According to DisabledWorld.com there are close to two million wheelchair users and scooter riders in the U.S. who live independently, with family members. or with the service of caretakers in their homes. Living at home is often the first choice for households who have a mobility-challenged family member. Many seniors find “aging in place” a far more attractive option than moving to a residential care center. The majority of wheelchair users are seniors. The problem is that older homes typically have not been designed for wheelchair users. Even though public buildings must be compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), not all new home construction factors in accessibility features.
We understand the challenges faced by wheelchair users, and want to help make life easier by working around barriers to independent living. We are proud to offer handicap-accessible home modifications. Consider the following hurdles faced by wheelchair users in the home. Start planning which modifications you can start with and which ones you can plan for later.
Entering the Home
The first thing to consider is how to get inside the home using a wheelchair. Are there steps? If so, you can have a ramp installed. A more modern and less distracting option is a wheelchair lift. It takes up less space than a ramp and is usually less expensive. The lift accommodates an electric scooter as well as a wheelchair. It is a sturdy platform that rises from the ground level up to 52 inches to the porch or door entry. The user simply rolls on the platform, rises to the next level, and then rolls off to go through the doorway.
Fitting through the door
The correct size for a wheelchair user to comfortably fit through a doorway is 32 inches wide. Commonly, doorways are 23 to 27 inches wide. You can often widen interior doors by removing the trim. Contractors may suggest other options. Be sure to have the light switch lowered! The home entrance door is often more of a challenge, so be sure to evaluate all doors for accessibility. You may be able to avoid replacing the front door if the wheelchair can get through a side or back door.
The Specially Adapted Housing Grant, which can help finance the expenditure of door width remodeling, is available for disabled veterans. This grant covers other necessary home modifications for wounded warriors who qualify for the assistance.
Navigating the bathroom
Most bathrooms are not designed with a lot of space to maneuver a wheelchair around. We offer many products to make your bathroom wheelchair accessible and safe for everyone in the household.
Our Freedom Showers are wide enough and have a barrier-free threshold for wheelchair accessibility. A wheelchair user can roll in and bathe independently with a handheld shower. The showers are also big enough in case you need assistance. Grab bars inside the shower make bathing safer. A sturdy bench can be installed if the user wishes to transfer from the wheelchair to a seat for bathing. A low shelf for toiletries eliminates hazardous or uncomfortable reaching.
“Floating vanities” allow a wheelchair user to roll up to the sink, which should be about waist high. The chair rolls under the sink so the vanity area is fully functional and accessible. Toiletries and other items can be stored in a low drawer beside the sink. Mirrors can be tilted or tiltable for the complete view enjoyed by people without mobility challenges.
Rails or grab bars beside the toilet are necessary for a person to transfer independently from chair to toilet. Our folding toilet grab bars can be easily lifted up and out of the way when not in use. When choosing ADA grab bars for the toilet and other bathroom activities, you do not have to sacrifice style for function. Decorative grab bars create a sophisticated finish along with all the safety features you require.
Using the kitchen
For the kitchen to be wheelchair accessible, our Freedom Lift Systems include adjustable height countertops and workspaces plus cabinet lifts, so a wheelchair user can be fully functional in the kitchen. We offer adjustable sink and cooktop lifts. Appliances should have side or front controls and kitchen items should be stored on lower shelves. Even if a more mobile person does most of the cooking, a family member using a wheelchair will be more independent if they can handle kitchen tasks without assistance. Independence is key to a fulfilling life.
Taking a dip
Our ADA compliant pool lifts make it easy to transfer from wheelchair to pool. We offer a residential pool lift for pools and spas and as a boat-to-dock access lift. Just as inside your home should be wheelchair accessible, so should recreational opportunities.
We are often asked which type of flooring is best for wheelchair users. You have a wide selection of safe, durable, attractive flooring. Wood floors, ceramic tiles, and laminates work best as a wheelchair rolls easier on a smooth. The durability of these surfaces stand up to the greater demands a wheelchair places on home flooring.
Please contact us with your questions about making your home wheelchair accessible. You have many choices, and our experts can help you find the best products to meet your particular needs.