Choosing Appliances For An Aging in Place Kitchen Remodel

Aging In Place Kitchen Appliance Recommendations

As baby boomers enter their retirement years, they're continuing to prove themselves as independent as ever. Many are choosing to age-in-place, remaining in their homes as they age. Manufacturers have adapted to this rapidly growing trend by creating smart products that are designed to make life easier as we age, so we can stay safe and comfortable in our homes.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and has always been the place where we gather with family and friends to enjoy each other's company and share a meal. If you're considering aging-in-place, making changes in the kitchen space can increase its usability and safety. With some simple modifications you won't have to spend less time in the heart of your home as you age.

Along with modified cabinetry, and widening the space between the cabinets and the island to accommodate a walker or wheelchair, appliance manufacturers are modifying appliances for older homeowners. By incorporating universal design elements they are creating appliances that are safe and easy for users of all ages and abilities.

Appliances for Aging In Place

The AARP recently released a report that found most older Americans want to stay in their homes permanently and live independently as they age. In order for this to happen homes and appliances need to be designed to feature easier accessibility and provide safety for those who may develop mobility, vision or health problems in the future.

In terms of aging in place, appliances must not only include features that older homeowners need, the placement of those appliances is important as well. For example, simply placing front loading washing machines and dryers onto a storage pedestal can make access easier by alleviating the need for bending and reaching.

Other examples of well designed products, or simple design changes that can help, include adding a wall-mounted oven or microwave that is easier to reach. Wall ovens like the GE Profile feature two separate ovens in the space of one. The smaller upper oven has a shorter door allowing for easier reaching and less bending, making cooking an everyday meal for two, easier. Drawer dishwashers placed just under the counter level eliminate the need to bend and reach, and four door refrigerators are easier to open and require less strength.

Senior Friendly Features For Aging In Place

Appliance manufacturers like GE, Bosch and Dacor are designing appliances with features specifically designed to assist homeowners that may develop future vision and hearing problems. A recent Wall Street Journal article showcased the Discovery Wall Oven by Dacor. It features a display panel with adjustable font sizes and contrast options making it easier to read for older eyes.

Other features that can keep seniors safer in the kitchen include sensors that can detect when a pot is about to boil over, adjustable LCD touchscreens and the placement of knobs and controls on the front appliances making them easier to reach. Even refrigerators are featuring brighter LED lighting to make seeing the food inside easier to see.

New technologies like induction cooking systems are perfect for older homeowners. Because induction systems use electromagnetic energy to heat and cook food, the cook top remains cool to the touch eliminating the possibility of accidental burn or fire.

With a little planning you can make modifications to your home to allow you to age in place. At Forward Design Build we are very familiar with the latest developments in universal design and aging in place design techniques. If you're considering a kitchen remodeling project, consider including some universal design elements to make remaining in your home as you age safe and easy. We're always happy to answer your questions and can help you to understand all of your options.

Forward Design Build is a residential design-build firm in Ann Arbor, Michigan that is known for its commitment to craftsmanship and communication. We are committed to improving our neighbors quality of life with inspired design and creative remodeling. Our homes are highly functional, exquisitely beautiful, and remarkably comfortable. Contact us to speak with an expert about your new home or remodeling project.