Who are you planning the kitchen for?
Individual needs take many forms and all need to be approached differently.
One could, for example, ask questions like:
• Do you have difficulty reaching items in high cupboards?
• Do you have difficulty reaching items in low cupboards?
• Do you have difficulty reaching items in corner cupboards?
• Do you find the handles/knobs of your cupboards difficult to grip?
Here are some examples:
Cognitive problems: If the kitchen will be used a person with cognitive problems, such as Alzheimers, then an uncluttered layout is recommended - focusing on things the person is familiar with.
Reduced mobility: A corridor-style kitchen allows one to make use of the bench tops for support. Additional handrails can be installed along the sides of the worktops and provide a safe place to hang a walking stick or crutch.
Reduced grip: One could get away with some small adjustments like replacing the type of kitchen door or even only the handles. Lever taps also makes life easier. If lifting becomes difficult, a smooth, uncluttered worktop could make sliding things from, for example, a hob to the adjacent work surface, easier.
Wheelchairs: One will expect a comfortable manoeuvring space of approximately 1500mm diameter, depending on the size and type of wheelchair. L shaped or U shaped kitchen layouts are preferable. If ones legs or thighs will be going in under the worktop, it becomes essential to measure your actual thigh height when seated accurately and then allow an additional 2cm.
Powered wheelchairs: Bulky armrests could limit access to the worktop. One will have to consider the wheelchair style and fittings, like the type of footplates or controls in conjunction with the kitchen design.
Worktop height: One must carefully decide on an optimum fixed worktop height. However, if ones budget allows it, one could consider more costly alternatives such as adjustable height kitchen cupboards, worktops or sinks. If one shares the kitchen, one could install a rise and fall unit which allows the sink unit or worktop area to be raised or lowered to suit the user at the time.
Reduced reach: Height adjustable overhead cupboards could be the answer if you want to make the most of the height above the worktop.
Eyesight: One could make changes to the lighting, use colour and contrast. Minor modifications to the kitchens could make a major impact without changing the kitchen layout.
Please do not hesiate to get in touch with any questions you might have.
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