More than 6.8 million Americans use some type of assistance device to help with their mobility. Making changes to your kitchen is one of the best ways you can get use to this lifestyle change. If you are recently wheelchair bound, below are four things you can change in your kitchen so you can keep your independence.
Because you will need to get things from your kitchen cabinets, have the kitchen designer lower them for you. Have them put soft closing hinges on the doors to prevent you from slamming them shut so you do not pinch your fingers. There are also clip-on soft closing hinges that can be clipped right over the current hinges. These hinges use a hydraulic mechanism so when you push on the door, it closes by itself. Some hinges have a dial on them so you can adjust how fast they close.
You can also use soft closing hinges on your cabinet drawers. This way they cannot be slammed shut, and have everything shifted to the back where it may be harder for you to reach things in the drawer.
Your kitchen sink should have an open space under it so you can pull your wheelchair under the sink while you are using it. Install a touch control faucet to make it easier for you to turn the water on and off. Install the plumbing pipes towards the rear so your wheelchair will not hit them. You should also consider putting insulation around the pipes just in case they get too hot.
Ask the kitchen designer about the different types of anti-slip kitchen flooring materials that can be installed in your kitchen. Textured linoleum offers you more traction. If you prefer stone floors, slate works well because it has a rough texture that will not become slippery if water is spilled on the floor. There are also anti-slip paints and sprays that you can purchase and apply to ceramic, tile, or concrete flooring.
Much of the work that people do in kitchens takes place on countertops, such as preparing food that you are cooking. Because you have limited reach from your wheelchair, you should lower your countertop. When you hire a kitchen designer to make these changes for you, they will determine the right height the countertop should be.
You should also consider choosing a countertop that is easy for you to take care of. For example, quartz countertops are scratch and stain resistant. Granite countertops look beautiful, and they can withstand heat from a pan. Granite is also easy to clean with a mild detergent and warm water.