As the baby boomers retire and the average age of our country grows older, more and more people become interested in innovations for the elderly in home products. “Age in place” has become the new buzz word for growing old at home. Many designers have taken this approach to home building and home features. It’s also drawing interest from the young as well, for its functionality and style.
Cabinets. Cabinets may not be a word that retirees think about often but it has been a booming market in the way they are used and designed for many multiple functions and accessories. Europeans for years have known of the many uses of their prized functional furniture. Now Americans have seen the use of cabinets as more than just a cupboard.
Many of the new changes for cabinets for the disabled are simple in design and cheap products that are becoming more and more common place in cabinetry design. Pull down shelves in the upper cabinets are a unique function that can help the elderly save strain on their back and joints for lifting heavy items into upper shelves.
Many cabinetry companies now incorporate roll out drawers and shelves. These cabinets offer a large storage area without having to get down on your hands and knees to reach hidden items in the back. Lazy Susan’s are added to corner cabinets that not only add space to an unused portion of the cabinet, but they also make groceries and dishes easy to access.
Large drawers that reach from the top of the cabinet to the bottom also add functionality for elderly and handicapped. Heavy items such as large cans or bottles are commonly stored in unused areas in the home such as upper cabinets. These deep drawers eliminate the need for placing these unused items up high and in dangerous places. Adding cutting boards that slide in and out as well as drawers that have baskets that slide out help to save space and help to provide easy access to items that are normally crammed in the back of cabinets.
These items aren’t necessarily new, but they are a new concept that has been added as the normal instead of a feature in most cabinetry shops. Many small ideas are taking root in the cabinetry business for the elderly. Changing handle knobs to a larger easier to grasp size are one of the many ideas now a common place design. These designs aren’t limited to the kitchen either. They can be used in closet cabinetry, in the shop, laundry room, or bathrooms. Space saving designs and designs for handicapped or disabled have become intertwined over the years and serve a functional use for all of us, young and old alike.