Apartment hunting can be tricky. Kelly’s ideal apartment was a wheelchair accessible studio with a lease based on a flexible number of months. This criteria made it almost impossible for her to find an apartment.
“I can’t even begin to describe the difficulty I had when apartment hunting,”
But Kelly eventually found a space she could work with, and she shares some of the modifications that was made to her unit to meet her accessibility needs.
Kelly’s apartment is a studio so she says that is the perfect amount of space for her to keep up with. The apartment has hardwood floors which makes it easy for Kelly to push her wheelchair from room to room. Hardwood floors also make it more convenient to clean as Kelly can use a swiffer instead of a large vacuum. Kelly states that there was two heavy sliding doors inside her apartment, so she had maintenance remove them.
In the kitchen, there is a ‘breakfast nook’ counter that Kelly uses instead of a regular table. She had the counter lowered to her desired height so that she could prepare her meals on it because she is able to roll right underneath it. Kelly states she has the standard oven and fridge. She has positioned all of her appliances, like microwave and coffee maker, on shelves that she can easily reach. Her frying pans hang on a wall. Kelly keeps a reacher in her kitchen if she needs to access the top shelves of her cabinets.
Kelly put tape that feels like sandpaper underneath the corners of her bed so that it does not shift when she transfers in or out of it. She utilizes her space by using storage containers on wheels that can be tucked under her bed.
Kelly has her bed and couch separated by just enough space that she can fit her wheelchair in between. She then has her exercise equipment behind her couch so they are ready for her to use.
Kelly states that the bathroom was the most difficult room to make accessible. Maintenance had to use special hinges that allowed the door to open wider so that Kelly’s wheelchair could fit through the doorway. The apartment maintenance ordered Kelly a taller toilet for accessibility. Kelly says that she does not require grab bars in the bathroom because she uses the sink which works for her.
Kelly has a tub bench in her shower with a handheld/overhead combo shower head. She found a suction grab bar to put inside the shower and baskets to put her necessities in. Kelly tied a ribbon to her handheld shower head and attaches the ribbon to a hook on the wall to keep the shower head out of the way when it’s not in use. Kelly keeps a reacher by the tub so she can easily open and close the shower curtain all the way.
“So, as you can see, it's not perfect. The important thing is that it's perfect for me.”
Accessibility can be quite diverse. What works for one person may be totally opposite for someone else.
Be sure to share Kelly’s accessibility ideas!