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9 Ways to Make a Home Accessible for Those with Physical Disabilities

Matt H Jan 13, 2020
A home can be modified in a variety of ways to make life easier for residents and visitors who have a disability.
A disability can present many challenges when it comes to day to day living. The definition of a disability refers to a condition which limits an individual’s physical capabilities or impacts their senses. As a result, performing simple tasks such as opening a door or walking down a flight of stairs can be difficult without assistance.
However, there are many ways in which individuals can overcome these challenges and live fully independent lives.

One very effective solution is to make home modifications – after all, the one place we all want to feel comfortable in is at home.
A lot will depend on type of disability one has to deal with. For example, individuals who are paralyzed as a result of a spinal cord injury will require the use of a wheelchair, and therefore, their home should be modified appropriately to allow them to use their chair with ease.
Those who have other physical disabilities but don’t require the use of a wheelchair can still benefit greatly from simple modifications to their home.

In the next slides you will discover nine ways in which a home can be modified to be more accessible.

Install Ramps

Even a single story house may have some steps, inside or at entrance points. Ramps can allow wheelchair users to easily navigate around a property.

They can be greatly beneficial to those who do not need the wheelchair but who are unsteady on their feet and struggle with steps.

Install a Stair Lift or Elevator

Ramps might be ideal solution for replacing few steps, but to allow access to second or third floors they are not useful. Stair lifts and elevators, are effective ways to achieve this.

Handrails

Installing handrails throughout a home can make a huge difference to those who have mobility issues or are prone to falling due to a medical condition. It’s crucial to carefully plan which areas of a home will benefit most from having handrails installed to ensure these great assistive aids can be as effective as possible.

Replace Flooring

Many floorings are not ideal for those with physical disability. Slick tile surfaces may be slippery, whereas thick carpets may be difficult for a wheelchair user to contend with. A lot will depend on a person’s disability, but adequate flooring is certainly something that needs to be considered.

Widen Doorways

A fairly obvious modification that may need to be made to accommodate wheelchair users involves widening of doorways.

Ensuring that doorways are not too narrow to enable wheelchairs to pass through them is important, but it’s also crucial to check that there is sufficient space in the immediate vicinity to allow for ease of movement beyond the doorway.

Install a Toilet Riser

A toiler riser is a device which increases the height of a toilet seat to allow people with reduced mobility to use the facilities more easily.

It’s important to ensure that a toilet riser is not positioned too high for the user as this could increase the risk of the individual falling from the seat.

Avoid Doorknobs

Doorknobs might appear a solution to help people open doors with ease, but some designs can be difficult for people with certain disabilities.

Push/pull bars are more disabled-friendly alternative to traditional doorknobs. Other options include automatic doors operated by sensor.

Modify Shower

Bathtubs may be difficult to get into for people with certain disabilities, due to their high sides. Showers can be a better option. The challenge of a small step can be overcome with the help of a ramp and by installing a shower bench, additional support can be available to anyone using it.

Furniture Layout

A simple (and free) way to improve accessibility within a home is to carefully consider the layout and positioning of furniture throughout the building. Ensuring sufficient space between furniture to allow for a wheelchair to easily navigate around a room is an effective approach.