All businesses are required by the law to be wheelchair accessible for disabled customers. These laws don’t apply to people’s own private homes. Still, there are good reasons to make your home wheelchair accessible especially if someone in your family is disabled. However, how do you go about making your home wheelchair accessible? Below are five easy ways how.
1. Add a Ramp
One of the biggest issues with wheelchair access is the entrance to a home. With most homes, there are a series of steps to the doorway that a wheelchair will not be able to climb. To overcome this issue, you need to add a ramp. While you can pay a contractor to construct one with concrete or wood, there are cheaper options available. For example, a metal ramp can be placed over the existing steps. If disabled individuals only visit your home occasionally, this may be the best option. The ramp can then be removed when it isn’t needed.
2. Install a Stair Lift
Stairs can present an even bigger problem. In most buildings, this problem is solved by installing an elevator. This is impossible in most homes. However a good alternative is to install a stair lift for much cheaper. The seat on the stair lift should be able to swivel so a person can safely enter and exit the seat. One of the greatest benefits of having a stair lift is that it can be operated by the disabled person in question without further assistance. This can provide a person with a greater sense of independence. According to Medicare.gov, stair lifts should be covered for most disabled individuals.
3. Alter Your Flooring
Certain kinds of flooring are easier to transverse with a wheelchair than others. Many rugs and carpets can be a serious issue. In most cases, it’s easier for a wheelchair to move forward on wood flooring or tile. However, there are certain kinds of carpets that work better. Low pile carpet is what you should be looking for. Electrical cords should be pulled back so they don’t pose an obstacle to the wheels. A rubber ramp can also make a threshold in between rooms easier to wheel over.
4. Alter Your Doorknobs
It may also be difficult for a person in a wheelchair to turn a door knob. Do some testing and make sure your door knobs are low enough that they can be turned by someone sitting in a wheelchair. If not, one option is to install mechanical door openers that make the task far easier.
5. Alter Your Bathroom
Hand bars that can be grabbed and are sturdy enough for a person to lift themselves out of a sitting position should be installed in places where they would be needed in your home. This certainly includes in bathrooms near the toilet. If the disabled person lives with you, you may want to install an accessible bathtub that can be entered through a swinging door rather than forcing a person to step into the tub.