Living your life bound to a wheelchair is an everyday challenge. Especially for people who suffer debilitating accidents and suddenly find themselves in a world where they can no longer move and act the way that they used to. It changes many things in terms of what is “normal”. Even your own home becomes a space that is filled with obstacles, some of them potentially hazardous. Regular things such as stairs, knobs, toilets, and the like, are suddenly no longer mundane and require effort as well as some mandatory changes.
In this article, we are going to cover some of the ways that you can create a home that is wheelchair-friendly, so that it is significantly safer, more comfortable, and makes it possible for anyone with a disability to be as autonomous as possible.
For a wheelchair-user, stairs are an insurmountable obstacle. Even homes that don’t have multiple floors quite often have stairs implemented into their architectural design, such as those leading from a landing to other rooms that are at least slightly elevated—all of these need to be replaced with ramps.
You have a variety of options to choose from. The ramps can be portable, semi-permanent, permanent, and so on.
Set Up Appropriate Doorways
With a wheelchair on the home, you can no longer rely on approximately-sized and straightforward doorways. The width has to be at least 32’’ so that the doorway is usable, and 36’’ if you want to make it truly comfortable. Widening is the most complex solution, but it isn’t necessarily the only option.
You can choose to install offset hinges that make it possible to open the door farther out of the way. The good news is that they are relatively cost-effective and simple to install. On the other hand, you can completely remove the doors and replace them with curtains.
It is also essential to think about door handles. Depending on the disability, it may be difficult for some people to use regular doorknobs (for example, if their muscles have atrophied). You can solve this by implementing lever handles instead.
Make Sure That Every Important Spot Has A Handrail
Handrails are essential for every person whose mobility is severely undermined by their handicap. This is why every crucial spot in your home has to have a handrail installed. The bathroom is especially one of the locations that need to be made a lot more user-friendly. If they are able to, a wheelchair-user has to have the capability to use the toilet or the bathtub on their own.
Speaking of bathrooms, they should be made even more accessible by installing step-in tubs and slip-resistant surfaces that make personal hygiene significantly easier.
Install Proper Flooring
Every floor gets damaged in time, but if it has to sustain the pressure of a wheelchair on a daily basis, the chances are that this is going to happen sooner rather than later. This is why it would be wise to choose the appropriate type of flooring, in terms of material.
For example, you could opt for vinyl flooring because it comes with some great benefits. It is very durable and extremely resistant to damage. It can endure the pressure of the wheels for a long time. Not only that, but it is very easy to uphold.
Rearrange Your Home
Of course, the layout of your home has to be made appropriate as well. A person in a wheelchair has to be able to move around as freely as possible. So, it is crucial to get rid of any cramped passageways and sharp turns.
Furthermore, you should make furniture and any items that are used on a daily basis easy to access and make use of. This includes bookshelves, kitchen cupboards, and the like. Basically, make sure that any shelves that hold essential items are lowered so that a wheelchair-user doesn’t have trouble using them.
Creating a wheelchair-friendly home is a challenging but doable task. It’s necessary to look at everyday life through the eyes of a person with a disability and work on everything that appears as a challenge, even if one wouldn’t see it that way otherwise.
As we have ascertained in this article, there is a variety of solutions that you can invest in so that the life of a wheelchair-user is made a lot easier and safer on a daily basis, from little things like rearranging furniture, to larger projects such as appropriate architectural changes.
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