According to the 2010 census, more than 56 million people in the United States have a disability. Physical disabilities present themselves in many ways, including mobility issues, sensory impairments and more.
When a person lives with a physical disability, they may need reasonable accommodations for certain daily tasks to be accessible. This may include accommodations throughout the home and in their vehicle, among other places.
In this guide we’ll look at seven ways you can make your home more accessible for people with disabilities, creating a safer, more convenient environment.
1. Install a Ramp
If a person uses a wheelchair, they can’t use stairs to accommodate elevation changes.
Ramps are an excellent addition to any home. They help everyone with mobility issues, not only wheelchair-users.
Building a ramp is one of the fastest, most affordable home modifications you can make to improve accessibility. However, you may need a local permit to build one so it’s important to check the building codes in your area to comply.
2. Add Grab Bars in Bathrooms
Using the facilities can be challenging for individuals with physical disabilities. It can be challenging to get up from the toilet or stabilize oneself getting out of the shower, increasing their risk of injury in the bathroom.
Grab bars can be an excellent way to minimize risks for disabled individuals when they use the restroom. A grab bar can make it easier to get up from the toilet or get out of the shower.
Best of all, grab bars are usually inexpensive and easy to install. If you have the right tools, you shouldn’t have to hire a professional.
3. Install a Toilet Riser
Toilet risers are another easy modification you can make to increase your home’s accessibility.
Many homeowners use toilet risers alongside grab bars to make it easier to get up after the person finishes using the restroom.
Like grab bars, toilet risers are easy to install and rarely require professional help. Many home improvement stores sell risers for $50 or less, making them one of the most affordable home modifications.
4. Widen Doorways
Wheelchairs are not subject to standard sizing regulations. Some individuals may have larger, wider models than others which can impact their accessibility.
Most standard doorways don’t factor wheelchair width into consideration. Depending on your home, you may need to widen your doorways if you’re accommodating a wheelchair.
Widening doorways usually requires professional help. It may cost between $500 and $1000, depending on your location, your home, and your contractor.
5. Choose More Appropriate Flooring
Carpet can make using a wheelchair difficult – especially plush, shag rugs. Think of it like riding a bike on the grass – it requires more effort and limits mobility.
Removing carpets and installing hardwood, tile, or vinyl floors can be an excellent way to improve your home’s mobility.
It’s important to choose flooring that the wheelchair won’t damage. Over time, the wheels can scratch certain floor types – choose one like hardwood or tile that can withstand the additional wear and tear.
6. Remove High Cabinets
Kitchens can be notoriously hard to navigate for people with accessibility issues. If your home has high cabinets, consider installing lowers units that are easier to reach.
For maximum accessibility, consider installing “Lazy Susan” revolving cabinets. These are low to the ground, easily accessible to residents in wheelchairs.
7. Install Walk-In Showers
Showers are one of the most dangerous places for individuals with physical disabilities. Adding a shower chair is one low-cost way to make bathing safer but to eliminate more risks, consider installing a walk-in shower.
Stand in tubs are more likely to cause falls than stand-in showers. If an individual uses a wheelchair, they can more easily use a walk-in shower than a stand-in bathtub – even with a shower chair.
Unfortunately, installing a walk-in shower is one of the most expensive home modifications for individuals with physical disabilities. But for individuals with wheelchairs, it can provide much-needed peace of mind when they bathe.
Accessibility is crucial if you want individuals with physical disabilities to feel comfortable in your home. With a few simple modifications, you can make your residences friendlier for people with disabilities, creating a fully-accessible environment they can navigate with ease.