Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Next Big Kitchen Reno - Safety & Accessibility

When I planned my big kitchen reno three years ago, I thought I had covered all the bases. The big island, an efficient work triangle, lots of light. One aspect that had never entered into my planning was accessibility.

I had never considered how to make my kitchen wheelchair accessible, or accessible for someone with a visual impairment. These are questions many of us don't entertain.

Considering that every 12 minutes, someone in Canada begins to lose his vision, and that among seniors over 65, one in three will suffer a fall in their own home, accessibility needs to become part of our planning. The simple fact is, if you can't get around your kitchen safely and comfortably, you probably won't cook. If you don't cook, you probably don't feed yourself the most nutritious, economical meals.

Leona Emberson, of the Canadian National Institute for the Blind, gave me some pointers on making my kitchen accessible and safe.

Here's one practical pointer for everyone, especially those of us with children. Do NOT leave your knife like this...

Instead, tuck the blade underneath the board, like so...

When fingers are fumbling around in the kitchen, they won't encounter a sharp blade.
Another tip for people with failing vision or who are very near-sighted is to use LARGE PRINT on index cards. Attach those index cards with a rubber band to the cans in your pantry. This makes identifying the contents very easy. After you open the can, keep the index card in a pile for your next grocery list.   

Contrast is another useful tool. Equip your kitchen with the two cutting boards; a black board for light coloured foods, and a white cutting board for meats and other dark foods. The high contrast will help you see what you're cutting.

I have started implementing these ideas and already, my kitchen is safer and more accessible.

I'll have my on-camera chat Leona available soon.

No comments:

Post a Comment