Tips For a More Comfortable Kitchen
When you have limited mobility, cooking can be a difficult and frustrating task. And if cooking and preparing food is seen as a cumbersome or even painful activity, then that really limits the availability of not only healthy foods, but causes dependency on others.
Luckily, with the right accommodations anyone can still have fun in the kitchen regardless of any challenges that may be due to age, illness, or injury. You don’t have to spend a fortune structurally renovating in order to create an accessible kitchen. There are much smaller modifications that can be easily made to improve how your food is prepared.
Have Good Lighting
To start with the basics, it is very important to have good lighting, especially when cooking. Good lighting makes it much safer when handling sharp or hot objects, and lets you see easier for when exact measurements are needed. And so to avoid strain on your eyes create a well-lit workspace, and there are many possibilities for this.
For more localized light you can increase brightness with small battery or solar powered lamps, or for a stylish but effective upgrade mount LED string lights or touch lights under cabinets. Often these can be installed with just some tape and/or extension cords - just make sure to tuck everything away and you will have easily created a more comfortable environment.
When it comes to overhead lighting there are many different options such as a ceiling light with higher wattage, or even smart controlled lighting. Wifi-enabled smart bulbs are controlled by voice so all you need to say is “turn on the kitchen light” with no need to touch anything. This can be especially useful at night or early in the morning so you aren’t struggling trying to find a switch in the dim. There are also motion sensor light options available, though these would generally need to be installed by a handyman.
One of the biggest helps in a kitchen is to ensure that it stays as organized as possible. Of course we all deal with a messy kitchen sometimes, but with some planning you can make things easier for yourself.
It may seem obvious, but make sure that the things you regularly use are actually within easy access and that rarely used items aren’t cluttering up your space. This means for example that the breadmaker that is used twice a year does not need to live on the counter, and the microwave that is used almost daily shouldn't be at an awkward height. Honestly assess everything in your kitchen and decide what needs to be prominent and what can be put away in the corner.
If you have to store less-used items up high or very low, be sure not to stack heavy things together. It’s also a good idea to have a stool nearby to help you reach instead of struggling or standing on something unstable. If more storage is needed to keep workspaces clear, a cart or small island with locking wheels can be both practical and stylish.
When things are put away in the cupboards, it can be a big strain on your back and knees to bend down to rummage around looking for a particular ingredient. To help combat this use small pull-down or slide-out baskets so you can easily see and categorize what you have in.
Use Wall Space as Storage
Instead of putting everything in cupboards that may be too high to easily reach or awkward to bend down to access, utilitze your wall space for storage. Use hooks to mount pots, pans, lids or even mini storage units for spices in order to keep things on your level and easy to access.
Use Adaptive Tools
Cooking can be a very active and hands-on event. If you experience pain or fatigue after being on your feet for too long, keep a comfortable chair or stool nearby for support. You could also install sturdy handrails to help when moving around.
There are smaller items that can help improve your time in the kitchen. Affordable adaptive knives exist to help with grip and maneuverability, and glasses with a heavy or rubber bottom are less likely to be tipped over by accident. Or to avoid the issue of breakage entirely, choose from a number of non-breakable yet stylish glassware. Other tools such as rubber jar grippers to help open lids, electric can openers, food processors, and stand mixers can help make things easier.
One of our favourite tools is our grabber or reacher. With a 32” sturdy handle it is made of lightweight aluminum with a magnetic tip and its single moving jaw operates with a trigger action from the handle. Use it to eliminate bending and stretching and grab things much more easily.
Don’t force yourself to stick with traditional kitchen equipment if it adds any stress to your routine. More and more devices are being created every day to help you around the kitchen and the rest of your home.
Use The Right Equipment
Find tools that make it easy for you to complete your dishes. Your kitchen needs to be comfortable to how you cook, and you need to know how to use the equipment. While a shiny new air fryer could be a useful tool, you need to make sure that it’s right for you, and not just because you could use it one day and it sounds like a neat tool. If something has too many buttons and is too confusing, it’s just going to be a space waster, which won’t help anything.
Being able to prepare food for yourself is an act of independence that everyone should be able to take part in. And with some adjustments and planning in the kitchen, cooking can become a freeing and even enjoyable experience.