How can I make my kitchen appliances more accessible?

Many appliances, by many manufacturers, are now being designed with all users -- standing, sitting, one-handed or two-handed, able or frail -- in mind. Visit a home improvement store or kitchen design center to see what’s new. Choose a store that has a demonstration kitchen where you can try out different styles and determine which features work best for you.

Here are some specific things to keep in mind:
  • When you purchase new appliances, keep accessibility features in mind.
  • Place frequently used appliances on countertops.
  • Use electrical appliances rather than manual ones whenever possible, including food processors, standing mixers, blenders, and under-the-cabinet can and jar openers.
  • Use a toaster oven for most baking and broiling.
  • Slow cookers now allow you to cook and store food in the same container making cooking and cleanup easier.
  • Electric “cocoa-latte” hot drink makers that heat milk, water, soups, and other liquids and dispense them with a nozzle are fast, easy, safe to use, and keep cleanup to a minimum.
  • Consider suspending a mirror over the stove.
  • Add additional task lighting where you need it.
  • Install controls under the counter.
  • Create colored or raised markings on control knobs.
  • To operate an electric can opener with one hand, place the can on a piece of Styrofoam that is the correct height for the can to connect with the cutting blades. Use the Styrofoam to hold the can while you operate the can opener. There are also other types of automatic can and jar openers. Contact your local Independent Living Center (ILC) to see what kinds of automatic can and jar openers are available for you to try.
  • Create a mixing bowl holder by cutting a circle out of a heavy wood block the diameter of your bowl, or stabilize the bowl by placing it on a washcloth or rubber shelf liner inside a drawer.
  • Use decorative pots and pans that double as serving pieces.
  • Store tools where you are most likely to use them.
  • Purchase “suction ware” to make food preparation and eating easier.
  • Replace old kitchen tools with newer ergonomic models.
  • Replace a standard cutting board with one that better meets your needs.
  • Use a wheeled utility cart to transport food, dishes, and heavy items around the kitchen and to the dining area.
Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

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Home Accessibility (300 Tips for Making Life Easier)

Written by the best-selling author of Multiple Sclerosis: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier and Parkinson's Disease: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier, Home Accessibility: 300 Tips for Making Life...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.