Kitchen appliances: What appliances would be best for my aging parents?

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What appliances would be best for my aging parents?


My parents are in their early 70s and are upgrading their kitchen. Can you recommend appliances that will be safe and suitable for them as they continue to age in their home?

Our answer

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 established accessibility guidelines for many products, including kitchen appliances. This has led many manufacturers to integrate the guidelines into their product designs and to advertise that their products meet these requirements.

Since the safety considerations for people with disabilities – for example, one-hand operation, easy-to-reach controls and requiring a force of fewer than five pounds to activate – also address many of the challenges we face as we age, it is helpful to consider purchasing ADA-compliant appliances.

Many brands offer ADA-compliant products but we suggest that you check out General Electric’s website as a starting point. The site explains the ADA standards in simple language and provides photos of ADA-compliant appliances.

Knowing which features are important allows you to consider any brand when you shop. Of course, you can also ask if the appliances you are interested in are ADA compliant.

The Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) also publishes fact sheets on accessible kitchen design and on selecting an accessible appliance.

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