Most homeowners don’t think about how disabled-friendly their home is until they suddenly need to. Perhaps a spouse has suffered a serious injury, or you’ve been delegated to care for an ailing relative. Whatever the case, it’s essential that you get your house handicap accessible in a hurry. Here are some pointers for making that happen.
Modify for Wheelchairs
Severely disabled people are frequently wheelchair-bound. Caring full-time for someone in a wheelchair will entail making certain adjustments to your home. When remodeling for handicapped accessibility, homeowners have countless options for what work should be done, how, and by whom.
While building ramps is a common solution for resident wheelchair users, a more efficient way is to install a lift instead. A wheelchair lift actually takes up less space than a ramp and doesn’t require special care during inclement weather. Similar stairlifts can also be installed inside homes on multiple levels.
Depending on your home’s age and local building codes, it may also be necessary to widen doorways to accommodate a wheelchair’s broad dimensions. Whatever the work, it’s important that it be completed by specialist contractors to ensure user safety.
Beware the Bathroom
While often overlooked, the bathroom is one of the most important rooms in the house and should be usable for everyone. The shower area, with its wet, slippery surfaces, is especially tricky for persons with compromised mobility. In such conditions, straddling a high-sided bathtub becomes downright dangerous.
Consider replacing your old tub with a unit closer to the bathroom floor. Installing strategic grab bars can also help people transition from a wheelchair or walker to the tub or toilet. At the very least, buying a bathtub floor mat to prevent slippage is a good idea. This modest investment can benefit all users, disabled or not.
Caring for a handicapped individual is a learning process that requires caregivers to think in a new way. The best tip is to be generally conscious of your surroundings and how they affect the handicapped. Remove thick or slippery carpeting that prevents the progress of a wheelchair, walker or cane. Be sure that your house’s common rooms all have a clear, obstacle-free path for easy navigation by the blind and disabled. Common household items should also be placed within easy reach of those who can’t stand up to get them. Such small considerations of comfort do the most to make a house feel like a home for handicapped occupants.
Making your home handicap accessible can be a challenge, but it’s worth the peace of mind it brings in the end. Your disabled residents will appreciate your alterations.