According to the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly 40 million Americans are reported as having a disability in 2015. Four million of those people rely on a wheelchair or other mobility device. With the growing population of wheelchair users, the need for handicap-accessible homes has grown as well. Building a new home is a great choice but is not always an option. Here are a few changes that can be made to a home to make it ready and operative for a person using a wheelchair.
Ensuring a person can get into, and around, a home easily is the first step to arranging it to be accessible. Construct a ramp over any entry stairs to allow a wheelchair to pass over smoothly. If a home has a second floor or is raised above the ground, having a cargo lift installed will improve usability drastically.
Install grab bars around toilets and showers. Make sure at least three contact bars are available around the toilet for maximum safety. If possible, have a tub converted to a walk-in shower large enough for a person’s wheelchair to be maneuvered in and out when needed.
Move essential items to the lower cupboards for storage and only use upper cupboards if needed. Consider the height of appliances carefully and how to position them to be used more effectively. Pull-out drawers with simple appliances ready to use are a simple change that can make an entire kitchen more usable. Have outlets installed inside or between cabinets. The lower height will allow better access than those at the back of the counters.
Preparing a home for use by a wheelchair user can seem like a daunting task. Arranging furniture to be open and making sure halls and walkways are clear of hazards are simple things that can be done to make a home more welcoming to a person in a wheelchair. Look at the accessibility standards set up by the ADA for more suggestions to make a home ready and welcoming for a wheelchair user.