There comes a time in everyone’s life where their home is not as accessible as they need it to be. Most of the time it is due to the aging process, but that is not always the case. Sometimes a person doesn’t need to be old when they realize they are facing mobility issues due to an accident or illness. Therefore, it is necessary to be prepared at almost any point in your life.
The best way to be prepared is to make your home as accessible as you can now, so you do not need to worry about making those changes later. This will ensure you can be in your home, instead of staying in a hospital or rehab facility, until your home is finally ready for you to return.
Consider These Renovations to Increase Your Home’s Accessibility
One of the first things you may want to consider adding to your home is an outdoor ramp. This ramp will come in handy if you are ever in a wheelchair or are using a walker. These are very easy to install and can be manufactured from metal or constructed from wood.
When it comes to the stairs inside your home, a ramp is not going to be a feasible option. However, there are stair lifts available that you can have installed. Imagine never having to worry about how you will get up and down your stairs again or wondering if you will fall while trying to do so. These stair lifts work with any type of staircase style, even if it is curved. Plus, if you do not like the idea of a ramp outside, you can install a stair lift out there as well.
If you are not quite ready to install a stair lift in your home, you will at least want to install non-slip materials on your stairs. The non-slip material will ensure that you do not go falling, because slipping is nearly impossible.
Climbing in and out of a regular shower and bathtub combo can be nearly impossible when you have mobility issues and there might be no way you can sit and soak in that type of tub either. A walk-in tub is the perfect solution, because the step in is very low and you do not need to crouch down before you are in a sitting position. Add in the fact that you stay in a sitting position in this tub, instead of being stretched out, and you can easily step out on your own at the end.
If you are not the type of person to take baths, then you may want to consider a walk-in shower. These showers barely have a step, which makes them easy to walk into. It is best to have a shower seat installed in this type of shower, as well as multiple handheld showerheads, to make it possible for you to shower whether you are standing or sitting. We recommend having a shower seat that folds up if possible, so you also have the option of rolling a wheelchair into the shower if you need to.
Grab bars can be added to almost any area of your home to make it easier for you to stand from a seated position. However, grab bars are most common in bathrooms, whether they are located in the shower or next to the toilet and sink.
Regular round doorknobs can be a challenge for anyone who has limited use of their hands and that is why we recommend you take the time to change all your doorknobs to lever style. These are much easier to open, especially if you need to reach the knob from a wheelchair.
Pull-Out Shelves in Kitchen Cabinets
Bending over to reach far back into kitchen cabinets can get more difficult as you get older, which is why we recommend installing pull-out shelves in these cabinets sooner than later. While these shelves will save you a headache later, they can save you lots of time now when you instantly see what you want when you pull the shelf out.
Lower Kitchen Countertops
When we are healthy, our kitchen countertops are at the perfect height for our needs. However, as we get older, we may start to stoop over or need to access these countertops from a wheelchair. Therefore, it is best to lower these kitchen countertops now to avoid issues later. You do not need to lower all your countertops but tackling this step with one of them can make a huge difference when you suddenly need a lower counter to work on in the future.
Consider New Flooring Options
If your home is filled with carpet and ceramic tiles, you may want to consider installing new flooring. Carpets can be hazardous and hard to maneuver over with wheelchairs and walkers, while ceramic tiles can be very slippery. If you happen to love tiled floors, make sure you are choosing tiles that have a non-slip surface to avoid accidents. As for those carpets, consider swapping them out with hardwood flooring, or laminate options, to avoid getting stuck.
Widen Your Doorways
At the moment, you are probably thinking that your doorways are wide enough, but would you be able to fit a walker or wheelchair through them? Most of the time, that answer would be no and that is why you should widen them now. You can usually gain a couple of inches without spending a lot of money when you install offset hinges. If those hinges will not give you enough room, you can install a pocket door or have the doorways enlarged by a professional.
All these renovations should be on your list when you are trying to make your home more accessible. While you may not be ready to tackle them all at once, you can easily do one or two of them at a time, and before you know it, your home will be ready to meet all your needs in the future.