If someone in your family becomes physically impaired and requires the use of a wheelchair or walker to get around, you will need to modify your home to accommodate their mobility needs. If you are on a limited budget, you can revamp your living space without performing extensive renovations. The following guide provides you with some affordable ideas and tips for improving home accessibility for someone who is physically challenged.
Add Ramps to Entrances
Providing an easy way for someone using a wheelchair or walker to enter and exit a home is one of the most important renovations you need to perform. Adding ramps to entrances will help your physically challenged family member come and go as they please without the assistance of others.
If you do not have the skills to build a concrete or wood ramp, buy a portable ramp from retailers that specialize in mobility aids.
You can purchase adjustable ramps that fit over steps and curbs. Look for ramps made out of heavy-duty aluminum that include a non-skid surface. Some ramps also fold up easily so you can take them on trips. If the area around the entrance is uneven, re-grade the area to make it level.
Make Floors Easy to Navigate
While plush carpeting and large area rugs may look great, they will make it hard for someone in a wheelchair to get around the house. After you remove the thick carpet and throw rugs, make sure that the floors are smooth and clean.
Hardwood floors and smooth tiles are ideal surfaces. In addition, make sure that there are no loose tiles or floorboards that could potentially cause a mishap. If there are exposed cords that run across floors, re-route them or use rubber ramps to cover and protect them from the wheels of mobility devices.
Adjust Doors and Doorways
Some doorways, such as narrow bathroom entrances, may not be wide enough for wheelchairs and walkers. You may be able to widen the doorway by simply removing the door unit and trim and replacing them with a pre-hung door that is wider.
However, if adding a door that is a few inches wider will not be sufficient, you will have reframe the door opening. This requires locating wall studs, cutting drywall, adding new molding and making sure you provide support to any load bearing walls around the entryway. If you do not want to hire a contractor to perform this task, you can complete it as a DIY project in less than a day.
Modify Bathroom and Kitchen Fixtures
Moving around a kitchen or bathroom can be difficult in a mobility device if floor space clearance is too narrow and appliances are not accessible. There should be enough space for a wheelchair to turn around safely. In addition, you should modify counters or add extra counter space so someone in a wheelchair can reach food or toiletries with ease.
Other modifications you can make include:
- Adding grab bars to walls
- Removing counter base cabinets to provide easier access to sinks
- Installing single lever faucets that are easy to reach
- Replacing a tub with shower that includes a seat and grab bars
- Applying safety tread to the shower floor
- Installing a hand-held shower head
- Installing a tub transfer seat in the bathroom
When it comes to decorating an accessible home, less is more. Large pieces of furniture that impede straight foot traffic lanes will make it difficult for someone with a mobility device to get around.
Make sure that there are clear, wide paths from the front door to the bathroom, kitchen, bedroom and living room. Moving furniture against the wall can help to create clear floor paths. In addition, keep items like remote controls and grabbers on easy-to reach surfaces such as coffee tables.
You can visit a site like http://www.twincitystairlifts.com to find more information on mobility aids.