There are more people than you think out there with a physical disability and if you are one of them, then the chances are you need to learn a little more about how to make your home more accessible. If you’ve had an accident, the last thing that you need is to go home and be unable to use your home in a way that means that you can feel comfortable. What you need is as much help as possible to get from room to room, floor to floor, and without having to squeeze yourself into spaces you can’t move through.
It doesn’t really matter whether you are in a wheelchair or not; accessibility is about more than whether you are able to walk or not! You need to be able to make your life as easy as possible and that can make some changes. Installing new gadgets like a home stair lift or looking at how you can improve the access from room to room do make some changes and cash investments. However, without them, you can’t be as independent as you’d like to be. With this in mind, here are some of the top ways that you can improve accessibility at home.
- Start with widening the doorways. It’s not just the front entrance or the back door for the house that you need to think about. It’s the doorways to each room. You need to be able to move freely and clearly through the house and if you want to get to the bathroom, you might consider widening the doorways for each room of the home. This will help you to get where you want to be and allow you to use your home to its fullest. Widening the doorways can also help you to feel like you don’t need much help. You can use some offset hinges to swing the door clear properly, too, which will add the couple of inches of space that you need.
- Consider adding ramps. If you’re struggling with stairs or you’re in a wheelchair, then adding ramps to the house is a smart decision. The back door and the front entrance are both important for you and if you want to feel independent, then adding a ramp will make a huge difference. You should remember that the stairs in the home will be better equipped with a home stair lift to get you up and down as you need to go. When you build a ramp, you might need a permit and so you should check on the local building codes to see whether you will need permission to install the ramps at all.
- Consider adding grab bars to the house. The stairways need banisters if you’re going to walk up them at all, but you can add grab bars to the bathroom to help you to get in and out of the shower and on and off the toilet. You can also add grab bars to the living room and the hallways – this means that you have something to lean on if you want to get from place to place. It’s especially important to have these around the bathtub to help you to get out of the bath safely. It doesn’t have to be huge – it can be just enough to anchor you and make you feel more stable.
- Consider adding a toilet riser. Have you ever heard of a toilet riser? These are great for those who have trouble bending over or standing up straight or sitting down. They can help you to have less of a space to sink down to when you’re going to the bathroom, and a toilet riser isn’t very expensive, either, which makes for a great upgrade to the space that’ll also make it more accessible!
- Change out your shower. If you currently have a shower over a bathtub, consider ripping it all out and installing a sit up bath with a swing door. You can then open the door and walk into the shower when you need one. You could also take out the entire suite and create a wetroom that you can walk into and shower there, too. Bathtubs with high sides are difficult when you have issues with your mobility, and so converting this space will help you to move into the shower with ease.
- Think about the flooring. Through your home, you need the flooring to be easy to walk on. You shouldn’t have to have gripping shoes when all you want to do is wear socks, right? Think about adding rugs, non-slip mats and thick carpeting in the appropriate rooms – but only if you don’t have a wheelchair! If you’re in a chair, use a hardwood floor and make sure that your socks have grippers on them, too.
- Rearrange everything and move it down. When you’re dealing with difficulties in bending down, it can help to move everything up including shelving. You can then reach everything easily and not worry about that. If you’re moving to a chair permanently, then you’ll need to arrange your home for better accessibility. If you ensure that your appliances and all of your belongings are in easy reach, you will find it far easier to perform the tasks in your home that you need to perform.
- Adjust your closets. When was the last time you had to reach and hang something from a closet rod? If you’re finding you’re struggling with this now, then the best thing that you can do for yourself is to lower the rods to around 2 feet from the floor. This will feel much easier to reach and make you feel more independent and all it takes is a drill and some screws.
- Consider the way that you move your furniture around. Not only do you want to widen doorways, but you also want to know that your furniture isn’t going to be in the way as you move around your house. Your furniture placement is going to help you to feel less frustrated, too.