For a lot of homeowners, making sure their home is easily accessible for those that need a wheelchair can be difficult. Whether they have a disability or are suffering from reduced mobility, their home needs to be able to accommodate a convenient & normal lifestyle. Modernising a home may not be the first term you think of when you’re trying to make it better suited for wheelchairs, however, there are a lot of aspects you can improve about a home with modern features that we’ll discuss in this article.
A recent paper from the Habinteg Housing Association reveals that there are 1.8 million disabled peopled that are in need of a wheelchair-accessible home. HHA is an organisation that campaigns for homes with better accessibility to homes for people that need them. Their paper shows that 45% of the 14 million disabled people in the UK are 65 and over, and seven million homes in the UK are either owned or rented by people who are of pensionable age.
Giving a loved one the ability to navigate their own home is truly something special. The act of doing so returns someone’s independence, improving their quality of life dramatically. Improved comfort, independence & freedom are all things that are usually regained when a home is made better accessible. We would all like to be able to do this for a loved one if it ever came to it, which is why we’ve written a few paragraphs below on things to consider if you find yourself in that situation.
A stairlift is a very convenient way of giving access to a split level or upper floor of a home. The rails that the stairlift rides on are strongly affixed to the adjacent wall that helps to provide a stable platform for the stairlift to travel on. Stairlifts are able to provide someone with reduced mobility a lot of flexibility as they are now able to use the stairs without the stress of fatigue. There are also chairlifts for those who are using wheelchairs so they don’t have to get out of their wheelchair to use the stairs.
Bedroom hoists are another solution for those that need to be lifted in and out of bed. This makes a huge difference to a person quality of life as they’re a lot more comfortable and dignified in their own home.
Widening your doors – A home can’t be deemed wheelchair friendly if it doesn’t have wider passageways, as wheelchairs are wider than most standard domestic doorways. Being able to rotate a full 360 degrees is a rule of thumb for an accessible home. Doors, halls and passages will all need to be widened for a wheelchair user and all surfaces need to be flat ^ smooth. Wooden flooring can be the most effective type of flooring as it’s easier for a wheelchair user to self-propel. A ramp will also allow for clear access in and out of the home.
Walk-in showers, bath lifts and shower seats are all great solutions for making bathrooms better accessible as they’re easy to use & not hugely invasive in terms of installation/building. A new walk-in shower may be the most labour intensive solution for showering, but one can be found from any reputable bathroom/plumbing provider. Toilet risers can also be installed so that people are able to lift themselves in and off the seat.
Kitchens are often too small for much use when you’re in a wheelchair, as the traditional “work triangle” goes out of the window. In order to make a kitchen more accessible for those in a wheelchair, it’s best to lower surfaces/cupboards & sinks to below chest height so that anyone can access them. Plug sockets are also an aspect to consider as sockets placed above head height for those in a wheelchair are very hard to use & access. Worktops are able to be lowered to improve accessibility.
Modern technology has allowed for huge leaps of progression when it comes to making a home more accessible. Appliances, fittings and other furnishings are able to be removed remotely, such as adjustable kitchen worktops and tables so that the environment can be tailored to whoever is using it. It can also be used to control doors, windows, lighting, taps & other appliances that would normally be a nightmare to control. The rise in home assistants like Google Home & Amazon Echo has progressed home technology to a level where it’s already being seen in a lot of homes. Being able to control things like the lighting and the central heating in your home allows for a much easier time when doing simple tasks that may be harder for those with reduced mobility. Voice commands seem to be the smartest way of doing so, but there are also mobile application alternatives that allow touchscreen controls for aspects of the home.
Making your home more accessible is a process that needs to be considered since not one solution will be right for everyone. Accessbility has to cater for the person that is using the space, meaning that the user will always have diffrent requirements depending on their own conditions. If you would like to speak to our team about how to make your home more accessible, give us a call today & ask for some advice. For more information about our stairlift products please visit our page on: Stairlifts London