When you picture your dream house, what do you see? Perhaps an old mansion out in the countryside? Or maybe a modern apartment in the inner suburbs?
If you are living with reduced mobility, it will only be the dream house if it’s modified to your comfort and convenience.
We have outlined the most important questions to ask yourself when you’re moving into a new house or looking to transform your current home.
Are the walkway and entrances well-lit and free from the risk of tripping or falling? To have access to at least one step-free entry is a great idea to enter your house smoothly.
If you are moving into a multi-story house, does the bottom floor have a full set of bathroom, kitchen and bedroom? Cabinets and cupboards should be at a reachable height, and you want the benches and work surfaces to be lower to enable sitting down while working.
Here are a few ideas for adjustments to make your dream home wheelchair friendly.
Visiting the bathroom can be a risky job for anyone, so to introduce disability friendly equipment could be a good idea. Consider grab bars around the toilet for extra support.
A toilet seat raiser is a good option for those who struggle to sit down on the toilet seat. Seat raisers can be adjustable to the height and is an excellent support for people with reduced mobility.
Place a mirror on the floor for better viability, and baskets and toiletries should be located nearby.
Create at least one work-space that is accessible while sitting. We like the idea of a withdrawable countertop for a more spacious kitchen.
The sink needs to be accessible as well, and a smart way to approach this is to create an open space underneath. It removes the risk to strain the neck and back when twisting.
Remember, reorganising can make a huge difference. Make sure to store heavy kitchen utensils, dishes and cans on bottom shelves while smaller and less frequently used items can sit on the top shelves.
Living areas and bedroom
Choose the right material for the main areas in your house to make moving around as easy as possible. Are you going shopping for carpets? Consider low-pile carpeting to reduce resistance as much as possible.
Create space to move around by placing your furniture along walls or baseboards. To reduce trip hazards, keep cords out of the way and make sure bed skirts or furniture covers are not hanging too low.
If the comfort of your house has you seated for prolonged periods, a good quality recliner chair will provide plenty of relaxation. The chair will assist you when going from a seated to standing position and can even recline fully and be used as a bed option.
It is a good idea to install a grab bar near your bed to make getting in and out of bed easier. To reduce the risk of accidents, you might want to consider padding sharp corners and edges around the house.
When in need, it is crucial that your house address is easily visible from the street. Is your house lit for emergency personnel to find it quickly?
Is the walkway free of cracks or obstacles? Keep in mind that change of weather could create slip hazards and that the dark might hide some hindrances.
At least one entrance should be accessible by ramp or a flat threshold. If stairs become an issue, installing ramps assist with fall prevention and allows you to live more independently at home.
Light-motion sensors are an excellent idea for your whole house to remove the need to find a light switch. It makes the entire home a little safer when you don’t have to move around in the dark.
Before buying a house, make sure to get a second opinion from a doctor or professional. They can advise the best options for you when moving in. Safety and comfortability should be on the top of the priority list when creating your wheelchair accessible house.
The Patient Handling Team