61 million adults in the United States live with some kind of disability. If you live at home with a disability or someone you love does, you most likely already know what an accessible home would mean for safety, practicality, and most importantly independence. So with that in mind, here are the most essential aspects of accessibility to consider when remodelling the home of a loved one with impaired mobility.
While the right flooring for you will ultimately depend on the disability. But a general rule of thumb when it comes to accessible floors is – smooth is good, soft is better, and avoid shag carpet at all costs. Look for slip-resistant, low-maintenance flooring which can be installed throughout the home. Both rubber or cork are examples of unconventional flooring which can actually help prevent injuries while.
Consistent flooring reduces the chance of accidents and falls, so avoid any flooring changes or variations in texture between rooms wherever possible. This means not using ceramic tile anywhere, especially in the bathroom where accidents are most common. You should also increase available floor space by removing potential hazards like rugs and mats.
Ensure the bathroom is accessible by removing barriers to all essential features of the room. That means providing enough space necessary for full movement as well as being able to reach all the bathroom products on shelves. All appropriate safety measures also need to be installed such as toilet frames, transfer benches, shower grab bars, and bathtub steps.
A new curbless walk-in shower can be installed which reduces the risk of falls by allowing wheelchair access. Alternatively, if you decide to keep the existing shower, the entry must be wide enough for a wheelchair to fit through so it can become a roll-in shower. Otherwise will have to be widened to suit.
The lounge room and all other living areas should be open and spacious. So make sure there’s plenty of mobility room with enough space to move around, especially if using a wheelchair, power chair, or walker. All pieces of furniture must be sturdy, reliable, and strong, in case they’re needed for stabilising and support.
Stools, coffee tables, and other lower types of furniture are often challenging to navigate around. And because they’re so difficult to see, they can easily trip up walkers or get caught on wheelchairs. Power sockets should also be accessible for charging any connected devices and other technology, without the use of extension cords.
Stairs in multi-story homes are often difficult for people with mobility issues, especially those needing assistance from a wheelchair or walker. Different types of mechanical or electric chair lifts are the most common options for dealing with stairs as they offer independence, comfort, and are easy to use. Installation of an external wheelchair ramp is another way to also simplify the process.
If they’re out of your price range, the ideal option may be to avoid using stairs altogether. moving from the first-floor bedroom into a downstairs bedroom. If a spare room, guest room, or office is available and can be easily converted into a bedroom, it can make it much easier to live in a multi-story house. This may require some amount of renovation, ultimately depending on the difference between the size and space of each room.
Speaking of bedrooms, this is often considered the most important room as it’s a private and personal space. There are electric beds available to help get out of bed or beds with rails designed to keep someone from rolling out of bed. Handrails or grab bars can also be installed in the wall behind and around the bed which can be used to help with steadying or sitting up in bed as well as getting in or getting out of bed.
The best option to help someone with a severe disability is a ceiling-mounted lift which simplifies bed procedures. As the ceiling lift needs to hold the full weight of a person, it must be permanently installed to the ceiling via a track system. Alternatively, there’s a portable floor lift option available for those unable to install a ceiling lift.
Updated: June 21, 2021