Whether a person has recently become wheelchair bound because of an accident, or they have a family member that is disabled and living with them, getting around a home that is not handicap accessible is very difficult and dangerous. It is important that modifications be made, so the disabled person can be able to move safely while still maintaining their independence. Some of the modifications that are the most helpful include:
Doors that the disabled person will be exiting and entering through should have their hinges changed, so the doors will swing outwards, not inwards towards the room. This is especially important for the bathroom. Wheelchairs take up a lot of space, and they block the door, which makes it impossible to close. Many wheelchair-bound people end up having to use the bathroom with the door open because of this. It is embarrassing and does not allow them dignity.
Mount sturdy grab bars by the toilet, shower, or any other place where a disabled person has a high risk of falling. Be sure to place them at a height that can be reached quickly.
Special toilet seats that have handrails on either side will make using the bathroom easier. The bathtub must also have a waterproof shower seat in it. An adjustable height table with wheels on the bottom should be kept on hand in the living room or kitchen too, so the disabled person can have a place to put a book or a plate of food.
If there are steps to the home, then at least one entrance should have a wheelchair ramp installed. The top of the ramp must be perfectly level with the the bottom of the door frame. Otherwise, it will take too much effort to get the wheels to roll through. Be sure to install a wheelchair ramp that is long enough, so there is a gradual slope.
Keep Things Clean
Clutter makes movement throughout a home very difficult. All floor areas must be free from debris. Anything that is blocking doors and hallways has to be moved out of the way. Fragile, glass items that are usually set out for display should be put in places that are high up too. If a disabled person falls near them, and they happen to break, they could be seriously injured.
Prepare for Remodeling
Depending on the size of the home, there is a possibility that remodeling may be needed. Often, living spaces are simply too small for a person who is disabled to move freely in. If lifts are needed to get someone in and out of the shower, then the bathroom might have to be built larger. Hallways could need to be expanded. Counter-tops in the kitchen might need to be lowered too.