Handicap Accessible Homes: 9 Tips for Increased Access and Safety

Folks with disabilities need their homes to be outfitted to meet their special needs. Read on to learn how to make handicap accessible homes safe and efficient.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that 26% of adults in the U.S. live with a type of disability. If you’re living with a physically disabled person, making your home handicap accessible is quite thoughtful. Disabilities change our daily operations, and familiar spaces can become hard to maneuver.

Fortunately, you have several solutions to making handicap accessible homes. With minimal home upgrades, you can promote independent living and comfort. Here are nine ways to make your home handicap accessible.

1- Consider a Stairlift

Stairs can be cumbersome for some people with physical disabilities. You can install a stairlift to improve movement for your loved one. Stairlifts come in different styles, and you can choose an option that resonates with your home’s interior decor.

If you have already bought a house without these features, you can modify a lift. Portable stair climbers can also work to make your home more handicap friendly. Installing these features will prove helpful to someone facing limited mobility.

2- Widening Doorways

People using walkers and wheelchairs are likely to face challenges walking through the standard doorway. It is crucial to have doors that are at least 32 inches wide. You might further need to have rounded thresholds that are less than a half-inch to make it easier for those walking through with walkers and wheelchairs.

Widening doors can be quite costly. It wouldn’t be surprising to spend up to $1000 for this project. Offsetting some hinges can make it inexpensive to add inches of space to the doorway.

3- Address Bathing Barriers

The bathroom presents a myriad of obstacles for people living with disabilities. Your slick decorative tiles might cause a hazard when wet. Countertops and tubs can be potentially harmful.

The tub is mainly an issue of concern, considering that tubs create an entry barrier due to their height. So, are walk in tubs covered by Medicare?  You’d want to read more on how Medicare views walk-in bathtubs to guide you in creating a handicap accessible bathroom.

For showers, a shower bench or chair can come in handy. The foldable shower chair option is ideal, as it is easy to set up and mount without interfering with the bathroom space. If you’re in a rented apartment, this option is temporary and cheaper than making permanent changes.

4- Use Ramps

Ramps on your stairway or doorway are one of the ways to create handicap accessible homes. Those on wheelchairs can move easily with the ramp addition. You’ll need to check your local building codes in your area as ramp construction requires a permit.

Stairs are a challenge to anyone with mobility challenges. Whether your stairs are two steps at the doorway or a whole staircase, consider ramps to make navigation for persons with disabilities easier. There is a range of ramp styles to choose from, and with the option of collapsible ramps, storage won’t be an issue.

5- Lower Your Storage Spaces and Countertops

Half of your storage needs to be low enough for easier accessibility. The commonly used items should be in lower spaces to ensure that one doesn’t feel frustrated trying to reach for something to no avail. When making a closet renovation, the clothes worn mostly should be on lower drawers, while higher shelves should only have the clothing and accessories used on occasion.

In the kitchen and bathroom, lower the countertops. A low sink and cooktop will allow a person with a disability to do most kitchen chores without straining.

6- Handicap Handrails

About 646,000 people around the world succumb to falls every year. People with disabilities have a higher risk of fatal falls. It is essential to invest in handrails to avert falls and provide support for persons with disabilities.

Disability makes some simple tasks, such as getting out of bed challenging. Placing handrails in the right places makes movement more comfortable and safer. You can install the grab rails in bathrooms to enable users to get up from the shower chairs while still decreasing falls.

7- Check Your Knob Handles

Turning door knobs is a dreadful activity for anyone suffering from hand coordination problems. It would be best to replace faucet handles and doorknobs with more disability-friendly lever handles. If you can invest in automatic doors, the better for you!

With automatic doors, users will only need to push a button. They are ideal for any door type, and with customization, you can have the switch even in a wheelchair. While they might be more expensive than the typical doors, they are worth it if you desire handicap accessible homes.

8- Rethink Your Surfaces

Thick carpeting and rugs are aesthetically appealing, but they can be hazardous for people with physical disabilities. They can cause tripping hazards. What’s more, those in wheelchairs might find it difficult to move across the room.

Tiles can be pretty slick. You might want to get ceramic tiles or smooth carpeting for easy and safe movement. In bathrooms and showers, grippy mats are a viable option.

9- The Pool Entry Should Be Handicap Accessible

Suffering a disability doesn’t mean that you have to miss out on fun activities. People in a wheelchair can still go swimming and have a great time regardless of physical limitations. It would be prudent to have a simplified pool entry for persons with disabilities.

The typical stairs and ladders are a risk for those with physical limitations. You should make your backyard pool ADA compliant for your home to pass the handicap accessible home threshold. Consider pool lifts that make pool entry for disabled persons easier.

Making Handicap Accessible Homes Improves the Quality of Life of Persons With Disabilities

You can make your home handicap accessible in a variety of ways. While some solutions might seem financially overwhelming, the changes are worth it. You can look for a variety of alternatives for handicap accessible homes.

In cases where the disability isn’t permanent, or you’re in a rented place, consider cheaper and temporary solutions. The renovations will increase the person’s comfort and safety. Consequently, recovery will be more plausible.

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