Like it or not, age takes its toll on every one of us to some degree. And, as we age, our bodies change and we’re not always able to do everything we once could in our home. As many homeowners choose aging in place, it’s important to know what home renovation ideas can make living independently longer at home a reality.
For some, smart universal design remodeling includes adding a ramp to the outdoor entrance to ease physical access to the home. For others, handicap accessible bathrooms are a must and zero threshold shower entrances are very popular for mobility issues including nephropathy and chronic hip pain. One area that is often overlooked, however, is kitchen lighting.
Because this is such a vast population as baby boomers enter their mid-sixties, the National Kitchen and Bath Association has created educational tools surrounding aging in place and universal design along with certifications to provide home remodeling solutions for every age and capability. Sea Pointe Construction is not only an NKBA member but also has several CAPS (certified aging in place specialist) designers at the ready for when you want to adult-proof your home.
Along with the National Kitchen and Bath association recognizing this design need, manufactures have also stepped up with product provisions specifically for this audience. These include touchless faucets, microwave drawers, refrigerated snack drawers, higher toilet seat height, modern grab bars that don’t make your home look like a hospital, and much more. Be sure to ask for an aging in place specialist when you call for your complimentary remodeling design consultation.
Kitchen lighting considerations for aging in place and universal design
As we get older, our visual acuity often diminishes and the amount and type of light we’re exposed to affects our sleep patterns. Combine this with other physical changes, such as decreased balance, and you have an increased chance for falls. Having the right kitchen lighting can help mitigate some risks and make aging in place easier than ever. Here are some options to consider:
- Under-cabinet lighting – This type of lighting can provide ambient light that is focused on the countertop workspace, reducing eye strain for close up kitchen tasks.
- Lighted toe kicks – Having lighting along the base of cabinets helps illuminate the floor and can contribute to keeping an older person safe and stable during evening trips to the kitchen.
- Interior cabinet and drawer lighting – Trying to find items inside dark cabinets or drawers can be difficult for anyone, but becomes even more challenging with age-related vision changes. Interior lighting is typically activated by opening the cabinet or drawer and the contents become illuminated for improved accessibility. This is where aging in place starts to seem inappropriate and universal design is more appropriate; plenty of young people have considerable vision impairment that would be aided with this type of in-cabinet and in-drawer lighting.
- Open shelf lighting – Don’t think that interior lighting is limited to closed cabinets or drawers. Open shelves in the kitchen can have lights, too, as a way to increase visibility and ease of access.
- Lighted ceiling coves – When lights are recessed in ceiling coves and the light is bounced off the ceiling itself, it helps to reduce shadows and improve visibility throughout the entire room.
- Smart lighting controls – Having so many different kitchen lighting options may seem confusing. Individual lights may also require different types of light at different times of the day. Rather than having to change everything manually, smart controls, switches, and bulbs can make things more automatic once the desired settings are determined.
- Natural lighting – Of all the lighting types available, natural light is the most overlooked and the most illuminating during our sunny southern California days. Since you are already in remodel mode, you may consider adding an additional window, relocating some cabinets, and possibly even a skylight.
Plan kitchen lighting with the future in mind
As you plan your kitchen remodel, take into consideration how long you anticipate staying at your current location. With most kitchen remodels happening once every 10-15 years, you’ll want to make sure that the design choices you make now will also make sense for you in the future. Sea Pointe has had repeat kitchen remodelers that return every 15 years to get a fresh design and reset to their kitchen.
Often, we find that homeowners don’t know exactly what to expect as they age. That’s where working with a professional remodeling company can be a serious advantage. At Sea Pointe, our designers have worked with a multitude of homeowners with varying backgrounds and abilities. We put this experience to work for YOU, helping to design and build your dream kitchen that will meet your unique needs now AND in the future.
Are you ready to get started? Give us a call at (949) 861-3400 to learn more!