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LeeannM 09-04-2012 03:40 AM

Need Ideas for Kitchen Disaster
Hi Everyone. I'm new to the forum. I guess I'll jump in and say what is happening. We have a typical ranch-style home-- smallish kitchen with cabinets that run under the counter like most homes. My husband recently got a hover-round (electric wheelchair) and in about 2 months time he has totally ruined the lower kitchen cabinets. It's just such a tight squeeze and he tries not to ram into everything, but it hasn't worked. He's also dented the newish (about 8 months old) steel-front dishwasher as well as scraped up the pantry door, etc. My concern now is the kitchen cabinets. The molding on some is cracked. One was torn from the hinges. I need to figure out some kind of affordable solution. Redoing the cabinets with wood would be a waste of money. Does anyone have any idea other than hanging curtains (sigh) that might be more durable? I was thinking maybe cutting out the center of the cabinets and putting some kind of painted metal grating or something. I don't know... would love suggestions. Thank you! Oh... and can steel dishwasher doors be un-dented?

nealtw 09-04-2012 06:57 PM

Leeann; Welcome to the site, sorry to here your husband is restricted to a chair.
Not sure you are going to get any good answers but let's start anyway.
How much room from cupboard to cupboard do you have. What is the length of the chair and how high off the ground is the bumper on the front of the chair and how high is the center of the back wheels.
One thought I have had is to remove the cupboad doors and fit a bumper across the bottom for him to run into and shorten the doors to fit above.
The door on the dish washer will be replacible and protecting it will be a bit more tricky.
There will be ideas for that but lets deal with the cupboads first.

LeeannM 09-08-2012 11:44 AM

Hi Neal,

Thank you for your response. Sorry I did not respond sooner. I lost the bookmark to the site, but then remembered I could find it in my Internet history (yay).

The kitchen is small. The distance between cupboards varies because of a kitchen island. In some places it is just 3 feet, but the main area is about 5 feet.

There is only one place where he has to fit through the 3' space, which is like an entry from where the island divides the kitchen/cooking area from the kitchen/eating area. The kitchen/cooking area is like a square, around 5' across.

The chair has a 28" wide seat, plus the chair arms. Turning radius of the chair is 26.75. Overall length and width of the chair is 45.25" Long by 30" Wide.

The kick-plate is around 3" off the floor. It goes under the cabinets which is also a problem because it hits right at his toes. He has demolished his toenails by running them up under the cabinet three times so far.

I like the bumper idea and actually looked into adding some like those you see in hospitals. This could help save other areas of the house that are getting torn up, such as door frames and the walls.

Much of the damage to the kitchen cabinets happens when he turns too closely or backs into them. The backside of the arms rams them and the damage is towards the top of the cabinet doors. He really tries to be careful, but our cabinets are not very durable.

Thanks again,

nealtw 09-13-2012 10:00 PM

You didn't say how high the kicks are, but one idea would be to have a 2x4 attached on the flat infront of the kick so it sticks out past the doors, so the chair run in to it first.
Perhaps something could be added to the back of the chair at countertop height so only the countertop- takes a beating.

pderas 09-17-2012 03:27 PM

I checked with the Scooter Store where you purchased the scooter and spoke to a technician. He said that chair either has a "speed knob" or two buttons (Fast or Slow) to control the speed. Are you using that feature and changing the speed to slow when in the house? If not, you should look at your owner's manual and try it out to see whether gearing it down might make the moves less abrupt and more controllable.
Beyond that some bumpers added to the chair seem appropriate to minimize damage. Either that or banish your husband from the kitchen! :-o (just kidding)
Your problem is quite typical with power chairs. We have friends who use them and note the dings everywhere in their homes. My husband uses a manual chair in the house for just that reason.

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