26% or one in four adults in the United States have some disability, with 13.7 percent of those with a disability experiencing a mobility disability with serious difficulty walking or climbing the stairs. However, for those looking to make their home more accessible for a loved one or a guest, you don’t have to break the bank in achieving your goals. From creating a game plan to eliminating mobility challenges via simple fixes, here are just a few ways you can get started.
Creating a plan
Before breaking out your toolbox, perhaps one of the best things you can do when making your home more accessible is to create a well-thought-out plan. Not only will this save you time and money in the long run, but it will aid in identifying ways that you can make your home more accessible in a more straightforward way — rather than jumping in and creating more damage than is necessary. This is because often, the solution can be pretty simple and doesn’t require an over-the-top renovation.
For example, making the home more spacious/easier to navigate can usually be done by simply rearranging the furniture rather than reconstructing the home. That said, one way to get started in creating a well-thought-out plan is by identifying issues that your loved one or guest needs to be addressed. You can then prioritize tasks by making a list and ensuring that everything is taken care of accordingly.
Eliminating various mobility challenges
For many who experience a disability, mobility is often a challenge present throughout the home and many aspects. For individuals who share a disability like cerebral palsy, a group of disorders that affect muscle movement and coordination, this may involve using a wheelchair or an aid such as a walker. With that in mind, the bathroom and any stairs within the home are generally two significant challenges, each of which can be addressed through simple DIY fixes. Stairs, for instance, can often be addressed with the installation of a ramp or a chair lift, while making minor changes to the bathroom can be extremely helpful in allowing for both increased safety and independence. For example, installing handrails and a shower chair are just two DIY fixes that can aid with things like getting in the bathtub or shower and reducing falls.
It’s important to note that not all mobility difficulties stem from a disability that involves using a wheelchair, as conditions like arthritis can lead to disability and create issues in navigating the home. Because those who experience arthritis may have pain and immobility in their wrists and fingers, turning doorknobs and using the sink or shower faucet can be pretty tricky. To address these issues, replacing doorknobs and faucets with handle-like fixtures can make a significant difference with everything from opening and closing doors to washing hands.
Installing technology-focused features
While a number of physical modifications — like installing a ramp or easy-to-use faucet fixtures can make a world of difference for those with a disability, installing certain technological features throughout your home can also help greatly. For instance, while many may view the ability to turn off and on lights without the use of a switch as a luxury, those with a disability can benefit even more in terms of independence. With options including installing a video doorbell, the ability to open doors, and using the thermostat via technology like voice command, there’s no question that these features all have their benefits. Todd Stabelfeldt, the CEO of C4 Database Management, notes that you don’t have to invest in an expensive and complex smart home to benefit from such technology, either, advising others to “Start small,” and recommends starting with something like a smart plug, which can automate any electrical device.
Installing features that make your home more accessible can seem like an overwhelming, expensive endeavor. However, by creating a well-thought-out plan and making minor adjustments — like installing a ramp or other technology-focused features — you’re sure to accommodate your loved one or guest successfully.