If you have an older relative, family member with a disability, or have recently found yourself in a wheelchair for whatever reason, you may find that you need to make some accessibility adjustments to your house. Making your home wheelchair friendly doesn’t need to be an expensive, time-consuming, or tiring process. With a few simple upgrades and additions, you can rest assured that any wheelchair user will be able to safely and independently navigate their way through your home.
One of the easiest ways to make your home more wheelchair friendly is to install ramps over the outdoor steps. While you could try to make a ramp on your own, many companies now sell inexpensive ramps that can easily be adjusted to fit various entryways. That equipment is usually found at medical supply stores, and you should check with your insurance provider to see if they will cover some or all of the installation costs. You might also be able to find old ramps from buildings that have recently been demolished or redesigned.
Alter the Doorways
While the average doorway should be just large enough for a wheelchair, the fit could be very tight, particularly in hallways where you need to make a sharp turn. Luckily, in many homes widening at least one of the doorways is a fairly simple project. In addition to widening the doorway, you might also want to install an automatic door opener on a few of the external doors in the home. Door opening hooks can be used as well, but those devices aren’t always practical or easy to use.
Update Your Bathroom
As soon as you find out that an individual who is struggling with mobility issues is going to be living in your home, you should immediately speak with a team of remodelers about altering your bathroom. That crew will be able to carry out a wide variety of upgrades including lowering the toilet, adding grab bars, and altering the bathtub to a roll-in shower. Your contractors might also need to make some alterations to the cabinets, sink, and mirror so that they are easier to use. Some of these are fixes you can do on your own while others will be better suited to professionals.
Install a Chair Lift
Installing a chair lift is a major investment, but that project will be absolutely vital if you have a two-story home. Without one of those machines, nearly half of your home is going to be completely inaccessible to a wheelchair user. Chair lifts are more affordable than most people realize, and a contractor should be able to install the entire system in one or two days.
These four tips are a great start, but you might want to rearrange some areas of your home as well. Putting food, dishes, clothes, first aid kits, and other items in lower cabinets and dressers will make life much easier for anyone who uses a wheelchair. When in doubt, get input from a wheelchair user on what can be done to make everyday activities simpler and less time-consuming.