How can homeowners adapt rooms for disabled persons? According to the U.S. Census, there are currently 50 million disabled people in the U.S. At least 6.8 million have trouble dressing, bathing, and navigating homes without assistance. Many heavily rely on wheelchairs for day-to-day routines. Relatively simple additions can help disabled persons go about their days — in their own homes — without hassle. Here are some ways to prepare homes for wheelchairs:
Make Sure Doorways Meet Minimum Clearance Requirements
The University of Colorado and its medical department Assistive Technology Partners strongly recommend installing doors with a minimum clearance of 32 inches wide. On the short-term, homeowners can make entryways wider by removing doors. This is especially simple when door frames and doors are fitted with convenient, lift off hinges. Homeowners may also be able to reverse the door for a quick — and temporary — alternative. On the long-term, is it often best to replace doors with lift off hinges in favor of offset hinges, with a much broader clearance and range of movement.
Rearrange, Restructure, and Revamp The Kitchen
Traditional kitchens can be extremely difficult to use and navigate in a wheelchair. Disabled persons can easily take part in meal preparations, with some adjustments. Attach drawer rollers to cutting board to create an accessible, pull-out work surface, the University of Colorado advises. Consumers can place the cutting board on top of an open drawer for additional support, if necessary.
Moreover, disabled homeowners — or homeowners with disabled family members — should be especially mindful of responsible wire management. Even extended cords trailing along the floor can pose significant risks. Install desk grommets onto tabletops to route wiring away from blunt edges, wheelchairs, and the floor. This will prevent wheels from getting caught, and also reduce the likelihood of electrical accidents and injury.
With some effort, homeowners can relatively easily make their rooms and doorways wheelchair accessible. Revisit minimum clearance requirements, install roll-out work surfaces in the kitchen, and keep wires away from chairs’ wheels.