As a wheelchair user, having a home that is accessible is essential to my independence as it allows me to move freely without relying on others for assistance. My house has several essential features that enable me to live independently, such as an elevator, a wheelchair lift, and wider door frames.
Elevator and a Wheelchair Lift
The elevator is especially crucial as it allows me to move between floors without using stairs, which would otherwise require assistance. It is paramount as my bedroom is on the second floor, and without the elevator, I would need someone to carry me up the stairs. It aids my independence and avoids placing a lifting burden on others. The elevator, decked out with my disco ball, allows me to move around my home as I please.
The wheelchair lift in my garage, and the outdoor patio is also necessary, allowing me to enter and exit quickly. Without the lift, I would be unable to access my house due to the several steps leading up to the front door. The lift enables me to stay in the home of my choosing, which I am grateful for.
Wider Door Frames
The wider door frames are another essential feature that allows me to move through doorways quickly and easily without worrying about my wheelchair getting stuck or damaged. Without them, navigating narrow doorways would be frustrating and challenging. The wider door frames help me to move freely throughout my home without physical barriers.
It is crucial to note that not all accessible homes are created equal. For example, a malfunctioning elevator or a wheelchair lift that is difficult to operate can be just as limiting as not having these features. Therefore, it is vital for people with disabilities to work with knowledgeable professionals to ensure that their accessible homes are functional and meet their specific needs.
More Features for My Accessible Home
In addition to the features mentioned above, other aspects of an accessible home can improve the quality of life for wheelchair users. For instance, kitchens with lower counters and cabinets can make it easier for wheelchair users to prepare meals and access cooking supplies. Installing grab bars in the bathroom and shower area can help prevent slips and falls. Similarly, a roll-in shower and a raised toilet seat can make it easier for wheelchair users to use the bathroom independently. At the same time, a front-loading washing machine and dryer can be more accessible than top-loading models, which may require reaching over the device to load and unload.
Moreover, an accessible home with a step-free entrance, either by ramp or lift, can provide easy access and far fewer headaches or anxiety for wheelchair users. If the house has a backyard or outdoor space, a ramp or lift can also be installed to provide access to these areas, as well as paved grounds.
How to Design an Accessible Home
Designing an accessible home requires attention to detail and a deep understanding of the specific needs of wheelchair users. While the features mentioned above are essential for me, every person’s needs are different, and their home should be customized accordingly. By prioritizing accessibility in home design, we can create more inclusive communities where everyone can thrive.
Images courtesy of Taylor Lindsay-Noel.