Most stores, restaurants, and government buildings take steps to accommodate people with disabilities. It’s the right thing to do, but it’s also the law.
But things aren’t always as easy at home. Most homes aren’t designed with wheelchair users in mind. However, with a few modifications, it’s possible for people with disabilities to live comfortably. Here are a few handicap accessibility tips for your home:
1. Getting in and out
Let’s start at the entrance to your home. Having a wheelchair ramp that allows you or a wheelchair users in your family to avoid the steps is key.
You need to make sure you have a wide enough pathway for the ramp. Consider installing a handrail and a non-slip surface for people who don’t use a wheelchair but have difficulty walking.
The cost of installing a ramp will depend on the materials you use and the size of the ramp. If you’re dealing with a temporary situation – a disabled relative staying for a few months, a short-term injury – you can use a portable ramp.
Wheelchair users can have trouble with doorways if they aren’t wide enough. A good width is 32 inches, and you can hit that number by removing door frames, reversing the way doors open or just removing the door altogether.
Switching to sliding doors, installing automatic door openers and lowering doorknobs can all help wheelchair users navigate your home.
Thick carpeting and wheelchairs don’t mix, and rugs can present a trip hazard for people using canes or crutches. You may need to switch to tile or hardwood flooring, or at least go with a low-pile carpeting. Hallways should be at least 36 inches wide, per the Americans With Disabilities Act.
4. In the kitchen
Kitchens should have enough floor space to allow wheelchair users to get to the counter, stove, sink, etc. Consider putting in a multi-level counter that allows people to work while standing or sitting. Some newer appliances make life easier for wheelchair users: stoves with controls on the front, refrigerators that have side-by-side refrigerator/freezer sections.
How do you add handicap accessibility to your bathroom? Start by replacing your tub with a shower: either a roll-in shower, or one with a seat. A removable, hand-held showerhead can help as well. For added stability, install grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. (You’ll need to make sure your walls are reinforced.)
For someone with a wheelchair, a set of stairs can render parts of a home off-limits. Installing a stair lift can remove that limitation, and allow you or your loved one to enjoy the same level of access and independence as the rest of your family.
If you need help adding handicap accessibility to your home, get in touch with Pennsylvania Stair Lifts.
We install stair lifts for customers in the Philadelphia area, with products including external stair lifts and platform lifts to help you outdoors.
Contact us today and we’ll help you and your loved ones feel more at home in your home.