Saturday, January 23, 2016

Preparing The Home For Wheelchair Accessibility

When someone who is wheelchair bound comes to live in a home, there are lots of changes that need to be made. It is their home, so of all places, it should be the one where they do not feel like they have to sacrifice any comfort or ease-of-access. There are lots of ways to make the home easier to live in, from mobility to accessing all parts of the home with ease. There are also others that can increase the level of independence a physically challenged person feels within the home. This article looks to cover all the ways that a home can be made more accommodating for those bound to their wheelchairs.


Widening door ways
One of the considerations that needs to be made straight away is widening any doorways within the home. Of course, all doors should be able to be accommodate the width of a wheel chair. It has the added benefit of making the house feel like it has more space, too.


More floor space
In just about every room, the arrangement of furniture and fixtures should be carefully considered. Cluttered spaces can be claustrophobic and can inhibit the mobility of a wheelchair user in a very impractical manner. Reconsider the coffee table for more compact surfaces and leave as much floor space for the wheelchair user to be able to manoeuvre on their own through their own home.

Adjustable height surfaces
To allow more independence for wheelchair users, it is best if all the surfaces they need access to are within reach. Certainly, within their own room, it is important to keep all wardrobes, drawers, desks and surfaces at their height. For desks and vanities, there are several with fold down tops that allow for more space when they’re not in use. However, to truly allow independence, it’s equally advisable that the table and countertops for the bathroom and kitchen are also of adjustable height. This means they need as little assistance as possible in these rooms.

Image from Wikimedia.org

Ramps
Ramps that allow the wheelchair user to enter the home without needing to be escorted in are mandatory. Ramps can be installed for steps of all heights and can be made of several materials to fit the style and needs of the user. There are also ramps with rails to help those with somewhat more limited mobility. It’s just a matter of finding the one that fits your specifications.

Indoor lifts
There are all kinds of disabled lifts that can installed into the home. Some don’t require as much effort to install as the others. Others allow for a lot more independent movement and safe transportation from floor to floor. If you’re living in a multiple story house, it’s important that the wheelchair user has complete access to all the rooms in the home. This saves you from the much task of renovating an extra bathroom, which can be a good deal more expensive that the different lifts on offer.

Image from Pixabay

Door phones/cameras
It is important that the locks and knobs for all doors in the home are on an accessible level. But equally important is that everyone in the home is able to answer the door. As for anyone practising home safety, a wheelchair user should have the option of seeing who is at the door before answering it. To this purpose, there are several door phones, cameras and intercoms that can easily be installed to the door. This allows the physically challenged members of the family full independence of answering the front door safely.

Accessible showers
For self-confidence and privacy reasons, it is vital that the wheelchair user has the accessibility to wash themselves. There are lots of different times of accessible showers you can install in the home. Showers with wide openings and low thresholds allow maximum access. Make sure the showers you choose meet the ADA size standards so you have a shower that your wheelchair user can actually access.

Cooking
Being able to cook within the home can do a lot for the independence and confidence of wheelchair users. Make sure the heights of kitchen counters and islands are of adjustable height so they can reach them. There are lot of tips specifically for chefs with physical disabilities. From preparation techniques to appliances that will suit them much better, this site is full of great tips. We also have some advice of our own when it comes to renovating your kitchen with adding extra space in mind.

Image from Wikimedia.org

Accessible toilets
Another aspect of private life that should be made a lot more available to wheelchair users is the use of the toilet in peace. There are lots of specific toilets you can get for wheelchair users as well as other additions that can help. Handrails that can folded up and extended so that anyone with a physical disability can use them to lift themselves on the toilet, for example. It’s also important to have a red cord installed in the bathroom in the cases of a fall or accident. They’re free to install with the right government help and are vital to the health and safety of physically challenge family members.

Profiling beds
Profiling beds are those that reposition to help those inside sit up. They are tremendously helpful for wheelchair users transferring themselves from bed to seat. There are also lots of different varieties, so if one option is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit your body well, all you have to do is go for a different model.

Exercise gear
It’s important to keep yourself active and healthy, regardless of your physical challenges. This site has a lot of fitness gear on offer, mainly for those with mobility troubles. From weights and tension bands to balls specifically designed to build the strength of your hands and wrists.

We hope this guide has been helpful. When a wheelchair user enters the home, it’s important that they feel at home. This means comfort, independence and confidence. The more parts of the home that are sealed off to them without assistance, the less a home it can feel. So do take this advice to heart and make the necessary renovations.

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