It can be an overwhelming and daunting idea when you think about the changes you must make when someone in your household finds the need to use a wheelchair.
It can be due to a fall, an illness, an injury, an accident, or a proactive step towards aging. Regardless of the reason, creating a wheelchair-friendly home should be your top priority.
As this may be a huge task for many, there are practical and straightforward ways to make any home wheelchair accessible. Today, we will be highlighting some minor and significant steps to making this possible.
As you read on these valuable steps to making your home wheelchair-friendly, you will realize that the changes are not so bad after all. There are changes that you can easily do, and there are those that require time and renovation.
Check out each one and pick out those that are applicable for your space.
1. Ensure Ample and Clear Illumination
Before making any changes to the blueprint of your house, you must ensure that you have good lighting. Under-counter lighting may be glaring and challenging to navigate. Therefore, you need to adjust your fixtures to lower heights.
The light switches should also be adjusted to a reachable height for accessibility even if they are left alone. It is recommended to get larger switches for easy use.
If you find it challenging to make the adjustments, you can have the person or take a stroll around the place and check. Make sure to have pathways, especially those with steps, properly illuminated too.
2. Go for Ramps Instead of Stairs
We can say that stairs are staples of the home. If you want people to use the wheelchair comfortably in your home, you must consider putting ramps in your home.
This does not only apply to a big flight of stairs, but this can also apply to one or two steps. You want to maximize the person’s mobility, and if you are going to save from additional costs, you can go for foldable or collapsible ramps.
You can also check out stairlifts, as these are equally helpful for those with limited mobility. There are different types of ramps that you can purchase in physical and online stores.
3. Fix Bathroom Orientation and Setting
For those who are using wheelchairs, it can be frustrating to bathe and use the toilet. A regular bathroom may be hazardous to a person using a wheelchair.
Apart from the factor that the soap and water give them risks for slips and falls, it can be deadly when combined with surfaces of tubs and tiles.
You can start preparing your bathroom by removing obstacles in the pathway and putting on non-slip flooring. There is also non-slip lining available for tubs.
When talking about tubs, you can check out those that are designed to provide more mobility and assistance. You can install grab bars or install a portable shower seat too.
Walk-in tubs are also recommended, so the risk of falling or slipping is reduced. Do not forget to make sure that the drain is not prone to clogging and that it is away from the shower area to avoid accidents.
Another area to check would be the sink. It is recommended that you place sinks at a height comfortable for someone sitting in a wheelchair. You can opt for mounting mirrors to accommodate both sitting and standing positions. As for faucets, the best pick is those with sensors.
Ensure that the setup and clearance are also wide, as a person with a wheelchair will need much room to move around. Another addition you can add would be handrails.
These can help a person easily stand up and sit down. Raising the toilet to a taller height also makes it easier for them to sit and use it.
If you cannot get a taller toilet, you can set up an elevated base as an alternative or utilize plastic seat covers to add height.
4. Equip Home with Handrails
Apart from the bathroom, it would help if you determined the critical areas in your home. These are the areas that are often frequented by the person using the wheelchair.
You must check out all the corners that may need handrails or grab bars for assistance and balance. This includes bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, and more.
5. Rearrange Furniture
Households with people in wheelchairs should always consider rearranging their furniture. For those without mobility restrictions, furniture can go anywhere around the house.
However, it is necessary to clear them out of pathways for additional clearance and moving space. You should make sure that there are no narrow paths and sharp curves inside the house.
Apart from that, it would be best if you considered putting all your things at a reachable and accessible height. This means putting your stuff at a lower level in your cabinets, desks, countertops, and shelves.
6. Mind Flooring and Surfaces
Since their only means of moving is through wheelchairs, you must make sure that the surface it will roll on is safe and suitable for it. If your place is carpeted, make sure it is smooth and tangle-free.
Stay away from tassels and fibers, as these may get caught up on the wheels and cause accidents. You may also opt to get vinyl flooring, ceramic tile, laminate flooring, and low-pile or commercial grade carpets.
Regardless of your choice, the main concern would be to make sure it is slip-resistant and easily maneuverable for wheelchairs.
Apart from the examples mentioned above, there are many more ways to make your home wheelchair accessible. Some methods can be done in a day or two, and some are requiring a more extended timeframe for renovation and construction.
Always go for quality, whether it is for handrails or upgrades on tubs and doors. If you have no clue how and where to start, you can always go for the easy tasks and progress to the harder ones.
You have to remember that the important thing is that you get started. Adjust and remodel as necessary because a wheelchair-accessible home is a safe and conducive place for everyone.