Without improving kitchen accessibility for those with mobility issues, the heart of the home can be difficult to use. Cupboards and counters are too high, while sinks and lower cabinets are hard to approach and work near with comfort. Conveniences such as islands can make getting around the kitchen difficult. For a home to continue to work for a person with disabilities, hiring a contractor to make the kitchen more accessible according to ADA guidelines is must.
The Numbers you Need When Improving Kitchen Accessibility
Some aspects of improving kitchen accessibility are about the numbers. For a person sitting in a wheelchair, counters more than 34 inches high are difficult to use, while 36 inch doorways and aisles in the kitchen is the minimum required for navigating a wheelchair. Having 42 inch pass ways in the kitchen is preferable if more than one person is at work in the kitchen at the same time. Appliances such as a wall oven or microwave should be no higher than 31 inches from the floor, while dishwashers should be 6 to 8 inches higher from the ground than what an able-bodied user requires. Upper cabinets present their own set of challenges as they are too high for easy access.
Kitchen Lifts for Appliance and Cabinet Flexibility
Making your home accessible for yourself or another person who is wheelchair-bound requires height modifications, which can leave the room difficult for other persons in the home to use. One way to make appliances and counters the right height for all family members is through the use of lifts.
Appliance lifts are mounted in the base of the floor or wall cabinet, and when activated can lift appliances of all weights to a convenient height for wheelchair-bound person to use. The lifts operate with electricity accessed with an outlet hidden inside the cabinet. Having this type of accessory makes heavier appliances such as microwaves easy to use, but also facilitates the use of stand mixers, grills, and other products often used in the kitchen.
For cabinets and shelving, lowering them five or 6 inches so that they are about 18 inches above the counter improves accessibility from a wheelchair. The newest technology includes adjustable kitchen cabinets and shelves that lower with the push of a button. While these improvements are costly, these lifts make the kitchen user-friendly to anyone doing kitchen chores.
Allowing Room to Work
Another consideration in improving kitchen accessibility is having 29″ knee hole openings under cabinets and counters to allow easy use of sinks and workspaces. Special sinks that are 5 to 6.5 inches deep allow clearance for wheelchairs, while permitting the person to reach to the bottom of the sink’s depth. To complete the process of making the sink area safe and easy to use, exposed lower pipes should be insulated to prevent burns if the person’s leg touches them, while faucets should be economically designed with one control.
Many of these high budget improvements can be enhanced with lazy susans, rolling carts and baskets, full extension drawer glides, and swing-clear hinges on cabinet doors. Having these things added to kitchen cabinets are part of the process of improving home accessibility. For further accessibility, including stair lifts, walk-in bathtubs, lift chairs and more, contact Western Stairlifts for a free in-home evaluation.