When it comes to accessibility and comfort of those living with physical limitations or mobility issues, a bit of pre-planning can go a very long way. Consider implementing ways to aid and assist those that may use mobility devices or that struggle with access; thinking about these situations and solutions now can make it easier, and more welcoming, for your family, friends, and guests, all year long!
If you want to cut down on the stress of holiday gatherings and family celebrations, consider the needs of friends, family, and guests, first. This is particularly key when loved ones rely upon mobility aids and devices regularly.
When it comes to accessibility and comfort- just like the holidays- a little pre-planning goes a long way:
Clear the Floor
Do family and friends with physical limitations a favor by clearing the floor of any potential fall hazards or risks. This includes small rugs, loose tiles, or belongings; clear the floor and provide a wide berth- if possible- through the home. This ensures that those using wheelchairs or walkers are able to navigate their way from one room to another, as desired. Don’t overlook outdoor living spaces either, such as the porch or patio. Make sure there are no obstacles to entry and exit from the home.
Along the same note, de-clutter the home in general to provide more space and adequate room for mobility equipment or guests with physical impairments. Removing clutter also makes it easier to identify grab-bars, rails, and find these installations as needed. What good is a grab-bar if it is covered up by furniture or other items?
Install Rails and Grab-bars
Speaking of grab-bars and railings, experts in the industry will recommend that anyone with coordination, balance, or physical problems install grab-bars and railings throughout the home to reduce fall risks. These are low-cost ways to provide support when sitting, standing, or navigating throughout the home.
It makes sense to install these implements where they will be most useful and used- i.e., near the toilet, tub, sink, and any steps. Make sure that these are securely installed to hold up to wear, tear, and weight on a regular basis.
Get a Grip
Help those in the home that should not extend to reach for items or tasks by providing ‘reachers’ and grab-tools. Add textured treads to steps, stairs, or slippery surfaces throughout the home to help reduce the risk of anyone taking a nasty fall. Assist with pull outs that prevent anyone from an injury when bending down, squatting, or trying to reach items that are under cabinets, cupboards, or appliances. By the way, a good quality reaching tool makes an excellent holiday gift idea!
Purchase Portable Ramps
Have you- or someone you know- ever tripped coming in or out of a dwelling due to the thresholds in the doorway? These can be an obstacle for anyone, but they present a real hurdle for those with physical limitations or mobility issues. Smooth out this rough terrain with an easy-to-install portable ramp, that you can take down and with you as needed. These are an inexpensive and temporary solution for those that want to make it easier to get through doors, over thresholds, or up risers all around a home or property. Plus, these ramps are made to be weather-resilient so you can use them indoors and out.
Another way to prepare for company that may have mobility challenges is to reduce living space to one-level; that is, make all essential areas of the home accessible by relocating them to the main floor of the home. Don’t have a downstairs bathroom? Buy a simple toilet chair that will permit use wherever you have room and privacy. Transform your living room or home office into a guest bedroom so that those staying over will not have to use stairs or put a simple daybed in the corner of an eat-in kitchen. There are lots of ways to enhance accessibility and provide support to those with mobility challenges that, with some pre-planning, can make the holidays a lot easier for all.
Choose the Right Environment
When planning your holiday festivities, why not consider whose home will work best for all family, friends, and guests? If one of those involved has a layout or location that will make others more comfortable, then that is the right environment for the gathering. Let people offer up their homes this holiday, but make sure that they are aware of the challenges and limitations that some guests may have. A bit of planning goes far but empathy and understanding are what truly make the event special for all involved.
If mobility aids, devices, and equipment could increase your accessibility and improve quality of life, call on the team at Pacific Mobility. With generations of expertise and experience in helping find the right mobility solutions for the consumer with physical limitations or disability. Why wait for the holidays to contemplate convenience and comfort in your home? Call to learn more 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)