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Keeping Your House Convenient and Safe for Family Members in Wheelchairs
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Keeping Your House Convenient and Safe for Family Members in Wheelchairs

If a family member suddenly becomes handicapped, your dream home could present a series of new challenges. Those shiny stairs or gorgeous floors could be dangerous for individuals with limited mobility.

You probably already take steps to keep your house safe. Sometimes it requires you to think outside the box. Perhaps you use pest-control specialists in Raleigh to remove unwanted critters from your property, in case you aren’t at home to help them out.  You can similarly enact additional measures to protect your loved ones in your home with disabilities.

Entrances  

People with limited mobility have difficulty navigating stairs. You can easily solve this problem by installing a ramp outside your home. There are several different types of ramps from which you can choose. As their name implies, threshold ramps allow a handicapped person to easily traverse an uneven threshold inside or outside the home. There are also collapsible ramps that are easy to store if necessary.

When adjusting your home's entrance, you can't forget about the door, either. Make sure it is at least 36 inches wide so that it can accommodate a wheelchair.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are particularly dangerous for handicapped people. The slippery floors and hard countertops with sharp edges could easily lead to disaster.  

To make the bathing process simpler, you can opt for a step-in tub lined with slip-resistant material.  If your loved one prefers a shower, remove the curb so your relative can roll right into the stall. You should also add a channel drain that eliminates water from the shower floor more quickly.

A shower bench or chair is another device you can install to make your relatives more comfortable. A mounted, foldable version is easy to set up and gives other members of the family ample space.

Your bathroom remodel shouldn’t just include the bathtub or shower. Ideally, the sink should be made higher than usual and provide space for your loved one to roll right up to it. Toilet seats should similarly be moved higher off the ground. This way, the handicapped individual will not have to travel as far to get from the seat to the wheelchair and vice versa.

Grab bars are also a must for any accessible bathroom. They allow handicapped people to lift themselves out of seated positions, giving them a sense of independence. Make sure that you test the bars in advance to see if they are at the proper height. The bars also must be properly secured so they can support the person's weight.

Kitchens

The kitchen sink should be high with a shallow basin. Any pipes located below the sink must be insulated so the user does not get scalded.

If your freezer is on top of your refrigerator, the former may not be accessible to those in wheelchairs. Invest in a side-by-side configuration instead.

You also may have to adjust your kitchen cabinets so that they are closer to the ground. Items that your disabled loved one needs most frequently should be placed in those cabinets and the bottom drawers.

Flooring

The flooring of an accessible house must be firm, durable, non-porous and smooth. This will make the floors easier to clean while reducing the risk of falls.

Stone and ceramic tiles should be avoided, if possible. However, laminate and vinyl floorings can work well. Wood is an option, too, but it can be harder to maintain.  

Other Parts of the Home

Any shelves or drawers within the closest should be near the ground. Hanging clothes should be moved lower down, as well.

If you have a backyard pool, it is a great way for your disabled relative to get some exercise. However, your loved one may not be able to use the pool stairs or ladder. Companies offer pool lifts that can safely transfer people in and out of the water. They typically work for both in-ground and above-ground pools.

When a family member becomes handicapped, you will need to make some adjustments to your house.  While this could be costly, the expense is worth it because it allows your relative to stay safe.

Image credit: https://www.pexels.com/photo/woman-in-yellow-long-sleeve-shirt-sitting-on-wheelchair-4063510/

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