Make your home wheelchair-friendly

accreditation

At some point or another, most of us will be faced with some form of disability – either as a result of an accident or from the natural afflictions of old age.

A lack of mobility often means we have to use a wheelchair, scooter, rollator or stroller to get around.

But is your home wheelchair-friendly, and would you know where to start to make the necessary modifications?

Easy does it
Although designing all the necessary accommodations can be a process, time can be saved by making a few basic adjustments.

The main point to take into consideration is how you can encourage independent living and provide a safe, easy-to-navigate home space. 

The US-based organisation The CareGiver Partnership has these valuable points to share:

Entrance: This should be your first alteration and, if space and pocket allow it, you can build a wheelchair ramp for each entrance of the house. Make sure the ramp is wide enough, and consider adding handrails and a non-slip surface.

Floors: Replace all carpets and rug floors with tiles or hardwood. If you absolutely must have carpets, consider the low-pile range. For floors, you should also install rubber ramps to make thresholds safer, and cover any exposed cords.

Stairs: Install a vertical platform lift, or stairway lift, at every staircase in the home. This gives the wheelchair-bound individual a feeling of independence. 

Doorways: You can widen doorways by simply removing frames, taking the doors off, or reversing how a door opens. 

Doorknobs: Lower doorknobs or install automatic door openers for added accessibility.

Bathrooms: These can be a danger zone for anyone in a wheelchair. You can secure this area by installing a walk-in bathtub or lowering the threshold for the shower.

Kitchen: Lower the countertops, install appliances that are easy to reach, and provide roll-out storage units. Fit a sink that allows the individual to roll their wheelchair underneath it. Adjust the location of all controls and outlets, and use rocker switches for lighting. 

Phones: Corded phones should be replaced with cellular units or cordless handsets.

REMEMBER: A more accessible living space will give you more independence and add to your quality of life. These few changes will make a world of difference.


We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Have you entered our Health of the Nation survey?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes
28% - 9929 votes
No
72% - 25905 votes
Vote