People who have reduced mobility often face more challenging situations than most, particularly when it comes to moving around their home safely. Houses, in the main, are not built for someone with mobility concerns, but with a few tips and tricks, adaptation to a comfortable, safe and independent home is not a million miles away.
Here are our top 12 tips to making your home space more accessible:
- Level off the entry to your exterior doors
- Consider a door entry system
- Keep the floor space clear
- Think about voice activated home controls
- ‘Turn around’ space
- Widen doors and hallways
- Stair lifts
- Portable hoists
- Lower kitchen worktops
- Wide showers
- Hardscape gardens
1. Level off the entry to your exterior doors
Most houses these days are built at ground level, but if you have steps to your house, this will cause a problem for the less physically able. Whether you’re trying to accommodate the use of a wheelchair or a walking frame, steps are a big no no!
However, there are solutions in the form of ramps or mechanical platforms that will overcome the need to drag a wheelchair up the steps or risk tripping and falling.
2. Consider a door entry system
As we grow older, we often lose some strength in our hands and fingers, which could hinder our ability to unlock our doors with a traditional set of keys. A voice activated entry system could help us gain entry to our homes more easily.
3. Keep the floor space clear
This is particularly important when considering accessibility for wheelchairs or walking frames. The point here is that there needs to be enough space to turn these implements around and if there’s clutter or badly positioned furniture, it can be a hindrance.
4. Think about voice activated home controls
Voice activated home controls are not new, but they have become more sophisticated in their application. Alexa is a really good example of voice activation, but it is possible to use voice activated controls to turn the heating on, to open the curtains, to control the telly, and dim the lights. These aids can make a huge difference when considering how to make your home more accessible.
5. ‘Turn around’ space
Let’s talk about ‘turn around’ space. Most able-bodied people can usually skirt around furniture or clutter on the floor. A pile of old magazines in the middle of the lounge wouldn’t normally be a safety hazard. But when you consider people trying to manoeuvre their way around a house in a wheelchair or with a frame, the pile of magazines suddenly becomes a danger zone! Firstly, the ‘turn around’ of the wheelchair space is diminished, forcing the user to have to back up instead of turning, and secondly, the magazines can be easily tripped over by people with walking frames and those who have challenges with their sight. Clutter free is accident free!
6. Widen doors and hallways to make your home more accessible
Most houses are built to a standard size, and that includes the doors. Simply by widening the doors and small spaces like hallways will make all the difference in accessibility.
Paying attention to the lighting of a house can make a huge improvement in the quality of someone’s life. Brighter lighting will allow people to see potential hazards more clearly.
Many people with wheelchairs and walking frames live in multi-level houses. This is obviously a challenge unless they confine themselves to living on the ground floor only. But who wants to do that? It doesn’t have to be the case and with the creative use of stairlifts and mechanical platforms, the entire house can be accessible and used just how you want it to be!
9. Portable hoists
The objective here is to keep people as independent as possible. Portable hoists can be used to transfer them from one place to their wheelchair and back again. From their bed, the loo, the shower, the armchair, a portable hoist will help them keep their independence and dignity.
10. Lower kitchen worktops
For most people, the kitchen is the hub of family life and thought needs to be taken to make the space ‘all inclusive’ for everyone. You could consider lowering the worktops to a level that is conducive to the height of a wheelchair or you could install some electrics that will raise and lower the height of the worktops so that everyone can help in the kitchen!
11. Wide showers
Wider showers are available in many shapes and sizes, but it’s important to consider how easy it is to get in and out. Is the base level with the flooring or is there an aluminum frame to step over? Would a wet room be more beneficial? There are many options here, but it’s important that you choose what’s right for you and your mobility.
12. Hardscape gardens
Our own home is the place we want to feel comfortable, secure, and happy in. We usually use all of the space provided in and around it, including the garden. But gardens can create real problems for people with wheelchairs and walking frames, particularly if it is unlevel or there are steps and grass.
One solution is to build smooth multiple pathways around the garden for easy access. Planters and raised flower beds can be created to bring seasonal colour and ease of maintenance to the garden, thus making it an all-inclusive space.
So there you have it – our top 12 tips for making your home more accessible. We are Days Mobility, specialising in mobility aids for over 25 years. We have 2 showrooms in Swansea and are here to offer help and advice on which mobility products are right for you. For more information, take a look at our website or give us a call on 01792 589999.