Individuals who require the use of wheelchairs to get around require some special modifications to their homes. Naturally, their mobility issues don’t enable them to utilize the various rooms of the home in the way most of us can. Adding such home modifications as porch lifts or stair lifts is often necessary. They both offer safe accessibility inside and outside the home. However, there are a few other important steps to take when making your home safe for wheelchair users.
Here are three:
1. Widen your entranceway.
We suppose it makes sense to start off with the entrance to your home. Those previously-mentioned porch lifts definitely come in handy for homes that have staircases that lead to their front doors. However, in many cases, those front doors need to be widened to accommodate for the extra space taken up by wheelchairs. If you have a storm door, Home2Stay.com suggests that you remove it.
“It can be extremely difficult to hold open one door while you reach into the doorway to open the interior door (all from a seated position), and at the same time propel yourself over a threshold,” notes the site, “Removing your storm/weather door will remove one more obstacle out of your path.”
2. Modify your bathrooms and kitchen.
The bathroom is often cited as the most dangerous room in the home. With the obvious presence of water and slippery surfaces, it’s important to ensure that there are such devices as grab bars and transfer benches present to prevent falls when getting in and out of the bathtub. The kitchen should also not be neglected. A few modifications in this all-important room of the home will also help for wheelchair users to be safer and more comfortable.
“Lower the countertops, install appliances that are easy to reach, and provide roll-out storage units,” recommends The Caregiver Partnership, “You can also install a sink that allows the individual to roll his or her wheelchair underneath it. Adjust the location of all controls and outlets, and use rocker switches for lighting.”
3. Ensure that the entire home is well-lit.
It’s important, of course, to ensure that there is ample space for wheelchair users to move around in your home. And by “ample space”, we also mean that your floors are clear of obstructions. Naturally, it helps for any obstructions to be easily seen. Therefore, keeping all areas of the home well-lit is a big plus for wheelchair users. Quite obviously, the ability to see where you’re going promotes better safety.
“Proper lighting is super important when planning a wheelchair accessible home and when preparing to age in place,” says Home2Stay.com, “According to CNIB, half a million Canadians are estimated to live with significant vision loss, and with our increasing use of technology such as smartphones and laptops, it is becoming increasingly common for people to lose their sight as they get older.”
At Advantage Home Health Solutions, we pride ourselves on offering numerous solutions that help make homes safer for wheelchair users. For more information about our porch lifts, stair lifts, bedroom and bathroom accessibility devices and even the wheelchairs themselves, please don’t hesitate to give us a call at 403-460-5438. You may also email us by filling out the form on our Contact Us page!