The loss of mobility and independence can lead to frustration and withdrawal and these small changes will allow the individual to continue to take care of themselves and do it safely.
To avoid tripping, falling, or not being able to maneuver in a wheelchair the first task is to clear hallways and doorways of any clutter and obstructions. If possible hang items on the walls or remove them entirely. Remove flimsy scatter rugs to allow easier movement with a cane or in a wheelchair. If there are sharp corners on counter-top or kitchen table use a piece of foam rubber and affix it with Velcro or other adhesive to cover it.
Arrange items in cabinets so the disabled individual can reach them.
There are certain items each person uses, in the kitchen, on a regular basis. Put those items in the lower cabinets. Place a couple sets of dishes and glassware on the kitchen counter for easy access. Change out the hardware so the cabinet knobs are a 'pull' fashion. If there are doors leading in or out of the kitchen area install louver style handles to make it easier for those with arthritic conditions. In the refrigerator, move the items used on a daily basis to the higher shelves and towards the front. Rearrange what is on the refrigerator door with the most used items, including condiments and beverages, since the door is easier to access than on the lower shelves.
Lighting, for those who are experiencing changes in their vision, is an easy and quick way to make the kitchen handicapped accessible. Add under-counter lights where needed so dark areas are illuminated and usable. There are many battery operated versions that are easy to turn on and off.
A place to sit may be necessary for those walking with a cane, with bad knees, and conditions affecting balance. A stool may be all that is needed to provide a spot to rest. When the table is in within the kitchen area remove one chair for wheelchair access to make it easier for the mobility impaired to enjoy dinner with the family.
A grab bar, placed where the disabled individual may need to stand for awhile, provides support and stability. Handrails in hallways leading to the kitchen make it easier to get there to maintain their independent lifestyle. If the stairway to the lower level initiates from the kitchen (or anywhere in the house) a handrail on both sides of the stairs will provide extra security for all.
The change in lifestyle due to an illness or accident creates a need to make handicapped accessible changes, in the kitchen, quickly to assist the disabled individual to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Reference: Toni Grundstrom (pen name - georgelarson) has been a freelance writer and telecommuter for over 17 years - achievewithus.blogspot.ca My goal is to continue to succeed in life while combating MS. I am using my 18 years of marketing experience and writing background to write articles on marketing, disability, and activities I enjoy and interest me. I design and build stained glass creations including stepping stones, garden art, hanging panels and windows for your home.