An average of 40 million americans today are living with some type of disability. If this happens to be you or a loved one you live with, there are several simple changes you can implement in order to have better mobility around your home.
#1 – Fix your entries:
The first barrier a person with mobility impairments can encounter is the entrance. In order to improve mobility around your home, the entryway should have no steps and a low threshold at less than a half inch. If possible, the installment of a ramp (permanent or semi-permanent) will be of great help if there happen to be any steps or changes of floor level.
Since most wheelchairs and walkers are too wide to easily maneuver through doorways, you’ll probably need to widen them. A 36” wide door opening should work just fine.
#2 – Rethink your flooring:
Rugs and thick carpet make it hard for anyone with a walker or wheelchair to move around. These also generate a major tripping hazard for all. Vinyl or hardwood flooring, ceramic tile and other similar materials are better and safer options to improve mobility around your home.
#3 – Allow for at least a five foot turning radius:
In all areas around your home, you’ll need to make sure there’s at least a 5-foot turn radius, or even 6-foot if you’re dealing with a larger than normal wheelchair. The idea is for the person in a wheelchair to be able to make a 360-degree turn, so keep spaces as clear and open as possible.
#4 – Bathroom improvements:
There are several types of mobility aids you can install that won’t break the bank. Grab bars or a riser for your toilet are just two items that are easily available and can make a great difference in improving the person with mobility issues’ comfort and independence.
A walk-in bath or an accessible roll-in shower are great options when turning your bathroom into a more accessible place. Customers can find a variety of options at Van Products’ showrooms and stores, complete with the guidance of a mobility expert who can help you figure out exactly what would be best for your specific conditions and those of your home.
#5 – Beware of staircases:
Staircases can be a major obstacle for anyone with mobility problems, so incorporating a stairlift will provide them with independence and much greater comfort. In our Van Products’ stores you’ll be sure to find a wide range of stairlifts able to adjust to the specific design of your staircase.
#6 – Kitchen modifications:
Countertop heights are something to keep in mind when looking for better mobility around your home. For a person using a wheelchair, they should be at around a 30”-35” height for greater comfort and to have enough space underneath to accommodate the knees, especially around the sink area.
It’s also important to arrange appliances near the sink and counters so that tasks are much easier to perform, and move everyday items into lower cabinets for easier access.
#7 – Storage and closet space:
At least half of your storage should be accessible for the person using a wheelchair. Drawers and cabinets need to be left at lower heights everywhere around the home, including your closet. Consider bringing even your closet rods to a height of about 2 feet from the floor.
#8 – Don’t forget the garden:
Outside areas are part of your home life as well, so it’s important to make sure they’re accessible for everyone to enjoy them. Adding paving is a simple way to make the garden or backyard areas more accessible, just make sure pathways are wide enough for wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Outdoor stair lifts provide easy access to exposed staircases and are able to resist outdoor weather conditions.
Gaining better mobility around your home is a task that requires special attention to a few simple aspects without needing to make expensive investments most of the time. Visit our Van Products’ showroom and store to find exactly what you need to make your home comfortable and accessible for everyone in it.