There’s a reason a lot of us find this time of year so stressful. The holidays can be anything but a holiday when you’re hosting guests.
And when one of those guests has a disability, your job goes beyond basic cooking and cleaning to making sure your home is as accessible as it is hospitable.
That’s why many people rent stair lifts around this time of year: it gives their guests who might have mobility challenges a way to access every part of the home.
But that’s not the only thing you can do to help visitors who might have disabilities. Here’s a list of some of the ways you can make your home more accessible and welcoming this year.
For guests with mobility issues
- As we said earlier, you might want to rent a stair lift for the holidays. This will help both wheelchair users and older visitors who might have trouble on the steps.
- You can also rent a temporary wheelchair ramp if your home has a lot of steps.
- Invest in a shower seat and removable showerhead for guests that will be staying overnight.
- Remove things that might become low-level obstacles, such as throw rugs or power cords.
- Most wheelchairs are between 24 and 27 inches wide. Give wheelchair users enough space to go from room to room. This may mean – temporarily – removing smaller pieces of furniture.
For guests with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- Speak with their caregivers ahead of time to learn your guest’s emotional triggers or stressors.
- Put up a sign to guide people to the bathroom.
- Set aside a quiet space where guests can nap if they feel restless.
- Lock doors and block stairways.
- Your guests may remember you, but they may not always remember recent milestones. You may have to talk about things like a wedding or the birth of a grandchild as if they’re learning about it for the first time.
- Above all, remain positive and try to answer their questions in a way that doesn’t make them feel bad about forgetting things.
For guests who are deaf or have trouble hearing
- Make eye contact when you talk with them, even if you’re speaking to someone acting as an American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter. If there’s no interpreter on hand, have a note pad handy – or just write things using the notes app on your phone.
- Better still, learn a few phrases in ASL, like “It’s good to see you” or “It’s time for dinner.”
- Communicate normally. There’s no need to shout or make overexaggerated movements with your mouth while speaking.
For guests with visual impairments
- Allow them to take your elbow for guidance when showing them around. Keep an eye out for steps and inclines.
- Show them to their seats at meals and let them know where things are on the table using clock directions. (“The cranberry sauce is at your two o’clock.”)
- There’s no need to speak to people with visual impairment in a louder voice.
- Introduce yourself with a hug or handshake, saying your name in the process. If there’s someone else with you, let the guest know where they are in relation to you. (“My son Jim is standing to my right.”)
- If you need to move to another room during a conversation, be sure to let the guest know. (“I’m just stepping into the kitchen for a second.”)
Your holiday guests deserve to feel at home in your house, no matter their circumstances. At Pennsylvania Stairlifts, we’ve dedicated ourselves to making that happen.
Whether you need a permanent stair lift installation or just want to rent a stair lift for the holidays, we’re ready to help. Contact us today to learn more about our stair lift rentals. We look forward to helping your guests feel at home.