Having a disability can impact the way a person goes through daily life. Even basic tasks like walking, sitting down, and operating lightswitches can turn into obstacles. This is why it’s important for those with disabilities to have a safe and comfortable home. Making home modifications for disabled individuals with the help of professionals can make a big difference in ensuring people can continue to live with independence and safety. So how can a home be made handicap accessible? The following are a few ways.
Install ramps in place of stairs
One of the first things that should be done to make a handicap accessible home is to replace stairs with ramps. Whether someone is in a wheelchair, uses a walking aid, or simply has difficulty walking, ramps are going to make getting in and out of the property easier. Most houses have at least one or two steps leading to the front door and maybe even some inside the house. It’s crucial to ensure all such areas are fitted with a ramp. This will make it so that someone in a wheelchair or someone who has trouble lifting their legs can make it safely past the steps.
Increase safety in the bathroom
The bathroom is one area in a house that can be dangerous and pose injury risks for someone with a disability. You should start with the tub and shower situation — tubs or showers that have tall sides may make it difficult for a disabled individual to get in and out safely. Because of this, consider a step-in-tub that allows people to walk right in or even go in with their wheelchair if needed. Next, focus on the flooring. Bathroom floors can become wet and slippery, increasing the risk of a fall. Make sure bathroom floors are fitted with anti-slip materials to make them safer.
Make changes to doorknobs
Doorknobs can be particularly challenging. They may be difficult to reach or for some, and can be impossible to grip and turn for individuals with arthirits. This is why it can be a good idea to replace doorknobs with something that’s easier to use. Options include press lever handles, push bars, or foot buttons. Some homes may even be able to be equipped with automatic doors or smart doors. It’s important to remember that while using a doorknob may seem like a simple task, it may be a difficult undertaking for someone with a disability and they need a different option.
Ensure doorways are widened
If someone has to use a wheelchair or walking aid, they may not be able to maneuver through doorways very easily. With that in mind, main doorways, if not every doorway in the house, should be widened. Making sure doorways are widened will allow individuals to easily move throughout their home without getting stuck or having to avoid certain areas. If it’s not possible to widen a doorway, there are specific door hinges that can help the door stay out of the doorway, allowing for a few extra inches of open space.
Add grab bars and handrails where needed
And lastly, grab bars and handrails should be added to key areas of the house. Disabled individuals may be more prone to falls and could need extra help getting out of bed or out of the tub. Adding grab bars and handrails in places like the bedroom, bathroom, next to ramps, and even down hallways can ensure individuals will have help with stability if needed. Having grab bars and handrails will bring peace of mind.
Certain areas in a home can become hazardous for someone with a disability, and it’s important to prioritize safety. Making these simple changes throughout a house can increase comfort, allow individuals to move about their home with ease, and give disabled individuals the opportunity to continue living independently.