When it comes to home renovations and upgrades, one of the most practical things to do is make your home more accessible. If you or a family member has recently suffered a serious injury that has led to the use of a wheelchair, or if a wheelchair-bound friend or family member will be staying with you for some time, then changing your house to be more wheelchair-friendly is never a bad idea.
In fact, you’d be surprised at how affordable and simple it can be to make some simple accessibility changes to your home. Some of them may even offer more able-bodied people extra comfort and safety around your home!
1. When possible, widen doorways and walls
Wheelchairs can take up a lot of space and moving them around a home often means bumping into walls. The good news is that all new homes and many over the last 100 years have 3-foot wide entry doors. So you can get your loved one in your home. However, that may be as far as they get.
If you’ve been planning a structural renovation for some time, then widening the halls and doorways is a great way to ensure a wheelchair user can get around. However, it’s also an excellent way to make your home feel more spacious if you combine it with decluttering.
2. Keeping the floor clear
When moving around or turning in a wheelchair, you’ll notice that you need quite a lot of space. You’ll need a clear and large path to wherever you want to go, so it’s important to keep the floor as clear as possible.
Make sure you clean up any clutter that’s on the floor, consider moving storage options on to walls or into cupboards, and generally try to keep your home as clean and spacious as possible.
3. Lowering counters
Whether it’s a sink or kitchen counter, try and make sure that you lower the height so that a wheelchair user can access it without getting up and off their wheelchair. If you can still stand up off the wheelchair then this isn’t a huge priority, but it’s certainly more comfortable if a wheelchair user doesn’t need to get up and off their wheelchair just to wash their hands or face.
4. Add ramps and rails
Ramps and rails are the two big additions that you’ll need to add around the home for easier access. Installing handicap ramps to your front and back entrance is important if you want easier access to and from your home. For rails, install them in places where you’re most likely to get off your wheelchair. This could include adding rails near the shower or bathtub, in toilet rooms or even near in-home elevators.
5. Better lightning
One of the surprising issues as a wheelchair user is tall ceilings with dim lights. While it can make a room look more moody and interesting, it’s actually annoying for a wheelchair user since there’s less light at their height.
This can make it difficult to do something simple such as watching out for clutter on the floor or even picking a matching pair of socks. Make sure there’s plenty of light in your home to accommodate for the difference in height that a wheelchair user is normally at.