By Billion Strong
Living at home with someone with a disability is no easy task. Not only are you concerned with your loved one’s medical status, but you’re also concerned with making sure your home is accessible enough for the enjoyment of daily life. Remodeling for accessibility requires time, patience, and careful planning to ensure you make all the right decisions. Check out these four accessible home renovations you can make to guarantee the space you create is perfect for those you love.
1. No Step Entrance & Wider Doors
The first step to making your home more accessible is making sure you can enter and exit the house with ease. Installing a ramp can make getting in and out of your home easier for those who struggle with steps or mobility in general. It’s a helpful and stylish tool that can be customized to your liking. The ramp can be built as a decorative addition to your home, giving you plenty of options when working with a contractor. A ramp most importantly allows ease of access for someone in a wheelchair or scooter.
Having to use one of these methods of mobility can make getting through doors more of a challenge. By installing wider doors throughout the home, it can ensure that someone who transports via wheelchair will not have to fight with a door every time they’d like to move.
2. Essential Bathroom Renovations
One of the most important areas of the home that needs to be accessible is the bathroom. This is because bathroom floors and surfaces are prone to becoming wet and damp, increasing the chance of injury. One helpful renovation is replacing your traditional bathtub with a walk-in shower with a seat, which can help decrease the risk of a serious fall. This allows someone using a wheelchair to comfortably access the shower with minimal assistance. You can also look into installing an adaptive toilet or save some money by adapting your current toilet with accessories such as grab bars or a removable riser.
Finally, a simple renovation is lowering the sink and storage areas throughout the bathroom. This will help enhance the usability of the surface while also making objects normally out of reach easier to get ahold of. The bathroom is one of the most important spaces to make accessible, but it also can be an expensive one. An accessible bathroom renovation can cost anywhere from $2,000 to $16,000 depending on what you’re installing. One option is applying for a home accessibility grant which can help cover the cost of some of the more expensive additions such as a walk-in tub. Another option for homeowners that have built up equity in their home over the years, is a home equity loan. This loan is paid in a lump sum and can help you pay for the renovations immediately so you can get started right away.
Even the surfaces we walk on throughout our home are an important factor to consider when renovating for accessibility. Install non-slip flooring in rooms such as the kitchen, bathroom, foyer, or any place that is prone to dampness in order to help reduce the risk of accidental falls and injuries. There are different types of vinyl flooring made specifically to be non-slip that offer a soft surface in case of a hard fall. When renovating your floors with new material, avoid hard substances such as large tiles and stone. If you want to install tiles, look into smaller ones as they are less slippery compared to the larger tiles.
You should also consider lighting as you plan your accessible renovation. Keep walkways and areas of traffic well-lit so there is clear visibility, which will make navigation safer and easier. The advantages of LED bulbs make them a great option because they offer the best lighting and they’re long-lasting. Motion-activated lights are also an option to eliminate the need to access a switch to turn on the lights. Instead of using a traditional switch for your lights, install a rocker-style knob. This will make it easier to adjust light levels for those who have trouble using their hands.
These small improvements can help make a large impact on the livability and accessibility of your home. Though the process may seem very intimidating at first, know that there are plenty of resources and professionals to help you along the way. Find the right accessible renovations that suit the needs of your loved one and get started. Something that may seem small can make a huge difference in someone’s quality of life.
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About the Author: Billion Strong is an identity and empowerment organization designed to bring the billions of voices of persons with disabilities together.