Two years ago my parents bought a new house which needed quite a lot of work doing to it, including a new kitchen. My parents were not far off hitting the big 6-0, and this house would likely be the place to see them into old age, so my brother and I very tentatively suggested they consider the ‘ageing’ eventuality within their new kitchen design. Being of the ’60 is the new 40′ generation and very much young at heart, they weren’t one bit keen on our suggestion (or more so the implications of it!) but they reluctantly came round to the idea and accepted that looking ahead to possible future needs made a lot of sense!
Plan a kitchen for Now and the Future
Whilst people are generally living longer in modern times, nobody really knows what lies ahead except that sadly at some point we will eventually all in different ways succumb to the ageing process, or perhaps need to accommodate a relation who is. So whilst we can’t prevent it, we can help prepare ourselves for it, and one such means for doing so is within the design of a new kitchen. Personalised kitchen design is always important but for anyone of my parents age and scenario, planning a kitchen to suit you as comfortably now, as in twenty years’ time, is a truly positive experience that will provide an all-round better quality of life!
Personalised kitchen design options for Baby Boomers
So without meaning to offend, but with my lovely mum and dad in mind, as well as anyone else their age looking for a new kitchen, here are some examples of kitchen design elements and innovations that would provide as much comfort, enjoyment and ease now, as in later twilight years:-
- Raised dishwashers, ovens and microwaves: Avoid bending to load or unload with a raised model; Microwaves can even be fitted at eye-level.
- Low kitchen wall units: These will stop you stretching upwards for glassware or crockery as they are fitted to kitchen walls at a lower, more comfortable height.
- Pan drawers: Wide and deep, with a weight bearing load of up to 70kg, pan drawers work on a touch to open, soft close system. This means they are not heavy to pull open, and provide an abundance of visible and easily accessible storage space.
- Corner solutions: Le mans corner units and Carousel units may be better than cupboards for storage as they require less exertion to open and find what you need within the contents.
- Self-clean ovens: This is self-explanatory but everybody hates cleaning ovens, so why not save your elbow grease and let the oven do the hard work for you!
- Wine coolers: As I said, my parents are 60 going on 40 and really like to enjoy life, including relaxing in the evening with a nice glass of wine; wine coolers represent an affordable kitchen luxury for enhancing this pastime.
- Lever taps: Taps are used on a regular daily basis but twist handle taps can prove harder or painful to operate for anyone with joint complaints such as arthritis. Instead, lever taps are much easier to turn on and off.
- Avoid high cupboards: Whilst high cupboards or the space above wall cabinets can be useful for storage of infrequently used items, it can also become harder and more dangerous to reach as people age, not least because peoples heights can sometimes decrease. If you foresee high cupboards becoming a problem in the future then work with your designer to find an alternative use for this space and incorporate more suitable storage options elsewhere.
- Kitchen lighting options: Whether old or young it is important to ensure sufficient and suitable lighting options within a kitchen, including effective task lighting to help prevent eye-damage. Eyesight can deteriorate with age but appropriate lighting can help protect it. Where possible natural light is also ideal, as it not only creates a more enjoyable setting but is good general health and happiness too.
- Induction hobs: These are a much safer option than gas hobs, eliminating the risk of burns or fire. They are also more energy efficient than gas hobs so help keep energy bills down.
- Open shelving: This can ensure easy access to regularly used items such as cookery books, pots or pans; these may otherwise be heavier or more awkward to lift out of a drawer or cupboard.
- Sufficient space: Have you got a big family?….You might not have grandkids yet but you soon could! So perhaps you need additional seating options to accommodate visiting/future family members, or else additional storage space to suit the needs of more people. Wide walkways also offer more space and can be useful for accommodating pushchairs, wheelchairs, or high chairs.
Whether planning a kitchen for yourself, a family member or friend, personalised kitchen design is absolutely key; it is something that LWK Kitchens specialise in so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like some assistance with your design, or for general advice and guidance.