Most houses have narrow doorways, steep driveways, small bathrooms, and out-of-reach doorknobs. These features make the life of wheelchair users difficult and uncomfortable. Finding a handicapped-accessible house is hard. Remodelling involves gutting it and changing the interior space entirely which is expensive. The best alternative is to build your home from scratch. Building allows you to include design specifications that make the house user-friendly. Here are a few design tips when creating an accessible house.
Your driveway should be useable by everyone to allow your visitors to get to the front door. Consider the available space. Is it enough to enable wheelchair users to get to the door? Your driveway also needs to be flat for easy navigation. Steep hills and uneven surfaces may be problematic. The materials you use on the surface of your path also affects mobility. Graphite may be cost-effective but can be slippery. Consider using non-slip materials for smooth movement. If you can't avoid doorsteps, you need a ramp. There are a variety of outdoor wheelchair ramps. For convenience, you should look for a simple, non-slip and durable ramp.
2. Accessible Doorways
Doorframes should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs. All doors in the house should be at least 32 inches. The door knobs need to be easy to open. Avoid knobs that are hard on the hands and wrist. Go for D-shaped handle as opposed to round handles. Avoid auto-closing doors. People with mobility challenges need more time to go through a door. Therefore, doors which close quickly are likely to hit people in the back. Your doorways also need sufficient space for manoeuvring.
3. A wheelchair-Accessible Kitchen
Several things can be done to make your kitchen accessible. It is advisable to install your cabinets low for easy access to items. Your bench tops, sinks, and prep areas need to be of comfortable height for wheelchair users. Apart from a low height, your drawers and cabinets need to be easy to open. You also need to invest in kitchen appliances that have incorporated safety and accessible features. For instance, go for ovens which open sideways not downward to avoid accidents. Some of the appliances and designs can be costly, but you can find a good mortgage broker for reliable services. The kitchen should have plenty of space for wheelchair rotation.
4. Accessible Switches and Environmental Controls
The light switches and thermostats should be at a convenient height. To increase independence, install a home automation system and devices. The system lets you control appliances and tools using a remote or your phone. You can add other features such as thermostat control, lighting, TVs, door locks, and alarms to the automation system.
5. Wheelchair Accessible Bathrooms
Making a bathroom accessible makes the life of a wheelchair user stress-free. Install mobility equipment in the baths along with walk-in showers or have a bath lift or grab rails to aid in getting out of the tub. A wash and dry toilet would be a fantastic addition. Your bathroom must have enough space and non-slip floors.