Have you or a family member experienced an injury or illness? Or are you or a loved one experiencing the effects of ageing and need accessible home features?
Remodelling your home to be accessible for wheelchairs or other supportive devices can make your home a safe, comfortable place to live.
“Baby Boomers” are beginning retirement at increasing rates as members of the largest generation in U.S. history. This means more homes will need to be outfitted with accessible designs or added as new additions to a home.
In addition, an injury or illness could strike at any age. Home modification may be needed for children or parents needing wheelchair support or mobility devices to manage daily life.
Accessibility in homes helps a person maintain higher levels of independence. These home-remodelling modifications can help you or a loved one feel comfortable, safe, and more independent in the home.
Make Stairs Accessible with Ramps
Getting into a home with steps can be difficult with canes or walkers, and especially difficult for wheelchairs. Walk around your property and see where it’s difficult to pull a suitcase with wheels over curbs or steps around the perimeter of your home. Install ramps where needed for easier access into the home.
Add Sturdy Railings for Stairs and Entryways
Wherever stairs exist, there should be sturdy railings nearby. This includes entryways outside the home and stairways inside the home.
Increase the Width of Doorways and Hallways
Narrow doorways and hallways make it difficult to manoeuvre wheelchairs, walkers, or other mobility devices. By increasing the width of doors or hallways by just a few inches, these devices can be accommodated comfortably.
Most standard doorways are 23-27 inches and wheelchairs need at least 32 inches to pass through. Hallways in your home should be at least 36 inches wide.
Easy Access to Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Is it easy or difficult to access bedrooms and bathrooms? These should be on the first floor unless elevators are available in a multi-story home. Design the space to have a natural flow while offering easy, direct access to a bedroom or bathroom.
Include Helpful Features in Bathrooms
Bathrooms need a few extra features to avoid slips or falls in wet conditions. The following additions can help reduce the risk of injury.
- Textured flooring
- Narrow-lipped tub or step-in shower
- Handheld shower head and shower bench
- Grab bars
- A higher or wall-mounted toilet making it easier to sit and rise
Alter Counter Heights in the Kitchen and Bathrooms
For wheelchairs, accessible counters should be lowered in the kitchen and bathrooms to enable a person to reach the sink and faucets while sitting. Leave plenty of room underneath the counter for movement and mobility. Alternatively, the counters may need to be raised to avoid hunching over while standing.
Add Lever-Style Faucets and Door Handles
Make faucets and doors easier to manoeuvre with lever-style handles. These fixtures offer the user greater independence by enabling them to operate the handle with an elbow or wrist.
Let There Be Light
As vision decreases, more light is needed to see and do daily tasks. Compensate for decreased vision by adding task lights or by increasing the wattage of fixtures in your home. In addition, lower the light switches in your home to easy, reachable heights.
Need help incorporating accessibility features into your home? Work with an experienced, local contractor to make sure your home has the necessary features to be a comfortable and safe haven.
If you’re needing to make home renovations that will make your home accessible for older family members or just make it more family-friendly for the whole clan, consider all of your accessibility requirements before undertaking a renovation project. Use this helpful guide to stay on track with your home upgrade.