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Suggestions for Making a Home Accessible

One trend in homeownership seen over the past few years has been modifying an existing home to meet an elderly or disabled person’s physical needs. Common improvements have included adding an elevator to go between floors, installing a stair lift, and adding a wheelchair lift or ramp, in some cases. Modifying a home isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, however, and a person’s physical needs are the most important factor. According to a recent article, modifying a home in most cases involves planning for living on a single floor. But, some other factors to consider in creating an accessible space include:

• Do certain rooms, such as the bathroom or the kitchen, need grab rails?
• Do some spaces need to be lit better through specific types of lighting and accessible switches?
• Making sure the hallway is at least three feet wide and brightly lit.
• All rooms on a floor should have a five by five area of open space to accommodate a wheelchair.
• Having a no-step entry, such as one with a wheelchair ramp or lift that goes directly to a door.
• Making sure that interior doors are at least three feet wide.
• Adding a device, such as an elevator or stair lift, to go between floors.

Home elevators, for this last point, are a common method for going between floors in a modified house. These can be installed through a closet space, depending upon the model best suited for your home, or through two or three floors. A stair lift is another option to make a home more accessible, and straight and curved designs are available.

In terms of accessibility from the outside, outdoor stair lifts are one possibility, particularly as these operate by 12-volt batteries. Wheelchair lifts can make your home more accessible by bringing your wheelchair directly to the front door through a ramp and a small lift.

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