I have many clients who ask for tips on making their homes more accessible for themselves or a disabled or elderly loved one.
The following suggestions from Agingcare.com can help you adapt your home for yourself or a loved ones who is facing a physical disability:
* When a person can no longer walk safely up or down stairs, a threshold ramp should be considered. Permanent ramps can be installed, or there are also more affordable rubber ramps that can be cut to the desired length and width and placed up against the threshold to be moved out of the way when desired.
* While some people balk at the idea of using a walker, walkers are a great precaution against falls in the home and a good way to help keep moving. Consider a lightweight aluminum frame that uses a scissor-style mechanism to fold vertically as opposed to horizontally, making it easier to fold flat and allowing it to be rolled through narrow spaces with ease.
* Getting in and out of a recliner or living room chair can be difficult. Rather than have to ask for help or to help your loved one up, risking injury to your back, consider a lift chair to enable you or them to sit down or stand up with ease. Some look like standard recliners, but, with the flip of a switch, the chair reclines or lifts the occupant out of it.
* Doctors recommend an elevated toilet seat with armrests for anyone who has a hard time getting on and off the toilet. While there are models that can be clamped in place and do not require any hardware, they are typically not very sturdy, especially if the person using it is overweight. Some models combine the seat and arms with a hydraulic lifting system for extra assistance and can be used as both a raised toilet seat and a stand-alone commode. Some include a “guest” standard toilet seat which can be mounted in place when you have company over.
* Adjustable bed rails can be put on one or both sides of a bed, which will help a person to get in and out of bed.
* To get in and out of the shower or bathtub, grab bars are essential for safety. Some are installed permanently, and there are others that secure themselves to completely smooth surfaces using suction cups. It’s very important that people do not use towel bars to grab onto — they are not meant to hold weight and will come loose from the wall very easily.
* Provide proper lighting — remember: lighting requirements increase with age or some disabilities.