In an increasingly inclusive world, accessibility is no longer a luxury but an essential factor in designing homes. Whether you or a member of your family has a disability or you’re planning for your older age, there are many ways to make your home more accessible. Let’s have a look at how you can make your home more accessible.
- 1. Say Hello to Level Access or Ramp Access
- 2. Install a stairlift
- 3. Light Up Your Home with Accessible Lighting
- 4. Make Your Kitchen More Accessible
- 5. Create a Safe and Accessible Bathroom
- 6. Modify Your Home’s Exterior
- 7. Opt for Accessible Flooring
- 8. Choose Accessible Furniture
- 9. Invest in Assistive Technologies
- 10. Plan for the Future
1. Say Hello to Level Access or Ramp Access
Doorways play a critical role in accessibility. You may not give it a second thought as an able-bodied person. However, they can be an obstacle for people who use wheelchairs or walkers. For an accessible home, consider widening doorways or installing offset hinges that can help add a few extra inches of space.
For homes with steps, consider installing ramps. Ramps provide a smooth transition from one level to another, allowing wheelchair users to navigate easily. They can be permanent structures or portable solutions that you can move around as per your needs.
2. Install a stairlift
Installing a stairlift is a must for enhanced mobility and safety, particularly for individuals with limited mobility due to age, disability, or injury. They eliminate the risk of falls on stairs and provide a safe means of accessing different levels of a home, promoting independence and reducing the physical strain on caregivers.
They also offer a convenient solution for those recovering from surgery or illness. The customisable nature of modern stairlifts means they can be installed in various types of staircases, providing peace of mind to both users and their families. They can greatly improve your quality of life.
Buying stair lifts may seem like a daunting task but don’t worry – most companies are experienced in the process and will ensure a smooth delivery, installation and maintenance.
3. Light Up Your Home with Accessible Lighting
Light switches are often overlooked in accessibility planning. If they’re too high, they can be challenging for wheelchair users or short-statured individuals to reach. Lowering light switches or installing remote-controlled or voice-activated lighting systems can be a game-changer.
Proper lighting is essential for people with visual impairments. Make sure your home is well-lit, and consider using different types of lights for different areas. For example, task lighting can be helpful in the kitchen or study room, while ambient lighting can create a relaxing environment in the living room.
4. Make Your Kitchen More Accessible
In the kitchen, height matters. Installing adjustable countertops and sinks can make it easier for wheelchair users to prepare meals. Similarly, consider installing wall ovens and microwaves at a lower height for easy access. Don’t forget to allow room for a wheelchair to sit under, if needed.
Organisation is key in an accessible kitchen. Store frequently used items in lower cabinets and drawers. Consider using pull-down shelves or rotating carousels in your cabinets for easier access to stuff.
5. Create a Safe and Accessible Bathroom
Bathrooms can be particularly challenging for people with mobility issues. A roll-in shower or a walk-in tub can make bathing safer and more comfortable. Don’t forget to install grab bars for additional support!
Consider replacing standard toilets with comfort-height models, which are more accessible for people with mobility issues to use. Similarly, an under-counter sink with space underneath allows a wheelchair user to use the sink comfortably.
6. Modify Your Home’s Exterior
Ensure that the pathways around your home are wide and clear of obstacles. This not only makes it easier for wheelchair users but also reduces the risk of trips and falls.
7. Opt for Accessible Flooring
Flooring plays a significant role in accessibility. Carpets and rugs can make it difficult for wheelchairs and walkers to move, while slippery floors can increase the risk of falls. Hardwood, laminate, or vinyl flooring can be a good choice for an accessible home.
8. Choose Accessible Furniture
The right furniture can make your home more comfortable and accessible. Look for pieces that are sturdy and have the right height. Adjustable beds, lift chairs, and accessible desks can make a significant difference.
9. Invest in Assistive Technologies
From voice-activated smart home systems to video doorbells and automatic door openers, assistive technologies can greatly enhance accessibility in your home. Although some of these technologies can be expensive, they can be a worthy investment for an accessible home.
10. Plan for the Future
Lastly, remember that accessibility needs can change over time. What works for you now might not work in the future. Therefore, it’s important to design your home with flexibility in mind. Think about potential changes you might need to make and plan accordingly.
Making your home more accessible might seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. With careful planning and thoughtful design, you can create a home that is welcoming and comfortable for everyone. Remember, the goal is to make your home a place where everyone can live independently and comfortably, regardless of their physical abilities.