8 Tips to Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

“Ellen Davidson’s passion for reading, insurance, health and nutrition has led her to a career in writing. She currently is working for Employer Group Health Insurance 

A ramp is one of the first steps
If you or a member of your household must use a wheelchair to get around, you may benefit from modifying your home. Designing all the necessary wheelchair accommodations is a process, but you can save time by making some basic adjustments.  The key is to consider how you can promote independent living and provide a safe, easy to maneuver living space. 

Home Entrance. The first alteration you should make is at the entrance to your home. If you have room, build a wheelchair ramp for each entrance of the house. The costs of constructing a ramp vary depending on size and materials. When designing your ramp, make sure the pathway is wide enough, and consider adding handrails, a non-slip surface and a cover. You can also opt for a vertical platform lift if a ramp would turn your home’s exterior into a congested nightmare. 

Stairs. For anyone confined to a wheelchair, navigating stairs can be a frightening experience. In order to simplify the task, install a vertical platform lift or stairway lift at every staircase in the home. This will not only provide full accessibility, it will give the wheelchair-bound individual a feeling of independence. Stairway lifts should swivel, which allows the operator to safely get in and out of the chair. 

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Floors can also be problematic if you travel from room to room on wheels. If your house is decorated with carpets and rugs, it may be time for a change. Tile or hardwood flooring is ideal, but you can also use a low-pile carpet. Install rubber ramps to make thresholds safer, and cover any exposed cords on the floor. At http://wellcomehome.iweb.bsu.edu/suggestions.html, you can find more suggestions for making floors wheelchair-friendly in your home.

Doorways. One of the most difficult areas to navigate while in a wheelchair is through a doorway. You can provide a safer and more pleasant experience for yourself or your loved one by widening the doorways in your home. Remove frames, take the doors off, or reverse how a door opens, and you will instantly turn the doorway into an approachable space. 

Doorknobs.  Lower doorknobs or install automatic door openers for added accessibility. The bathroom can be a danger zone for anyone using a wheelchair. You can secure this area by installing a walk-in bathtub or lowering the threshold for the shower.

Other. It’s also a good idea to add conveniences such as a temperature control unit, safety bars and a pivoting chair. Here are several other wheelchair-proofing ideas.
Kitchen.  You can make numerous changes in your kitchen as well. Lower the countertops, install appliances that are easy to reach, and provide roll-out storage units. You can also install a sink that allows the individual to roll his or her wheelchair underneath it. Adjust the location of all controls and outlets, and use rocker switches for lighting. 

Phones. Replacing corded phones with cellular units or cordless handsets may also make life easier for anyone restricted to sitting in a wheelchair. When it comes to making your home more wheelchair accessible, you need to consider how the individual lives on a daily basis. 

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About The CareGiver Partnership. The CareGiver Partnership helps caregivers and their loved ones with answers to their caregiving questions, including information about home health care products and supplies, from our Wisconsin-based team of Product Specialists who are all current or former caregivers. The company’s Web site provides the largest online library of resources on subjects most important to caregivers — from arthritis to assisted living, and Parkinson’s to prostate cancer — as well as access to more than 3,000 home care products for incontinence, skin care, mobility, home safety and daily living aids. The CareGiver Partnership was founded in 2004 by Lynn Wilson of Neenah, Wisc. Visit http://www.caregiverpartnership.com to learn more or call 1-800-985-1353.


Elder Options of Texas said...

Excellent article offering such great ideas to help those in need, some of which I never thought about, but now I know. We have a family member that some of your ideas will come in very handy to help them in their home.

Unknown said...

These really are great tips!

Christine M. Valentin said...

Thanks for providing such tips! As a geriatric social worker, most of these tips never occurred to me.I'm happy I can now share them with my clients.

CareGiver Partnership said...

Thank you for your kinds words. Our mission at The CareGiver Partnership is to help family caregivers so that their loved ones can remain in their homes as long as possible."

Wheelchair ramps said...

Wheelchairs come in so many designs and options these days. They have made life easier and more fulfilling, for many with a physical handicap or disability. I liked the tips provided by you.

Mobility Aids said...

The lightweight quality of this wheelchair does not compromise its quality or durability. Meeting all safety requirements of a traditional wheelchair, the aluminium frame is as sturdy as any other industrial metal, ensuring a long lasting wheelchair that can withstand the wear and tear of active daily usage.

Manish Batra said...

Hey, very nice site. I came across this on Google, and I am stoked that I did. I will definitely be coming back here more often. Wish I could add to the conversation and bring a bit more to the table, but am just taking in as much info as I can at the moment. Thanks for sharing.
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Keep Posting:)

Drew said...

These are really great tips! Adding a grab bar in the bathroom is a good idea too. Bathrooms can be pretty tricky for seniors. Thanks for sharing!

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