Disabilities, by definition, can make daily life more difficult to navigate. Depending upon the type of disability that you or your loved one is faced with, you should consider modifying your home in a way that makes it more accessible for them. So, while many of these provisions may be rather specific and may not help everyone, the following ideas should definitely be considered if you’re planning to renovate your home to be more accessible.
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Install Adequate Light Fixtures
While low lighting is dangerous for anyone, it is of particular danger to the elderly and disabled population. Replacing dim fixtures with overhead lights that easily turn on via a switch, an app, or a verbal command can be of great assistance. You may also want to put night lights in the hallways and bathrooms to make nighttime trips to the bathroom easier.
Utilize Smart Home Features
Along similar lines, smart technology can be a huge help to disabled people. Being able to control things like lighting, audio, and even the front door by using an app or vocal commands brings another level of accessibility to your home. Consider incorporating these features if you or a loved one would benefit from them.
Replace Entryway Stairs
Stairs can be difficult to navigate for those with mobility issues. If there are stairs leading to the front door, look into replacing the steps with a ramp, or provide a ramp as a supplementary way to get inside the home. Having at least one accessible entrance is essential for a disability-friendly home. If you often travel by car, the garage can be a great place for this ramp entrance.
Remodel the Bathroom
It can be seriously difficult to retrofit a bathroom to make it handicap accessible. This is because you will need to consider that most toilets, sinks, and showers are designed with only the able-bodied in mind. This can make basic functions like taking a shower difficult. To make your bathroom more accessible, consider a tub to shower conversion. You’ll want a shower with a low step that is easy to navigate. You can also incorporate a shower chair for those that can’t stand for long periods of time.
Toilet accessibility can also be improved in a couple of ways. First, consider an ADA-height toilet that is easier to get on and off of. If extra support is required, a strong grab bar can be very helpful. A bidet can also be a great option for disabled people to ensure they walk away clean and fresh.
Widen Hallways and Doorways
Doorways and hallways should be at least three feet wide in order to accommodate a typical wheelchair or another mobility device. You should also be aware of obstacles such as furniture, appliances, and sharp corners that do not allow free movement around living areas in and outside of the house.
Build a First Floor Bedroom and Bathroom
Most multi-floor homes these days are designed to have all bedrooms and the full bathroom on the top floor. Without a stair lift, this can be exhausting and difficult for a disabled person to deal with. Putting a full bath and the bedroom on the first floor makes life much easier for them. If the disabled person in question lives alone, it is important to also have laundry facilities and other essentials on the main level of the house.
In conclusion, retrofitting and remodeling sure can be challenging and expensive, but there really is nothing more important than the freedom given to a person that simply wants to live their best life at home, regardless of their physical challenges.