Making your home accessible can help people with disabilities have the same independence and mobility as those without.
Accessibility modifications to a house include widening doorways, adding ramps for wheelchair access, and modifying the layout of rooms to accommodate devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, and other mobility aides. Here are some important changes you should make to your home to make it more accessible.
1. Home elevator and lifts
Home elevators and lifts can be an invaluable addition to any home, making it easier for individuals with reduced mobility or those using a wheelchair to move from one floor of the house to another. Installing a residential elevator can provide improved access between floors while significantly decreasing the risk of injury associated with climbing stairs. For example, a lift in a house can provide elderly individuals with a safe and convenient way to access multiple floors. Home elevators and lifts come in many forms depending on your space needs and budget. Freestanding lifts are designed for shallow pits, short travel distances, and portable installation.
2. Widening doorframes and hallways
For wheelchair users or people with other mobility devices, widening doorways and hallways can make it easier to gain access to different parts of the house. Widening doorframes and hallways can also make it easier for caregivers and medical personnel to enter the home with their equipment. In order to widen a doorway, you will need to remove any doors or trim that is obstructing the entryway and replace them with wider ones. This is typically done in conjunction with reinforcing wall studs if necessary. It’s important to check with local building codes before making any changes to the structure of your home.
3. Installing ramps
Ramps offer an alternative way for people who cannot use stairs and those using wheelchairs to access different levels of a home. Ramp installation requires careful measuring and planning; when calculating the total length needed for your ramp, you’ll need to factor in slope ratio considerations so that it is accessible yet safe for users. If possible, you should also consider installing handrails on either side of the ramp to provide additional balance and stability. This is especially important if the ramp is long or has a steep slope.
4. Adding grab bars and handrails
Grabbing bars and handrails can help people who have difficulty standing or getting up from the toilet, bathtub, shower, or even stairs. They provide greater stability for those with balance issues as well. When installing grab bars, be sure to install them into studs in your walls so they are secure and able to bear weight. Handrails should also be securely fastened onto walls that line hallways and staircases. Also, think about where these bars and rails should be placed to best suit the user’s needs. It’s important to make sure these bars and rails are installed correctly to ensure the highest level of safety.
5. Lowering countertops and cabinets
Lowering countertops and cabinets can help individuals in wheelchairs access them without having to reach up. If you are able to lower the cabinets, this should make it easier for them to access items stored inside. This is especially important if you have a kitchen or bathroom with several high cabinets. You may need to hire a professional carpenter or cabinet maker to help you with this task, as it can be difficult and time-consuming. Lowering countertops and cabinets not only makes life easier for those in wheelchairs but also for those individuals who are shorter in stature or have difficulty reaching up high.
6. Installing lever-style door handles
Lever-style door handles are easier to use than traditional doorknobs, as they allow you to open a door with only one hand. This can be especially helpful for those with limited mobility or strength in their arms and hands. Lever-style door handles also provide added convenience for people who need to move quickly from room to room, such as when carrying items or escorting guests. When selecting lever-style door handles, look for ones that have rounded edges and are ADA-compliant. It’s also important to make sure they are installed correctly and securely.
Making your home more accessible doesn’t have to be a monumental undertaking. With the right planning and preparation, you can make simple changes that will improve safety and accessibility for all members of your household. Whether it’s widening doorways, installing ramps or grab bars, or lowering countertops and cabinets, making these changes will help ensure that everyone in your home can navigate it with ease. With a few modifications, you can make sure that your home is as accessible and safe as possible.