Updating Your Home for a Disabled Loved One
Whether you have a loved one who is temporarily or permanently disabled, the home is often the first place that needs to be outfitted for those new needs. Stairs leading to the front door will require a ramp, and drinking glasses may need to be moved to a lower shelf for wheelchair-bound people. Take a close look at how you can help out a loved one by updating the home with the right parts.
Add in Flat Flooring
A disabled person might be in a wheelchair, using crutches or pushing a walker. All of these tools allow the person to be independent in the home, but not if the floor is covered in a shag carpet. Be courteous and remove the carpet. Add in tiles, laminate or other flooring that’s flat and easy to step on. Don’t polish it too heavily, however. You want the floor to be comfortable to walk on, but without a slippery feeling.
Consider Casters on Furniture Pieces
Your furniture may need to be moveable, especially if a person is confined to bed for any length of time. Add wheels to a table that can lock into place for playing games, reading or eating. Install new, medical casters on wheelchairs so that the items move quietly and safely across the floor. Every caster should have locking capabilities. Go over the locking and unlocking mechanisms with family members so that everyone is comfortable with the process. Your loved one’s safety might be at stake without a locked wheel in place.
Install Safety Bars
Safety bars are useful for everyone at any age. Slipping in the shower may be hazardous otherwise. The bar is there so that you can grab onto it with an involuntary motion. Every bar needs to be installed on a wall stud or beam. Show your loved one where the bars are located, and install them with the person’s perspective in mind. A wheelchair-bound person will grab a bar at a different level than a standing person.
Most people don’t want to be treated differently when they arrive home with a disability. Try to keep the upgrades as subtle as possible. Point them out when it’s necessary instead of creating a grand tour involving them. In time, the updates will simply be basic parts to the home that are no different than a lock on a door.