In the Frydkær family, a typical day is not quite like in other families. The daughter, Saline, is born with cancer, and this has caused neural damages leaving Saline paralysed from the chest down. Today, Saline is cancer-free but uses a wheelchair.
Saline is a very bright, happy and vigorous girl who attends the local school and has lots of friends, but her handicap causes certain practical challenges.
Amongst others, Saline cannot use an ordinary kitchen worktop. Because of the paralysis, she cannot lean over a table, and this means that the water tap and cupboard contents are out of reach. It also means that stirring in pots and pans and chopping vegetables becomes impossible because there is no room for the wheelchair under the kitchen table. Saline, therefore, depends on her family to do everything for her in the kitchen, and even though she would like to participate in kitchen activities, she is not able to because of the kitchen’s interior design.
”We had to help Saline with everything. Today, she can do all of it herself.” says Julia, mother of Saline
The Frydkær family would like a kitchen where Saline can participate on equal terms with her mother, father and little brother. The new kitchen must provide opportunities rather than limitations. However, designing a handicap-friendly kitchen that fits a modern home is not an easy task.
When the family meets ROPOX, they are advised on how to create a kitchen that both Saline and the rest of the family can enjoy. In cooperation with the local municipality, the kitchen supplier and ROPOX, the family finds out how they can design their new kitchen to make it accessible for Saline and still look like a standard kitchen.
”I like to use the kitchen now because I can help my mum and dad, and I can hang out with my friends.” says Saline
In the family’s new kitchen, Saline can use both cooktop, oven and sink, and the cabinets are replaced with drawers where the contents are within Saline’s reach. There is also fitted a height-adjustable ROPOX Flexicorner worktop with cooktop and sink.
There are no base cupboards under Flexicorner, and this allows Saline to get the wheelchair under the worktop and provides her with a large area where she can work in the kitchen. At the same time, it is easy for the rest of the family to adjust the table height when they are using the kitchen.
As Saline is paralysed in her lower body, there is an increased risk of burns and entrapment. That is why the family followed ROPOX’ recommendation to choose a shallow, insulated sink. This way, Saline’s legs are protected even if someone pours boiling water in the sink. The worktop has a built-in safety stop which makes the tabletop stop immediately if something is trapped when it is lowered or raised.
The new kitchen is tailormade for Saline’s needs and mobility, and it has given the Frydkær family a whole new life: Saline has gone from being completely dependent to being highly self-supported. Naturally, it relieves the parents, but most of all, it is a great joy to see Saline being active in the kitchen, and the family enjoys being able to cook together.
For Saline, it means that she has become more self-reliant and has more activities, she can engage in. Now she can use the kitchen for what many girls her age love: to make her favourite food – cake and hot chocolate – with her friends.
By making the kitchen handicap-friendly, the whole family has gotten a better everyday life, and Saline, who is so full of joy, has gained more freedom and independence, and this is exactly our mission.
”It has made a huge difference for us as parents.” says Julia, mother of Saline
Watch the movie with Saline and her family here.
Do you need the story of Saline & family as print. Download pdf here.