racks in and out of the oven, so there is no need to get close to the heat source.
Shallow-depth refrigerators are also ideal for someone who uses a walker or a wheelchair because they’re not reaching too far into the appliance to remove food, but there is a disadvantage to them when it comes time to store large trays. Additionally, French door or side-by-side refrigerators, like the Epicure® or Integrated models, are easier to open and close and, depending on the level of usage, a bottom freezer may be a more convenient option.
What about the family’s favorite appliance…the microwave? Its traditional placement on the countertop or over-the-range can be a challenge for smaller family members to access the appliance.
“For convenient access, microwave ovens should never be higher than shoulder level, and standard microwaves should not be installed under the counter because it’s more difficult to access contents,” says Eisenberg who warns that child-safety locks should always be utilized in homes with small children.
The Millennia® Microwave In-A-Drawer™ is a great alternative to the standard microwave because its design provides the flexibility to install the unit beneath the counter with a drawer that opens out toward you, so hot contents are safer to remove.
When thinking about ventilation hoods, models such as the Epicure or Millennia Wall Hoods that automatically turn on and shut off, are also a safer option for home chefs who may be unable to reach the controls or aging home chefs who may forget to turn the ventilation hoods on when cooking.
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