Expanding a kitchen remodeling business to accomidate disability issues

It can be difficult to renovate your kitchen when you have disability issues. But it’s not impossible! In this podcast, we talk about some tips for renovating your kitchen even if you have limited mobility. Stay tuned for some great advice from our experts!

Topics discussed on the podcast about remodeling kitchens for older Americans and those with disabilities

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Audio Transcript

Hey there, this is Mike Goldstein with a crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcast and today I want to talk about older americans who have a lot to worry about from retirement to taking care of grandchildren are really just trying to keep up with technology. But one thing they don’t need to worry about is their kitchen. So we’re going to talk about some tips for modeling your kitchen and making it more accessible for older americans today and we’re gonna talk all about this very important topic with Heidi Hunt and we’re gonna do that just after this, are you looking for some fresh ideas to jump start your kitchen remodeling business? Welcome to the crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcast your host Michael Goldstein, founder of Kitchen Remodeling S. C. O, the digital marketing agency, working exclusively with kitchen remodeling contractors and also the author of the ultimate internet marketing guy for kitchen remodeling contractors will provide insights on proven tips and strategies from top experts in this space so that you can take advantage of industry best practices. Your host Michael Goldstein joined Mike as he shares his knowledge each week with an insightful interview or educational segment about how to turn your online marketing efforts into more kitchen remodeling leads and sales opportunities than ever before. And we’re live today on the crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcasts with Heidi hon, who’s going to talk all about how we can help older americans in remodeling their kitchens to make it easier for their daily lives. So Heidi, how are you today? I’m doing good, how are you? I’m doing fantastic. How why don’t you tell us just a little bit about yourself in terms of how how you got involved with helping all the americans out and kind of how you understand their, you know, their needs and their how they’re kind of daily lives are a little bit different than everybody else’s, I guess. Yes, so I am an occupational therapist and I have been working with older adults in a variety of setting, skilled nursing facility, independent living facility, assisted living facility in their own homes. And I actually specialize in helping people when they come to skilled nursing or have a hospital stay or whatnot. And then they get better and they go home transitioning back into their home life and their daily activities. And so some of those activities involved cooking and cleaning and baking and doing all things in the kitchen and so what what I do is help the space be adapted to fit them and their needs, rather than changing their own things. Um So that’s that’s kind of how I I’ve gotten into doing this, that that’s great and you know, obviously when when someone goes into rehab, I mean they there’s something, there’s gonna be something generally physically wrong with them. Um you know, it’s it’s not as easy for them to kind of readjust what are some of the biggest challenges that that you see that they’re facing when they get back into their home. Yes, so I think some of the biggest challenges are just doing things differently, like you said, they’re having some sort of um physical difficulty or not having as much energy as they did before and so going back into their environment that was set up for how they did things before. It’s harder to do their daily things in a way that is accessible to them because they’re just trying to adapt the way they do it as they’re getting back to their normal routine. And I imagine based on the type of injury, I mean there there are different, there are different types of needs that, you know, different different people would have. You know, for for example, I would think, you know, there’s gonna be people who have mobility challenge. They’re going to be people who maybe they can’t use their arms and can’t reach as much, all sorts of different difficulties. What would you say is probably the most common um change that, that people have to make when they get back into their homes as far as, you know, how they go about, you know, their daily lives in the kitchen, eating, cooking all of that. Um I would say that the most common ones I see are one having the standing tolerance and the endurance to do the things in the kitchen and also balance while reaching either upward or downward, we have low cabinets and reaching down and being able to to bring things up safely are the two biggest ones that I tend to see Sure and there, which is is it more likely that there’s some sort of technology that can be implemented in the kitchen or is it more structural changes that that these folks really need to, to make it easier for them to adjust? I think it definitely could be both depending on their needs and their areas of difficulty and convenience. Um you know, they have technology these days with with the refrigerators that have the cameras inside, so you don’t have to go rummaging through things or um such as like the faucets where you can wave your hand and they go on and off some more technological things like that, but also structurally just the amount of space they have in the kitchen and are they able to move around and get to where they need to be also right, you know, and I also can imagine just just from people who I know and I think that as technology becomes more and more advanced, you know, it’s more foreign to you know, to to somebody who is just coming out of the rehab center and the last thing that we want to do of course is put more obstacles in front of them so that that’s that’s gonna be, you know, I mean the bluetooth issue and Alexa and everything else, I mean that, I mean, you know, I’ve been brought up in the technology age, I work in a technology based sector and you know, even I have a hard time understand the fact that I can ask Alexa to turn my water to a certain temperature or whatnot. Right? Yeah, it’s it’s a learning curve for sure. So a lot of the listeners to this show are really kitchen remodeling kitchen contractors, people, people to that extent. A lot of designers, if you were to give them any advice as to what are some of the the number one things that they want to be able to proposed or the things that they need to be able to do to in order to maybe sell their services to, to either a group of people or or just, you know, an individual who’s coming out of rehab, what would that be? So I think the biggest thing would be just thinking about things that people don’t always think about and thinking about the situation that this person may be in. So, and and showing that you’re thinking about those things by making the recommendations like you said, So some things to think about just in general, um would be the situation of the individual, like we talked about, do they use a walker? Do they use a wheelchair? Um, do they need a place to sit in the kitchen and kind of recognizing what their, what their needs might be. And then just thinking about the open space in the kitchen and the the placement of cupboards and whatnot. I’ve been in a lot of kitchens where and this one facility I work at, there’s this long skinny cupboard squeeze between the wall and the refrigerator and it’s just really awkward to get to and to open, especially if someone does have a walker. And so just thinking about those things in our designs and making sure that they’re easily accessible. Thinking about heights of counter space is our cupboards and um things to to that manner. But there’s a lot of little things that are simple to make changes. Also that if we think about someone might be more inclined to to have you guys work for them instead of someone else. Well when you say a lot of little things, I mean what are a couple examples of simple stuff that you can kind of do to get your foot in the daughter to try and help out these people at the same time build your business. So um some of those things are just thinking so in with cabinets, thinking of how to make things more easily accessible for people. So so having those rollout cabinets like you open it up and then the thing pulls out, I had never seen those before going to this community and that is so cool, you guys probably know all about them. But um thinking about things like that and maybe even like dropdown cabinets, you know, you open it up and you can pull them down to reach things more easily. Or the the handles of the the drawers or cabinets being like the d handles versace knobs because it’s easier for people to grab, you know what what about lightning issues? I mean I imagine that that that becomes a really big, big deal, you know, where you don’t want someone coming into a dark kitchen hurting themselves. Yes, definitely. There’s a whole section of that on my list just having adequate lighting in general, in the kitchen um in in the cabinet, sometimes people open up and you can’t see what’s in there. So if there’s a way to have some sort of lighting in the cabinets, under the cabinets on the stove and also thinking about how the lighting works, you know, using like rocker switches versus the little flip switches because it’s easier for them to push versus you know, using the fine motor and such. So lighting lighting is huge and I think that gun goes back also to the technology aspect of it and you know, if you can have voice activated and if you presume you have somebody who, you know, there isn’t any, I guess a mental impairment or anything like that as as we age, obviously, I mean we can get a little bit slower, we, you know, in terms of how we’re thinking and and all that, but I think in general, people who are coming out of rehab. You know that it’s not always just because they’re older, it could just because they were injured. I mean we have, I’ve seen plenty of people who had auto accidents and all of a sudden, you know, they just can’t move the same way. Um, and those kind of people especially, I think who are very comfortable with technology and, and as new technology comes out there, there are a lot of ways that we can, you know, we as um home improvement specialists, we can provide that opportunity to, you know, to, to make life a little bit easier when you don’t have to physically do something, but it’s more of a mental task or speaking. Yeah. Now what about, I mean, do things like color scheme and no brightness and does that ever come into play? I mean is that ever become an issue? It does mostly with contrast. So if everything is, is a similar color, all the light color. Um, it’s hard to see where the countertop ends and the walls begin and where the floors are. So I would always recommend having, you know, the countertop and and the wall, different colors, something of contrast. And it was even recommended once that if you are like creating a countertop, is there a way to make like the edge of the countertop, the rim, a different color so that they can recognize where that edge is for people who have lower vision. So you don’t set something on the edge and have a tip over. I mean it sounds very similar actually to building websites for, you know, for the companies where, you know, you want everything to make sure that it’s a D. A. Compliant. That you know, we we don’t create something that there are people who can’t eat. Um you know, especially visually impaired folks. I mean there’s there’s so many different things that you have to take into account again that the average person kind of just takes for granted. And, you know, now the, I guess another, another area that we can look at is when we’re talking about the A. D. A. Are there any rules or any regulations that you’re aware of? That? You know, types of accommodations that need to be made for people with disabilities um, when trying to get, you know, helping them building out their kitchens or the bathrooms or any or any remodeling in their home for that matter. Is there anything that, you know, contractors really, they don’t know about what they should. Yeah. So I don’t know too many of the the logistics of a. D. A compliance and whatnot. Um, I know it’s out there and it’s all good to look into and I specialize more in looking at what’s right for this person and this person rather than universal, which universal is very important. Um, but where I’m at is looking individually, you know, but um I was just looking into some things the other day and it was talking about if someone did need to sit in the kitchen and if you’re creating a space, either if they have a wheelchair or if they just can’t stand up for so long um you know, creating a space for them to sit with the the width of of your leg space being, you know, at least 30 inches wide and if it was like 27 inches tall, you could fit a chair in there and still have space to work and then have other counter space that’s taller. And also how you were talking about in the intro with with older americans and and working with their grandchildren and having families all come together. If you do have kind of different heights and different areas in the kitchen, everyone can kind of work together in their own abilities in those areas. I think that’s that’s that’s really important. I mean something that comes to my mind though, especially in New England, um and maybe there are other areas of the country, but I know particularly there we have a lot of colonial homes, a lot of homes where the kitchen is on the second floor, it’s a split level you walk in. First thing you’re staring at is stairs, there’s nothing on that level. Um and you know, and so I imagine there’s probably a lot of opportunity to, to to provide either a, you know, been putting in second kitchen, smaller second kitchens and in a first floor level or provide some sort of um chairlift or something to that extent. Do you find there are a lot of people who, you know, they, because of their homes, they just they can’t really get to where they need to be. Yes, definitely. Um I’ve worked mostly me personally in independent living facilities where it’s all kind of made out more and they can get to where they need to go. But I’ve been into some homes recently and someone isn’t isn’t as mobile or if someone was in rehab, let’s say they broke their leg or they couldn’t put weight on their legs and their room was upstairs, right and they can’t get up and down the stairs then then yeah, they need someone else to make all the meals and bring it up for them because they can’t get around or if the kitchen is too small to fit in with their walker, I have worked with people with that before um and so they can’t move around and do what they need to do just because they don’t have the space to do it. I mean I think there’s a huge opportunity, you know, if you look at it from a from a builder’s standpoint um to to provide different types of tools that that you know somebody who is disabled in terms of their legs, any kind of, you know mobility issues can you know, their choices sell the house and go look for something else, which is a whole other set of problems, you know, live in the house, you have and suffer or fit or create little workarounds in the house and I would think the workarounds at least from a financial standpoint, it seems to me that would be the way to go. And I don’t see a real kind of wealth of people who are out there providing those services. I hate to use the word band aid approach, but that really is what it is. And you know, sometimes a band aid is good enough, right? Yeah, that’s true. I didn’t, you don’t see that around very often. I mean, I would certainly encourage anybody who, you know, any of our listeners who are, who do remodeling work and you know, you know, you’re, you’re doing general construction work and I know that one of the things you guys are doing is you’re building stairs. Well, if you’re gonna build stairs, why don’t you learn? You know, that’s how are we going to create these days, make sure they’re wide enough for somebody to put a chair lift on, make sure they’re wide enough and they’re not, you know, the stairs themselves aren’t too steep that if someone does unfortunately have to carry, you know, a chair up or down a couple of flights. So that’s definitely, there’s definitely an opportunity there, I think to create new business as well as an opportunity to really help out people who you know no one’s really thought of um If if I was you know if I’m a kitchen designer I’m a remodeler what what resources are out there for me that you know that I can learn more about this type of stuff. Yeah so I mean I I was taking just my experience from working with people and bringing it here but I wanted to see what was out there too. So I kind of started searching around the other day and there are um different sites on um I mean I’m sure if you look up A. D. A. Kitchens and whatnot there’ll be things like that. But I was actually looking at AARP because they have a lot of resources on their sites just about adaptations and different things to think about. So I think that there’s all sorts of sites out there other than that I don’t have specifics but um just looking forward for adaptive equipment or for um you know adaptive kitchens or adaptive designs for various populations. There’s there’s tons of resources out there. We just need to find them and I’m sure you know the A. D. A. Has a. Has a ton of fun like you say are probably has a has a ton I I’d be willing to bet you know your you know your local um you know assisted living facility or nursing home they probably if they don’t have those resources they would know who to direct you to to talk more about it, which can only really, you know, increase our marketability if we have that knowledge. Um, so that’s that’s a really great takeaway. Sure. I do really quick know that there are some certifications that people go and get to learn more about this too. There’s a bunch of them out there, one is called caps, um, certified aging in place specialist, but they do a lot of, you know, um education toward contractors also and I don’t know the names of others, but there’s a few out there where you can go to take this course and learn all about this stuff too. I see now do you find that from time to time when people are coming out of rehab, that you know, they need kind of an advocate for them to to explain to the family and what is needed and what changes can be done? Yeah, definitely. So many people just don’t know what’s out there or what’s available for sure. So like you said, they think they come home and they’re like, oh, I can’t get to this. I’m going to have to sell my house, um, just because they they don’t know the resources and they don’t know to look for them. So that’s kind of where where we all come in to recognize those resources and be able to to share those or you know, other advocates out there. This is great information and I think, you know, our listeners really will appreciate the opportunity to kind of expand their, you know, their, their business by and also at the same time be able to help out another segment of the population. That, that’s a huge benefit here. Um, if somebody wanted to get a hold of you and they just wanted to get more information and talk to you, how would they do that? Yeah. So they could um, email me or which all my information on my website would probably be easiest just to check their, um, and then contact me that way. But my website is we age with purpose dot com slash links and on there I have a bunch of different resources for people, but um, at the bottom it says contact me and you can reach me that way also. And I’m, I’m happy to answer any questions anyone might have. Well that’s fantastic. I really appreciate your time today before we kind of head off, is there any last bits little nuggets of wisdom you’d like to? Uh, just there. Um, nothing specific, just just like we said at the beginning, kind of take every situation that, that you guys are working on and think about, you know, yes, universally how can I best do this, but also for this specific person that I’m working with, how can we really connect with them individually. And I think that that would be huge. Um just for each person you work with to to really feel like they’re they’re seeing the way they are, no doubt. Well, again, I really do appreciate you coming on. So if anybody you know out there is looking for information about how, you know, how best to help out people who are disabled and coming out of rehab going, you know, people who are going to struggle and they might need some changes in their home, hide behind is available and I’m sure it should be more than happy based on what you’ve told us today that to talk to people. Um so, you know, again, thank you and we’re gonna sign off here at the crushing it with kitchen remodeling podcast. I hope everybody had a great day. Hope everyone learned something special. Um you know, check, check us out anytime you want at kitchen remodelingSEO.com and uh we’ll see you next time, right.

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