Having a physical disability causes many obstacles that might never occur to non-disabled people. This can make it difficult to get around public places that don’t provide modifications for people with disabilities. However, many people with physical disabilities also struggle to get around their own homes. If someone has recently developed a disability or recently moved to a new house, it’s likely that the layout and features of the home weren’t made to accommodate their disability. This requires modifications to be made around the house, which can sometimes require major renovations.
Here are six ways to modify your home for someone with physical disabilities.
Modify the Entryway
Getting into a house is the first challenge a person might have. Most homes have at least a few steps to get on the porch or to the front door. If a person has a physical disability that makes it difficult or impossible to walk upstairs, there’s no way of them even getting into the house, at least not without help. In any home where a person with physical disabilities that make using stairs difficult lives should, there should be an accessible entryway. This could be getting rid of stairs to install a ramp, adding a ramp in addition to existing stairs if you have the space for both, creating a wrap-around ramp if the stairs are too steep to put a ramp over.
Ensure that Bathrooms are Accessible
Most household bathrooms aren’t set up to accommodate physical disabilities. Features like countertops, sinks, and even light switches will likely be too high for people in wheelchairs to access. Bathtubs and showers can also be extremely dangerous for people with disabilities to use if they aren’t designed for them. These can often be difficult to get into and risk a person falling if there’s nothing for them to hold. Installing a walk-in shower or a bathtub with grab bars is a much safer option for people with disabilities and senior citizens. Toilets can also be difficult to use, but there are disability-friendly options that are a safer height. Grab bars should also be used around the toilet to make it safer and easier to access.
Create an Accessible Kitchen
Similar to bathrooms, it can be difficult to use certain kitchen features if you have a disability. Countertops, sinks, stoves, and many cabinets might be too high up for someone with a disability to use. Lowering everything to a height accessible to someone with a disability ensures that they can use everything more easily. You also need to be sure that there’s room for a wheelchair to go through the room if someone uses one. This could mean expanding the room or taking out features like tables and islands if necessary. Some might also have an easier time with cabinets and drawers if they have pulls on them, rather than typical handles, or push to open storage.
Make Floor Surfaces Safe
Some floor surfaces can make it difficult or even unsafe for a person with disabilities to get around. For those with carpets, moving a wheelchair through the room might be too difficult. However, other surfaces, like certain tiles, might be too slick for some to walk on safely. Many might have to go without area rugs to prevent falls. Consider the disability a person has and the type of flooring that will be safest for them to walk on or use anything they need to help them get around, such as wheelchairs or walkers.
Add Bathrooms and Bedrooms to the First Floor
Many people live in homes with two or more stories, and typically, all the bedrooms are on the second floor, and even sometimes all the bathrooms are on the second floor. If someone is unable to climb a staircase, this makes accessing them impossible. House additions to the first floor ensure that a person with disabilities can access the rooms they need.
Widen the Halls and Doorways
If someone needs a wheelchair to get around, they might struggle with doorways and hallways. In some houses, these might not be big enough to accommodate a wheelchair, making it difficult to get through the house. This can be especially difficult in thigh corners where a person in a wheelchair is unable to turn. If this is an issue in your home, you might need to renovate and expand the halls and doorways so that they can accommodate a wheelchair.
Get Help Making Your Home More Accessible
No one should have to struggle to get around their own home. This is where you should feel safe and comfortable, but physical disabilities can make this hard. Unfortunately, getting the modifications a person needs can be expensive, and many people can’t afford to pay this out of pocket. At Homeowner Funding, we can help you find funding for various home renovations, from making your home more accessible to making updates or installing a home sunroom. As an Owens Corning preferred contractor and an NRIA program provider, we can help ensure quality home improvement projects.
Contact us to learn more about how we can help modify your home for someone with disabilities.