Living with a disability is tough, but certain home accommodations can make the everyday lives of people with disabilities (PWD) much easier. The perfect examples are the specialist disability accommodation or SDA properties funded by NDIS loans. These homes are mindfully designed and built to empower PWDs to be capable of independent living. But what if you already have an existing house? How can you make it more PWD-friendly to a loved one moving into or visiting your home?
Here are some changes you can make to create a PWD-friendly home:
Start in the kitchen.
Being able to prepare food is an essential part of independent living. So if you’re unsure where to begin in creating a PWD-friendly home, start in the kitchen. Install a height-appropriate kitchen island or counter for someone who uses a wheelchair, scooter or walker. For visually impaired individuals, tactile & Braille printed labels and markers can be a huge help. They can prep their coffee in the morning efficiently.
Get rid of the carpets.
Large rugs and wall-to-wall carpeting look good and feel soft underfoot, but they can present obstacles to those using walkers, canes or wheelchairs. Deep pile carpets can keep wheels from moving freely, catch walkers & canes and cause trip hazards for those who may have difficulty lifting their feet higher off the ground. It’s best to remove the carpets and let your wood flooring or ceramic tiles shine. You don’t have to spend a lot on this change, but it has a big impact on helping PWDs.
Change the doorknobs and tap fittings.
Many disabilities affect a person’s dexterity, which makes the simple task of using doorknobs or taps challenging. So f you have round doorknobs that require a firm grip to turn, it’s best to replace them with lever-style handles. Such lever doorknobs are easy to pull down to open the door. The same goes for tap fittings. Choose those with lever designs that require less strength and give users a great space to pull and use it.
Add grab bars in the bathroom.
Installing grab bars in your bathroom is a fast, easy & affordable way to make your home disability-friendly. You can add them in the shower to prevent slips & falls on slippery floors while providing a balancing aid for your loved ones with mobility issues. You can also install a bar near the toilet to provide PWDs with additional support when sitting & standing. With such additions in your bathroom, your loved one with a disability or mobility issues will feel more confident using it on their own.
Install assistive technologies.
Digital assistants with voice technology like Amazon Alexa or Apple Siri can help those who have limited use of their arms and hands. As long as Siri or Alexa is paired to your home appliances & other systems, your loved one can talk to the assistant and ask it to handle routine tasks, like turning the lights on or ordering food online.
If you have a loved one who’s deaf or has hearing impairments, installing alert devices or kitchen timers with flashing lights can be a good move. They can bake and respond to emergencies even when they’re not wearing their hearing aids.
Create comfortable spaces.
Depending on the type of disability or mobility issue your loved one is experiencing, go the extra mile in creating comfortable spaces for them. If they’re using a wheelchair or have visual impairments, rearrange the furniture to create clear traffic patterns. If they have limited use of their hands and arms, place the dinner plates and mugs on lower or more accessible shelves. After all, independent living is about eliminating the need to ask others for routine tasks.