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Kitchen Design Ideas: 5 Aging-in-Place Features for a Delicious Retirement

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Are you looking forward to preparing gourmet meals or mastering cake decorating after you retire? Although you may be in perfect health now, you never know when an injury or chronic illness could make it difficult to use your Fresno kitchen. Remodeling your home to include these aging-in-place features will help you ensure that your kitchen remains accessible even if your needs change.

Higher Toe Kick

The toe kick, the recessed strip of wood at the bottom of your cabinets, offers a convenient spot to place your feet when you work at your counters. Toe kicks are traditionally about 3 ½” to 4” tall and about 3” deep.

Although those dimensions are ideal if you’re standing, small toe kicks can make preparing meals challenging if you’re in a wheelchair. Since the wheelchair footrest won’t fit under the counter, it will be difficult to get close enough to your countertops. Increasing the height of the toe kicks to 9 or 10 inches while recessing the kick by about six inches offers a simple solution.

Upper Cabinets with Pull-Down Shelves

Your upper cabinets will become wasted space if you can’t reach them due to a disability or a strength problem. Declining muscle strength is a problem everyone will face eventually. In fact, men and women lose 3 to 5% of muscle mass every decade after they reach age 30, according to Harvard Health Publishing.

Although exercising and lifting weights can slow muscle mass loss, you’ll still lose some muscle mass even if you work out. Installing upper cabinets with pull-down shelves during your Fresno kitchen remodel will make it easy to reach dishes and kitchen cabinets.

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Drawers in Base Cabinets

Do you have to practically crawl into your cabinets to search for a wayward pot lid or a missing gravy boat? Unfortunately, arthritis or other mobility issues may one day affect your ability to bend and crouch. Drawers make it easy to see the contents of your cabinets at a glance and keep the contents organized. Your remodeler can build custom cabinets and drawers to fit pots and pans, lids, serving dishes, small appliances, and anything else you keep in your cabinets. Cleaning cabinets is also much easier when drawers pull out.

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Modified Sink and Cooktop Levels

Your remodeler can also change the height of your sink or cooktop to make it easier to prepare meals from a wheelchair or kitchen chair. If you have multiple cooks in your household, it may make sense to include both standard height and lower counters to accommodate various mobility needs. Rethinking the placement of your microwave can also make your kitchen easier to use as you get older. Houzz recommends placing the microwave at or below counter height for easy access. 

Do you plan to add an island to your kitchen? Consider making the seating area of the island lower than the food preparation section. The lower area will be ideal if you’re ever in a wheelchair or prefer to sit while you chop vegetables or knead a loaf of bread.

Raised Dishwasher

Filling and emptying the dishwasher might also be challenging if you’re in a wheelchair or find it difficult to bend. Adding a raised dishwasher offers a simple solution to the problem. Dishwashers that incorporate drawers require less bending and give you the flexibility to do a small load by only using one drawer.

Adding these features will help you get years of use from your remodeled kitchen yet won’t detract from the room’s appearance. Our team can help you create a beautiful, functional kitchen that meets your needs today and in the future. Contact us for information about our kitchen remodeling services and universal design services in the North Fresno, CA, area.

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