”Tips to Make Your Home More Accessible” is a collaborative post. Please see the disclosure page for more information. Always seek advice from a medical professional.
Our homes are built, designed and arranged for us in mind, but what about those who are less able to move around freely. We all have friends, colleagues and family members who may have disabilities. Creating a more functional space in your home is one way we can reduce the stigma of a disability.
Here are some tips to make your home more accessible…
Install A Ramp
A wheelchair ramp can be really handy for those who are bound to a wheelchair. Many homes are likely to have steps to their front and back doors which can make it hard for a wheelchair user or a person to navigate. If there’s space available, it may be worth having a ramp installed. Ramps can be pretty costly. Consider the following – sizing of the spacing you have available, what your budget is, and what type of materials you are thinking of using for it. Labor and materials are the two main costs. You might be able to make it cheaper if you’re using something like wood verses concrete but need to compare the repair for wood over time if you are in an area where wood will not hold up well.
Doorsteps are the main problem for wheelchair users, and it’s not always possible to remove them completely. However, it’s certainly worth trying to do so if the steps are only a certain height and that a wheelchair would be able to get up the incline that would be there in place of the steps. However, this isn’t always possible because your property might be higher up from ground level that it becomes impossible to remove them.
Widen Your Doorways
Doorways can often be a certain size that in some cases can be too narrow for someone with a disability to get through. Whether that’s a wheelchair or someone using crutches, it might be worth widening some of the doorways that lead into your house’s rooms for easier access. This is something that’s definitely worth doing if you ever need to replace any door frames or doors in the future. If you are building a new house, this is a great time to go ahead and spend a little extra money to have accessible doorways. (Side Note: My parents built their house 20+ years ago and were in great health then. They had the foresight to go ahead and have wheelchair accessible doorways just in case they needed them later in life. I wish it was mandatory in building codes for all houses!!!)
Rearrange Your Furniture
Dramatic and costly changes might be needed to make your home more accessible. But often enough, you can make it more functional by simply rearranging the furniture. Start with big items of furniture and move them around the room so that you can create more of an open space that’s easy to walk through and allows for plenty of movement in between. (Another Side Note: After having surgery to fix my hernia, it helped me so much to have a wide and clear path around my room since my walking wasn’t too steady at first. I had to have help so having room for both of us made such a good impact for recovery.)
Renovate The Bathroom
Every so often, a bathroom renovation is needed. It’s one of the rooms in the home that can easily become dated and worn. So when your next bathroom renovation comes around, it’s definitely worth installing some access-friendly equipment like a rail bar by the toilet and a step-free shower.
The more effort we make in our own homes, the more we will offer environments that are suitable for everyone. No matter what their disability or ability may be.