9 Tips for Planning Ahead and Making Your Home More Wheelchair Accessible
Use Federal and Local Resources to Fund Modifications
Are you planning to purchase a new accessible home or modify your existing one? For obvious reasons, ranch style houses are most often the easiest to retrofit for accessibility. If you need to remodel, check out sites like Disability.gov that can provide services and financial assistance for home modifications. Various programs can help with everything from roll-in showers to entry ramps. Additional resources provided by your state or local county government may also be available.
Clean up the Clutter
An organization system can go a long way to make your home more accessible. Keeping your home clutter-free increases available space for you to roll around in. Putting in lowered shelves and cabinets maximizes accessibility.
Open Floor Plan
Whether remodeling or searching for a new abode, the popular open floor plan allows you more space to roll around in. This type of floor plan also forces you to keep your house clutter-free, further maximizing accessibility.
Electrical controls, from light switches, thermostats and more, should be lowered and require little dexterity to operate. Also consider the lighting angle. You don’t want lights to shine in your face, but you don’t want lighting to point too high for you. Motion sensing and voice activated technology are other options to keep in mind.
A sink with open space underneath and no intrusive cabinet base allows wheelchair users to roll right up. Even if the sink does have a cabinet base, you may be able to remodel the center part. If you are installing cabinets in the bathroom, you want to take up as little floor space as possible.
Grab bars installed near toilets in bathrooms can help people in wheelchairs use the restroom as independently as possible.
A shower that lets a wheelchair user roll right in provides privacy for people with disabilities. Consider various options from a vacuum-sealed door, an open shower with no curb or a specialized lift.
Emergency Exit Plan
It’s always best to be prepared in case of an emergency. Make sure your point of exit is easily accessible. Be sure that your alarms are ready, and consider audio and visual smoke detectors.
You’ll want to make sure that there is plenty of room on the passenger side of the vehicle, particularly if a wheelchair van with a ramp or lift is being utilized. Flatter driveways are obviously going to be safer and easier. Remove any obstacles like planters that can interfere with wheelchair or scooter use. If the driveway isn’t wide enough, consider adding a concrete pad where exit and entry is the most convenient. If that can’t be done, then you may want to consider a rear entry wheelchair van.
When it comes to leaving your home and exploring your neighborhood, MobilityWorks has you covered with our large inventory of new and used accessible vehicles. We have vehicles to fit every budget, so check out all we offer today!