Accommodating your home with safety features and enhancements can make a disability-friendly atmosphere for your loved ones. You can adopt multiple ways to make your home a more welcoming space depending on the type of disability. From a little help in bathroom and kitchen areas that are usually high-risk spaces for slips and falls, in this article, we will discuss how to make your home more accessible for handicapped persons and make a better living for them.
Why is Disability-Friendly Home Important?
Disability occurs without any invitation. It can happen to any person of any age, whether infant, young, or old. But, there are ways to make your home disability-friendly without breaking your bank if you have someone in your house facing such situations. It can be helpful to physically challenge people to become their helping hand without having any support from anyone.
Let’s have a look at the ways and try them out to make your home disabled-friendly.
1. Start from your Kitchen
It has been observed that the kitchen area is the first thing that needs to be structured well for an aging family member or the one with mobility disorder as making food is a vital part of independent living. So for this, existing kitchen appliances are needed to be replaced with ADA height appliances that can be used easily by someone who uses a wheelchair or walker. If you wish to make handicap accessible kitchen, you need to make certain changes in your kitchen so that it is easy to be used by the ones in wheelchairs. You can arrange your kitchen stuff close to your sink and counters to perform your everyday tasks easily. You can also place your daily routine items in lower cabinets for easy accessibility.
2. Make It Accessible
Disable people with canes, wheelchairs, and walkers claim that being with a wheelchair, walkers, and canes often restrain them from being involved in activities and events due to inaccessibility to doorways. This does not let them enjoy their life the way they want, and they also feel it excluded from all events and functions. So for this, there is a need to remove such obstacles and barriers by rebuilding, remodeling the access door structures and design. Moreover, the other household hurdles are poor lighting and hard-to-reach switches that need to be considered.
3. The Carpet Problem
Rugs and carpet in your room might look cool but can be a great obstacle to the one with a walker or a wheelchair as crossing the rug or carpet can be very risky for them. So if there are rugs and carpets in your home, better to remove them.
If there is a slippery floor in your home, that can also be a danger zone for your loved ones, so to make a safe place for them, you can place carpet with a low pile and attach it completely to the subflooring, so it does not move when wheelchair moves. Also, you can replace slippery polished hardwood or tile with high-traction, low-slip flooring like vinyl.
You can make the bedroom more comfortable for your loved ones by selecting a bed that perfectly matches their needs. For this, you don’t need to go for profound changes; instead, you can buy a firm mattress, go for memory foam if there is a joint or mobility problem. You can also have an adjustable bed, which is the real boon to people who are bedroom bound and spend much of their time on their bed, so this adjustable bed helps them fulfill their needs for different times of the day. They can use it for a sitting position, for watching TV, reading, or doing other essential tasks just with a push of a button.
5. Remove Bathing Barriers
Shower floors and slick bottom tubs have a greater chance of falls and slips, so you need to create a safe bathing room for your special ones. It is recommended to pay attention to the direction a shower door swings and leave enough space in the shower so that a shower chair can be placed easily. You can also fit mobility-friendly showers.
Moreover, you need to ensure that a shower for a disabled person should have enough space for an individual to move in all directions easily, a bench for sitting, and feature safety bars.
6. Ramp it Up
Those who are usually on power chairs and wheelchairs feel difficulty navigating steps and stairs, limiting them to move freely in space. So building a ramp can be the best idea to give your loved ones more independence. Thus they can move according to their will without worrying about anyone else doing it for them.
7. Go for Levers
Persons with disabilities have their lives far different from normal lives. Even a simple doorknob can be a great barrier for them as they might feel trouble grasping and turning the knob. So you can remove this barrier for them by replacing doorknobs with door levers and making it easy for them to get in and out of the room. It might be a simpler update, but it can create a vast impact on a mobility-challenged loved one. Also, remodelers may install automatic doors for ease that open from room to room or indoors and out just with a touch of a button.
8. Create Comfortable Spaces
A disability-friendly home is needed to have clear traffic patterns that are easy to be navigated by the ones on wheelchairs. You can do this by rearranging your home’s furniture. Also, you need to place all necessary items, such as dinner plates and flatware, on the lower shelf to be easily accessible when needed. Thus eliminating the need to call someone else to do it for you.
9. Lower the Rod and Make it Disability-Friendly
Standard wardrobe rods are usually 5 feet off the ground that makes it impossible for to reach by a person in a wheelchair. For this, you can lower the rod just 3 to 4 feet off the ground, making it reachable, and letting them hang and retire cloths.
10. Consider the Commode
A standard toilet has a seat of 14 to 15 inches above the ground, but this lower position seat can create problems with limited mobility. So a seat 17 to 19 inches from ADA compliant toilet make it easier for them to sit and stand. Thus standard toilets can be replaced with ADA-compliant toilets.
If you don’t want to replace the toilet, you can add a toilet safety frame with a riser. You need to search for a lightweight material that can be attached properly to the toilet and has armrest grab bars that help balance while sitting and standing.
11. Position Poles for Stability
Placing a floor-ceiling pole close to your bed, chair, commode, or tub helps you get up and down easily. It works on a similar principle as a tension shower curtain rod; it is placed and then expanded to generate pressure between the ceiling and the floor. The pressure helps keep it in place without needing to drill the floor joists.
12. Incorporate a Stair Lift
If you live in a double or triple-story house, this can be frustrating for those on wheelchairs, as moving in between the floors is barely possible for them. So installing a stairlift can help them move freely in their own homes and let them live alone at home and independently.