There are 61 million Americans with some disability—that’s 25% of the population. Making kitchens user-friendly for those who are disabled is something many families want and need to do. In addition to disabled people, older adults with limited movement and young children also need access to kitchen necessities. Make your kitchen work well for your entire family by considering what everyone needs so they can feel comfortable in the heart of the home.
What is Accessibility and Why is it so Important?
The most significant reason accessibility is needed is to enable those in wheelchairs to perform tasks and get what they need with the same ease and speed as someone not in a wheelchair. In addition, accessibility encourages independence and allows the disabled to feel in control of their daily lives instead of depending on others to help them.
Whether you’re redesigning your entire kitchen to accommodate a wheelchair user in your home or you want to make small changes to make their life easier, it’s essential to do as much as you can to make the space work for them.
Make Your Kitchen Accessible for Those in Wheelchairs
There are a lot of ways to add accessibility to your kitchen. Start by making sure the entryway can accommodate a wheelchair, then make changes that are most important to you to allow your disabled family member to cook, clean, and put away groceries without too much trouble. Some other home updates include:
- Lower countertops to 34″ or less
- Leave space under the sink for wheelchair access
- Install single lever or touch faucets
- Use loop pulls on drawers and cabinets
- Use lower cabinets for items that get used every day, such as dishes and drinkware
Many older adults have similar mobility and motor skills challenges and can also have limited hearing and vision. You can add extra loud timers and notifications and use extra-large stickers on microwaves and other appliances labeled clearly to help those with these challenges manage their daily tasks.
Use Pull-Out or Pull-Down Shelving
Pull-out and pull-down shelving are good solutions for enabling those with disabilities. Additionally, they may be useful for older family members and little children to get what they need quickly and safely. You’ll probably enjoy the ease of use just as much as everyone else does.
- If you have a disabled person living in your home, a pull-out pantry and cabinet shelves will make it easier for them to reach and get what they need, especially if they are in a wheelchair.
- Keep young kids’ snacks easy to grab with a pull-out shelf meant just for them. Label it with their names and keep it well-stocked.
- Older adults, especially if they have arthritis or a movement disorder like Parkinson’s, will appreciate easy-opening and closing shelves that glide without much effort.
Keep Heavy Items on the Counter
If you regularly use heavy appliances and have others in your family who do as well, keep them accessible on the countertop. Those appliances can include:
- Stand mixer
- Bread maker
- Air fryer
- Rice cooker
Keep the microwave in easy reach as well so your kids can make popcorn without any help.
If your counter starts to feel cluttered, have a piece of butcher block cut to fit over your sink opening to give you extra prep space. Or add a moveable island to your kitchen that can roll out of the way when you aren’t using it.
Flexibility, adaptability and functional space are all critical factors when making your home more accessible to everyone who lives there. The more you can include all generations and levels of ability and mobility in using your kitchen—and the rest of your home—with a sense of comfort and ease, the more everyone can share in the work and the enjoyment of cooking, cleaning and eating together.
Contact Art of Drawers to Design an Accessible Kitchen Storage System
Art of Drawers has many options for making your pantry easier to use. If you’re looking to add accessibility to the rest of your home, Art of Drawers can also help with that. We want to do whatever we can to make your home safe and accessible for everyone who lives there.
With high-quality materials and customizable products made specifically for your kitchen, you can be sure Art of Drawers products will be safe and durable.