There are many things to consider when looking at making a home more accessible and safer for all those who live in the space including those choosing to age in place and preparing for visitability. Some of the areas to concentrate on are the entry ways, hallways, bathrooms, kitchens, and stairways.
Some specific suggestions to help increase the comfort, safety and accessibility of the home include:
- Have a barrier-free entry to the home (through garage or front of home) that allows for the use of a wheelchair, walker or scooter.
- Hallways should be wide enough for safe travel of a wheelchair, walker or scooter.
- Have lighting that is bright enough, including provisions for night lighting.
- Pay careful attention to the top and bottom of stairways and provide adequate lighting, the ability to turn on lights and handrails on both sides of the stairs.
- Bathroom needs space for maneuverability for a wheelchair or a walker.
- Be pro-active and install blocking in walls for grab bars and better yet, add grab bars.
- Choose a comfort height toilet – (they really are more comfortable).
- Install a curb less shower and hand-held adjustable shower head.
- Provide varied work-surfaces in the kitchen and bathroom to allow for stand-up and sit-down access.
- Keep the main storage areas that are between a foot and four foot off the floor for things used daily.
- Install easy care, safe flooring like low pile carpeting and/or non-slip style flooring in main areas.
There are so many things that can be incorporated into the home to make it safer and more visitable. The above list is just a small taste of what steps to consider in making safer, more accessible choices for the home. Some good references include the AARP site and the NKBA. CAPS Professionals are also trained to help make the home safer. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or comments. Take care.