If you do not have disabilities that interfere with your perception, mobility, or balance, you may not have ever put a lot of conscious thought towards wondering if your home is as accessible as possible. There are several home modifications you can make so your home is welcoming to everyone who lives in it or comes to visit. Remember that abilities tend to change over time, so even if the people you know and interact with are able bodied now, that could change.
Limit Challenges Associated With Doorways and Thresholds
Your residence probably has several doorways. They might be very challenging for someone with different abilities.
For example, if a doorway has a threshold that is raised several inches off the ground, it may pose a tripping hazard for someone with partial sight. Also, a doorway might not be wide enough for a person to maneuver through it when using a mobility aid such as a walker or wheelchair.
You can make thresholds more visible by surrounding them with reflective, brightly colored tape. If you know there are certain doorways in your home that are likely tough for a person to get through if they’re using a mobility aid, communicate that in advance.
In the near future, you may need to hire contractors to widen problematic doorways, but until then, communication is a good substitute. It gives people the insight they need to make educated decisions about how to move around your abode.
Install Grab Bars in the Bathroom
According to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, millions of elderly people fall each year. Many of them have to go to emergency rooms for associated treatment, and some experience falls that are ultimately fatal.
Even if you don’t often have older people visiting or staying in your home, you can make your residence safer for everyone by mounting grab bars in the bathroom. A staple of all bathroom stalls intended for disabled users, these functional additions could prevent people from falling when they bathe or use the toilet.
When figuring out the best places to put grab bars, keep in mind that falls may be more likely to occur if people are standing on slick surfaces or doing things that require them to shift their weight. Installing a grab bar that’s near the entrance to your shower gives people something to steady themselves with as they transition to and from the bathroom floor’s surface to the area inside the shower.
Eliminate Obstacles Related to Stairs
Stairs can immediately make some disabled people feel discouraged, especially if there is no alternative way of getting into a building that does not require dealing with steps. That’s a good reason to think seriously about making your home more accessible through things like ramps and lifts.
Also, if you are considering building a new addition onto your home, it’s smart to review blueprints that you eventually give to a house designer. Focus your search by only looking for single-story additions or plans that could easily be adapted so they are maximally accessible even if people are not able to manage stairs.
Organize Cabinets and Closets for Simpler Access
Trying to reach something that’s on the highest shelf can be frustrating. If you often accommodate people who are not able to access things that are stored up high, spend time shifting things around in closets and cabinets so items are placed on lower shelves. Drawers, cubicles, and baskets are just a few of the things you might use to streamline organizational efforts.
Make Essentials Available on the Ground Level
If possible, transform the lowest level of your home so all the essentials a person might need are located in places that are free from stairs. That might mean turning a ground-floor half bath into a guest bathroom for a disabled person who visits a lot, or investing in a sleeper sofa for the sitting room so visitors can stay overnight without having to access your only guest room, which is on an upper level.
Thinking ahead and trying to anticipate what guests might need is important. However, it’s also crucial to ask for feedback and respond promptly if there are other things you could do to meet their needs.
Now you know that making your home more accessible to all is a goal within your reach. Some modifications take a while to complete, but they’re very worthwhile.