Getting used to using a wheelchair can be as emotionally challenging as it can be physically. Adapting to moving around your own home under new circumstances is as much a mental task as it is physical, as being unsure in an otherwise familiar setting can be unsettling.
As your house is your oasis of calm, it should always be a safe space whereby you are entirely comfortable and at ease going about your daily chores and responsibilities. With that being said, here is a comprehensive guide to adapting your home for wheelchair use.
Perhaps one of the most important considerations of all for an accessible and wheelchair-friendly home is to ensure that the flooring throughout the entire property is suitable.
The most wheelchair-friendly option for new flooring would be laminate, as the material can withstand regular pressure from the weight of the chair and is relatively affordable to replace if a panel becomes cracked or damaged as a result. Alternatively, other appropriate flooring materials include vinyl, either in sheet or tile form, ceramic tiling and thin and unpadded speciality carpet types.
One of the rooms in your home which requires the most planning and prior thought when addressing issues for wheelchair users is the bathroom, as this room is used every single day.
Installing modern bathroom radiators will ensure that the temperature and comfort level within your bathroom will always be at an optimum; the toilet seat needs to be moved to ensure easy transferring from the wheelchair and your wall-mounted sink should have enough clearance to accommodate.
Additionally, another incredibly important change is to install grab rails in and around the shower and bathtub.
Naturally, if you are someone who is always in the kitchen and spends time each day cooking your favourite meals and preparing treats, you should spend a great deal of time planning changes. On the other hand, if you have your meals delivered or a close friend or family members tends to prepare your meals for you, then fewer changes need to be made.
In terms of adapting a standard kitchen, the main issue is the height of the kitchen countertops. These need to be lowered to suit a wheelchair user. Your kitchen sink should have ample space for the wheelchair to fit easily underneath and the taps need to be fitted in a way that means they can be reached closer to the edge of the countertop.
Your Front & Back Door
Finally, as well as ensuring that every single room within your home is now more wheelchair-friendly and accessible, it is also important to turn your attention to the front and rear entrances of your home.
In terms of elevation for your front door, a strong and sturdy wheelchair ramp is by far the best choice, and there are basically two different types; free-standing wheelchair ramps, which are more expensive, and threshold ramps that are for entranceways which have no notable height difference and are usually much cheaper.