A Guide to Making Your Home Disability-Friendly
If you, a friend or a family member requires the use of a wheelchair, getting around can be a chore. While many public places offer basic accessibility provisions such as ramps and rails, not everywhere is easy to navigate when using a wheelchair. It can be frustrating when public places don’t provide ample accessibility, but coming home to a place you or your loved one find difficult to move through is even more so. Here are a few useful tips to help you make your home more disability-friendly.
Improving the layout and floorplan of your home can make a huge difference in the level of ease when moving from room to room. Narrow hallways, sharp corners and small spaces can make turning in a wheelchair very difficult. Consider enlisting the help of an architect or contractor to decide which walls can be removed or rearranged for better movement and flow throughout the house. Similarly, you can move furniture to better suit your needs by focusing on floor space, the distance between pieces and the ability to move around the room.
Traditional doors in houses aren’t designed with wheelchair users in mind, which is why it’s a good idea to consider replacing them with automatic doors, button activated doors, or simply widening the doorway to allow better passage. Make sure that door handles have good ergonomics so they can be used with minimal effort – avoid smooth doorknobs as these can be very difficult to turn.
Alternative to Stairs
For shorter stairways such as porch steps, a ramp can be installed for much quicker access between outdoors and in. If you live in a multi-level home, however, you’ll require access not just from the ground to the door, but from one floor to the next. Terry Lifts are a great way to move between levels in your home with little fuss or effort. There are a variety of options that make finding one for your particular home, needs, and style is simple.
Depending on your style preferences, there are a few different kinds of flooring that are better suited to wheelchairs than others. Hardwood floors are attractive and practical. Laminate flooring gives a sleek effect and can be non-stick. Ceramic tiles are also a good option when looking for flooring that doesn’t pose a hazard to wheelchair users.
Being able to safely reach and transport cooking within the kitchen can be difficult in a wheelchair, but fortunately, there are ways to combat this. Kitchen cabinets with space left between the floor and the bottom of the cabinet allow for closer access to the counter surface, making food preparation easier. Mid-height ovens with shelves mean that handling hot food is quicker and safer. A lower sink basin reduces the issue of reach.
Hand rails and plenty space are key to a safer, more accessible bathroom. Make sure there is enough room to maneuver a wheelchair to avoid hazards. Lower basins and seats for the shower are excellent choices for making your home more disability-friendly.