If a loved one has recently become wheelchair-bound, you need to look for ways to begin making your home wheelchair-accessible. There is nothing more frustrating for those in a wheelchair than battling stairs, narrow doorways, and high counters and cabinets. Your loved one wants to be as independent as possible, and doing what you can to make your home accessible will help achieve that goal. Here are some great ways to make your home wheelchair-ready.
If your doorway isn't level with the ground, you will need to add a ramp to make your doorway wheelchair-accessible. If you only have a couple of steps that go to your front door, you can replace the steps with a small ramp. If you have a large deck, you may want to add separate access for a wheelchair. You can have it build right on to the side. If the deck is high (such as a split level home) you might need a long, sideways, ramp. If it's too short, it will be too steep and make it difficult for your loved one to go up.
Multilevel homes give you loved one another battle. Adding a stair chair lift to your stairway will give your loved one full access to the house. Wheelchair stair lifts in Warminster PA carry a wheelchair up and down the stairs. You can have a stair lift installed on straight or curved stairs.
Doorways that are less than 32 inches wide need to be widened. If you're on a tight budget, at least make sure your loved-one's bedroom and the bathroom are widened; along with any other rooms that he or she has to access, leaving the others for a later time. The ADA standard states that doors have to be at least 32 inches wide for proper wheelchair access.
The bathroom is an important room to have proper wheelchair access. It's a private place, and people want to be able to use the bathroom themselves. Grab bars are necessary. Having grab bars around the toilet and the bathtub will allow your loved one to get on and off the toilet, and in and out of the bathtub with little to no help. They will also keep your loved one safe when the floor is slippery from a bath or shower.
A bathtub seat and a handheld showerhead are both important for the tub. With the seat, your loved one can move from the wheelchair to the bath chair, and not worry about getting stuck in the tub. The handheld shower will allow for close and easy rinsing.
Having countertops and cabinets lowered would make it easier for your loved one to access what he or she needs. If remodeling isn't in the budget, there are many little things you can do that are cheaper or don't cost anything.
Move items that your loved one uses on a regular basis to the lower cabinets for easier access. If you don't have a French door refrigerator, upgrading to one when you can would be helpful. This way your loved one can access freezer food and fridge food without needing any help.
Your loved one will want to be able to access anything he or she needs in the bedroom. One important thing to do is have the closet bar lowered. No one wants to ask to get a shirt down or have someone pick out their clothes every day. The lowered bar will ensure that your loved one can reach it without help.
If there is a tall dresser in his or her bedroom, have it replaced with a short, long dresser. This will keep all of the drawers below eye-level for easy access. Install a grab bar in the bedroom, just like the bathroom. A grab bar next to the bed will allow your loved one to get from the chair to the bed and back whenever he or she wants to.
It might take a lot of time and money to eventually get your home completely wheelchair-accessible. Try prioritizing each change and take it one step at a time. Start with the bathroom, and then ask your loved one what kind of changes he or she needs to be comfortable and happy at home.
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