5 Kitchen Appliances That Promote Aging-in-Place

5 Kitchen Appliances That Promote Aging-in-Place

5 Kitchen Appliances Upgrades To Improve Accessibility

For older adults living independently, the kitchen is both an important expression of personal freedom and a challenging workspace. Caregivers often worry about how to balance safety and happiness by allowing those they care for to prepare meals for themselves. 

Thankfully, many kitchen appliances in the modern age are being turned into “smart” appliances. A smart appliance is a standard household appliance that has been upgraded with several intuitive functions to improve efficiency, safety and accessibility. They can provide an extra layer of accessibility and protection for those living independently.

Even if you’re not looking to upgrade with smart appliances, many older appliances should be swapped out sooner than later, especially if they’re a decade or two old. Appliance safety and usage is rapidly updated, so new options are always ideal.

This guide will go over larger appliances that can be upgraded for improved kitchen accessibility, as well as examples of highly rated options. If you’re looking for smaller upgrades on a budget, check out our article on kitchen accessibility tools under $40. 

1. Microwave

Most modern microwaves already have a myriad of protection features, so standard options shouldn’t be a concern for caregivers when considering household safety. However, smart microwaves have found ways to improve the quality even further with various upgrade features:

  • Voice activation: Many smart microwaves offer voice activation functions. In most cases, these microwaves can connect with a device such as the Amazon Alexa to allow users to control the activation, timer and more simply by speaking to it. This can be invaluable to those that have any difficulty using a normal microwave.
  • App connectivity: Some microwaves can communicate with smartphone apps. This allows users to activate the microwave from a different room if needed, or check the status of any meals they are heating up. It can also notify when a meal has finished heating, which can help users that are prone to forgetting or hard of hearing.
  • Energy-saving: For caregivers worried about electrical bills, many smart microwaves have “ECO mode” options that reduce electricity usage when on standby. 

Toshiba Smart Countertop Microwave Oven

Cost: $144.99

This smart microwave from Toshiba is highly rated. It includes all of the features mentioned above, as well as a humidity sensor to adjust heating power for optimal food cooking.

Please note that this microwave does NOT come with an Alexa, which is sold separately. To utilize the voice activation features, you will need to purchase an Alexa.

2. Kettle

Kettles are a vital part of preparing a variety of favorite drinks, but they can present injury risk. Handling hot equipment can easily result in burns, even for the most careful user. Smart kettles, however, work to eliminate as many of the dangers as possible, as well as making the usage accessible for many with these features:

  • Automatic shut-off: While traditional kettles are often warmed on the stove, many modern kettles come with their own heaters. These heating stands will shut off the moment the kettle is lifted as a standard safety feature. 
  • Digital displays: To improve accessibility and safety, many modern smart kettles will have digital displays that are easy to read and provide clear information. Information such as internal temperature, heating time left and more can be seen on the outside.
  • Cool-touch: For an extra layer of safety, some smart kettles have a protective outside layer that remains cooler than the inside so that accidental touches don’t result in burns. This can be an invaluable layer of protection for those with reduced fine motor control.

Primens Smart Electric Water Kettle

Cost: $42.95

This smart kettle from Primens offers all of the features mentioned above, as well as visible presets for common liquids. It has a cool-touch feature to ensure accidental burns are prevented, as well as generally being eco-friendly and durable for many uses.


Stoves are often a source of danger in households, but still an important part of living independently. If you want to support aging in-place, finding safer stove options can greatly reduce the risk of accidents happening. Good stove features can include:

  • Inactivity sensors: A crucial feature that many types of modern stoves have are sensors that can detect when they’re not being used and thus automatically shut off. Some might have sensors for when pots are on top of the flame while others might shut off if no motion is detected in front of the stove. Either way, they ensure that nothing is left heating unattended. 
  • Induction heating: The open flames of stoves are often the most dangerous part. Induction heating can cook food without the need of an open flame, reducing the risk of burns or a fire starting. It works with electromagnetic energy.
  • Accessible placement: Stove installation and placement is important. Permanent installations can be placed on countertops with nothing underneath them, so that they are wheelchair accessible. Less permanent installations can easily be moved around as needed, though they can’t heat as many pots or pans at once.

Profile 30 in. Electric Induction Cooktop

Cost: $1498

This cooktop from Profile is a highly rated addition to any home. The heating surfaces automatically adjust to the exact size of any pan detected on the surface and will automatically shut off when no pan is present. This can drastically increase the safety and convenience for users. It also has precise temperature adjustments with easy to read digital displays, which can help avoid overcooking as well.

4. Dishwasher

While dishwashers certainly aren’t the riskiest appliance in the household, many older models aren’t optimized for accessibility or smart use. In addition to better features on newer models, many are also eco-friendly and save water or energy to reduce living costs. Some crucial features can include:

  • Accessible interaction: For independent living, dishwashers should have easy to grip handles and very visible digital displays or big buttons. This can help anyone that struggles with vision or handling to easily operate the appliance, as well as easily open it up to retrieve dishes inside. 
  • Easy to reach: Standard dishwashers might be too difficult to lean down and grab dishes out of the bottom rack. This can be remedied with some taller models, but there are also options for countertop dishwashers so that people with back problems won’t be forced to kneel or bend over to retrieve dishes.

Farberware Professional Compact Portable Countertop

Cost: $299.99

While this portable dishwasher might not be a full replacement for a standard dishwasher, the countertop option means this appliance can work as a great solution for accessibility. Daily dishes can be cleaned easily while caregivers can stop by to help out with larger loads with the standard dishwasher. It has a clear LED display and is easy to use, as well as providing a drying option for added convenience. 

5. Touchless Additions

Having to handle many things in the kitchen can cause problems for some. Many disabilities or other problems can make it so something as simple as turning the faucet on can cause discomfort or frustration. This section isn’t specifically on a single appliance, but rather multiple smaller appliances that can be activated without direct touch to improve kitchen accessibility. 

Moen Arbor Motionsense Wave Sensor Touchless One-Handle Pulldown Kitchen Faucet

Cost: $324.79

This faucet from Moen features a motion sensor that can turn the water on and off without having to touch the handle, as well as a pull down spray head to improve usefulness. While in the kitchen, handling food, pots or other items can mean hands are too busy to turn water on. Handling raw meats, such as chicken, can pose a dangerous problem if not cleaned properly. Touchless faucets like this one can greatly improve safety through cleanliness as well as general accessibility while being easy to use.

Secura Touchless Battery Operated Electric Automatic Soap Dispenser

Cost: $29.99

This touchless soap dispenser from Secura is a smart addition if you’re looking to reduce the amount of touch contact in the kitchen. It pairs well with the Moen faucet listed earlier. This dispenser is water resistant and has a volume control for how much soap is dispensed. This can provide another layer of convenience to anyone that struggles to use certain household items due to problems such as arthritis.