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No Need to Sell! Consider a Home Remodel for Wheelchair Access

Wheelchair accessible homeNot many homes out there were designed with the needs of people with impaired mobility in mind. If you or a family member becomes confined to a wheelchair through illness or injury – or even aging, getting around your home could become very difficult.

As the population ages, the need for easier access will only increase.

Some simple home remodeling can provide either wheelchair access or just a more “mobility friendly” place. It may also increase the desirability and value of your home.

Home Accessibility, Inside and Out

House with no front stepsThere are two overriding principles to keep in mind when designing a home for someone who is wheelchair bound: space and accessibility. As you remodel, ask yourself if there is enough space for someone in a wheelchair to move around with ease and also whether things can be reached easily.

Independence is crucial to someone in a wheelchair. It enables them to maintain dignity and self-esteem.

grey wood siding house with a wheelchair accessible rampSteps should be replaced with ramps, both inside and outside, so a wheelchair can move freely from one room or one location to another. Internal staircases can be fitted with a wheelchair lift.

Doorways need to be accessible. This shouldn’t require major structural change. You may find that if you reinstall doors with swing-away, offset hinges then the extra few inches you gain in width may be sufficient to allow a wheelchair to pass through.

Reduce clutter in the living areas of your home and provide clear access paths for a wheelchair to move through the house, with enough space for turning around.

Bathroom Remodeling

a toilet for disabled people with green bars, wheelchair and doorA simple but effective change you can make is to install grab bars and safety rails around the bathtub and toilet. These bars and rails must be installed strongly, so consult someone with expertise in this field. In addition, the height of the toilet seat is important. You may need to install a raised seat or change the toilet completely.

If you have enough space in the bathroom, you can install a roll-in shower in place of the tub.

Finally, any vanity cabinets beneath the sink should be relocated to allow wheelchair access.

Kitchen Remodeling

Man in wheelchair in kitchenFirst and foremost, consider the amount of space in the middle of the kitchen to allow a wheelchair to turn around. A kitchen island can be wonderful, but it may also limit mobility.

A section of counter space can be redone to accommodate someone in a wheelchair.

The counter top can be lowered, even made adjustable, and the cabinets beneath relocated.

The height of the sink may need to be considered. Also, ensure that any exposed pipes or fittings under the sink will not cause injury.

What to do with kitchen cabinets need not be a dilemma. Having sliding shelves or baskets installed inside cabinets can make it easy for anyone to reach items at the back of a shelf. Or consider having rotating shelves inside larger cabinets.

Solutions Are Out There

If mobility and access become problematic in your home, there may not be the need to sell the house or reinvent the wheel. Solutions are out there. Consult remodeling experts who have the experience and understanding to ensure your renovations are not only beneficial for everyone but will also enhance your property’s market value.

Romney Tripp of RWT Design & Construction“Romney Tripp started construction in 1977 and formed RWT Design & Construction in 1992, eventually setting up the shop in Burbank. From the mid 1980’s Romney has been working on building recording studios as well as…” Read more.

Creative Commons Attribution: Permission is granted to repost this article in its entirety with credit to RWT Design & Construction.

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