Create a kitchen accessible to people with disabilities that works!

How do you create a handicap accessible kitchen that will work for you? Focus on three things. First, focus on accessibility to storage spaces, pantries and cabinets. Second, prioritize wheelchair mobility. Space in front of and next to devices is essential. And third, arrange your workspace by coordinating utensils, removing shelves from trash cans, frequently used dishes, etc.

Wheelchair accessible sinks and ovens are also beneficial for long-term independent living. Upgrading or just making a few changes around the home may be just what you need to gain mobility, comfort and security in your home.

Your home modification design should include sufficient floor space for mobility, clearances for access to ADA handicapped accessible kitchen appliances, accessible cabinet doors, drawers and shelving, and a “triangle” working ”functional. The work triangle refers to the comfortable workspace created between the stove, refrigerator and sink. The sides of the triangle should measure over four feet and under nine feet, with the outer limits of the triangle at a maximum of 26 feet.

When designing a spacious, open kitchen space is your design goal, you may need to consider removing or replacing a wall or relocating countertops. If your current kitchen design makes you feel like you’re limited or constantly struggling with countertops and cabinetry, you might want to consider renovating it. Often times, changing an aspect of your kitchen can make the kitchen much more user-friendly. Changing an island or peninsula counter, or moving an appliance, can make all the difference.

Does your house have a “zero step entry” – an entry point with a flat threshold, and is easy to walk through? Every home should have at least one zero-step entrance for the grandchildren who are taking their first steps and for the visiting family member who may use a cane or walker or recover from an illness. Is it difficult to shop from the car? Eventually, a small ramp and a cart would be useful between the garage and the kitchen to facilitate the transport of packages.

If you need help designing your kitchen, you can find a directory of Certified In-Place Aging Specialists (CAPS) on the NAHB website or by visiting the Atlanta Home Modifications website on the Internet. Your CAPS specialist will schedule a home consultation to observe and assess your current lifestyle and help you create a more pleasant and accessible home.

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