Disabilities can alter the way we move through our lives on a day-to-day basis, even when we’re in such familiar places as our homes. The home itself can actually be a challenging place that’s chock full of obstacles if the disabilities are new occurrences. Things like doorknobs, bathrooms, stairs and even a variety of surfaces can be hazardous, and learning to adapt can be overwhelming. Let’s explore a few ways to make the home more easily accessible for those with limited mobility.
For many people, the bathroom can present quite a few obstacles. Whether your disability stems from birth and genetics or you’re off your feet during post-surgical treatment, it’s easy to imagine the calamity that can ensue when slick tile gets soapy.
Countertops and tubs aren’t great surfaces for able-bodied people to fall on, let alone those with physical difficulties. Aside from that, tubs have tall sides that can be difficult to get over. Replace that old tub with one that has a step-in feature and make sure your tub also has a surface that’s slip-resistant.
Some people suffer from things like being prone to falls or have poor balance. Others just need a bit of help to get into and out of bathrooms, beds, and chairs. For these people, handrails that are well-placed can be life changers. Grab rails in bathrooms can especially decrease risk for falling while assisting users to lift themselves up on their own. They can both create peace of mind and increase independence.
As with the other rooms in a home, the most critical aspect of a kitchen is its functionality. If you have limited mobility, the layout of your kitchen is even more critical and must be taken into account when being designed. When things are stored where they can’t be reached, this can become an issue that can lead to frustration and even the occurrence of accidents.
If you have mobility that’s decreased, accessible storage via the use of adjustable wall apparatuses, magnetized storage units, and even baskets can assist with the creation of a space that’s both functional and safe. Also, consider adding features like SMART light fixtures, outlets that are well placed, and tools and appliances that are designed specifically for people with limited mobility. You want to make it as easy as possible to do ordinary tasks.
Did you know that according to the Census Bureau, mobility is the most common disability among seniors? If someone in your household finds the stairs to be an obstacle because of this, consider installing a stairlift. These are available in a multitude of styles and can be either a permanent solution or, if you get a portable stair climber, can be used anywhere.
There are quite a few styles of doorknobs out there that are both difficult to use and cumbersome for people who have difficulty gripping things. Replacing these with bars for pushing or pulling, handles with press levers, or even doors that are automatic can tremendously increase the accessibility of your home.
There are quite a few things that you can do in order to make your home one that’s more accessible for people with limited mobility. So many, in fact, that it can easily become an overwhelming, seemingly Herculean task. The good news is that there are people out there who can help with this – from ideas gotten from medical professionals to the designers that can turn those ideas into reality. Just remember that just because you add a few safety features, that doesn’t necessarily mean your home is becoming less homey, just more user-friendly.
partnered post • cc-licensed photo by Fairfax County