Nearly 50 million people in the United States have some form of physical disability. A physical disability can impact the way people use their homes, especially those in wheelchairs. Creating an accessible space for someone with a disability means understanding how it actually impacts their daily life. Here are a few ideas you can do to improve the home to become more wheelchair accessible.
Many mobility accessories like wheelchairs and walkers do not fit through standard doors. Widening doorways in the house is the first step to making it more accessible. This can be a costly undertaking, depending on the layout of the house. One cost-saving measure you can try first are offset hinges. These hinges swing the door out of the way and help create a wider opening for mobility equipment.
Build A Ramp
People with mobility issues find stairs a nightmare to transcend. Even just the two steps it takes to go outside can be impossible for someone in a wheelchair. Building a ramp can help anyone with mobility issues get into their home easier. These special constructions may require a permit in your area, so check your local building codes.
A mobility issue shouldn’t prevent a person from using every floor in their home. Attractive wheelchair home elevators can help those with mobility issues regain their independence. Multi-story homes are no longer an impossible challenge that requires assistance from a non-disabled person. Adding a wheelchair elevator to a multi-story home makes the entire home useable again. They are compact enough to be situated in any room and can be added to just about any space.
Install Grab Bars
Stairs are the most common cause of a fall in the home, but the bathroom is a close second. Grab bars situated in the shower and next to the toilet can help a lot. Most people prefer a 1.5-inch diameter bar as it feels the most comfortable to grip. Consider placing grab bars anywhere else in the home where they may be needed, not just the bathroom.
Thick carpeting and rugs are difficult to navigate for anyone using a wheelchair. They’re also a tripping hazard for anyone else with decreased mobility. Hardwood flooring, tile, or vinyl floors are an option to replace any carpeted areas.
Many people keep their dishes and foodstuffs on shelves that are designed to be reached by standing. These shelves become inaccessible to someone in a wheelchair without assistance. Consider re-arranging the kitchen to make it easier for wheelchair users to access everything they need. Lower cabinetry can be refitted to handle dishes and foodstuffs. If the counter in the kitchen is too high, you may need to replace the cabinets entirely.
Is the furniture you have in your home too large for someone with a wheelchair? Generally, you need about 32 inches between furniture pieces for easy navigation. If you don’t have room to accommodate that space, it may be time for new furniture.