Universal Design: 4 Kitchen Appliances to Meet All Needs
|1. Faucet Fixtures That Make Life Easier
It’s the little details that matter most and they are often the ones most overlooked. Take the kitchen faucet – in many homes faucet systems come with turn knob controls. Those turn knobs are difficult to operate for homeowners suffering from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and other hand /wrist debilitating conditions related to disease or the aging process or for those homeowners who are amputees, quadriplegics or paraplegics. Universal Design principles suggest that faucets should be easy to operate for all users – with that in mind one can see the turn knob faucet systems fails to do so. A better faucet fixture system design is one that can be easily operated like the Delta Pilar Touch20 faucet (shown on left) and the Brizo Pascal faucet with Smart Technology (shown on right). Both the Delta Pilar and the Brizo Pascal can be operated by touch.
|2. Wall Ovens with Doors that Swing Out Wall ovens are easier to access and offer more flexibility as to where they can be located. Installing a wall oven at counter height makes it accessible to those who have trouble bending (as would be the case with a conventional range/oven) or those with mobility disabilities. Having the oven at counter height also makes it easier to prepare and move food from the oven to the counter. Look for wall ovens, like the Blue Star Wall Oven with Double Doors (shown above and available in 190 color choices), that have doors that swing open to the left and/or right – instead of ovens with pull-down doors. The swing out doors are easier to open and to close for many homeowners and the doors also make inserting and removing food items easier since they do not obstruct access.|
|3. Refrigeration Systems That Are Easy to Access and Easy to Operate
There are several accessible refrigeration system options available to homeowner’s based on their needs and physical challenges.The ideal refrigerator and freezer would be one that has an automatic door open and close feature – because of the amount of strength it takes to open a refrigerator door. Opening the refrigerator door(s) can become a difficult if not impossible task for some homeowners faced with loss of strength or motor skills. However, there aren’t many (at least affordable) refrigerators that can do that. In that case, homeowners may want to consider a refrigeration system like that from Jenn-Air which offers a refrigerator and freezer combination (Jenn-Air Euro-Style Refrigerator Model JUD248CCRS –shown on right) in a compact, under-cabinet drawer configuration.There are several American with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant refrigerators like the Whirlpool W2RXNMMWL (shown on left) that meet the guidelines for accessibility for mobility disabled individuals.
Side-by-side refrigerators are another good option for those with physical challenges or other physical disabilities. The key here is to place the side-by-side refrigerator in a large enough area so that the doors open wide allowing a wheel-chair or other mobility device unfettered access.
|4. Cooking Systems – The Right Height, Safety and Ease of Use
Cook-tops or ranges with operation controls in front are the best choice. Look for cook-tops and ranges with child-proof locking systems, have smooth surfaces ( to prevent spills) and that are counter height or can be installed at counter height. The LG Induction Cooktop LCE30845 (shown above) also has digital controls so that operation is as easy as a touch.
Images copyright of respective companies.
More in the Universal Design Series:
- Universal Design: Fight Fatigue in the Kitchen with the GelPro Mat (June 10th )
- Ask The Expert: Aging in Place and Universal Design for Kitchen & Bath (June 11th )
- Universal Design: Bathroom Design (June 12th )
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