If you live in a home that’s not accessible to people with disabilities, you’ve probably wondered what could be done to make it easier for them. Fortunately, there are many simple things you can do to ensure that your home is more accessible for those who need it. Here is a list of ways you can make your home more accessible for those with mobility issues or cognitive disorders:
Consider the overall home design.
When you’re designing your new home, it’s important to consider the needs of everyone in the household. This includes elderly family members and children with disabilities, as well as yourself. When planning for those in your life who may have special needs, there are several features that can make life easier:
- Make sure there is enough space in each room–not just for walking around but also for wheelchair access if needed.
- Think about storage areas (like closets) on both sides of doors so things aren’t too far away from where people stand when getting ready in the morning or going to bed at night.
- Consider installing grab bars near toilets and showers so that those using them will have something sturdy nearby if they need extra support while using them.*
Make sure doors are wide enough for wheelchairs.
If you have a door that is not wide enough for wheelchairs, you can install a wheelchair ramp. It’s best to have the ramp lead up to the front door; if there’s no room for this, then find another way of getting people with disabilities into your home (for example, by leaving one or more windows open).
Another option is to install an electric doorbell that can be activated by voice commands or buttons on the wheelchair itself.
Ensure doorways aren’t too narrow for a wheelchair to fit through.
- Ensure doorways aren’t too narrow for a wheelchair to fit through.
- Minimum doorway size: 32 inches wide
- Exceptions: exterior doors, doors in bedrooms and bathrooms (if not adjoining other rooms), kitchen or laundry room doors that are not part of an accessible route
Install ramps or widen doorways.
Ramps are more expensive than widening doorways, but they can also be easier to install. They’re also more versatile and can be used in more places than just doorways. And remember: ramps aren’t just for wheelchairs–they can help people with mobility aids like walkers or crutches as well.
Add grab bars in the bathrooms and by toilets.
Add grab bars in the bathrooms and by toilets.
Grab bars are essential to help you get in and out of the bathtub or shower, as well as support you while standing at the toilet. They can be installed in many places: on the wall next to your favorite shower head, on a nearby wall (if there’s room), or even overhead if necessary. The best place is usually right next to where your hand will naturally rest when reaching for support–that way, it’s instinctive for you to grab onto them instead of falling over! Make sure that all grab bars are high enough that they don’t interfere with anyone else who might use them (such as children).
Be sure there is enough lighting in every room of the house, including hallways, bathrooms and staircases.
- Be sure there is enough lighting in every room of the house, including hallways, bathrooms and staircases.
- If you have a lot of windows or skylights, make sure they’re big enough for your loved one to see out of comfortably. If not, consider adding window treatments that can be lowered or removed when necessary.
- Similarly, if your home has high ceilings or tall doorways (like mine does), think about installing an alarm system with a remote keypad so that someone who uses a wheelchair can enter their code from the comfort of their chair rather than having to walk across an entire room just to get into the house.*
Add visual cues that help tell people with cognitive disorders where they are in the house.
To help people with cognitive disorders, add visual cues that tell them where they are in the house.
- Use arrows or colored tape to point the way from one room to another.
- Place stickers with words like “kitchen” or “bathroom” on doors and walls so that they can be seen by someone who is unable to read. These stickers can also be used as a substitute for written directions if you’re concerned about their ability to read those as well (for example, if someone has dyslexia).
- Use symbols instead of words whenever possible; this will make it easier for people with learning disabilities or language impairments to understand what something does without having to read any text first! For example: instead of writing “Do Not Enter,” write an arrow pointing away from whatever area you want blocked off – this saves space AND makes it easier for anyone who can’t read English well enough yet because now instead of having two different words printed out there which might mean nothing at all except maybe some kind of warning sign…you only have one simple thing–an arrow pointing away from whatever place which means nothing else except maybe some kind of warning sign…so basically now everyone can see exactly where not go without having them looking up every single word first before doing anything else.”
Consider installing a stair lift if there aren’t any stairs or if stairs aren’t accessible.
If your home has no stairs or if it’s too difficult to access the stairs, consider installing a stair lift. Stair lifts are not expensive, can be installed in one day and don’t require much maintenance. They can also be installed on stairs of any width or height–even if they’re curved–and they can be used by people with disabilities who use wheelchairs or scooters as well as those who have trouble walking up and down steps.
You can make your house more accessible by just paying attention to these few things
You can make your house more accessible by just paying attention to these few things:
- Add grab bars in the bathrooms and by toilets.
- Consider installing a stair lift if there aren’t any stairs or if stairs aren’t accessible.
- Consider the overall home design: Make sure doors are wide enough for wheelchairs and other mobility devices, and that hallways are wide enough to allow people with disabilities to navigate them easily (at least 36 inches).
You don’t have to make huge changes or spend a lot of money in order to make your home more accessible. By paying attention to these few things, you can make it easier for people with disabilities to live comfortably in their home.