How to Make Your Home More Accessible: 5 Simple Adjustments


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Many houses don’t have the necessary features to provide complete accessibility to people with disabilities. You might have to make some adjustments if you or a loved one has a mobility issue. 

Thankfully, most upgrades are simple and inexpensive, and most things can be addressed quickly. Here are five simple ways to improve your home’s accessibility and make it a more inclusive place.

1. Start With The Entrances

Your home’s entryways are the most logical places to start. Canadian building codes require doorways to have a minimum width of 860 mm or about 34 inches, which is more than wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. Double-check your entrances to ensure compliance with this rule.

Here are some other accessible features you should consider adding around entryways:

  • Sidewalk curb cuts
  • Flat and stable walking surfaces with no loose materials like gravel or tanbark
  • Special signs for deaf or blind guests
  • Accessible parking spaces close to the entrance

You must also build a wheelchair ramp for the main entrance. They’re essential for anyone with mobility issues, including elderly folks and people on crutches. The ramp should have a gentle slope and include grab bars for extra support.

2. Spread Out The Floor Plan

Declutter every room and open things up. Getting around an organized house is much easier for people with disabilities. Start by establishing clear walking paths around furniture. A great way to simplify this step is to replace your old furniture with lightweight chairs and tables that are easy to move around. 

Flexible seating options will help you accommodate any physical limitations. Disabilities are more common than you think. Canada has about 6.2 million people living with at least one disability. In the United States, 13.7% of adults have a mobility disability that interferes with daily life. You must remove those interferences as best you can.

Enabling easy movement also allows people with disabilities to avoid becoming sedentary. Sedentary lifestyles can aggravate chronic pain and make their conditions worse. Even individuals with mobility issues must stay physically active.

3. Add Accessible Upgrades Wherever Possible

You can add many interior upgrades to your home to improve its accessibility. These additionals will have the most positive impact:

  • Stairlifts
  • Roll-under sinks
  • Raised toilets
  • Full-length mirrors
  • Shower seats
  • Nonslip flooring materials
  • Grab bars for toilets, showers and bathtubs
  • Low-height cabinets, shelves and drawers

Installing some of these features might require you to make other changes, depending on your home’s existing structure. You may have to redesign the kitchen and bathroom or install brand-new flooring. 

4. Fall-Proof The House

You need to fall-proof the house as much as possible to reduce the risk of injury. Start by adding soft rugs and carpets, especially in the living room and other high-traffic areas. Vinyl flooring is also a good option, providing solid traction and plenty of cushioning.

Investing in a medical fall alert system is another smart precaution. Emergency services will be contacted immediately regardless if someone falls and suffers an injury. This service is mainly for older people, but it can help anyone who has trouble getting around.

Fall-proofing the house is a daily responsibility. You must keep track of electrical cords, toys, shoes and other objects that might cause someone to trip and fall. Remove all obstacles from hallways and staircases. Leave doors open so people with wheelchairs can easily get in and out. 

5. Brighten Things Up

Visibility is an overlooked part of handicap accessibility. You must brighten things up to ensure people with eyesight or mobility issues can safely move around. Start by maximizing indoor natural lighting with skylights and window walls. Open up the curtains and let the sunlight shine through.

You should also update your light fixtures. Some are designed for specific areas. A floodlight by your front door will maximize visibility around the wheelchair ramp and doorway. Bollard or pathways lights are great for illuminating ramps, sidewalks and staircases.

Welcome Everyone Into Your Home

The best homeowners make accommodations for everyone, regardless of age, race, sex or physical limitations. These five adjustments will help you make your home’s interior and exterior more accessible and welcoming to people with disabilities. They might take time and effort but are well worth it for everyone’s comfort and peace of mind.

About The Author

Oscar Collins is the managing editor at Modded, where he writes about cars, fitness, the outdoors and more. Check out @TModded for regular updates! 

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