3 Easy And Affordable Tips For Making Your Kitchen Cabinets Safer To Use By A Disabled Parent
It might be surprising to discover that, as recently as 2014, more than 60 million homes featured two or more generations of family members living together, and the Family Caregiver Alliance has determined that a shocking 69% of persons celebrating their 65th birthday will develop at least one disability in their remaining years. Therefore, it's easy to see that updating important components within your home is often necessary in order for an elderly parent to spend their golden years with you. Since the kitchen is a popular and important room in many homes, improving its usability is a good idea, and the cabinets are a great place to start.
#1-Consider Adding Or Substituting Pull-out Or Rolling Cabinets
Pull-out cabinets by themselves are a good choice for many persons who use wheelchairs or otherwise experience mobility issues. They permit increased access to stored items. In addition, pull-out cabinets can be especially useful if coupled with the use of a rolling cabinet, which functions similarly to what you might know as a " Lazy Susan".
The combined use of both items can provide the additional benefits of easier accessibility to persons with diminished hand strength and limited eye-hand coordination. However, it's important to point out that the methods used to open, close or otherwise manipulate the cabinets are also quite important when ease of use is a concern, as explained next.
#2-Upgrade The Cabinet-Opening Mechanisms
Unfortunately, persons with reduced eye-hand coordination, compromised muscular or joint functions in the hands, visual challenges, etc., will often find that just opening a cabinet is difficult. Since some elderly persons might experience more than one of those issues due to health problems like a stroke, degenerative neurological problems, or even just the unfortunate side effects of aging, it's essential to make sure that you have taken the necessary steps to make the cabinets as easy to access as possible.
Since an occipital stroke might impact a person's vision, a stroke on the left side of the body can cause right-sided weakness, and a myriad of other health concerns are associated with aging, it's impossible to plan for every possible issue now that might occur in the years to come. However, you can invest in big, brightly colored cabinet door handles that are centrally located to maximize the expected benefit of the new units. If you don't want them to be brightly colored, you can opt to choose colors that contrast sharply with the cabinetry itself for a similar effect, like a shiny white on a mahogany background.
#3-Minimize The Cabinet's Protrusions
A third consideration that can impact many elderly persons is the uneven or jutting appearance of some cabinets and the counters they bear. If there is a significant difference between the two, it could be more awkward for a person using a walker, wheelchair, or other mobility devices to safely access the items on the counter and within the cabinets.
That ability could be even more compromised if vision problems make judging the available space harder for that person. Since experts believe that, by 2030, the rate of vision loss amongst senior citizens will double, that risk is significant. By extension, that one modification can be quite useful.
In conclusion, the kitchen has often been the most popular room in the home for good food, conversation, and making memories. If that might be compromised due to a new disability, it's best to consider updating that room, starting with the above options for cabinetry work.