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Last Updated on May 14, 2024

Your Guide to a Wheelchair Accessible Home

As people age or become injured, moving around the home can become a challenge. Houses with stairs or multi-level living can be extra difficult for people to manage. A wheelchair-friendly house is one that accommodates a wheelchair or wheeled apparatus like a walker or knee scooter.

The home can include temporary adjustments like ramps or permanent ones like elevators and widened doors. Read on to learn more about creating a wheelchair-friendly home.

What Is a Wheelchair-Friendly House?

Moving around the home is an important aspect of living independently. A wheelchair-friendly house can include a temporary stairlift rental or something more permanent like a built-in stairlift. 

Portable wheelchair ramps are a good idea for short family visits but still require ample space for use.

Looking at the exterior of the home, ensure any stairs or the grade of the home can accommodate a ramp with the proper angles. The doorways on the inside of the home should be the proper width of the wheelchair — especially if it is oversized. 

Adapting a Home For Wheelchair Accessibility

Adapting a home for wheelchairs has a few considerations. If the outdoor or indoor space has multiple stairs or steep inclines, you may need to consider more permanent home modifications for wheelchair users. For each inch of elevation you need 12 inches of ramp. So an 8-inch step requires an 8-foot ramp to make it a wheelchair-friendly house. 

A threshold ramp helps walkers and wheelchairs move over any threshold or lip you have through the front door or other doors in the house, and is not a permanent fixture.

If you do not currently have a wheelchair-friendly house, you can make small modifications. Many wheelchairs are 25-inches wide and most doorframes are 36 inches. If the home is old the doorways are small, you can change a few doorways rather than all of them.

Lastly, the interior should also accommodate someone at wheelchair height and includes lamps, light switches, and everyday pantry items.

How to Make a Home Wheelchair Accessible

Whether you’re considering a built-in or modular wheelchair ramp, or other modification, there are likely some modifications to make before you have a wheelchair-accessible home.

Beyond doorways and thresholds, consider the flooring and furniture in your home, too.Image of twisting stairs for an article titled Your Guide to a Wheelchair Accessible Home.

  • Flooring: Any uneven surfaces or loose carpeting can affect a wheelchair, too.
  • Bathroom: Ensure the sink and toilet are at a proper height and any grab bars are secured into the wall.
  • Bedroom: The bed should be about 21 inches from the floor so it is easy to move in and out of the bed and wheelchair.
  • Kitchen: Any appliances should be within arms reach of someone in a wheelchair. Moving coffee pots, utensils, and even the microwave to an accessible location and height is important for a wheelchair friendly house

Wheelchair accessible home ideas can be as easy as removing rugs or more involved like building a ramp and installing a permanent stairlift. Contact Williams Lifts today to discuss your needs.

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