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How to Make Your Home More Accessible


Many old homes are woefully inaccessible to people with disabilities or the elderly. Common features of the home that many of us take for granted, like stairs and doorways, provide huge challenges for those with impaired movement. 

Sixty-one million adults have some form of disability in the USA alone, and 13.7% of disabled Americans have mobility impairment issues. 

If you want your home to be accessible to all and are thinking about getting some renovation done, it can be a good idea to incorporate accessible features. Accessibility renovation is a huge industry and negotiating it can be a little labyrinth. Here are some key areas in which you can make small changes so that people with disabilities can fully enjoy living in or visiting your house. 

Install a Stairlift or Lift

Stairs pose a huge problem to people who are mobility impaired by their disability. Installing a stairlift can be a huge help if a disabled person still has the ability to walk on flat ground.

If, however, a person living in your home needs a wheelchair in order to move, then you might want to consider installing a lift system. Lift systems are very expensive and require considerable structural work, but they allow people in wheelchairs to independently access all levels of a house. 

Automate Your Doors

Door automation can save a disabled person a huge amount of stress. Door handles are often too high for people in wheelchairs to comfortably reach. People using crutches have to balance on one crutch while operating a heavy door, and visually impaired people may find it hard to manually unlock a door with a key. 

Door automation companies such as Evo Products produce systems that allow you to automate existing doors within the home. Door systems can sense the approach of an authorized person and slide open without the need for extensive modification. They are most commonly installed on sliding doors. 

Ramps and Railings

Many old homes have steps leading up to the entrance. Contractors often offer the option of replacing (or converting) your existing doorsteps with ramps, allowing mobility-impaired people access. Equally as important, adding a railing to your entrance can offer disabled guests and residents extra balance when coming in or out. 

Universal Design

Ideally, any alterations to the house should be made with accessibility in mind. There is a growing movement in design that favors the incorporation of accessible features into stylish and functional interiors. The ‘universal design’ movement, profiled in 2007 by CNN, seeks to allow for independent living by people of all ages and abilities by ‘baking in’ features such as grab handles, non-slip flooring, and wet rooms to design ethics. 

Making alterations with universal design ethics in mind can ensure that your home is gradually made more accessible. Moreover, when it comes to home modifications to serve a family member's impairments, these may be subject to insurance reimbursement. For NDIS participants, go to your provider's NDIS portal login to verify. If you are designing and building a space from scratch, include accessibility as a fundamental feature. Accessible design does not have to be unsightly or out of step with your vision. Instead, incorporating it from the beginning will ensure that the flow of the design will stay consistent.  

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