A home should always be your safe haven, a place where you can feel comfortable and secure all of the time. And whether an elderly loved one is moving into your own, or you experience disability personally, there are several measures to make sure your home is equipped to your needs.
The prices of bungalows have soared, as fewer are being built whilst the aging population has led to an increase in demand for one storey properties. A particularly ironic problem when there are so many empty homes that aren’t currently being occupied.
In 2009, only 300 out of 100,000 new properties built were bungalows in the whole of the UK. In addition to that, many more bungalows were demolished. This means that now, just 2% of our national housing stock is taken up by bungalows, with 30% of the population desiring to live in one.
If a bungalow is not an option then, there are many ways you can adapt your home so it better caters for people with a disability. Not many homes have a downstairs toilet, with fewer having a downstairs washing facility. To adapt this, you could run conversions throughout your home to make it disability friendly. Create a downstairs toilet, with safety rails and maybe a harness. In addition to this, add a washing area, and if possible, to make it even more accessible, create a wet-room. Baths and showers can prove tricky for those with limited mobility, and a wet-room or walk-in shower would help to prevent accidents. Be sure to add safety treads to any wet-room or shower area as an extra precaution.
For access to the property make a ramp to the entrance. Ensure that the garden is easy to travel through, as driveways can be difficult to cross if made of cobbles or loose stone. A well paved patio or concentrate driveway would be more favorable as they would allow for smooth access. Upon the entrance, make sure that at least one doorway is without steps, and that they are wide enough for any wheelchair. Pay close attention to the handle also, as doorknobs can prove difficult for those with arthritis.
An open living space is also essential for easy living for wheelchair users, this will allow them to pass through easily. Ensure that rooms are free from clutter and any trip hazards are cleared away. The last thing you want is someone who is wheelchair bound feeling penned in one area, and feeling dependent on others if they wish to move from room to room. Add hand rails around the property so built-in assistance is always at hand.
To solve a feeling of dependency, add low level shelves and storage units throughout your property so they are easily reachable. As well as hand rails, add bannisters to the stairs and driveways so anyone with poor sight or balance can have guided navigation whenever they need it. However, for some, a bannister on stairs may not suffice. If this problem is one you experience, install a comfortable secure stair lift. Always make sure it caters to the user’s needs however, as there is a number differences between various stair-lifts. You may wish to consider a platform stair-lift.
For electronics, such as lights, switches can prove tricky and lighting is an important aid for disabled people. Reaching for the light switch, or cord in the dark may cause an accident. To prevent any such tumble, it would be beneficial to have clap on lights. To ease this problem, make sure there is as much natural light allowed into the property as possible.
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