Multiple sclerosis needn’t keep you out of the kitchen. If you enjoy cooking and entertaining, don’t give up just because your MS makes it more difficult to navigate around the kitchen. Instead, make a few basic changes to your kitchen equipment and layout to improve its accessibility and ease of use.
- Lower at least one counter space so you can sit down on a stool or chair and do your meal prep from a sitting position. This is important for those days when your MS fatigue or balance symptoms flare up.
- Use cooking pans that have a wide, stable base so they can’t be knocked over easily
- Put the items you use the most – such as silverware, pots, pans, measuring cups, plates, bowls – in cabinets that can be reached without bending or stretching. Make it easy to sit down while getting items out of lower cabinets.
- Invest in a kitchen stool with wheels that can be easily maneuvered around the kitchen.
- Buy handy small kitchen appliances such as blenders and food processors to make it easier to prepare recipes without extensive chopping or peeling.
- Use plastic containers when possible to avoid broken glass accidents.
- Store food and beverages in small easy-to-open and easy-to-manage containers.
- Install under-cabinet lighting and non-glare lighting so work surfaces are easy to see.
- Place electrical outlets no lower than 15 inches off the floor, so bending isn’t required. If your kitchen has an island, install outlets at a handy reachable position on the island.
- Look for a range that has a slanted control panel with recessed control knobs so they’re easy to hold and turn. If possible, install the oven so it’s accessible from either side, or find a model that has a side-hinged door.
- Raise the dishwasher six to eight inches off the floor and position so it can be accessed from either side.
- Lower or install switches, thermostats and rheostats no higher than 48 inches off the ground.
- Make sure your kitchen is designed so you have space for your knees, at least 24 inches in height from the floor and about 30 inches wide.
- Consider an oversized ADA-compliant kitchen sink from Kohler Co. that helps the cook sit or stand while working.
- Choose a sink faucet that is a loop or single lever for easy operation.
There are lots of positive and useful options available to you so you continue to enjoy cooking, entertaining and delicious meals from your MS-friendly kitchen.