When I moved into my home five years ago it already had most of the requirements for a disabled person because it was a newly built house. I had no idea that just two years later I would be so grateful for these. If my house had been older I may have had to make a lot of changes. This post is a guide to what changes may need to be made should a loved one become disabled.
Whether a disability is borne out of a chronic illness or unforeseen trauma, living with one isn’t easy. Many disabilities impair one’s capacity to get around, which is why it’s important for family members and loved ones to create an environment suitable for accommodating their unique needs. And although many new homes are designed to aid persons with disabilities, often, older homes need to be retrofit to do the same.
That said, if you have a loved one or family member with a disability, here are a few things you can do to make your house more comfortable and inviting for them:
1. Change your flooring
If you have marble floors or a carpeted hallway, it might be good to replace them with hardwood floors or ceramic tiles. These different types of flooring provide traction for wheelchairs, not to mention being easy to clean.If you don’t have enough money to re-floor your property, The Spruce suggests covering it with linoleum instead. Aside from being resistant to water and stains, it doesn’t hold on to dust and is good for wheelchairs. We have wood effect linoleum in our hallway and people often believe it’s real wood. It’s great for my wheelchair and makes exiting the house easy.
2. Widen hallways and doors
Your home’s doors need to be at least 36 inches wide for standard-size wheelchairs to fit through. A carpenter can usually complete this job within a day, as it is pretty straightforward.
However, if you want to make the adjustments yourself, you can install doors with swing-away hinges. You can also opt for dividers and sliding doors, which not only make access easier, but they can also make your home look more open and spacious. From the selection of internal doors on Screwfix, it is evident that your choice can impact the overall look of an entire room or home. This is why when choosing new doors, you need to make sure they are functional, as well as beautiful.
3. Add a downstairs toilet
If you find installing wheelchair platforms, stair lifts, and wheelchair climbers too expensive, you can renovate your home to make another bedroom and bathroom on the ground floor for your disable relative to sleep. This way, you won’t need to worry about how they will get up and down the stairs regularly.
1. Change door and cabinet knobs
Door knobs can be difficult to use if they have limited mobility in their wrists or hands. It’s better to use door handles that will allow your doors to be unlocked and opened using only one hand. Locks, bolts, chains, and peepholes should be placed between three to four feet from the floor, so they can easily reach it.
2. Add accessible accessories to your bathroom
Showering and sitting on the toilet can be challenging, especially if they have restricted in terms of their movement. Installing handy bathroom accessories like shower seats and sturdy handrails will be very helpful—and are easy to blend in with your bathroom’s overall design. If you have more resources, you can follow the designs featured on the Telegraph and overhaul your bathroom to turn it into a wet room. This means that it will have no moving parts or doors that need to be opened or closed. It’ll be turned into one seamless room that can easily be accessed even if your family member is in a wheelchair or walker.
3. Add sufficient lighting
Whether they are using a walker or a wheelchair, it’s important to make sure every nook and cranny of your home — including the stairs, rooms, and hallways — is well-lit. An electrical technician can help you improve your home’s lighting and make sure you leave no dark corners. Long hallways should have light switches at both ends and the switches should be reachable from a wheelchair.
Don’t forget to pay attention to your driveway and garage, too. Garden paths need to be wide enough for wheelchair access and the paving should be wheelchair- and walker-friendly, Lushome notes that some of the most important considerations you need to look at when it comes to your driveway are safety, access, drainage, and aesthetics. Once you’ve crossed out all these off your list, your home will be ready for any family member with a disability.
Overall, minor and major home improvement projects for the benefit of a disabled person are a welcome change. And while you’re at it, why not take into account your loved one’s style and preferences? For ideas on choosing a theme, have a look at our guide here on Raisie Bay