Most homes are designed for the abled bodied unless you happen to be lucky enough to design your home from the ground up. This means that if someone becomes disabled, you will need to modify the home and get certain products to make your home accessible. If you have a loved one that is dealing with a disability, here are a few things you can do to help them. We went through all of this when my Mum’s arthritis became really bad including putting in a downstairs wet room.
We wanted my Mum to remain independent in her own home but also comfortable. She had lived there since she got married and had no inclination of moving, so we had to adapt the Victorian Terrace to suit her needs. This included adding ramps outside, an electric garage door, downstairs wet room, stairlift and eventually oxygen throughout the house. All these things gave my Mum the freedom to live on her own and remain independent which made her happy.
The Living Room
You wouldn’t think you would need to really worry about the living room but you really do. For people with mobility issues, they will need some extra care. A lift chair can make sitting and enjoying company much easier. Many of these same chairs are designed so that a person can nap in the chair as well, eliminating the need to go up or down stairs to a bedroom. Another concern, especially for people with walkers or canes, are area rugs. They can easily move around and shift and creating a tripping hazard. Taping down your area rugs would be a huge help for those who cannot lift their feet high enough and use products to assist in their walking.
Unless you live in a ranch style home, many homes are equipped with stairs to the front door. Even a stair or two can become a nightmare for those with mobility issues. Installing a ramp to the door can assist anyone with a walker, cane, crutches, wheelchair, or motorized scooter. This also means paying close attention to how much space is available for manoeuvring. Some equipment requires a widening of the door, lowering the threshold, or increasing the size of your porch. Talk with your disabled family member about how they feel when using their walking aid, some patients feel like they need more space than what you would assume. Often patients experience anxiety over feeling cramped with their products.
With mobility issues come stability issues. This means that when someone is unable to walk on their own, they also struggle with keeping their balance. Reaching into cabinets can become a challenge. Lowering cabinets or installing more lower cabinets can make a world of difference. Another concern? Not being able to access electrical outlets. Installing a few extra that are in close proximity to someone in a wheelchair can allow them to plug appliances in.
Stairways To Upper Floors
If you have a multi-floor home, getting up the stairs is a huge concern for anyone with mobility issues. Ramps don’t work in this situation due to how steep the steps typically are. Installing a chairlift or an elevator can help your loved one travel from floor to floor. If that is not an option for you, consider changing a room into a bedroom on the main floor.
Bathrooms can be one of the scariest places for anyone dealing with a mobility issue. Sitting on a toilet, getting up from the toilet, or bathing can result in serious injury. A modified bathroom would be a huge help to your loved one. Installing bars in the shower stall to help them get in and out, purchasing a shower seat, or purchasing an elevated toilet seat are all simple ways to make the bathroom a bit easier.
Modifying the home can sound overwhelming when you are already dealing with a disability. The important thing to remember is that all of these things help your loved one adjust to a new life and feel like they are able to do things on their own. It empowers them to take charge and improves their self-esteem around the changes in their life.