The number of people living with disabilities is not negligible, and the fact is that they need certain environmental adjustments in order to be as comfortable as possible. It’s also about safety and convenience since, in many cases, there’s only so much they can do on their own. For instance, if a person with disabilities gets hurt, or if they fall from the wheelchair without anybody around to help them, the consequences could be serious – which is why such accidents need to be prevented. So, whether you’re looking for ways to make your home more accessible for your friends with disabilities, or safer for a family member who's disabled, here are a few modifications you should consider.
1. Make Sure There’s Enough Space
If we are talking about a person in a wheelchair, you need to make sure there’s enough space for them to move around. Wider walkways are essential, regardless of whether we are talking about doorways or hallways. Also, measure and plan your living spaces in advance; there should be enough room around furniture items so that the person in a wheelchair can move around easily. This includes every room—especially the bathroom—since that might be the room with the most necessary adjustments. It’s not just about the freedom of movement, though – it’s about access, as well. So, take into consideration lifting aids and other necessary tools as well, and make sure all the important things are accessible by everybody.
2. Ensure Everything Is Well Lit
Lighting is always an important factor to consider, and not just when it comes to making your home more stylish but also when it comes to making it safer. For example, hallways and staircases are usually the areas that are far away from any windows and natural light. This makes them quite dangerous too, since even one fall down the stairs can result in all kinds of medical problems, from broken bones to concussions. Therefore, make sure those areas are properly lit. There should be light switches at both ends of the hallway, as well as at the bottom and top of the staircase. Additionally, all the switches should be installed low enough for a person in a wheelchair to access them.
If you could use any help with this part, and you happen to live in the Land Down Under, you can always hire a good electrician from Sydney who’d ensure that all the wiring and fixtures are safe to use. This is also important because there have been some new wiring rules that you might not be aware of – but a good electrician will know all about it.
3. Opt for Handles Instead of Doorknobs
If the person in question has limited mobility in their hands or wrists, you should opt for handles instead of doorknobs, simply because they are much easier to operate. If you can afford it, you can also install power doors in the most-used rooms. Just make sure they can still be opened manually in case of any power outage. Furthermore, you should also include a peephole and a chain at the door. These would enable the disabled family member to communicate with the person standing outside without exposing themselves to any potential threat in case the person they are talking to is a stranger.
4. The Floor Should Not Be Slippery
When it comes to rugs, carpets, and runners, it depends – if your hallway flooring happens to be slippery, you should have some runners. However, you should still secure them with carpet tape or some kind of lining. That being said, your staircase should be free of any runners as they can pose a tripping hazard. All in all, you should make sure the flooring is non-slippery and not an issue for a wheelchair to move around.
A home is not a home until it’s equally safe and comfortable for all the people living in it. So, if you have a family member with disabilities or a friend whom you like to socialize with fairly often, you should adjust your home to their needs if you can. Of course, some of the changes might be a bit costly, but the quality of life and care is really something you can’t put a price on.
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