As baby boomers reach retirement age, a huge wave of the population will soon start searching for senior housing options or aging in place. Older adults need a residence that’s functional and convenient. This ensures they can safely and easily move around each space throughout their golden years.
Kitchens and bathrooms are a home’s busiest hubs and deserve careful consideration. For example, the right countertop configuration is a huge asset and can help people in senior housing and those desiring to age comfortably in place.
Designing a Countertop Space for Seniors
Convenience, safety and maneuverability must be the hallmarks of all design considerations for seniors. Here are five simple ways to ensure your senior housing countertops fulfill these needs.
1. Countertop Edges
Older adults tend to be less sensitive to depth perception, putting them at risk of injury from sharp countertop corners. A bullnose or rounded-edge countertop adds an attractive curved design and softens corners, ensuring seniors won’t hurt themselves if they bump or slide against it.
2. Sink Faucets
Make sink faucets more accessible by updating to a lever-style fixture instead of dual-twist knobs. Seniors are at a greater risk of scalding from hot water than younger populations, and lever faucets make it easier to balance temperature.
3. Countertop Height
A senior’s countertop should be optimized to just the right height for their comfort. If it’s too low, older adults will have to stoop uncomfortably — too high, and they may strain their backs trying to reach something. Another important consideration is wheelchair accessibility. Seniors with disabilities will need these spaces to be wide enough to fit a wheelchair in front.
4. Work Tables
If adjusting the height of a countertop is not possible or cost-prohibitive, a more inexpensive solution could be to add a work table or kitchen island. These can be designed to the optimal height for the senior homeowner for food prep and other tasks.
For those with limited vision, color-coding countertop spaces can be incredibly helpful. This can be easily accomplished with different colored tape, paint or even colored glue. Placing contrasting colors on countertop edges, borders or appliance features makes it easier for seniors to see, even from across the room.
Selecting a Countertop Material for Senior Homes
When selecting the best material for kitchen or bathroom countertops in senior housing, here are four considerations for new installations.
- Maintenance: As people age, they tend to have less energy for cleaning. Low-maintenance materials such as quartz, keep kitchens and bathrooms looking beautiful, even between cleanings.
- Durability: When updating a kitchen or bathroom, choose a material that will stand the test of time and last throughout a senior’s golden years. Granite is one of the most durable options available.
- Aesthetic design: Countertops are an extension of a home’s overall look. Be sure to pick a material that matches the location’s unique aesthetic.
- Affordability: Some seniors must live on a limited retirement income, so affordability is a key concern. While natural stone is a timeless option, it can be expensive. Solid surface countertops come in an array of colors and designs while offering a more affordable price tag.
Contact the Design Experts at H.H. Ross for New Construction Countertops
Whether you’re updating your home or building a new senior housing development, you deserve high-quality countertops you can trust. At H.H. Ross, our team will work with you to provide customizable countertops based on your unique needs. Contact us online today to request your free quote.