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If you, or someone in your household, lives with a disability, some of the simplest kitchen tasks can be a challenge. The American Disabilities Act has been law for nearly 30 years, and it is through this organization that ramps, sloped curbs, and spacious bathroom stalls are now commonplace in the public sector. That's fantastic! But did you know that the ADA and others have a few ideas to help in your kitchen as well? I'd like to share a few:

Generally, wheelchairs come to mind when we talk about making things accessible for the disabled, and with good reason. Over 30 million people depend on them. But the accommodations made for the wheelchair-bound can benefit those with other medical, and age-related, disabilities as well. If you are dealing with any of these situations, you've probably made some common sense adjustments already, like putting often-used utensils and foods within reach; and removing obstacles like throw rugs, pet bowls and grocery items from travelled paths.

Image credit: harthbuilders.com

At the sink, the bottom cabinet can be opened up to allow the wheelchair to tuck underneath. Additionally, an ADA approved sink can be installed with a mere 5 to 6 ½ inch depth. Anyone who knows the back strain from bending over a deep sink will likewise benefit from the shorter reach; and the shallowness leaves more space below. Make sure the drain is offset to the back so plumbing can be installed against the wall.

If there is clearance under the sink, the faucet will be easily accessible. But, if you need to maintain a standard cabinet beneath it, there is another approach. Reinstall the faucet to the side of the sink!

The controls on faucets come in various forms. A dual-handled design can be used, but that twisting motion to operate it is cumbersome. Go for a single-handle lever, or loop style, which can be easily pushed and pulled. A touch control is even better; and a motion sensor model is the best. Did you know that you can buy motion sensor adapters? What a great and inexpensive idea to add to an existing faucet.

Normal countertops are often a few inches too high for the wheelchair user. The best solution is to replace the base cabinets with ADA approved models which have a higher toe kick, reduced counter height, and rollout trays inside. If that's too extensive of a remodel, perhaps a lower cabinet on wheels could be added to the area. Try switching out your standard kitchen table with an adjustable-height model. And don't forget that lazy susans can be added to existing cabinets.

Image credit: eastersealstech.com

Many appliances are now being built to ADA standards. Look for refrigerators with the freezer on the bottom, ovens with side-opening doors, and cooktops with controls along the front. Any appliance with touchpad operation is a great idea.

Light switch extensions will aid the kids as well as those in wheelchairs. Adding handrails along walls is smart for the elderly. Cork or rubber flooring is softer for those with back issues. Switching knob handles to loop pulls on kitchen drawers and cabinets will spare arthritic fingers. And, for everyone's convenience, consider adding lighting under cupboards and in dark areas.

Even the smallest change can have a big impact in a disabled person's life.

Click Here to learn more about ADA Sinks Main image credit: psbj.co.uk