As with bathrooms, kitchen manufacturers are beginning to recognise the needs of elderly and disabled customers with a growing range of thoughtfully designed kitchens.
Some of the kitchen design features to look out for:
• alternative working heights, where the kitchen is used by both ambulant and wheelchair users.
• wall-mounted base units without plinths, to allow foot room for wheelchair users.
• adjustable shelving to enable positioning of the oven and fridge at a convenient working height.
• shallow sink bowls, allowing sufficient knee room underneath for a seated user.
• taps with levers or no-touch, infra-red controls.
• hob controls at the front for easy, safe access.
• ovens with doors that open sideways rather than downwards, may be easier to work with.
Equipping existing wall cupboards with a smooth pull-down mechanism, means that wheelchair users can reach storage space that would otherwise be inaccessible.
There are all sorts of useful extras, such as pull out ironing boards, work surfaces and storage bins. Height adjustable units may be electrically, hydraulically or manually powered.
Bear in mind that it is usually much more expensive to install a specially adapted kitchen in an existing home, than to specify one at the construction stage in a new property.
You can read our tips on kitchen safety here