June 24, 2024

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How to Design a Disability-Friendly Home

5 min read
Smart home

If you or a loved one is disabled, then you need to design your home accordingly. A disabled person can get very seriously injured if changes aren’t made to the house that they live in. The most common injuries are slips and falls, which depending on the person’s disability and age can sometimes be fatal.

Re-designing your home to ensure that it’s disabled-friendly is not as hard as you might think it is. In fact, it’s actually really simple.

Smart home

If you want to learn about how you can make your home more suitable for disabled people, then keep reading.

Installing Stair Lift

Stair lifts can make getting around one’s home a lot easier. Most healthcare professionals don’t recommend advising disabled people to live in multi-leveled homes. Unfortunately, however, it is not always possible for people to move houses because of their disabilities. The installation of a stair lift won’t cost you a lot of money but will give your disabled loved ones (or you) more control over where they go. Independence is a big thing for a lot of disabled people. Stair lifts give them that.

Building a Ramp

Also, you will need to build a ramp if your house has steps going up to the front door. For obvious reasons, disabled people may struggle to get up the steps and into their homes. You should probably hire a professional to build a ramp for you. While it is indeed possible for you to build your own ramp, it really isn’t advised. If you don’t have any construction knowledge, then you are probably just going to end up causing more harm than good. Ramps don’t cost a lot of money.

Smart Entry System

Once you have a ramp, your disabled loved one (or you) can then get indoors without anybody else’s help. However, if they are in a wheelchair then they might not be able to reach the lock or the doorknob for that matter. A smart entry system will give them the ability to get indoors in spite of this. Using an app on their phone, they will be able to unlock the door, and actually open it. Smart entry systems will physically open the door for them. This will give them a lot more freedom and control over where they go and when they return home.

Bathroom Conversion

You could consider converting your bathroom into a wet room, which will be a lot safer for your disabled loved one. A wet room is a large room with drains on the floor, kind of like the showers you find in public gyms or even schools. Your loved one can wheel their chair inside (or get inside however they normally would) and then sit down on a stool underneath the shower, without having to worry about climbing in and out of a bathtub. You can of course also install a bathtub in a wet room, though it’s best to ensure it’s a disabled-friendly one (as in it has a door for them to get in).

Using Non-slip Flooring

If you have floors that get slippery when wet in your house, then you need to change them for non-slip flooring. The installation of non-slip flooring will make getting around your house a lot easier for your loved one, or you. Ideally, you should also invest in non-slip flooring that’s designed to absorb the impact of people’s falls. Make sure that it isn’t too hard, either. If a disabled person falls over and the floor is very hard, they could seriously hurt themselves.

Lowering Light Switches

One of the main complaints for disabled people is the height of light switches. People who are wheelchair-bound aren’t able to reach light switches, sometimes. If they can’t reach light switches then they therefore won’t have a lot of freedom or control over their lives. You can lower the light switches in your house. It won’t cost you a lot of money at all, actually. However, you do need to make sure that a professional does it since it involves electricity. You shouldn’t ever attempt to make any changes or repairs to the electrics of your home alone unless you yourself are an electrician.

Adjustable Height Beds

If a disabled person will be living in your house, then you need to make sure that you invest in a bed that’s adjustable. People who have mobility issues often need to adjust the height of their beds so that they can get in. Adjustable height beds can be purchased online very affordably. If you are caring for a disabled person, then you could even get a bed given to you for free. If you can’t get one for free then you may still be able to get a bursary or payment from the government to cover the cost of an adjustable bed.

Toilet Seat Adjuster

Also, you need to make sure that you have an adjustable toilet, too. The best way to do this is to get a smart toilet. You need to make sure that there are rails on either side of the toilet in case your loved one slips or becomes unsteady. It’s also strongly advised to get a medical alert system and place a console next to the toilet. If your loved one can’t stand up once they have sat down on the toilet, then they will be able to call for help using a medical alert system. These systems put people in touch with call centers, which can then contact the ambulance service.

Accessible Cabinets

It is a very good idea to install accessible cabinets so that your loved one can move around the kitchen more freely. After all, nobody wants to have everybody cooking for them all of the time. Sometimes it’s nice to make one’s own meals or at least get food without somebody else’s help. The installation of accessible cabinets will make this possible. You should let a professional install them, so they are fixed to the wall correctly.

If you live with a disabled person or if you are disabled yourself, then you need to upgrade your home so that it’s as disabled-friendly as it possibly can be. If you don’t make the changes suggested here, then you or your loved one could get hurt.

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