Making sure your home space is wheelchair accessible is one of the most important steps you can take when preparing for life with a loved one that is wheelchair bound. Each person’s needs are a little different and modifications will need to be made to adjust for them. What is important is that as need arise in your loved ones life that you make adjustments to fit the need.
It is important in making a home user friendly and wheelchair accessible that you have a starting point. When looking at your home you will look at various parts with more concern than others. The yard is something that can continue to be a work in progress. It is okay if not everything is immediately set for them as long as it is continually worked towards. However as this progress is taking place make sure smooth paths and raised flower beds are a part of the plan. This way your loved one can still enjoy time strolling around the gardens independent of major obstacles such as grave, dirt, or extra grass that needs to be edged away.
It is important that the areas in to the home are accessible. This includes building wheelchair accessible ramps and creating ample space for turns. Today’s wheelchairs maneuver better than those of yesterday but still require a fair amount of space for access. Threshold ramps should be obtained and doorway openings should be at least thirty six inches wide with a clearance of four feet on either side of the door. Wheelchair accessible ramps can be made out of metal or wood. Whatever material you choose make sure that traction is applied to prevent accidents that can result from slipping.
Next it is important to make the interior home environment as safe as possible. It is best to hire a professional that is trained and certified in aging in place remodels. They can better assess the homes features and plan for the homes faults and areas lacking in accessibility for a wheelchair.
The first place you will be told to modify is any and all threshold that exist within your home. If a threshold exist between the rooms in your home it should be round and be no more than a half inch different than the flooring. When a threshold is too high a wheelchair user will have to exert extra effort just to maneuver within the home.
Hallways are an area of particular concern in most homes that need to accommodate wheelchairs. It is important that hallways be clear of obstacles and that they are wide enough to allow for ample room to maneuver a wheelchair in and out of the rooms off of the hall.
Closets should also be made to accommodate the wheelchair. Make sure access is available for the wheelchair to move in and out of the area freely and use a closet organizing system that maintains a close enough range for reaching hanging clothes without trouble.
Flooring options should also be evaluated. Plush flooring is not recommended for homes that are accessed in wheelchairs. The best surfaces are this that are smooth, easily cleaned and that can withstand a lot of traffic. Laminate or wood flooring are always a good choice in homes where occupants use wheelchairs.
Bathrooms create a tricky situation for those who can only access it confined to a wheelchair. In order to allow for independence and modesty install a stroll in shower that has grab bars and a bench to transfer on to for showering making sure to leave space for wheelchair storage where the chair will not get wet. It is also important that a shower head is installed that is removable for assistance in those hard to reach spots. Sinks and cupboards should also be made to accommodate the wheelchair. Toilets should have grab bars positioned strategically around and a higher toilet for easier access.
The same goes for making the kitchen are easier to maneuver in. Leave extra spaces beware of the ease of faucets you choose and keep storage low. Stove tops, oven and sinks can be adjusted to fit the height of the wheelchair. This alleviates any possibilities falls that can happen because of reaching and leaning too far out of the wheelchair.
Making your home safe for a loved one is only half the battle when it comes to sharing a home with a loved one who uses a wheelchair. You want things to be convenient and for them to feel that this home is as much theirs as it is yours.