There Are Several Important Considerations When Creating a Handicap Accessible Home

There are numerous reasons that people may need to use a wheelchair. This makes some houses very hard or nearly impossible for them to navigate. Having all areas of the home able to be used freely to the best of the person's ability gives them independence, confidence, and also ensures safety in the home. People with disabilities can thrive if their homes are made accessible for them. Living with disabilities does not have to be isolating or mean that people can no longer participate in their favorite things, like perhaps cooking. It's possible to remodel an existing home to accommodate people with disabilities. Building a brand-new inclusive and accessible home is also an option that some people choose to make sure their needs are met. Regardless of which path people opt for, there are some things to definitely consider when planning to make a house that works for everyone.

1 - Make Sure The Entrances Are Wheelchair Accessible

It's important that any entrances used by those in wheelchairs will be made accessible for them. This includes installing ramps with a gradual slope that's easy to navigate and doesn't cause unnecessary strain on the arms. Ramps may also include handrails for safety. The entrances should be "no-step" and any doorways should be 36" wide to ensure that the vast majority of wheelchairs are able to fit easily without getting stuck.

2 - Plan To Allow A 5-Foot Turning Radius

Anywhere a wheelchair user needs to go will require them to have room to turn around. Most wheelchairs require 5 feet, with certain varieties needing 6. Whichever style and size an individual is using, they should have room enough to make 360-degree turns in their chair. Tight spaces such as hallways and kitchens may need to be assessed and upgraded to allow full mobility for wheelchair users.

3 - Upgrade The Bathroom

Even for non-handicapped individuals, bathrooms can be a place accidents happen. To make sure people with disabilities are safe, there are some options. One suggestion is to install a curbless shower that allows wheelchair users to roll in without issue. Channel drains are highly recommended to make sure any water will drain as quickly as possible. Showers should also be large enough to accommodate an aide or helper if the person requires one. Grab bars and accessible toilets may also be a helpful addition to the bathroom.

4 - Plan To Lower Countertops

Countertops are used for everything from writing, to folding clothes, applying makeup, cooking, and more. When handicapped individuals can't access these important areas of the home, it limits their freedom and independence. All the most-utilized countertops should be lowered to a manageable height for easy, safe use. Kitchens, bathrooms, and laundry rooms are areas to consider. Assess whether the handicapped individuals are able to use the counters with ease or if they need to be lowered.

5 - Make Sure To Have Adequate Knee Space

Another thing to consider is that if a countertop or sink doesn't have proper knee space, a wheelchair user will not be able to pull up and access it. There must be enough space under counters to allow the wheelchair user's legs and chair to comfortably fit. If this step is overlooked, there are still barriers to accessibility in the home. Assess the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room, and home offices to ensure they are as functional for everyone as possible.

6 - Provide Low Storage Spaces

Make sure that there is adequate accessible storage space in the home. This includes cabinets, drawers, and shelving. It's recommended that 50% of the home's total storage should be low/accessible. The rest of the storage can be used for other people in the home or for items that the handicapped individual will not be needing often and doesn't have to readily access. This ensures that handicapped individuals can do as much for themselves as possible.

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