Searching for a new home is normally a daunting process, but it’s even more difficult for disabled people. Statistics show that 15% of U.S. adults need accessible homes, but only 9% are living in them.
The problem is that you’ll need to make improvements to just about any home you rent or buy. Because of this, looking for an accessible home requires analyzing how easy it will be to make the required modifications.
If you’re a homeowner looking for modification ideas to make life easier, here are 8 possibilities that are enormously helpful.
1. Roll-out shelves and cabinets
Doors are fine when you can step out of the way. When you can’t, doors impede your ability to access the contents of a cabinet. Cabinets on wheels make life easier. Installing roll-out shelves, cabinets, trash bins, and base cabinets can make a world of difference for accessibility needs.
2. Lever handles
Door knobs are a major impediment to accessibility. Most people take the ability to use a door knob for granted. However, you really need a firm grip to work a door knob. Even people with arthritis struggle to turn standard door knobs. If a doorknob is locked, it’s even harder to operate.
Lever handles make doors accessible without requiring a grip. You can push them with any part of your body or an object. You can even rig something up to push a lever from a wheelchair, provided the lever isn’t too strong.
If lever handles are still too difficult, you can always remove the handles from interior doors.
3. Appliances with side-swing doors
Refrigerators doors already swing open to the side, but other appliances do not. For example, ovens are almost always made to open out, toward you, from the top down. Whether you’re in a wheelchair or struggle with mobility, it’s hard to stand or sit in front of an open oven and put food inside.
When your oven doors swing out to the side, you can approach the oven from the open side and have unobstructed access to put your food in, mess with it while it’s cooking, and take out the final product.
4. Wider hallways and doorways
Wide doorways and hallways are necessary for people who use wheelchairs. Most older homes were built with narrow doorways that barely accommodate today’s adults. Widening your doorways and hallways is one of the best things you can do to make your home more accessible.
If you’re still looking for a home, try to find a home with a large, open dining room and a large living room with short hallways. This way, you’ll have less space to widen, which will save money on construction costs.
5. Built-in ramps for every entrance
There’s a huge difference between setting up temporary ramps and having built-in ramps. Built-in ramps are superior, hands down.
If you rely on ramps, building ramps into each entrance of your house is the only way to enjoy your entire house. Built-in ramps will also be wonderful for your guests who use a wheelchair, a walker, or who have a hard time climbing stairs.
6. Smart locks
People have mixed feelings on smart locks. People in rental units tend to dislike smart locks because they feel like their landlord might try to lock them out. However, when you own your home, and you’re disabled, smart locks offer some huge benefits.
Depending on the smart lock, you can open doors remotely with a magnetic fob, a card, a remote control, your thumbprint, or a retina scan. Most people consider biometrics an invasion of privacy, but hands-free, secure entry can be lifesaver for a disabled person.
7. Lower your entire home to ground level
Many people aren’t aware that they can have their entire home lowered to eliminate the need for external stairs. This modification is more costly than others, but if you became disabled after you bought your house, it might be a good option.
8. Install a walk-in tub
Many homes advertised as “accessible” end up having a tub rather than a walk-in shower. That’s a huge disappointment for someone who needs an accessible shower. However, if you like the property and have the funds to make modifications, consider installing a walk-in tub.
If you need to wheel into the shower, a walk-in tub will only work when you have a caregiver to help. However, if you’re a bit more mobile, a walk-in tub will feel like a vacation. It’s like having a private jacuzzi in your bathroom.
The possibilities are endless
These are just some modifications people make to create an accessible home. Any modification you can think of is possible, as long as you have the money to pay for the construction.
Article Submitted By Community Writer