Your home should be a comfortable and safe space. However, if you or a family member is one of the 40 million Americans living with a disability, then it is likely that your home needs some work.
It may seem daunting to change your home to make it more accessible as there is a lot of work that needs to go into it. Not only do you need to figure out what areas of the home need to be addressed, but you will also have to do the work in terms of getting quotes and finding suitable contractors.
In this article, we are going to be sharing the most common home modifications to make your home more accessible to those with disabilities, as well as some organizations that can help you throughout this process.
Where Should I Start With Accessible Home Modifications?
Making your home more accessible is a large task, and it can feel daunting to those with no experience in the field. We understand that for most things, the hardest thing is getting started, which is why we have spoken to experts regarding the most important areas for accessible modifications.
Instead of trying to tackle everything at once, take your modification process one step at a time by focusing on the most important areas of the home like:
Regardless of your ability or health status, everyone needs to use the bathroom, which is why this should be the first area to tackle when modifying for accessibility.
Not only is the bathroom a high-traffic area for everyone in the home, but it can also be a high-risk zone for those with disabilities. Risks such as falls and slips are prevalent in the bathroom, so this space should be addressed before anywhere else.
Much like the bathroom, people of all abilities need to use the kitchen, and in most cases, this room is considered to be the hub of the home. Once you have tackled the bathroom to make it more accessible and safe, it is time to work on the kitchen.
Not only are there risks in this room, with electrical appliances and sharp tools everywhere, but it can also be difficult for those with limited mobility to move freely throughout this space or those in a wheelchair to reach the counters comfortably.
- Entrances and Stairways
To make your home more accessible to those with disabilities, there needs to be plenty of free space, so it is comfortable to move around for anyone with limited mobility or when maneuvering a wheelchair.
Once specific rooms have been modified, it is time to work on the shared areas of the home and the entry points so everyone can move freely and get to their intended location with ease.
Specific Modifications For Each Room
Now that you know which areas to focus on when it comes to making your home more accessible, it is time to consider what needs to be done in each space.
Countless things can be done in each location to make it more accessible, and this will vary based on the needs of your family. As a starting point, we have curated some of the best things to do that will make each space more accessible to all disabilities.
Essential Bathroom Modifications
- Walk-in shower: This makes it easy for those with limited mobility to access the shower and can also support care workers when it comes to this routine with their patients
- Grab bars: This will support balance and mobility of those who need it the most and is essential for safety in the bathroom
- Lower sinks and counters: To allow those in wheelchairs access to their products and cleaning stations
Essential Kitchen Modifications
- Touch-sensitive faucets: Turning the faucet on requires strength and dexterity, which makes it difficult for those with disabilities to handle, which is why touch-sensitive replacements are essential in the kitchen
- Lowered power sockets and switches: Relocating power outlets and switches will make it easier to control appliances, so it should be done in all areas of the home, but it is vital in the kitchen when cooking tools are needed
- Lowered counters and appliances: This will make it easy for those in wheelchairs to reach what they need
Essential Mobility Modifications
- Widen doorways and hallways: To make it easier for those in a wheelchair or with limited mobility to move freely throughout the home
- Grab bars in the hallway: To offer stability when moving throughout the home, whether aided or alone
- Wheelchair ramp: To allow for easy access into and out of the home, allowing people to continue with their regular routines unaided
- Chair lift/elevator: Whether you have little to no mobility, it is not easy to get up and down the stairs, which is why adding a stairlift or an elevator into the home is ideal, and these can be used unaided
Making the home accessible can seem overwhelming, which is why it is best to focus on the most problematic areas first and foremost.
Ensuring that everyone, no matter their ability, has the freedom to move around the home is key, and this should be the focus when modifying the home for accessibility.