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How To Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible

Making your home wheelchair accessible doesn’t have to involve building a new home from scratch. Sometimes it’s possible to make adaptations to your current home 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.

How To Make Your Home Wheelchair Accessible pinterest

1. Ramps

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 and have zero strength to operate the door handle. That’s when automatic door-opening systems became 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.

3. Bathroom

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, along 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.

4. Stairs

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 can 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.

5. Doorways

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 maneuverability 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 them 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?

More on this topic…

Finding a Wheelchair Accessible Home | Our Accessible Housing Struggles

9 Ways To Make Your Home More Accessible

Daily Hoist Transfers Easy & Safe | Molift Hoist Review

RealSAM Smart Speaker Review: Accessible Entertainment Hub

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Meet Emma

Hello I’m Emma. My mission is to show you the possibilities of accessible travel through my travel guides, tips and reviews. I also share personal stories, live event reviews and more.

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7 Responses

  1. I am a wheelchair user and I live in an apartment so I cannot change too much. This is a new building and there are no steps. We have the Fair Housing Act in the US which means there have to be certain basic access features in apartment complexes over a certain size built after the Act took effect. There was a small step out to my terrace but management built up the terrace to the level of the step so I can get up. All the doors are wide enough and there is turn space in the bathroom. My apartment has some extra accessibility features such as cut out space under the sinks and the microwave is down low. It does however have the highest kitchen cabinets I have ever seen but there are some storage areas low down. It does have wood floors which I love – easier than carpet and easier to clean. It does not have a roll in shower just a regular tub and I can’t replace that. That is OK for me because I can use a shower bench in the tub. No automatic doors but I can open them. Management put grab bar in the tub for me. The toilet is too low so I use commode chair over the toilet. I would absolutely love to have the kind of toilet you describe as long as it is high and sturdy enough as I put a lot of stress on toilets getting on and off them. I do not use air mattresses as I find them too soft and hard to maneuver on them. There is a pool here and there is a lift.

  2. Making wheelchair accessible in different places poses different challenges for disabled persons. Perhaps mobility ramps is the most perfect option for the front door of a house.

  3. Thanks for the tips about making a home more wheelchair accessible. My brother’s daughter is in a wheelchair, and they have had to make some adjustments to their home and are always looking at what else they can do. I like that you mentioned that sliding doors can be a great alternative to standard doors. It’s always good to have an accessible home.

  4. Hi Emma, It’s really hard to set a home wheelchair accessible. After a critical car accident, my mom failed to walk alone. At that time, It was difficult for her to use a wheelchair but it was a challenge for us to make our home wheelchair accessible so that my mom can use it comfortably. Then we started working on it. Bring some changes, remodel stairs and finally mom was happy. Right now she can use a wheelchair very easily.

    1. Hi Daisy, thank you for your comment. I’m sorry to hear your Mum had a bad car accident. It’s great you have been able to make improvements so that it is accessible to your Mum allowing her to feel comfortable in her home again.

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