Imagine trying to do the most basic tasks in your home with impaired mobility. Would you be able to navigate the hallways in a wheelchair? Reach the bathroom counter from a sitting position? Would you be able to reach the front door?
Whether you are recovering from a serious illness or accident, or simply choosing to remain in your own home into your golden years, the key is not only making your home safe but also making it easy for you to continue living independently.
How to Improve the Accessibility of Your Home
Level Entry – Improve safety by installing a wheelchair ramp or adapting the floor plan to use a side or rear entrance that requires no stairs to access.
Safety Railings – Install railings on both sides of the stairway, extending from the very top step to the bottom.
Improve Lighting – Always keep stairways and entrances well lit. Consider adding luminescent paint or tape to stairs to make the edges of steps easy to see.
Turning Space – Reconfigure furniture placement to leave sufficient space to turn a wheelchair around, and ensure hallways and doorways are wide enough to navigate.
Remove Slip Hazards – Replace loose throw rugs and mats with sturdier, no-slip versions.
Knee Space – Adapt bathroom and kitchen counters by removing cabinets to allow for use with a wheelchair. See this aging-in-place remodeling checklist for more ideas.
Improve Grips – Replace round knobs with lever handles, or add rubber bands or handle grips to doorknobs to make them easier to grasp.
Add Grab Bars – Install grab bars and safety rails to assist with sitting and standing.
Switch Control Systems – Replace light switches with rocker switches that can be used with the whole hand, and add touch or voice sensors to lamps.