How to Modify a Home for a Disabled Person

Making specific alternations to a home where a disabled person lives will substantially improve their quality of life. Depending on the disability, you might not need to make extensive alterations. Sometimes, a few simple changes are all it takes to make life easier and safer.

Around 14 million people in the UK are living with a disability. If one of them is a relative, read on for some useful tips on modifying a property so they can live there safely and happily.

Widen Doors

Wheelchair users need wider than average doors to comfortably get around. UK Building Regulations state that doors should be 100cm to safely accommodate wheelchairs and walking aids. Note that older properties sometimes have wider doorways as standard, so check this.

Install Ramps

Ramps are essential for wheelchair users and recommended for anyone with mobility issues. A ramp is needed anywhere where there is a change in level. This could be outdoors, between a driveway and an entrance door, or even indoors if there are split-level rooms. Ramps are easy to fit but make a huge difference.

Mobility Bathroom

Bathrooms are somewhere where changes are usually needed. Disabled people often struggle with standard bathtubs and raised shower cubicles. Even the sink height might need modifying for someone in a wheelchair.

Consider fitting mobility bathroom fixtures, like walk-in baths and taller toilets. Specialist retailers have a lot of disabled bathroom equipment. It might even be worth installing a wet room, which is much easier for a disabled person to use compared to a conventional shower and bath. Note that this requires specialist tanking to ensure the bathroom is completely watertight.

Worktops and Sinks

Worktops and sinks in kitchens might need to be lower to suit a disabled person. Optimise the layout of the kitchen to make it more accessible, and ensure cabinets and appliances are within reach if the person is a wheelchair user. It is possible to fit height adjustable worktops to suit everyone, but this is a more expensive option.

Look for features like pull-out taps and easy-to-use storage units that slide out and down, so items are more accessible. Speak to a kitchen installer to see what design features they offer for disabled users.

Stairlift

Is the property on more than one floor? If so, a stairlift might be necessary to provide access to all parts of the house. These are fitted to an existing staircase and can be removed when no longer needed. A specialist installation is needed, so obtain a few quotes before investing.

Grab Rails and Ceiling Hoists

Grab rails and ceiling hoists are useful for bedrooms and bathrooms, to help a disabled person get into and out of bed or the bath. Fix grab rails next to toilets, baths, and beds to prevent falls.

Trip Hazards

Be alert to trip hazards, such as trailing electrical cords, loose rugs, and small items on the floor.

Finally, don’t neglect the outdoor area. Motion detecting lights and handrails will make the garden much safer.