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Handicap Homes: 8 Ways to Make a Home Disability Friendly

wheelchair access

Did you know that over 131 million people in the world need a wheelchair?

It’s no wonder that more homes have to be built with a wheelchair in mind.

Do you need to alter a home for somebody disabled?

To create handicap homes, you need to know what they’ll need to be comfortable.

Keep reading for 8 ways to make it work.

Handicap Homes: 8 Ways to Make a Home Disability Friendly

If you or your loved one needs the home to be disability friendly there are many ways to make the house more comfortable for everyone living there. You have a ton of options when you create handicap homes.

Another point to think about is if you ever decide to sell your home in the future having it handicap accessible will make your property more valuable to a wider range of people.

1. Wide Doorways

Walkers and wheelchairs need a lot of space to get through. The wider the area is the better. The average doorway is between 23″ – 27.”

For a wheelchair to fit the doorframe has to be at least 32 inches. Some people choose to install french doors because these provide more than enough room for a wheelchair.

Another option is to widen your doorway. Going this route can cost up to $1,000 to do. You do have the option of buying offset hinges and installing them.

The offset hinges will swing the door clear of the opening.

2. Ramps

If your home has steps you will need a ramp for a wheelchair to be able to get in and out of the house. If you have a child on a wheelchair you might be able to get away with lifting them up a few steps when they are younger but as they get older this will be more of a challenge. You have different ramp options.

You can either have a separate ramp from the steps in your home or you can have a ramp to go over the steps in your home. When you are looking at adding a wheelchair ramp for stairs do your research because there are so many options. There are different layout options such as:

  • Straight ramps
  • Switchback ramps
  • Left turn ramps
  • Right turn ramps

You also have different material options to choose from including:

  • Aluminum
  • Concrete
  • Wood
  • Steel

3. Bathroom

Taking showers is part of everyday living. Creating a handicap bathroom is another necessity. You will need to make sure there is enough room to roll a wheelchair into the shower.

You also have to make sure the shower floor is non-slippery material to avoid accidents. Keep in mind that the more grout that is in between tiles the less slippery the floors will be.

The bathroom sink you will want to choose one that is open underneath to be able to roll in with a wheelchair. Make sure the mirror is low enough to see yourself from a seated position.

The toilet is another area in the bathroom you have to make sure is low enough to easily transfer to and from a wheelchair. If it’s not low enough you can add an elevated seat with guard rails to make the transfer easier.

One last thing you might consider adding to the bathroom to give extra support are grab bars. You can install them by the shower, tub, sink, and toilet.

4. Kitchen

To make your home more handicap accessible there are a few kitchen changes that can be made. Appliances can be rearranged to be near the sink and counters to make it easier for cooking. Everyday items can be moved to lower cabinets to access easier.

You can put at least one accessible workspace where someone can access while sitting in a wheelchair. The workspace can be a fold-down table that’s hinged to the wall or a small dining table.

You can also remove cabinets underneath a counter and make sure the counter is low enough to be reached while sitting in a wheelchair. The sink is another area that has to be accessible from a seated position. You can create leg space under the sink to give room for a wheelchair to sit comfortably.

When you choose a stove to pick one that has the controls on the front of the appliance. You can attach a removable mirror on the wall behind the cooktop at an angle to keep an eye on the food on the stove.

If there are any exposed pipes don’t forget to insulate them. The last thing you want is someone burning their legs or their feet.

5. Rails

These are great to have on-ramps for extra support while going up and down in a wheelchair. They are also important to have for those that aren’t using a wheelchair but need extra support because they struggle with mobility.

6. Clear Paths

Everyone living in the home will want to keep in mind that all the hallways and area should be kept clear. You want to make sure that your loved one is able to get around without something in the way.

Have an area to keep the shoes instead of leaving them by the door to make sure a wheelchair won’t trip on them.

7. Area to Park

When the wheelchair isn’t being used you want to have a designated spot or spots to keep it. You don’t want to randomly trip over a wheelchair at night time when you’re half asleep.

8. Closet Rods

To make it easy for someone to reach clothing in a closet from a wheelchair you can bring the rods down. Usually, about two feet from the floor is perfect for those reaching for their clothes from a wheelchair.

Your Loved One Will Be Forever Grateful

As you can see there are many ways to create handicap homes. Your disabled loved one will appreciate every attention to detail and thought that you put into the home.

Are you looking for more tips when it comes to building a home? Check out our build section with more ideas.

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