When you have a disability, it can make some tasks far more difficult. The average person tends to take for granted things like getting dressed, getting up and down stairs, walking to the shops or even getting out of bed in the morning. Depending on the disability you have (whether it’s mental or physical) these are things that can take a significant chunk of your day. One thing that can be particularly difficult to those who aren’t completely able- bodied or use a wheelchair to get around is using the kitchen. Of course, you can have full specialist kitchens built to a lower height which are fantastic, but not everyone is in a position to have one built. Perhaps you share a home with people who aren’t in a wheelchair, or maybe you’re renting and ripping out the kitchen isn’t an option. It could even be a case of not being able to afford one, not everyone is in a position where they can pay for a full kitchen refurb, and let's face it most things that are "Disabled-friendly" aren't anywhere as friendly to your bank account! If that’s the case, here are a few things you could consider adding to your kitchen to make prepping, cooking and cleaning more accessible for you.
1. Find the right taps
Kitchen taps with a pull out attachment have long been used in commercial kitchens as they’re great for rinsing, washing vegetables, filling pots and filling larger vessels that don’t fit in the sink such as mop buckets. These are also great for people with disabilities, they can be pulled out and used while standing or from your wheelchair. If you have a condition like arthritis, it’s worth getting taps which have an easy on/ off swivel as you don’t need the grip strength to swivel it on and off. Making it an adaption that'll work for all members of the household.
2. Use a perching stool
If you don’t use a wheelchair but still have limited mobility and find standing painful/tiring then one option would be to use a perching stool. These have supportive backs and arms to keep you safe from falling, and can be adjusted so you’re sat at the right height for your worktops. Also aiding you you to prepare food and cook at the hob.
3. Invest in some utensils and appliances
Opening jars and cans can be difficult and painful, and in some cases impossible for those with certain conditions. Thankfully there are aids and appliances on the market which can increase grip and leverage and allow you to keep your independence in these kinds of tasks. From bottle and jar openers to specially adapted scissors, graters, tin openers and more there’s more out there than you might realise. The items you need will depend on your conditions and ailments so do some research and see what’s available to you. I particularly recommend Amazon for this!
4. Improvise on a lowered worktop
If getting a snazzy height adjustable worktop and hob is just not realistic. A good short term solution is to use a hospital over-the-bed table or small computer desk on wheels, add it to your kitchen as your own dedicated prep space. The beauty of this is it's a multi-functional work space and easily moved around.
5. Hob inaccessible? Bring it to you!
Many people with disabilities love the beauty of having portable hot plates to use on an accessible cooking surface at their level. Pair it with number 4 in this post and you're away!
What are some of your favourite adapted kitchen gadgets?
Share in the comments!