Custom Kitchens for Elderly vs Younger Homeowners

To build a kitchen, there’s a lot more than choosing a colour scheme. You can also craft a kitchen that’s completely tailored to your needs and comfort. For instance, elderly people would find it difficult to work in a kitchen where there’s a lot of bending down or reaching up.

We spent a lot of time researching what it takes to build a kitchen that suits every family and added some smart touches to make cooking effortless for the elderly. Take a look at the differences between a kitchen for an elderly person and a young adult in the image below. Everything is designed in a way to make your kitchen time easier and hassle-free. There’s a lot you can do when it comes to storage needs, countertop selection, cabinet handles and the works. 

Let’s dig a little deeper into the differences between a kitchen for elderly and young adults. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #1: Type of Storage
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For elderly adults, base cabinets with drawers are a good option
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For young adults, a tall unit to store groceries and a roller shutter to tuck in electrical appliances makes an easy storage option

Storage has always been a priority in Indian kitchens. From smart corner units to easy pull-out wicker baskets, there’s a lot of options in the market. Click here to read about kitchen storage ideas

For the seniors: Our designers recommend base cabinets with long drawers for older people. “Don’t underestimate the traditional drawer. These are great if you are looking for easy and quick access without stretching,” explains Marita Manavalan, a Bengaluru-based Livspace Interior Designer. You could have a base unit with a set of three drawers. The first drawer can be used as a cutlery tray, the second holds cups and bowls and the last drawer is for your plate rack and pans. 

For young chefs: “Tall units are definitely a winner with younger folks. These efficient grocery hoarders can store all your essentials without clutter,” says Megha Arora, Livspace Senior Category Manager of Kitchens & Wardrobes.  You can have intriguing additions as well, like soft and warm lighting within tall units. For electrical appliances, our designers suggest adding a roller shutter to tuck away your essentials. This also keeps your worktops clutter-free. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #2: Cabinet Styles
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Long wall cabinets with open shelves are ideal for the seniors in our families
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Don’t use the kitchen that often? Ditch the upper cabinets for more space

There’s a lot you can do with cabinets as well. While older people would feel traditional cabinets are the way to go, younger adults would like to try different things. 

For the seniors: Long wall cabinets and open shelves are very elder-friendly. Long wall cabinets are ideal for elderly people. They don’t have to strain or stretch their arms a lot while reaching out for things. A tall unit with built-in microwave should be kept at the counter level or slightly below for ease of access. 

For young chefs: Traditional kitchens have upper and lower cabinets. But you can always opt out of wall cabinets if you aren’t a heavy-duty kitchen user. Not to mention, it’s also easy on the eyes. You could have a built-in microwave in the base cabinet. In addition, choose closed over open shelves to offer a seamless and smooth look. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #3: Handles
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Elderly adults would need traditional cabinet pulls for easier grip
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Profile, seamless and minimalist handles are trending now

Handles deserve special mention. While most of us tend to overlook these vital parts of our kitchen, these really can improve the overlook look and function. 

For the seniors: Designers recommend traditional cabinet pull outs for elderly people. These humble fittings can easily help with getting a good grip on drawers and cabinets. Choose D-shaped handles and avoid round knobs for handles. 

For young chefs: While you can always fall back on D-shaped handles for efficiency, profile profile groove handles are trendy now. Especially if you are after a seamless and smooth kitchen. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #4: Countertop
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Granite countertops are easy to maintain
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Quartz, Kalinga stone and Corian stone are both modern and durable

For the seniors: Our designers recommend granite countertops. These are easy to maintain, economical, hassle-free and looks beautiful in any kitchen. No doubt, that’s why Indian homes have been using granite for years! In addition, choose rounded edges instead of sharp ends to prevent injury.

For young chefs: Depending on your personal style, you have plenty of options. Quartz, Kalinga stone and Corian make excellent options in a modern kitchen. Here are the different types that are popular and trendy now. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #5: Flooring
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Wooden flooring is an excellent choice for elderly people
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Vitrified or marble flooring always makes your kitchen look seamless

Did you know one study found out 11% of falls at home happen in the kitchen? That’s why the right flooring can make all the difference. 

For the seniors: Designers always recommend anti-skid flooring for older folks. Thanks to its texture, wooden or vinyl flooring are excellent options. 

For young chefs: Something about vitrified or marble flooring always makes your kitchen look seamless and modern. If you are looking for something intriguing, designers suggest Moroccan tiles for the kitchen floor. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #6: Lights
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LED strips under the wall cabinets help brighten up the kitchen
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A kitchen with false ceiling, spotlights and pendant lights

A well-lit setting is always beneficial for any type of kitchen, regardless of user. But certain lights make the cut when it comes to an elderly-friendly kitchen. 

For the seniors: Profile light under wall cabinets are amazing when working in the kitchen. It goes without saying, light switches need to placed within arm-length of the entrance. 

For younger chefs: If you are looking for fancy options, you could have a mix of lights. Our designers suggest recessed lights in the ceiling or spotlights between wooden rafters (for ambience enthusiasts) and pendant lights wherever needed. 

Kitchen Design for Elderly vs Young Adults #7: Colours
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Designers recommend neutral or soothing shades for elderly folks
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For younger homeowners, vibrant colours never fail to make a statement

The right colour can make a lot of difference in the kitchen. From peppy kitchens to soothing ones, there’s a colour for every style of kitchen. 

For the seniors: Neutral colours, traditionally favourite wooden tones, or pastel hues can help create a soothing ambience in the kitchen. 

For younger chefs: Want a vibrant kitchen? Our designers suggest yellow or red to make an impact. Or do you feel contrast combinations make a statement, you can choose yellow and blue. Here are 8 Colour Schemes for Indian Kitchens.

If you liked reading about kitchen design for elderly and young adults, take a look at kitchen trends for 2019

Send in your comments and suggestions.

— editor@livspace.com


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