Question:

How do I make sure my kitchen is easy to use as I get older?

Design a Kitchen with the Future in Mind

What happens if you design a kitchen and you or your spouse incurs an illness or becomes disabled? No one likes to think about these possibilities but, if you plan to stay in your home past retirement, you should consider cabinetry construction and other design elements that will not need to be replaced as you get older. Even if you have a spacious kitchen, you can still make mistakes that make it hard to cook.

One basic design idea is to have counter tops installed at varying heights. That way, they'll be easy to use for everyone -- including grandchildren who someday want to help you make cookies. Also, you can perform some tasks while sitting, which is a nice feature if you entertain a lot. Dishwashers can be easier to use (especially for those with some back strain) if they are installed about a foot above the floor. Make sure light switches are easy to find without reaching over hot areas. Pull-out counter tops are great for smaller kitchens and they can be placed near the stove and/or cook top. Even if your home allows adequate space for a large, gourmet-style kitchen, create work spaces that are compact. This will save time and steps, and possibly prevent accidents.

Kitchen cabinetry design ideas are easy to find these days. For example, pull-out drawers that hold heavy cookware prevent any strain on knees from having to bend to the floor just to get a stock pot. Finally, chose appliances that follow these trends, too, such as side-by-side refrigerators that allow easy access to both fresh and frozen foods.

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