Kitchens are the highest function room in the house; they are full of potential sources of strains, repetitive motion, and awkward positions. In addition, all residents of the home use this space; therefore, it needs to be accessible by the least able and the most able person as well as the tallest and smallest.

Some of the biggest obstacles to designing an accessible kitchen is access to sinks, cabinets, countertops (worktops) and appliances which are usually not usable for people who are sitting or in a wheelchair.

This is where the study of ergonomics enters into the picture. Ergonomics takes into account the user's capabilities and finds methods that make tasks easier utilizing equipment, information and the surrounding environment.

Click here for additional information on Ergonomics and Wellborn’s Active Living Products.
Click here to view Active Living Design Ideas

Below is a list of a few tips to help enhance the ergonomics of your room:

  • Keep work in the "neutral zone" to eliminate or reduce twisting and strains
    • Position tools and controls easily within reach
    • Place heaviest pots and pans on mid-level shelves and light items on lower levels

  • There are several ways to enhance the ergonomics of kitchen counters, food prep spaces and cabinets

    • Vary the heights and widths of counters to provide surfaces for each user in the home and make sure to allow for knee and toe clearance
    • Mount wall cabinets closer to the countertop or increase the use of mechanical lifts. The installation of hidden electric storage lifts can help you take full advantage of your wall space by lowering the shelves inside wall cabinets to counter level for ease of access
    • Active Living microwave, oven and dishwasher cabinets are designed at heights that make it easier for people with limited mobility to access them. If possible provide clearance space to access these appliances from both sides.
  • Allowing open space beneath the sink can provide wheelchair or walker accessibility. Pipes should be enclosed or insulated to protect legs from hot water pipes. If you are planning to age-in-place Wellborn's new Active Living Sink Base Convertible Cabinet with Removable Front allows you to have a plan in place in the event your mobility changes

    • Add sliding shelves and base pantry cabinets to your kitchen will provide easier access to items in the back of your cabinets and will reduce bending and strains on legs and back
    • Full extension drawer slides provide easier access to the items in the back of the drawer
    • Making the counter corners rounded will reduce the occurrence of people bumping into them

  • Increase task and general lighting

  • Add Touch to Open to your cabinet design, this feature is available on many cabinets with drawers, wastebasket cabinets and on some wall cabinets

Wellborn's Active Living cabinetry can help you create a beautiful kitchen that maximizes the independence and changing abilities of all household members.

Click here to view a home accessibilty of general tips

"Other things may change us, but we start and end with family."
Thomas Jefferson

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