Adapting and creating an accessible home for care

A survey by the Homecare Association revealed that more and more elderly people would prefer to receive care in their own home rather than be housed in a care home. With this in mind, we look at tailoring homes, so they provide the necessary facilities for people who need care. 

Why adapting a home is important 

People who require care can find everyday home tasks onerous, but home adaptations can make it more practical, safer and easier for them to perform daily tasks. Whether that’s getting downstairs, using bathroom facilities, or simply getting in and out of the house. Anyone who needs home adaptations should contact social services for a home assessment. An occupational therapist will visit and decide what adaptations would help. Have a friend or relative there if it is your home being assessed so they can make notes and decide what needs to be done.

Stairlifts and banisters 

British Standard Institute figures claim there are over 500 deaths per year in the UK from stair-related incidents and an estimated related 250,000 accidents. Bannisters, of course, are essential for safety and ease of getting up and down stairs but in more extreme mobility cases, stairlifts can transport a person in a seated position between levels. They can be fitted to straight or curved staircases and even outdoors. If you are fitting a stairlift for someone, a rolling tool chest can allow you to easily access your equipment and transport your tool case without having to lift it.

Outdoor ramps

Threshold ramps allow wheelchairs, mobility scooters and individuals with limited mobility to enter and leave homes. Choose an appropriate ramp after measuring the height that needs to be bridged. Gather your tools including the ramp itself, screws, anchors, a power drill, a spirit level and safety equipment. Prepare the surface for the ramp then follow the manufacturer’s instructions and secure it. When the ramp’s installed, test it’s stable and can take the intended weight. Adjust if necessary. There are also portable options if you don’t want to fit one.

Accessible doorways

Standard, narrow doorways can make home life difficult for wheelchair users or those with limited mobility. By widening doorways, movement around the home is easier and the chances of knocks and falls are reduced. Most standard doorways are 30 inches wide, but wheelchairs need at least 32 inches. And if the doorway has a tight corner on one or both sides then doorways may need to be even wider to allow a wheelchair to pivot. Ideally, wheelchair users need between 35-40 inch wide doorways in their home.

Accessible bathrooms 

A functional, accessible bathroom provides independence, safety and comfort for people with mobility issues. Generally, accessible bathrooms have wide enough doorways (see above) for manoeuvring a walker or a wheelchair. The shower will be low threshold with a shower seat and handrails for stability. All the taps and shower heads should be reachable and make sure the flooring is non-slip. If the property is on two floors then a downstairs toilet is useful to avoid multiple bathroom breaks during the day.

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