Did you know that there are more than 11 million people in the UK with a limiting long-term illness, impairment or disability, according to the Family Resources Survey 2011/12? What is accessible for one disabled person, may not necessarily be accessible for others. Take, for example, Ms C who is visually impaired, her needs are different to others with a physical disability.
Here are a few general suggestions to make your home more accessible for a range of disabilities and circumstances.
1. Create a spacious levelled parking space
Create a closeby parking space more spacious for people with disabilities to access, ensuring the drop-off points are kept clear, path surfaces are levelled, good lighting around the building and well-signalled. However, if your home has steps, providing a ramp or platform lift could be a great solution.
2. Create a widened door and make it easy to open
Most UK exterior doors come in a standard size, but you can rethink your front door to make it easier to manoeuvre, especially if you are a wheelchair user. You can widen your door by having big double doors or smaller split doors that can open wide enough for your needs. If you are unable to do so, Millercare have a wide range of wheelchairs for sale online that might be more suitable.
Also, don’t forget you need a door handle that is easy to open. Not all people have the strength or hand coordination to operate the door handle or turn a key to lock/unlock the door. You can install a digital door lock that either uses your fingerprint, smartphone app or passcode or with proxy fobs or phone tags, to open the door.
As for the interior door, you might want to convert some of your doors into sliding doors for quick access.
4. Open Plan Layout
Maybe you could think about creating an open plan by combining the most important rooms in the home. Besides easy accessibility for wheelchair users, this also creates a large space to connect, socialise and provide greater visibility, especially watching over young children or pets.
5. Choosing the Best Flooring
It is important to keep the floor clear to minimise the risk of tripping and falling or blocking a wheelchair from moving around. Rugs or door mats or runners are not ideal for wheelchair users or visually impaired people.
Hardwood flooring, vinyl or ceramic tiles are better options than carpets for accessibility and cleaning. They provide a flat and firm surface without creating resistance for wheelchair users or a long cane.
You can think about adjusting the height of your worktops and the placement of your appliances. You can even think about having a sink without cupboards underneath to provide space for your wheelchair. A kitchen island is not advisable if you lack space.
7. Smart home
Set up your home with smart devices that can be controlled remotely from anywhere using voice control or apps. For example, install smart plugs to help you to turn on/off the lights using your voice.
8. Wet Room
A wet room is not very common in UK homes but it offers a safe and highly accessible bathing environment for individuals of all ages and abilities. Or you can have a walk-in bath if you prefer to have a bath than a shower.
Installing grab rails next to the toilet, shower and sink areas are also important for making your home accessible and safe.
9. Rethink your wardrobe rods and furniture placement
Lowering your wardrobe rods will make it easier to reach clothing and the placement of furniture can make a big difference to allow space to manoeuvre. With a few improvements or tweaks around your home, it can hugely improve your lifestyle for everyone to enjoy.
Do you have any suggestions to make a home more accessible that I have missed out? Why not leave a comment and let me know.
Disclosure: This is a featured post.