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Your home is the place where you should feel completely comfortable and safe, however, for many people with reduced mobility or with some type of disability, home is usually a space full of obstacles and difficulties. And it shouldn’t be like that. Or, maybe you care for someone in your home like I did. I cared for my dad for 14 years, two of which he spent on hospice. So, how to adapt your home for a disabled person?
An environment with barriers and obstacles lowers your confidence, limits your activities, and worsens your quality of life. For this reason, stairlift platforms are designed to improve your mobility and independence in your day-to-day life. They help you to solve so many architectural barriers, poor distribution of elements, unevenness, and lack of space characteristic of so many houses. How do we adapt our solutions to each home? It is much easier than it sounds, and if you leverage caregiver services, they will help too. In this article, we will tell you all the steps that come into play in adapting your home.
How to Adapt Your Home for a Disabled Person
What kinds of obstacles hinder the movement of people with disabilities in their own home?
Most apartment buildings have a small entrance gap to the community hall or have stairs to their homes. This is the first barrier that people with disabilities face, but not the only one. Before reaching the entrance of their apartment or house, they have to navigate stairs of various dimensions.
In all these cases, the ramps offer an acceptable solution but are not very viable in most cases. When designing them, the current regulations must be taken into account, which establishes the maximum slope of a ramp in new construction shall be 1:12. The maximum rise for any run shall be 30 in.
Stairlifts are also very versatile accessibility solutions designed to solve the difficult accesses that people with reduced mobility find in their own homes and in public spaces. You could consider an elevator, but is it possible to get an elevator in your home? First, you should consider the home elevator cost.
Chairs are normally installed in private homes, both on straight staircases and on curved staircases, without the need for any type of reform. Stairlift platforms are more common solutions in both apartments and private homes.
ADA regulations establish that the minimum dimensions of a door must be 32 inches. Otherwise, it is impossible for a person in a wheelchair to get through. Even so, many of our homes still do not comply with this standard, especially in access to bathrooms and kitchens.
The same thing happens with hallways. The closed design of older types of apartments often incorporated narrow corridors that made it extremely difficult for the person in a wheelchair to move freely. Current ADA regulations dictate that hallways must have a 60-inch minimum width for passing with passing intervals reasonably spaced. Otherwise, it is impossible for the person in a wheelchair to maneuver.
Plugs and Electrical Installation
ADA specifies there must be 30″ x 48″ clear floor space perpendicular to the wall for a forward reach, and a maximum height of 48″ for light switches. Outlets must be at a minimum of 15″ above the floor. so that the person in a wheelchair and/or with disabilities can access them without any problem.
However, the light points in many of the older construction homes do not meet this basic requirement. It is equally important to keep our homes free of cables that can obstruct the passage of the disabled person.
Adapting Your Home for a Disabled Person
The first step is always to sit down with the affected person and listen carefully to the obstacles they face in their home/building. As well as listen to their daily goals and the type of disability they live with. Next, you must carefully analyze their spaces and movements. On many occasions, a home can greatly improve its level of accessibility with simple changes such as these:
- Maintain a clean and orderly home. How easy it is to accumulate unnecessary objects without realizing that over time they become obstacles to the movement of the person in a wheelchair. You can save or discard (or recycle) the objects that we do not use daily, and locate those that we do use at a suitable height for the reach of disabled people.
- Avoid making the furniture too big or taking up too much space, blocking the way.
- Ensure that the furniture is of the appropriate height (between 15 and 55 in high) so that the person in a wheelchair can manage it independently.
- Fix the furniture to the wall to avoid possible accidents.
- Try to make the furniture have rounded edges.
- Avoid rugs or stick them to the floor so that they cannot slide and cause accidents.
- Try to make the floor non-slip and smooth.
- Get rid of cables and other unnecessary objects that obstruct the passage of the disabled person.
Security and Technology in the Home
Nowadays it is possible to control your home automation in different ways: by remote controls, with a tablet, computer, smartphone, or even with our own voice. These systems are a great advance for people with disabilities since they do not need to maneuver across the house to perform certain actions. The technology offered by home automation goes further and is not only accessible, but it is also usable. When installing a Smart Home system, for example, it is important to take the architecture into account to get the most out of it.
- Simple control: smart homes are ready to be controlled through our voice. They can connect with assistants like Google Home, Apple Siri, or Amazon Alexa. Thanks to this simple and effective control, we will be able to give orders to our house such as looking for what the weather is like, turning off the lights or turning on music.
- 100% customizable: the user will be the one who decides what they need and the home automation system will carry it out. It allows programming of raising of blinds, regulating the temperature, or the intensity of the light.
- Accessible: you can introduce new home access systems such as electronic keys, encoded cards or numeric keypads into our lives. It also allows us to install a video intercom and connect it with our smartphone to see who is knocking at the door and even open it with the press of a key. This system can be very beneficial for people with reduced mobility.