Cooking is one of life's great joys: whether you're preparing a nutritious meal for yourself, or putting together something delicious for your family and friends, time spent in the kitchen can be hugely rewarding.
And although living life with a wheelchair can make day-to-day activities more challenging, this shouldn't stop you from making the most out of your kitchen.
In this blog, we share some tips on cooking with a custom wheelchair.
Your custom wheelchair
Being evaluated for and receiving a custom wheelchair is a detailed process that requires input from your doctor, a therapist or an Assistive Technology Professional.
During this process, your condition, lifestyle and needs will all be assessed. It may be that you require a power wheelchair with the ability to raise itself - such as models with iLevel® technology from Quantum Rehab. With this, you can elevate your seating position to be able to more easily reach work surfaces or cabinets.
There are a number of modifications you can make to your kitchen to make it more accessible for a wheelchair.
If you're fortunate enough to be able to design a kitchen from scratch, consider installing:
Lower countertops (Easterseals recommends a 34" height rather than the typical 36" height)
Sinks with open spaces beneath
Pull-down shelves with compartments for ingredients
An oven with a side-opening door with a telescopic slide out
Easily-accessible sockets slightly above the counter space
If you're modifying your kitchen with a reduced budget, there are still a number of cheap and easy modifications you can make:
Using rubber non-slip matts to ensure your chopping boards stay in place
Using spring-assisted scissors instead of knives to more easily prepare ingredients
Removing the cabinet below your sink
If you've ever cooked with an air fryer, you'll know how useful these small appliances can be in helping you prepare quick-and-easy dishes.
What you might not have realized is that these are perfect for cooking while using a custom wheelchair.
Air fryers are almost always small and portable, meaning they can be placed on different worktops depending on who is using them.
Associate Professor at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, mother-of-three, and wheelchair user Kara Ayers swears by her air fryer:
I find our air fryer more accessible than the stove and oven in some ways because the drawer is lighter to lift. This means it cooks less quantities of food. Still, it’s been a great way to make fish, fries, and vegetables.
You might also want to make use of a meal-kit delivery service such as HelloFresh which delivers individual ingredients, often pre-prepared, making the initial stages of cooking easier.
Custom wheelchairs can make an enormous difference to your life and wellbeing.
If you would like more information about custom wheelchairs, or you're a healthcare professional, get in touch with one of our wheelchair experts here.