Wheelchair Safe Homes: Things you need to consider and links to videos & other resources, etc.

NH Lifestyle Articles: Wheelchair Safe Homes                               

Make Your Home Wheelchair Safe
Helping those with special needs!

Everyone enjoys independent living. However, due to misfortune or aging, many people find themselves needing the help of wheel chairs and canes to stay mobile. At such times, it becomes the duty and responsibility of the family members to make some simple adjustments to make your home safer for elderly or disadvantaged family members.

Remove hazards. First, to avoid injuries, remove anything like furniture or cabinets, which can be an obstacle for wheel chair users while moving around the house. Make your home easily accessible and safe, rather than concentrating on home décor.

A new wheelchair in the house is an adjustment for everyone. Floor surfaces should be smooth, because uneven floors can become difficult for a person to move freely on his wheelchair, cane or crutches. Uneven trims or floor joints should be repaired. Also, consider removing any rugs or floor coverings that may cause falls or slippage.

Get a ramp. Wood, concrete, and aluminum are common materials for making ramps, and can be selected according to your budget and preference. Make sure that the surface is slip resistant, to avoid falls and injuries.

Install handrails. Put handrails on staircases and walkways for better accessibility. This is especially important in bathroom areas, where the risk of tripping and injuries is the highest. Also, consider installing chairlifts, or shifting your loved one's bedroom to the first floor.

Check doors and other openings. To avoid bruises or other injuries, make sure that your doors are wide enough. Doors and wheel chairs all vary in width so either get your doors enlarged or purchase a narrow wheelchair.

Consider storage spaces. It's difficult to live independently if you can't reach a juice glass, or get a fresh roll of toilet paper.

For help. Call Granite State Independent Living. From their offices in Littleton & Berlin, they have counselors who can make general recommendations, and connect you to area professionals who can undertake the building changes for you. Depending on your needs, income eligibility, and the severity and medical reasons for your disability, they may be able to help you find full or partial funding to make those needed home modifications.

Related Articles:
Handicapped Accessible Trails in Northern NH
Adapting a Home for Wheelchair Accessibility
Adapting Your Home To Maximize Mobility
Home Modification - Funding Sources (The Council for Disability Rights)


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