As parent’s age or you parent a child with special needs you begin to realize how hard life is when you have limited mobility. When you are the caregiver of someone with limited mobility you begin to search out products that will ease their lives and that also gives them independence from having to always ask for assistance. In most cases aging parents would rather age in their own homes. It is up to us as their children to begin preparing their homes for them to use as they age. It is also our job as the parent of a child with handicaps to help make our homes accessible for them in a wheelchair or walker using handicap ramps and other products made for people with disabilities.
There are many different home improvements that can be done with to help aide in the processes of allowing for mobility and independence. It is up to you as the caregiver to seek out all the possible products available to help your loved one. A house needs to be a place that is safe for them. In order to create this environment you must have some special products installed to aide in this.
The first area I would look at is the ease of entering and exiting the home and vehicles. Ramps can be put in place to help with these transitions. Handicap ramps can be made to be temporary or permanent structures on a home. Metal ramps are becoming popular because they are inexpensive and can be easily installed. Wooden ramps can be made to match the exterior of your home making a lovely addition to any porch. Garages can be made to be more accessible by gradually decreasing the incline so that the vehicle is able to be approached with some extra height.
Another area that is important is the showering situation. Privacy is huge no matter what point you are at in life. It is important that your shower and tub be fit for someone with special needs. Many people decide that a walk in shower is the best solution. This is advantageous because a wheelchair can fit within the shower allowing for an easy transfer to a chair where they are then able to wash. Shower heads are now made to be removable to also help with getting those hard to reach spots. Another less expensive option is adding a chair to your bathtub. Along with a removable shower head this option is inexpensive and can be helpful to those that still can transfer easily.
Stairs always present a problem for those bound to wheelchairs. A good option to this is a chair lift for the stairs. My grandmother uses one of these because the laundry lives in the basement. It is only her in the home so the laundry is limited. The chair lift makes it accessible for her to go up and down with the laundry without the worry of cascading down the stairs. We have also added railings by the washer and dryer for her to hold onto for her to stabilize herself if she stands to long forgetting to sit before her body tells her she is ready for a break. This is what happens with her hips and legs leaving her weak.
Another improvement that you can do to create independence is to make sure your doors are equipped with handles instead of knobs. This helps with people who have limited strength or use of their hands. If you keep all doors well oiled it allows them to open more freely and this helps with transitions between rooms. It is also difficult to reach items overhead. It is important to keeps things organized and well within the reach of your loved one. It is important that they are able to care for their nutritional needs without always asking for help. Make sure your kitchen eases this ability with items placed well within reach. Also make sure stoves and refrigerators are able to be used.
All of these little things will help create an environment that helps invite independence back into your loved ones life whether they are young or old. If a loved one requires a handicap ramp or other special equipment to get around that does not mean they cannot be independent. The goal is to aide in their success with little improvements throughout the home environment.