Whether due to age, disease, or accident, it is sometimes necessary to make home
modifications to account for mobility issues. Here, we’ll take a look at some of the most
beneficial upgrades to make life easy when moving isn’t.
● Lower cabinets. Those confined to a wheelchair can still provide for their own dietary
needs by installing 28-inch counters. This is low enough to see food cooking on a stove
top and to reach the kitchen sink without standing.
● Front-controlled stoves. A front -controlled cooktop is a safer option for the
mobility-impaired. It eliminates the need to reach over a hot burner to adjust
temperature. Kitchen Aid offers an assortment of accessible ranges to fit most 30” – 36”
● Slip resistant flooring. To reduce the chance of slip and fall accidents in the kitchen,
one of the most dangerous rooms in the home, choose a slip resistant flooring. The
AARP suggests bamboo, wood, cork, and linoleum.
● Grab bars. United Spinal Association Editor Tom Scott notes that bathroom safety for
people with disabilities is of the utmost importance. He encourages adding grab bars
and safety transfer seats to offset balance concerns.
● Walk-in tubs/no profile showers. A walk-in bathtub or no profile shower eliminates the
need to step over an obstacle onto a potentially slippery surface. As an added benefit,
many walk-in bathtubs offer hydrotherapy for relaxing and stress-busting bathing
experience. No profile showers are more accessible for people in wheelchairs.
● Eliminate rugs. Area rugs pose a significant threat for people who have difficulty lifting
their feet more than a few inches off the floor. It’s best to remove these from the home
completely or secure them to the floor using a no-slip vinyl pad.
● Low-lying bed. Platform beds may be best for people who have difficulty reaching a
● Stair lift. It is possible for mobility-restricted individuals to remain in their multi-story
homes. A stair lift is an electrical device that eliminates the need for climbing. It is a chair
attached to a durable, secure riser system. Most models offer a lift capacity of 300 to 400
pounds to accommodate persons of all sizes.
● Door widening. Widening interior and exterior doors to accommodate wheelchairs is a
pretty simple project that can have a huge impact on a wheelchair-bound individual. The
carpentry work is pretty straightforward but, as HGTV suggests, wiring or hidden
plumbing should be moved by a professional.
● Wheelchair ramps. A Wheelchair ramp can increase a mobility-challenged person’s
ability to easily enter and exit their home. According to the Family Handyman, a
wheelchair ramp can be purchased in prefabricated sections for around $100 per linear
foot. Most experts recommend a slope of 1:12 to 1:20.
● Adaptive playground equipment. Children with disabilities have many of the same
needs as their same-age peers. Play included. Install a few pieces of adaptive
playground equipment for children who cannot run and jump. There are a number of
accessible swing sets suitable for both commercial and residential use. If these are not
in your budget, consider adding a sand and water table or tetherball pole.
No matter which projects you choose to tackle, leave the electrical and plumbing work to the
professionals. Depending on the number and type of additions, it may be necessary to have an
upgraded electrical panel or new wiring installed. In the Baltimore area, a licensed electrician
typically charges between $606 – $1,544 for the service, which can be completed in one or two days. New plumbing should likewise be handled by an experienced contractor to ensure its safety and longevity. Before hiring anyone to work in your home, check out business ratings and reviews on HomeAdvisor.
Thanks to Eugene Williams at DIYDad.info for this article!