Lack of access to basic faculties is one of the biggest factors in deciding if an elderly person is no longer fit to live on their own. And with the COVID-19 crisis worsening public opinion of nursing homes, many people want to avoid removing their loved ones from their own homes. One potential solution is remodeling for handicap accessibility, which involves installing wheelchair ramps, electronic lifts and other home features to make moving around easier. When remodeling your home to make it more accessible, there are several important things to keep in mind.
Prioritize Bathroom Access
You are more likely to injure yourself in your bathroom than almost any other room in your home, which is why taking proper precautions in the bathroom is essential to making a home handicap-friendly. Installing a step-in shower with a shower bench will avoid injuries from entering or exiting a bathtub. Also, make sure to install grab bars both in the shower and around the toilet, which ensures stability throughout the entire room.
Installing wheelchair ramps creates the necessary access for wheelchair-bound people to enter and exit their house, and makes mobility easier for anyone with walking difficulties. Even if the person you have in mind is not in a wheelchair, consider other mobility difficulties like arthritis or weak bones. Adding ramps will improve their life and lower the risk of falling. If you are remodeling for a wheelchair-bound person, consider also how wide the doors should be to accommodate their wheelchair.
Replace Carpet and Rugs
Tripping on thick carpet is a serious hazard, and wheelchairs can get stuck on carpet or rugs. It may sound counterintuitive that removing carpet reduces the chance of injury since it’s softer than hardwood or vinal. Assuming that the floor is kept clear, hardwood floors present no risk for tripping, meaning that they’re less likely to fall in the first place. Replacing any carpet in your home with hardwood also ensures that wheelchairs can move as freely as possible.
Consider Lever Doorhandles
A final consideration for any elderly person you are remodeling for is the difficulty opening doors. Round doorknobs present a serious challenge to someone with weak arthritic hands; consider replacing these with lever doorknobs. These require less of a grip to open and allow easy access to any room.
Elderly people face unique challenges navigating the world around them. Modifying their home to make it more accessible improves their quality of life and allows them to maintain their independence.