Renovation changes, while costly, can be
made incrementally. And some do-it-yourself
projects are relatively inexpensive.
her Beckley, W. Va., kitchen to
allow for wheelchair access. They
installed cabinets a few inches
shorter than the standard 36" so
Amy could reach the countertop.
Cabinets were removed from
beneath the sink and stovetop.
“Now I can roll under the sink
and do the dishes,” Amy said.
Amy’s kitchen renovation
cost about $10,000, but
construction changes can be
made incrementally. And some
do-it-yourself projects are
relatively inexpensive. Slide-
out shelves eliminate the need
to reach into the depths of a
cabinet for canned foods, pots,
pans or mixing bowls. Slide-outs
wooden slabs or
and range from
about $50 to
faucets that can
pans or mixing bowls. Slide-outs l chrome baskets about $50 to L faucets that can
be operated with a closed fist
can help,” Sithong explained.
“And garbage disposals are very
Linoleum, tile or wood floors
work well with wheelchairs,
scooters and walkers. Area rugs
should be removed; they can
lead to falls and can be difficult
to use with wheelchairs and
scooters. For people with low
vision, Shamberg recommends
installing contrasting colors
in the flooring for easy-to-see
Electricity and appliances
An electrician can install light
switches and outlets on the
framing of cabinets so they are
within arm’s reach rather than on
the backsplash. Contrasting colors
will make them easier to see, too.
Ovens with side-opening
doors (rather than pull-down
doors) with controls on the
front panel, and side-by-side
refrigerator-freezers offer easy
access and cost about the same
as traditional appliances.
Countertop microwaves are
more convenient than overhead
ones. People might also consider a
microwave drawer, installed under
the counter, with touch open/close
controls. These are more expensive
(starting at about $600), but are
significantly easier to access.