There are a lot of ways to increase accessibility and improve quality of life for those with physical limitations or mobility issues. Take advantage of these suggestions and clear the way with some accessibility tips you may not have thought of!
Did you know that over 2.2 million Americans rely on a wheelchair for mobility? In this country, there are many barriers and obstacles to access that impact everyday living and quality of life. Make your home or abode, apartment or dwelling, more accessible with simple tips to improve mobility and facilitate aging in place.
Some physical accessibility tips that may not have occurred to you include:
- When looking at access, it makes sense to start with your front door. How accessible is the entrance to your home? Most properties are fitted with doors that comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, but do you need a ramp? Make sure your entry is wide enough and that you have the exterior space needed to allow for a ramp or a more space-efficient vertical lift if need be. After all, you need to be able to get in and out of the home.
- Assess and minimize any steps or raised thresholds around the home, such as in entries or to your yard or porch. Keep things as level as possible to prevent falls and make it more accommodating for scooters or wheelchairs.
- Clear the way around your home and configure furniture to prevent obstacles that could cause accident or injury. Allow a 32-inch berth around your furnishings, like sofas and chairs, to provide ample room to traverse the space. Lift seats to aid in sitting and raise tables with coasters to ease in utility.
- Consider making an investment in your autonomy with the installation of phones, alarm, and alert systems. These are particularly life-altering for those that live alone or that provide care for others.
- Maintain a pathway through the home that is around 36-inches wide, which will facilitate a wider range of mobility equipment and devices. This also leaves ample space for a 180-degree turn, as needed.
- Improve and maintain lighting throughout the home. Consider remotes and switches to give you a hands-free way to control and monitor the light. Many falls could be prevented with adequate lighting; think about LED bulbs and fixtures for energy efficiency that requires little upkeep.
- Upgrade tricky patio doors with simple-to-use sliders.
- Think about how the doors in your home swing: do they swing in or out? Changing the direction and hinges is a simple way to add instant access.
- Lever-style door handles are easier to use and less uncomfortable for individuals with arthritis. Use these both inside and outside the dwelling.
- Have you considered investing in a stairway lift or vertical platform lift? These are not only helpful but quite necessary for full wheelchair accessibility. The best way to weigh and evaluate your options when it comes to a lift is to meet with a mobility expert that can demonstrate devices and provide concrete information.
- What is your flooring like? Hardwood floors are much easier for wheelchairs and scooters, though a low-pile rug can help with cooler climates. You may find that refurbishing the floors of your home makes a dramatic impact on your autonomy and accessibility; talk to a flooring contractor to find out more.
- Bathrooms can be a challenge for folks using mobility aids due to the sheer size of these often-smaller spaces. Talk to mobility experts about step-in showers and save the space typically used for a bathtub. Pick up a shower seat to make bathing easier and a toilet riser to prevent falls.
- Is it feasible to lower your kitchen countertops to make them easier to use? Reconfigure your cabinets so that your most-used items are underneath and think about pull-outs to make items even more accessible. If you use a wheelchair, modify your sink and appliances to make it convenient to use them regularly.
- At the very least, pick up and install grab bars throughout your home. These simple aids, often called stability bars, make it a lot easier to navigate and get around the rooms of your home. Make sure that you hit the hot spots: bathroom, kitchen, and near your bed. Check the height to install them at a level that accommodates using them for balance during routine activities of daily living.
- Take advantage of the latest in modern technology. There are some miraculous devices designed for the home that help you control all aspects, from appliances to temperature, from a touchpad. If you live with physical limitations, smart technology could be the answer to aging in place.
Get more accessibility tips and advice from the mobility professionals at Pacific Mobility; the team is waiting to help, support, and assist you today!
President, Husband, Father, Grandfather Graduate of UC Davis- Bio Sci Major- Go Aggies! Jeff has extensive experience in all of Pacific Mobility’s products and services, and specializes in accessibility products as well as stairlifts, ceiling lifts and custom wheel chairs. His hobbies include spending time with family, gardening, mountain biking, exercising and off road motorcycle riding.
24 years as Owner/President of Pacific Mobility Center – selling, installing, and servicing stairlifts, porch lifts, ceiling lifts, pool lifts, handicap ramping, specialty wheelchairs, scooters, power wheel chairs, and other power mobility devices
Certified Environmental Access Consultant since 2008
Licensed General Contractor since 1998
Certified Aging in Place Specialist since 2016
Board Member for Home Access Professionals
Member of Association of Members of the Accessibility Equipment Industry (AEMA)