Dealing with an ailing parent or a disability of any kind is never easy. We understand exactly how you feel. Not only are you concerned about their medical well-being, but you must also make their home accessible to enhance their daily life. Most people think that making a space adequate for the handicapped is putting out a ramp. However, remodeling for accessibility for those with special needs requires much more than a ramp out front.
Homeowners that require an extensively modified floor plan and product features are becoming more commonplace. There is a movement that asks contractors for more ‘visitability.’ This term simply means that all homes should be able to have a handicapped or elderly person visit without any problems. While the officials are still a few years from making this a law, many things can be done now to help these people. When building a home for those with special needs, here are some tips to ensure that the space you create is meant just for them.
The first thing that you should consider when remodeling for accessibility for someone with impairments is to have a zero-step entrance with a three-part opening door. Yes, a ramp is important, but the ramp you use doesn’t have to lack in taste or character. One contractor, for instance, designed a ramp that wrapped around the side of the home as a decorative element. All around the ramp was flowers and a fountain. It didn’t look like a wheelchair ramp, rather it looked like an Artesian garden that had a nice walkway. There is a way to incorporate the ramps into the design plan to make them a statement rather than standing out.
Main Bath on The Main Floor
To accommodate someone in a wheelchair, you will need to create a bathroom on the main floor with accessibility. They need to be able to turn a full 60 inches in a wheelchair. The shower should be able to be rolled into with ease. It should have a seat for those who can get into the shower without the wheelchair. Some people still like to take baths, so walk-in shower and tub combinations are a big hit. Not only can a handicapped person take a relaxing bath, but they can be safely seated while they do so. The largest and most accommodating powder room should be moved downstairs to accommodate individuals with special needs.
Make Doors Wider
The standard door is 32 inches. However, the 36-inch door makes moving furniture or a wheelchair in and out easier. It costs just a few dollars more to go with the wider door, yet the benefits are endless. Another idea is to use pocket doors. These doors making going from room to room easier. Those in a wheelchair will appreciate not having to fight with the door on their way in or out.
Use Latch Levers Instead of Knobs
Rather than using the standard door knobs that can be hard to turn with arthritic hands, try the lever-type handles. These can be used not only on doors but on sinks and such too. This is often an overlooked aspect of remodeling for accessibility.
Lower Counters and Get Smaller Appliances
One of the biggest problems for the handicapped is cooking. The counters and sinks are unreachable to most in a wheelchair. By lowering the counters from 36 inches to 30 inches, it makes the kitchen more accessible. Special appliances, like a stove, can also be shorter to help with cooking from a seated position. Incorporate systems and cabinets into the kitchen that will help them to maximize their usable space.
Master Bedroom on First Level
Most homes want the master bedroom to be on the first level anyway. When accommodating individuals with handicaps, making the first-floor accessible is essential. It is also recommended to put the largest bathroom right off their master suite. Since getting showered, dressed and ready to go may additional time, privacy is a big concern.
Wisely Choose The Right Flooring
Hardwood is all the rage these days, but they are not always the best choice for a wheelchair. Years of rolling back and forth can make some big indentations in the flooring. An engineered wood floor will hold up better. The only problem with laminates is that if a section gets messed up, the entire floor must be ripped up to fix it. Many contractors are using carpet squares all over the house. They look great and have a seamless finish, and one section can be removed if it becomes damaged. Tile is a great look and they are very durable, but they are also slippery and too cold for many people. Talk with your contractor or local home improvement experts for their recommendations prior to making a final decision.
A Pull-Down Wardrobe is Essential
If you were to put a closet at standard height, those with arthritis or in a wheelchair would not be able to reach things with ease. However, if you use a pull-down wardrobe, they can utilize the entire closet and easily reach things on the top shelf. They will need about a 48-inch-deep closet to have that upper pull-down rack.
Making An Accessible Home Takes Creativity
There are so many things that you can do while remodeling for accessibility. Whether a loved one is coming to stay, a sudden disability has struck or you are simply preparing for the future, there are things that can be done to ease accessibility within the home.
Talking with trusted contractors and home improvement professionals, like those at our Doug Ashy stores, can help to spark creative ideas for remodeling for accessibility. While it important to consider ADA compliance guidelines, it doesn’t mean that you can’t add some unique touches. Our team of experienced specialist can make recommendations to make your house feel like a home — not a rehabilitation center.