Tips For Creating A Disability Accessible Home

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pushing a wheelchair

Approximately 1 in 5 are living with some form of disability. For those 4.4 million people living, simply completing everyday household tasks can be extremely challenging. Ultimately, having an accessible home is vital for the comfort, happiness, and independence of anyone with a physical disability or mobility handicap. With that in mind, here’s how to create an accessible home effectively and live life to the fullest.

Handrails

Handrails, grab bars, and handles should be one of the first things installed throughout the home. Depending upon specific needs, grab bars or handles are usually fitted near the bathtub, shower, and other slippery areas. Handrails are mounted along halls, stairs, ramps, and walkways, as well as close to tables, chairs, and couches. Sometimes handles are also fitted close to the bed to help with maneuvering in and out safely.

These accessibility modifications are used for extra balance and support when lifting up, lowering down, or moving along. Because of this, they must be installed correctly by securing them into the wall studs. If you’re unsure about how to do this, it’s a good idea to have them installed by a professional.

Toilet

While the areas around toilets are often so small that mobility can be difficult. Especially with a mobility aid or support person physically assisting. That’s why grab bars or handrails should be installed in the toilet to help prevent accidents by improving mobility. Another common issue with standard toilets is that they can be difficult to use as they’re typically too low to the ground.

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The best way to have an accessible toilet is to install a taller one as the elevated height decreases the distance between going from a standing to a sitting position and vice versa. Alternatively, a toilet seat riser can be fitted onto the original toilet seat to make it easier for someone with a disability to use safely.

Kitchen

All standard shaped taps in the kitchen, as well as faucets everywhere else, should be replaced with single lever mixer handles. This is because it’s much easier for most disabled people or those with health issues like arthritis to push down than gripping and twisting. Other excellent alternatives here include installing automatic hands-free faucets or scald-prevention devices that regulate temperatures to stop hot water burns.

All counter heights need to be lower to the ground so that accessible kitchen cabinets are accessible while sitting in a wheelchair. Cabinets should be installed with pull out drawers or shelves, and all cabinet knobs should also be changed to pulls. Kitchen cabinets can even be powered by electricity for those with major hand dexterity or mobility issues.

Bedroom

One of the most effective ways to reduce the chance of an accident in the bedroom is by installing small grab rails on the wall beside the bed. This allows you to use them for balance and support whenever necessary, such as climbing into or out of bed. Provide a sturdy nightstand with ample space for essentials. The nightstand or bedside drawers should have ample surface space for personal items as well as an automatic or touch lamp to see at night.

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Accessible bedrooms require furniture that is tough and sturdy in case they are needed for balance. Plus they also need to be the right height for use without any difficulty. If the existing bed is the wrong height, it’s a good idea to either get a new frame or a new mattress. Otherwise, a mattress topper can be fitted so that it is at a more suitably comfortable height.

Living room

Furniture placement is key for maintaining a safe and comfortable living area that has a simple, efficient, and unobstructed layout. Especially for anyone who needs a walker, wheelchair, or another mobility device. That means removing all unnecessary furniture from the living room as well as everywhere else in the house.

Finally, make sure there are no other hazards in the living area, including thresholds or steps at the doorway into the bedroom. For example, all electrical cabling should be kept be out of the way, behind furniture, or even mounted to the skirting board. And all rugs and mats should be removed or at least kept in place with anti-slip tags to reduce the chance of slips and falls.