“Making your home wheelchair accessible doesn’t have to involve building a new home from scratch. Sometimes it’s possible to make adaptations to your current home in order to make it easier to manoeuvre around in a wheelchair and promote independent living,” says Emma Muldoon who was born with Spinal Muscular Atrophy.
She gives 5 tips on making your home wheelchair accessible.
Most homes nowadays are built with barrier-free access. However, if your home has steps in the entrance Emma suggests alternative solutions such as a ramp. The type of ramp you will need depends on the number of stairs to the entrance. Emma recommends handrails and a nonslip surface for the ramp as well.
Emma uses an automatic door system as she cannot lift her arms up and does not have the strength to open a door.
“That’s when automatic door opening systems are lifesavers for so many disabled people.”
Emma says that with a push of a button one can open and close doors independently with ease. The feature can be done by a remote control and even a smartphone. For an added safety feature, Emma suggests pairing the door system with a wireless intercom system so you can hear who is at your door before letting them in.
Emma says that when making your home wheelchair accessible one of the priorities should be given to the bathroom. “Without access to the bathroom, a wheelchair user won’t be able to go to the toilet, shower or carry out basic personal care. I know from my own experience that adapting my bathroom was given top priority before I could move in,” she states.
Emma suggests creating a wet room or a walk in shower with a commode chair. But, if removing the bathtub is not feasible, she suggests looking into an electric bath lift/riser or a walk in bath.
Emma recommends getting a wash and dry toilet. She says, “These amazing toilets allow you to independently toilet by automatically flushing, providing warm water washing and air drying.” She continues by saying these toilets require minimum effort/movement as you can operate them by controls or sensors.
Emma says that if your home has stairs there are a few options to consider to make your home wheelchair accessible such as a platform lift or stair lift if you are able to transfer out of your wheelchair.
“There is no point in making your home wheelchair accessible by doing all of the above if the wheelchair user can’t get into each room,” says Emma.
She suggests widening your doorways or using sliding doors to provide more space. “Personally, I have a sliding bathroom door to maximize the size of my bathroom, but also to allow easier access in/out of the bathroom without any restrictions,” she says.
Be sure to check out Emma’s original post for other miscellaneous tips!
Do you have advice on making a home accessible? Share your story with us at AbleThrive.com!