You’ve put time and effort into making your house the dream home you’ve always wanted- but have you planned for if you’re ever wheelchair-bound? Using a wheelchair doesn’t mean you have to leave your home and live in an assisted-living community; in fact, with just a few modifications, you can make your home wheelchair-accessible so you can continue to live there comfortably and safely. Here’s a list of suggestions to improve your home so that it’s wheelchair accessible, room by room:
- Bedroom: Install an overhang lift or manual trapeze to get in and out of bed safely.
- Bathroom: Install a bath tub lift and a commode lift, as well as grab bars next to the toilet and shower/bathtub.
- Basement/attic: Install a stair lift to move safely between floors.
- Outdoors/porch: Install an outdoor stair lift or a portable ramp to access your front door.
- Kitchen: Check that cabinet and countertop heights are within arms’ reach from a wheelchair, and leave 27” of clearance between the floor and the underside of the table. Also, clear a space of 30”x48” at each seating location.
- Garage: A two-car garage guarantees that you have room to maneuver between your home and your vehicle.
You can also improve your home’s accessibility by clearing your pathways and making them wide enough for mobility scooters, rollators, and/or wheelchairs. In general, hallways should be 36” wide and doorways should be 32” wide to accommodate these mobility vehicles; also, the minimum clear space for a 180 degree turn is 36” in all directions.
Also, keep your home well-lit to decrease the risk of slipping and falling throughout the day or night. Light controls must be easy to reach and use. Finally, install several phones and alert systems throughout your home so that in case of an emergency, you’ll be able to get help quickly. It’s especially important to have a phone next to your bed and in the bathroom (near the toilet or shower).
You’ve probably taken on many home improvement projects over the years, but making your home wheelchair accessible is the most important thing you can to do make sure you’re able to age in your own home. With these guidelines, you’ll be able to modify your home so that it continues to fit your needs.
–Guest Post by: Tate Handy