If you or a member of your household must use a wheelchair to get around, you may benefit from modifying your home. Designing all the necessary wheelchair accommodations can be a long process, but you can save time, initially by making some basic adjustments. The key is to consider how you can promote independent living and provide a safe, easy to maneuver living space.
Parking & The Front Door
There’s nothing more frustrating than losing the parking space right outside your front door. Especially if you need more room to park your car so you can access a wheelchair or ramp. So it might be worth investing in a “Disabled Parking” sign. You can find a range of plastic outdoor signs here. These can be easily installed outside your home, ensuring that every visitor to the neighborhood knows that someone who needs extra room needs this space.
Secondly, consider the accessibly of the entrance to your home. If you have room, build a wheelchair ramp for each entrance of the house. The costs of constructing a ramp vary depending on size and materials. When designing your ramp, make sure the pathway is wide enough, and consider adding handrails, a non-slip surface, and a cover.
A terrifying and exhausting ordeal for some, navigating the way up a staircase can be treacherous or just completely not possible. If this is the case, why not consider installing a stair lift? This not only provides access to every point of the house but gives the user a real sense of independence. Most stair lifts can be installed to fit straight or curved stairs and most chairs swivel, allowing full accessibility.
One of the most difficult areas to navigate while in a wheelchair is through a doorway. You can provide a safer and more pleasant experience for yourself or your loved one by widening the doorways in your home. Remove frames, take the doors off, or reverse how a door opens, and you will instantly turn the doorway into an approachable space.
Floors can also be problematic if you travel from room to room on wheels. If your house is decorated with carpets and rugs, it may be time for a change, as pushing a wheelchair on a thick carpet can be like pushing a wheelchair through sand! Tile or hardwood flooring is ideal, but you can also use a low-pile carpet. Install rubber ramps to make thresholds safer, and cover any exposed cords on the floor.
You can make numerous changes in your kitchen as well. Lower the countertops, install appliances that are easy to reach and provide roll-out storage units. You can also install a sink that allows the individual to roll his or her wheelchair underneath it. Adjust the location of all controls and outlets if possible. You can get light switch extenders for most light switches too.
The bathroom can be a danger zone for anyone using a wheelchair. You can secure this area by installing a walk-in bathtub or lowering the threshold for the shower.