According to the 2010 census, more than 56 million people in the U.S. have some type of physical disability Physical disabilities are all unique to the people they effect but can all be overcome with the right frame of mind and alterations to one’s home in order to make those who are disabled capable of anything.
Your home should be your palace, a safe space where you can relax and be most yourself. Houses, apartments, all spaces of living, are generically put together to accommodate people without physical disabilities, and if you are disabled, this may pose a challenge for you to live comfortably in your own home, we just can’t allow that. When it comes down to the redesign, keep in mind the space you are working with, your budget, and your needs.
If you are wheelchair bound and are finding it hard to maneuver through small spaces such as doorways you can do one of two things. There are wheelchairs made specifically for tight spaces, they are built to be narrower that a standard wheel chair and could solve the problem of living in smaller quarters. However, you could also look into widening your doorways. There are a couple of ways to this as well. You can either have a contractor come in and reconstruct the doorways (this can be costly, however, costing about $1,000) or a more affordable option would be to apply swing hinges to your doors, this would help to add a couple of inches all around to the space in your doorways.
The most exciting room in the house, at least for me, is the kitchen. It’s a great place to gather around with family and friends and make good memories and good food. As someone with a disability, to assure your comfort and safety, make sure all counter tops and appliances are at an appropriate height for your needs.
Your bathroom is another sanctuary, a place to clear your head and rest and relax. To creat a safe space for yourself here, think about using the following tips.
- Lower sinks
- Grab bars for tubs/showers
- If possible, a roll in/walk in shower
- You can get yourself a shower chair or bench as well.
A great addition to your bathroom, whether you need to transition from a wheel chair or just have bad knees, is to install a toilet seat riser. Even if you’re not disabled, it is helpful for taller people as well to use the bathroom with greater ease on their joints.
Be sure when making any of the suggested changes in your home mentioned in this article, or anywhere else, to consult with a licensed, qualified, general contractor to make sure everything is reconstructed, replaced, or moved properly and safely. Also, see if you can get a consultation with a designer to figure out how to keep everything cost effective. Most importantly, don’t get overwhelmed. Take everything step by step, project by project. You can overcome anything with a disability. Start at home.