Home Adaptations for Wheelchair Users

Home Adaptations for Wheelchair Users

 

 

Home is where the heart is, and every member of a home should feel the same way. If someone from your home experiences a life changing event that puts them in a wheelchair, some modifications will need to take place at your home as an adaptation to the wheelchair-bound member. Here are a few key parts of the house to consider when creating a disabled-friendly home:

 

  1. Entries and Exits

 

For a wheelchair user, a task as simple as entering their home can become a challenge. Every uneven surface leading to the inside becomes a barrier. The most common an affordable fix for this is installing a wheelchair ramp. Wheelchair ramps come in many shapes and sizes, so you can pick one that is most suitable to your home design.

 

  1. Doorways

 

Doorways are something we don’t usually notice or pay any attention to, and more often than note, wheelchairs can’t fit through doorways. A doorway should be anywhere between 32 to 48 inches wide in order to fit a wheelchair through. This of course depends on the type and size of the wheelchair.

 

  1. Lighting

 

The two common problems faced by wheelchair users when it comes to lighting are:

 

  • Switches
  • Glare

 

Switches are generally higher up on walls, ergonomic to the average person’s height. A wheelchair user will normally not be able to reach this height. In other cases, some light switches may be located behind cupboards or at places that are not accessible to a wheelchair user. Hence, some switches may need to be repositioned, or the other alternative is using remote controlled lights. As for glare, there are glare bulbs available as an alternative, or you can lower the positions of the lights to reduce the glare.

 

  1. Flooring

 

There is going to be a wheelchair rolling around the house all the time now. So what’s the best solution? Wheelchair wheels have a tendency of leaving marks on tiles and wooden floors. So the next best option is to use laminate. Carpets may seem like they won’t be a problem, but they can cause trouble if the wheelchair is a powered wheelchair. Also, the safety of maneuvering the wheelchair is reliant on having grip to the floor, so that will have to be taken into consideration as well.

 

  1. Bathroom

 

The bathtub shall now be replaced with an open shower that will allow the wheelchair to just roll in. Aside from that, it is recommended that there is a 5-foot diameter of space for the wheelchair to be maneuvered. The toilet will need support modification, and the sink will need to be repositioned to fit the height of the wheelchair and its user.

 

  1. Kitchen

 

If you are on a wheelchair and still want to be active in the kitchen, it can be frustrating when you cannot access the utensils you need to, or utilize the space in the kitchen effectively. Similar to the bathroom or any room, there needs to be a 5-foot diameter of space. Cabinets can be modified to have pull-out racks, table tops might need to be lowered, and placement of appliances and utensils will need to be re-thought.

 

End Note:

 

Such modifications can and will be costly, but consider it as an investment for everybody’s well-being. The happiness and joy of every member of the family should always be of utmost priority.