When designing a kitchen for seniors and the physically challenged, you need to consider more than just the faucets or countertop choice. Kitchen layout, counter and cabinet height, and appliances are just a few options that need to be thought out more carefully.
We asked Susan Serra, who is a Certified Kitchen Designer (CKD) and also a Certified Aging in Place Specialist (CAPS), to share her thoughts on designing for senior homeowners and those with special needs and she didn’t disappoint.
Designing a kitchen for all generations, at the very least, can easily, and beautifully, include elements of Universal Design, design that is safe and functional, for all ages. It is design that is personal, yet adaptable to everyone.
Designing a kitchen under universal design parameters may include features such as:
* contrast in colors for ease of viewing
* rounded corners in countertops and avoiding sharp surfaces
* adequate lighting throughout the kitchen
* easy access to the most commonly used items/food products
* easy access to interior cabinet items
* hot water in the faucet set at a temperature that is not dangerously hot
* avoidance of glare caused by bright lights and glossy surfaces
* safe access by children for their specialized storage
* appliances with easy to read and lighted controls
* cabinet hardware that is comfortable and easy to hold
* cooktops with “ready lights” to easily determine on/off control
This is just a partial list of design issues to consider when planning a kitchen for all ages. For those who have mild vision issues, the above tips can be helpful, and organized kitchen storage is an important goal to have and maintain. Homeowners with arthritis can be assisted by easy grip hardware and faucet handles as well as easily accessible storage.
Susan also share’s her thoughts on what it takes to design a kitchen for someone who is physically challenged.