Homes should be safe, accessible places that foster the best quality of life. There are accessibility options that ensure mobility and encourage every member to have the independence they deserve. This article will cover key areas you should consider when adapting your home to offer safety, access, and freedom.
Determining the modifications, you may need may require professional advice. If you are in the Boston area, the Bath Makeovers by Capital team is happy to serve you in any way possible.
Evaluate Your Home
By conducting a thorough assessment of your home, you identify all areas of improvement needed to accommodate family members with accessibility issues. You can hire a professional to assess your home, or you can take on the task on your own with some information about what to look for in mind.
When inspecting your home and evaluating what modifications might be needed, consider the following:
- Entrances and exits: Note whether steps, uneven surfaces, or other obstacles might be a problem. Measure doorways to accommodate a person using a wheelchair or a walker.
- Bathrooms: Wheelchair and walker users need room to maneuver inside the bathroom space. It may be helpful to install a zero-entry shower or a walk-in bathtub, so the size of the bathroom should be considered. It is also vital that there is ample room for grab bars and handrails to be installed.
- Kitchens: Consider the height of the countertops for someone using a wheelchair. It is also essential that the sink, cabinets, and appliances are easy to access for everyone.
- Floors: Rugs and carpets can impede maneuverability and can cause falls. Note surfaces that are not slip-resistant or are uneven.
- Stairs: Inspect for slippery and irregular steps that may cause slip and fall accidents. There will need to be handrails on each side in many instances, and you may even consider whether you have room to install a lift.
- Lighting: Is everything adequately illuminated? Dark areas can make it difficult for people with less-than-perfect eyesight and can cause falls.
After conducting a thorough home inspection, you are more aware of what improvements your home may need. The next step is to decide which modifications to prioritize based on their urgency and cost.
Handrails and Grab Bars Provide Significant Benefits
A crucial safety feature for an accessible home is handrails and grab bars. They support a standing person or someone who wishes to pull themselves up. When moving around your home, they can provide added stability.
Installing handrails and grab bars is an uncomplicated modification with a huge payoff toward the safety and independence of the people who need them. Here are some areas where they make a significant difference:
- Beside the shower, toilet, and bathtub so they can be easily reached and are securely attached in a way that supports the weight of the user.
- Walk-in tubs are made safer by grab bars and handrails.
- Stairways require handrails on both sides that extend past the top and bottom steps.
- Hallways can be easier to maneuver with support.
- Entry doors and beside exterior stairs or ramps are made safe with handrails.
Ways to Provide Wheelchair Access to Your Home
If someone in your home requires a wheelchair, you must make the necessary alterations so that they can use each part of their home. These modifications may include improvements like installing special equipment and altering your home’s floor plan to facilitate better mobility.
You may consider installing or modifying the following accommodations:
- Doorways should be a minimum of 32 inches to accommodate standard-sized wheelchairs.
- Gradually sloping, non-slip ramps with handrails make coming and going easier.
- Wheelchair-accessible countertops are 34 inches tall, so lowering countertops and sinks can make areas easier to access for those using wheelchairs.
- The addition of pull-out shelves and drawers in lower cabinets makes the items inside them easier to reach.
- Bathrooms can be modified in a number of ways to make them accessible. For instance, showers without a curb allow wheelchairs to roll in.
Light Up All the Dark Places
Improving visibility prevents accidents. Your home can be made safer by ensuring that all portions are well-lit. Some areas where you will want to pay close attention when designing a safe lighting plan are as follows:
- Outdoor areas
Consider installing motion-activated lighting. It can be very helpful when avoiding accidents due to low light. Finally, you will want to ensure that the lights are placed in convenient areas and that they are easy to turn on and off, even for someone with limited hand strength.
The Right Flooring Can Boost Safety and Mobility
Flooring significantly impacts a home’s safety and accessibility. Carpet can cause tripping and should be avoided. It is also difficult for a wheelchair or walker to maneuver across. By installing flooring that is slip-resistant and smooth, you provide a surface that is easier to navigate.
Hard surfaces like hardwood flooring, tile, laminate flooring, and vinyl should be considered when modifying your home to make it safer for everyone. It is possible to make these surfaces slip-resistant through a non-slip product. The added benefit is that they are easy to clean and maintain.
Final Thoughts on Making Homes Accessible to Everyone
Thoughtful modifications can make your home safe for everyone to enjoy. Considering the specific needs of the individual and the key areas that are important to alter, like entrances, exits, kitchens, bathrooms, lighting, and flooring can create a more secure, more independent living situation for everyone.
The Bath Makeover by Capital professionals understands how to correctly and appropriately make alterations to your home that will safely accommodate everyone who lives there. Speak with our contractors today about beginning a project that will provide safety and accessibility to everyone living under your roof.
Our goal is that your home achieves maximum independence and ease of use for the members who need extra options for their home to be accessible to them. Reach out today, and we can help you to analyze your home and provide you with options that will be beneficial and budget friendly.