Immobile Family Member? Top Improvements to Wheelchair Proof Your Home

Written by  //  November 13, 2017  //  Home Construction  //  No comments

wheelchair home

Having an immobile family member who is confined to a wheelchair presents all sorts of challenges. From getting the person in and out of the house to making sure the bathroom, bedroom and kitchen are conducive, it can take a lot to make sure that your home is fully handicap accessible and meets your family member’s individual needs. With this in mind, here are a few tips that you can use to ensure your home is wheelchair ready.

Bathroom Improvements

The bathroom is one area where you’ll need to make a number of changes.  This is because it’s important that your family member can easily use the facilities. If your bathroom is currently equipped with a bathtub, you might consider replacing it with a shower. This will generally be easier to use for those in a wheelchair or with limited mobility. Adding a seat in the shower can make things even easier. You might also consider installing a handheld shower head.

In addition, a wheelchair-accessible bathroom should also feature heavy-duty grab bars in the shower and next to the toilet. Installing a taller toilet will also make it easier for wheelchair-bound individuals to use it on their own.

Kitchen Improvements

There are a number of improvements you’ll also need to make to the kitchen if you want to ensure it is fully accessible. Lowering the height of the counters and installing appliances that are easier to reach is a good place to start. The National Mobility Equipment Dealers Association notes that wheelchair-accessible counters should be a minimum of 28 inches and a maximum of 34 inches high. You might also consider installing a sink that has room for the person to roll their wheelchair underneath it. Finally, you should also lower the outlets and switches to a height where they can be easily reached.

Exterior Improvements

The exterior of the house is equally as important as the interior. If your home features a raised entrance, you will obviously need to install a wheelchair ramp. When installing a wheelchair ramp, it’s important that it’s at least 36 inches wide and has the least slope possible.
Alternatively, you could install a vertical-lift platform outside the entrance if there isn’t enough space to install a proper wheelchair ramp. In addition to the entrance, you should also make sure that the exterior spaces are conducive to a wheelchair. If your sidewalks or paths aren’t completely smooth or have large cracks, you may need to hire a concrete cutting service to fix up your walkways.

Doorways, Floors, Stairs and Other Miscellaneous Improvements

To make your home fully wheelchair proof, you will also have to take into account many other factors. For instance, you will need to install a stair lift or vertical-platform lift if your home features stairs. You will need to make sure that the doorways are at least 32 inches wide and hallways are at least 36 inches. Lowering the doorknobs also makes things easier for the wheelchair-bound individual.

Thick carpet can also cause major issues for those in wheelchairs. That is why it’s recommended that you replace your thicker carpets with low-pile carpets or rugs. You could also install harder floors such as wood, tile or linoleum. The thresholds themselves can also be tricky to go over in a wheelchair. For this reason, you need to make sure that the thresholds are rounded. You don’t want them to stick up from the floor by more than a 1/2 inch. This way, they’ll be easy to roll over.

It takes a lot of planning and hard work to make a home truly wheelchair proof. All of these improvements are definitely a good place to start. However, you’ll need to carefully evaluate your house in order to determine what other improvements you might need to make. Although it may take some time and dedication, all of the changes will be well worth it. This is especially true if they end up making it easier for your wheelchair-bound family member to get around. They’ll be more independent and be able to do more things on their own.

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