With a rapidly aging population, many Americans are actively seeking out ways to stay in their homes. Whether you are looking to retrofit a home with handicap accessible features or to build, planning is one of the easiest ways to make this dream a reality. Here are six tips for making your home handicap accessible.
Start Planning Early
Time affords the opportunity to adequately budget for the project and spend time customizing a home to desired specifications. If purchasing a new property or building, single-story dwellings make the most sense as eliminating stairs, removes the biggest barrier to handicap accessibility. When building a house, make sure to partner with a builder familiar with local handicap codes.
It’s All in the Details
In-home handicap accessibility ultimately comes down to details such as enlarged doorways and hallways, modified bathrooms with roll-in shower stalls with chairs and safety features, hardwood versus carpeted floors, along with ramps and even elevators. By carefully and thoughtfully addressing key details, you can extend the longevity of your property.
Wide Doorways and Hallways
For those unfamiliar with medical equipment, walkers and wheelchairs typically command widened doorways and space for executing turns. Carpeting often causes friction making navigating the halls and rooms of a home challenge. When planning renovations, prospective remodelers will need to discuss widened hallways and doorways along with proximity to bathrooms and other areas of the home.
Up, Down and All-Around
Getting in, out, and around will be one of the biggest logistical issues tackled in making a home handicap accessible. Some or all stairs will need to be replaced by ramps or even elevators. Stair machines can also help someone with disabilities move between levels of the home safely, gaining a further sense of independence.
With the majority of household injuries occurring in the bathroom, special consideration should be given to handicap accessible features and prevention. While roll-in showers may be required, other features including non-slip surfaces and properly installed railings can help prevent falls.
A lifeline to the Outside
For many, living alone is of the utmost importance. However, falls and accidents are a reality. It is important for anyone living alone to maintain an active security system tied to a central dispatch center.
Making your home handicap accessible need not be a painful exercise. With some careful planning, attention to detail, and carefully thought through features and enhancements, staying in your home for years to come will be a reality.