Do you have a hard time getting up the stairs without help? Are you confined to the main floor of your house? Do you feel your wheelchair is diminishing your quality of life at home? It needn’t be. Millions of people face disability and physical limitations. Wheelchairs are the answer to providing greater mobility, convenience, and happiness.
If you’re looking for ways to make your house wheelchair accessible, here are some tips to transform your home into a wheelchair haven.
Whether you use a wheelchair or have wheelchair-bound guests who frequent your home, the entrance to your house is the best place to begin. With an array of stylish, heavy-duty, durable ramps to choose from, you can transform your home into a welcoming, wheelchair-accessible space.
If you have the room and budget, consider building a ramp at each entrance of your house. Ramps vary in size and style—you can choose its width, surface material, cover, and type of handrails. If you have a bigger budget, vertical platform lifts are a more convenient, albeit expensive, alternative.
You should also look at your doorways when you’re creating a wheelchair-friendly entrance. Most doorways aren’t wide enough for wheelchairs. Do all you can to make sure your home’s doorways leave ample room for wheelchair entrance and exit. As most doorway widths are determined during the building stages of a home, here’s what you can do to make changes without making major renovations:
- Replace sliding glass doors with doors that open wide (like French doors)
- Replace doorknobs with graspable handles
- Install expandable offset hinges (hinges open door up to full width of door frame and make it easier for wheelchairs to enter)
Along with doorways, transitions are a major factor of wheelchair accessibility. Smooth transitions even out the playing field for wheelchairs. They diminish the risk for tripping and catching by tenfold. Consider investing in threshold ramps at every doorway for easy transition into your home.
Bathrooms create hazards aplenty for wheelchair-bound individuals. If you want to make yours as safe as possible, try the following:
- Safety treads – Safety treads in bathtubs and showers decrease your chance of falling.
- Handheld shower heads – Handheld shower heads let you be in charge of the water flow. If you can’t reach the spray and are afraid to stretch your back, handheld shower heads are the safest alternative to traditional shower heads.
- Grab bars – Grab bars eliminate many a bathroom spill. You can install grab bars in showers and bathtubs and around sinks and toilets.
- Pedestal sinks – Pedestal sinks offer more bathroom mobility to wheelchairs.
If you don’t have money for any of the above, consider moving the furniture (cabinets, towel racks) in a different configuration to make the space more maneuverable and wheelchair-friendly.
When transforming your kitchen for wheelchair accessibility, focus on the sink, cabinets, and countertops. Replace faucet handles with kitchen spray heads and levered faucets so you can use the sink while sitting down. To get closer to the sink, consider removing the cabinet doors underneath the sink.
Most homeowners don’t have it in their means to do a complete home renovation for wheelchair accessibility, but if you can, rearrange your kitchen to meet your physical needs. Try this:
- Keep the things you use most on lower shelves
- Avoid having lots of cabinets
- Change all cabinet hinges so they open to 180 degrees
- Use reachers (a device made to assist you with grabbing out of reach items)
No matter what you do, juts try to make your house into a place where you feel comfortable cooking and entertaining.
To ensure you can still enjoy your yard in a wheelchair, keep the ground level. Talk with landscapers about flat landscaping and safe, accessible walkways. There’s no need to fear the outdoors if it is a wheelchair-friendly place.
If your yard has different levels, outdoor ramps make for easy maneuvering and safe mobility. You can also consider vertical platform lifts from decks to downstairs patios.
Most wheelchair-bound individuals have one worry in common: stairs. Navigating stairs isn’t just tricky, it can also be frightening. To avoid any accident, the best way to get up a staircase is by a stairlift. A stairlift simplifies the stair-maneuvering task and lets anyone make the ascent or descent to different floors. Stairlifts increase home safety by:
- Detecting any obstacles
- Securing the rider with a seatbelt
- Breaking swiftly and safely
- Smoothly starting, safely traveling, and securely stopping
Stairlifts require minimal maintenance and come with different options. Navigating stairs gets a whole lot easier with the help of a stairlift.
Whether you have physical limitations or are confined to wheelchair fulltime, ensure your house is a place of refuge and relaxation. Any home can be made into a wheelchair-friendly haven with the help of ramps, hinges, grab bars, reachers, and stairlifts. Make room in your budget to improve the safety and wheelchair-convenience of your home today.