There are a lot of emotions and ideas attached to wheelchairs in our society. Too many of them are negative. Often, people associate wheelchairs with helplessness instead of independence. The trick is working with your mobility needs, and that starts with the home. Our tips for making your home more wheelchair accessible will help.
One of the biggest challenges facing people in wheelchairs are stairs. For outdoor stairs leading up to the house, this is a relatively low-cost fix. Simply add a wheelchair ramp on top or beside the stairs. However, interior stairs prove more difficult. Most opt for a stairlift, but an in-home elevator can work for those without financial constraints.
Bathrooms present a host of slipping and tripping hazards, making them particularly tricky places to navigate. This is especially true in a wheelchair. Fortunately, there are plenty of options to make your bathroom more wheelchair friendly.
- Bars beside the toilet and bathtub
- Roll-in shower
- Motion sensor sink or easy-pull faucets
- Adjusting heights of the sink and toilets
Additionally, you can consider opting for a Japanese-style “wet room” bathroom. Wet rooms have an unenclosed shower with a tiled floor with a drain in the bottom. This totally eliminates the need to climb in and out of a shower or tub.
We don’t often think of open areas like our living rooms as being inaccessible until we try to navigate them in a wheelchair. Then, you notice that the furniture is a little too close together or there are things just out of reach. Try these tricks:
- Emphasize an open floor plan
- Choose smooth flooring options like vinyl, laminate, and low-pile carpeting
- Widen doorways or remove doors
- Utilize low storage such as under-the-table bins
- Invest in a lift chair
In general, you will likely have to place many of your appliances and light switches lower to the ground.
Those in wheelchairs shouldn’t feel confined to their home. Especially not with so many wheelchair-accessible vehicles available in all sizes and shapes depending on your needs. You can also buy modifications to make your own vehicle wheelchair accessible, such as hand controls or left foot accelerators.
Making your home more wheelchair accessible can seem overwhelming at first. However, by taking it room by room, you’ll have a home you can navigate before you know it.