Making your home wheelchair accessible doesn’t have to involve building a new home from scratch. Sometimes it’s possible to make adaptions to your current home in order to make it easier to manoeuvre around in a wheelchair and promote independent living. Here are my 5 tips on how to make your home wheelchair accessible.
Most new-build homes are now being built with step-free access, allowing easier access for everyone, regardless of ability. However, if your home has steps, you may need to consider alternative solutions such as a ramp.
The type of ramp for the entrance to your home will depend on the number of steps. It’s important to consider handrails and a non-slip surface for your ramp as well.
2. Door System
For me, opening a door is impossible as I can’t lift my arms up and have zero strength to operate the door handle. That’s when the automatic door opening systems are lifesavers for so many disabled people. With the push of a button, you can open and close doors independently with ease.
This can be done via remote control or even a smartphone. For added safety pair this with a wireless intercom system and you’ll be able to hear who is at your door before letting them in.
When making a home accessible one of the priorities should be given to the bathroom. Without access to the bathroom, a wheelchair user won’t be able to go to the toilet, shower or carry out basic personal care. I know from my own experience that adapting my bathroom was given top priority before I could move in.
A walk-in shower or wet room shower is essential with a suitable shower commode chair. However, if removing the bath is not possible or you enjoy taking a bath, then you may want to consider a few solutions such as an electric bath lift/riser or a walk-in bath.
Another important and often essential facility is a wash and dry toilet. These amazing toilets allow you to independently toilet by automatically flushing, providing warm water washing and air drying. They are also very easy to use by various controls and sensors, which require very little effort/movement.
Grab rails next to the toilet, shower and roll-under sink area are also important for making your home accessible and safe.
Single level homes are the ideal option for wheelchair users. Having all rooms on the same level makes life so much easier, but if you have stairs, do not fear. There are a few options to consider such as a platform lift or a stairlift if you are able to transfer from your wheelchair.
It doesn’t matter what shape or size your staircase is, there will be a tracking system to suit and you can get a curved stairlift too.
There is no point in making your home wheelchair accessible by doing all of the above if the wheelchair user can’t get into each room. Ensure each doorway is widened to allow the wheelchair user to comfortably manoeuvre through.
Standard doors can restrict the manoeuvrability in and out of a room, so it may be that a sliding door is a better option.
Personally, I have a sliding bathroom door to maximize the size of my bathroom, but also to allow easier access in/out of the bathroom without any restrictions.
Other ways to make your home wheelchair accessible:
- Remove carpets and replace with wooden flooring
- Lower light switches and install power sockets at wheelchair height
- Height adjustable or lowered worktops, cooker and sink in the kitchen
- Adjustable height profiling bed and air mattress for pressure relief
- Environmental controls for operating TV, blinds, telephone, lights etc
Do you have any top tips for making a home wheelchair accessible?
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This post is sponsored but, as always, all content and opinions are my own.