While many homes are reaping the benefits of home technology that makes life easier, especially in the kitchen, the same benefits aren’t as accessible for those with disabilities. Many individuals rely on wheelchairs for mobility, and one would hope that there’d be more homes and apartments with greater accessibility.
We’ve done some research and found that one doesn’t have to build a wheelchair-accessible kitchen from scratch; there are ways to transform the kitchen environment into a more accommodating and wheelchair-friendly space:
Making the Kitchen More Accessible
Include a Ramp
Many employees of wheelchair stores will recommend installing ramps in the home to provide easier accessibility. Adding a ramp to the kitchen isn’t a drastic or challenging project. Ramps can be installed quickly and within a budget. They’re useful if a flight of stairs isolates the kitchen or if the homeowner needs to take a step up or down to get into the kitchen space.
Free-Up More Space
Get rid of the kitchen islands, super tall bar tops, and large kitchen tables. The more space you free up, the more room you have to maneuver your wheelchair. Consider getting a small drop-leaf table, as it will allow for more space. According to a Winnipeg appliance repair business, using a smaller table can provide better accessibility to kitchen appliances, like microwaves, coffee machines, and more.
The position of the counters in the kitchen may prove awkward for someone with accessibility issues. The average countertop height is 36 inches above the kitchen floor. Lowering your counters will ensure you’re comfortable preparing meals or doing dishes. In addition, you can take advantage of these lower counters by using the space beneath for kitchen storage.
Install Glide-Out Shelves
Glide-out shelves are the better alternative for those hard-to-reach spaces at the back of your kitchen cabinets. These shelves can be installed lower to the ground, making it much easier for wheelchair users to get kitchen utensils, pots/pans, and cooking ingredients. Say goodbye to straining your body while trying to reach for kitchen items. Glide-out shelves are convenient and easy to use.
Lazy Susan Cabinets
In addition to better cabinets, lazy Susans are the go-to choice for corner cabinets. Their rounded shelves revolve, meaning you just spin the shelf until you find what you’re looking for. No more digging around in a cabinet to find the ingredients you need. You can use a lazy Susan for dishes, cooking ingredients, and much more.
Improve the Flooring
You can ensure your kitchen floors are good for wheelchair use by installing better flooring with slip resistance. Hardwood and ceramic tiles are durable but tend to become slippery when wet. Inlaid sheet vinyl and vinyl tiles can provide excellent slip resistance and durability for your wheelchair needs.
With lower counters come lower sinks. You should upgrade your sink area by adding a motion sensor faucet and automatic soap dispenser to have a more comfortable experience washing dishes while seated.
One of the most crucial aspects of a wheelchair-friendly kitchen design is accessible appliances. Here’s what you should consider:
- Ovens: Side-opening oven doors are much better than the standard bottom-opening models, as you won’t have to worry about reaching over hot surfaces.
- Stoves/Cooktops: Stoves and cooktops should have ample space around them for better maneuverability. The heat controls should also be on the front of the appliance rather than the back.
- Dishwashers: Instead of setting the appliance lower, a dishwasher should be higher up to avoid bending and straining while loading dishes.
- Refrigerators: Twin-door fridges with a drawer-style freezer are the best for someone in a wheelchair. This type of refrigerator offers better accessibility and convenience when searching the fridge for food.
There are various ways to transform your kitchen into a wheelchair-accessible room. We hope you found our guide helpful. Consult knowledgeable resources when redesigning your space to fit your needs.