No matter where you live, safety for household members and guests is always a priority. Homes aren’t always built with ease of use in mind, which can make things more difficult for those already under the strain of age or disability. Being conscious of some of these common problems can allow you to make some simple changes to allow guests and family members to feel more welcome in your home.
The first thing people come into contact with in your home is the entryway. Consider how an accessible entry makes a difference. You might immediately consider larger problems like stairs and narrow doorways that cause troubles for those with more limited mobility. Don’t forget simple factors such as sticking doorknobs, though, which can be a hassle for those with arthritis or who have to manage crutches. Right inside the door, another common issue presents itself in inaccessible coat racks or closet hooks. Simply changing out knobs and lowering coat hooks can drastically improve the welcoming feel of your home.
The inside of the house is just as important as the entryway. Take a look at your living spaces and ask yourself, how easy is it to get around? Can a disabled person navigate the furniture arrangement? Are there doors or other obstacles that make walkers or scooters difficult to use? One often-overlooked problem is flooring. The ideal flooring for many limited-mobility individuals is a very low carpet, while very slippery floors and thick carpeting can be hazardous. When preparing for visits from those who use mobility devices or even those who have weakness or poor balance, rearrange as much as possible to provide a clean pathway through living rooms, kitchens and bathrooms.
Bathrooms are universally one of the most troubling places for those with limitations. Naturally, these are the most embarrassing places to have inaccessibility. Care for family members and guests by installing a few simple features. Swing away hinges not only open and close easier, but when installed properly, allow the doors to open outward, leaving more room for wheelchairs and walkers inside the bathroom. Grab bars allow better access to showers and toilets, and gentle plumbing fixtures make it less complicated for anyone to use your bathroom independently.
The loss of independence due to age or disability is difficult for anyone. By making a few simple changes to your home, you can help restore dignity and independence to those you care about while they stay with you.