Home is our sanctuary; it’s where we feel most comfortable, even during the more trying times in our lives. That’s why so many older adults are choosing to age in place in the comfort of home. However, as people age, loss of mobility due to chronic illness, injury, or general frailty can become an issue. To help people in this situation, the use of a wheelchair is often recommended. But incorporating a wheelchair into the home can present a variety of challenges when it comes to safety and access.
The good news is that some simple home modifications can ensure that the older adult can use their wheelchair safely and with ease in the home.
The following are some modifications recommended for a wheelchair-friendly home:
- Install a ramp at each entrance that has landings at the bottom and the top.
- Make sure thresholds on doors are not more than ¼ inch high.
- Keep walkways and driveways smooth, clear of cracks and other tripping hazards, but not slippery.
- Ensure doorways are 32-36 inches wide with enough floor space near the doors to maneuver a wheelchair.
- Make sure there is knee space under all sinks.
- Bathrooms should have either a wheelchair-maneuverable bathtub with a 60-inch turning radius or T-turn space, or a stand-up shower that has no threshold and is at least 36 inches wide.
- There should be adequate space to transfer from wheelchair to toilet.
- Oven doors should be able to swing open to the side.
- Install a Lazy Susan in deeper cabinets to ensure the person can reach all items.
- Cabinet shelves should be no more than 10 inches deep.
- Kitchen stove controls must be located at the front.
- Walk-in closets are ideal for wheelchair-bound individuals, but a closet organizer that allows the person to reach all items can also work.
Being in a wheelchair change how a person lives their life, but it shouldn’t mean compromising or settling for a home environment that is less accessible or comfortable. At Harmony Home Health & Hospice, we believe that our wheelchair-bound clients deserve to enjoy the same access to their homes and everything in them that everyone else has.
Our professional home care team can help your family decide on the modifications that will help a loved one live a safer and more independent life at home. Contact our team today at 1-877-I-NEED-CARE to learn more about our home care assistance services in Salt Lake City, Tooele, Albuquerque, and other communities.