How to Make Simple Wheelchair Accessibility Modifications to Your Home
Extensive remodeling of a dwelling can be costly, but a few simple steps and modifications can economically enhance wheelchair accessibility.
- Remove loose carpets or rugs.
- Change doorknobs to lever-type handles.
- Replace narrow doors with pocket doors or even curtains.
- Move furniture to allow at least a 32-inch path and a 5-foot turning radius.
- Add a 36-inch string to each door handle. A wheelchair user can use this to pull the door closed when moving through the doorway.
- Add furniture coasters or decorated, small blocks of wood to raise tables and desks above knee level.
- Tack or glue down small, wedge-shaped pieces of wood or metal to serve as mini ramps over high door thresholds.
- Use drop leaf, roll-away carts for kitchen work areas.
- Change bathroom vanity-style sink fixtures to pedestal types.
- Change the toilet to a taller, narrower handicapped toilet to permit access by commode wheelchair.
- Install grab bars as necessary in the bathroom.
- Install a nonslip floor in the bathroom.
- Install a hose/nozzle system in the shower.
- Put in a water-powered ascending/descending tub seat.
- Install lever handles on kitchen and bathroom sinks.
- Consider changing appliances to front-control, front-access types.
- Plan an emergency exit for the wheelchair user.
- Install a ramp for at least one entrance/exit of the dwelling. The ramp should be built at no more than a 1-to-12 gradient.
- Convert gravel walks to concrete for all-weather access.
- Construct ramp access to the garage or carport to allow sheltered entrance into and exit from a vehicle.
- Move the mailbox to an accessible point.
Things You Will Need
- Power Wheelchairs
- Carbon Monoxide Detector
- Home Alarm Systems
- Smoke Detectors
- Telephone Jacks
- Manual Wheelchairs
- Medical Alert Bracelet
- Shower Massager
- Wheelchair Gloves
- Wheelchair Mini Ramps
- Wheelchair Ramps
- Wheelchair Seat Cushions
- Fire Extinguishers
- Lever Locksets
- Cellular Phones
- Wheelchairs generally maneuver best through a 32-inch-wide portal.
- Restricted hallway access might be overcome by reversing the way a door swings.
- Install telephone jacks in every room.
- Install any new telephone jack or electrical outlet 6 inches higher than usual.
- Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are especially important for the safety of disabled residents.
- Keep a fire extinguisher handy.
- Ramps must be kept clean of snow and ice to remain useful.