Making Your Home Handicap Accessible Has Never Been More Plausible

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Making Your Home Handicap Accessible Has Never Been More Plausible
Making your home handicap accessible is an important factor for those living with disabilities or experiencing more limited mobility as they age. People living with impaired mobility do not have to be inhibited by their surroundings. In fact, modifications in key areas of the house can help make independent, self-sufficient living possible.
The first obstacle to tackle in self-sufficient living is getting in and out of the home safely. This is a simple, common occurrence that many people take for granted, however, for those with physical disabilities, entry to and exit from different critical access points in the home can be challenging. The kitchen, bathroom, and living areas are also areas in the home that must be made accessible. The addition of grab bars, handrails, and added space in hallways or doorways can significantly ease one's ability to maneuver throughout the household. Beyond these common renovations, here are a few other important factors to consider:

Open Sesame

For those with decreased strength, arthritic hands, or other disabilities, opening doors can pose a difficult challenge. Traditional door handles may be too difficult to grasp or turn. The use of lever handles on doors can make for easier entry into different rooms or into the front entrance of the house. In fact, Vancouver has progressively mandated that all new buildings and residences be constructed with lever door handles rather the traditional knob handles. This change is effective March 2014 and is based around the development concept of universal design.  

The concept of universal design is based on the premise of making environments usable for the whole population, including those with disabilities.  In addition to lever handles, other important devices that can be installed at entry points in the home include an electric door opener and keyless electronic locks. These can help ensure the safety of the home without compromising the ease of access and utility of these entry and exit points.


Kitchen Workspaces and Appliances


An important factor to consider when working in any area is lighting. Consider the installation of under-cabinet lights or focused task lighting to improve the visibility in hard-to-reach or hard-to-see areas. Relocating outlets or light switches is another simple way to improve the functionality of your home. Additionally, space should be reconfigured to ensure there is enough knee space available for wheelchair users. Pullout shelves can also be installed as easy-to-use and convenient workspaces. Traditional refrigerator/freezer combinations usually place the freezer on top of the fridge. This can make shelves or items difficult to reach. When considering new appliances, look for side-by-side refrigerators or ovens with controls on the front, to ensure that everything is safely within reach.


Making your home handicap accessible has never been more possible. Technology has advanced enough for the construction of elevators within the home, offering a convenient alternative to wheelchair ramps or stairs. For more information on accessible home renovations, be sure to use the helpful resources available online, like the Canadian Home Workshop

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