5 Tips for Making Your Home Handicap Friendly
Of all the places that are handicap-accessible these days, our homes are probably the least prepared to accommodate a person with a disability or a senior. From physically demanding stairs to slippery floors and narrow doorways, your home may present many risks to someone who is limited in their mobility. Luckily, modifying a space to help a loved one feel more safe and at home is both doable and affordable. Let our Carroll County handicap remodeling company give you a few tips about which areas to address.
Whether your loved one lives in the same home as you or by themselves, it often makes sense to move all daily life necessities to the main level of the home to help avoid the need to climb the stairs. The main floor should have a bedroom, a kitchen, a full bathroom, an entertainment area and an outdoor access. This approach will also provide more independence to someone with an injury or disability – they won’t have to ask for your help as much because most of the essentials will be within their reach.
Being in a wheelchair presents many challenges—things you don’t really think could be challenging when you walk on your two feet. Reaching for a door bell, pushing a door open, accessing the sink and many other everyday actions you don’t think twice about become a tough task when you are confined to a wheelchair. Not to mention that many homes don’t provide enough room for a wheelchair to move around. Here are a few adjustments you can make to help your house be more wheelchair friendly:
- Widen the doorways and pathways
- Install motion-activated lights
- Switch to non-slip flooring
- Modify sink access
- Install grab bars
- Provide the room to maneuver
Easily Accessible Outdoors
Just because your loved one is injured, disabled or aging, doesn’t mean they can’t enjoy the outdoors. But they won’t be able to do this (or would risk trauma) if outdoor access is not optimized for their mobility needs. To make it easy for someone in a wheelchair, with a walker, cane or crutches to go outside, make these simple changes:
- Build an access ramp with rails off the porch, deck or main entrance
- Fix uneven, cracked sidewalks and repair potholes on the driveway
- If necessary, lay new passes to establish a route
- Illuminate entrances and key passageways
- Get rid of overgrown vegetation next to the home
It is also great if you can place an awning or some type of cover over the entrance. This will make getting to doctor’s appointments in bad weather much easier and less dangerous.
Bathroom is one of the most dangerous places in your home. If a teenager can easily slip and hurt themselves, imagine what damage someone with poor balance and limited mobility can do to their body! To make a bathroom more handicap friendly, you can install a walk-in bathtub that doesn’t require climbing in and out. It also has convenient seating and all the controls within a hand’s reach. Another option is a roll-in shower that can accommodate a person in a wheelchair. For the toilet area, install grab bars on each side.
A combination of a raised toilet base and a raised toilet seat can help minimize the pressure for people who have trouble standing. As for as sinks go, a wall-mount sink offers the easiest access for someone in a wheelchair. Because it’s a stand-alone type of sink, it doesn’t restrict the leg room with bulky cabinetry.
If your loved one has to use wheelchair, cane, walker or crutches temporarily, you probably don’t want to drastically remodel your entire home. However, you still want to make the home a safe and hospitable place while your family member is recovering. You won’t be able to provide them with absolute independence through temporary solutions, but you can at least make moving around easier through these adjustments:
- Change your furniture layout to provide passageways at least 4′ wide.
- Remove or fix furniture that moves, shifts or is otherwise unstable.
- Use plug-in night lights throughout the home.
- Cover sharp edges on furniture.
- Keep your home as clutter-free as possible.
- Install grab bars in places where a person might need help lowering or pulling themselves up, such as in the bathroom and near bed.
Need help implementing any of these changes? At Dun-Rite, our Carroll County handicap remodeling contractors are experienced in disability remodeling and will be happy to lend you a hand. Contact us with any questions or to request a free quote.