Article written by Patrick Young
On the hunt for a new home but struggling to find a suitably accessible space? Finding the right property can be extraordinarily difficult when you have a disability. Very few homes were built with people with disabilities in mind. As a result, there may be no properties available that currently suit your needs. However, there are upgrades and renovations you can make to an imperfect property to help make it right for you. This article will break down the best renovations for accessibility, as well as cover potential costs and help you gauge the best options for you.
Basics to Start With
There are a few fundamental features you should look for in a home. Primarily, you want to make sure you find a home that can be renovated to meet your needs. For example, a split-level home is probably never going to be the right fit for someone in a wheelchair. Although you could conceivably install an elevator, the way the levels split may get in the way of feasibility.
These fundamentals will depend mainly on your needs. If you struggle with stairs, for instance, consider looking only at single-level homes. If you have a wide mobility aid, avoid homes with lots of narrow doorways or hallways. Keeping these basic features in mind will help you to find a home that has the right kind of potential.
If you use a mobility aid or otherwise face difficulty getting around, it’s important to ensure you always have a safe surface to walk on. Carpeting can present a problem for many mobility aids and can also create a tripping hazard. However, removing carpeting and installing hardwood floors is a relatively simple process, so don’t skip a home just because of the carpet.
The cost of installing hardwood can vary pretty dramatically based on different details of the project. A single room will be less expensive than a whole home, obviously, but other elements come into play, too. Some materials, such as pine or bamboo, can save you some money on installation. The area you call home, necessary repairs to the subfloor, and the removal of furniture can also increase the cost of this project.
If you’ve fallen in love with a multi-level home, you don’t have to give up on the dream necessarily. However, you will need to think critically about how to make the space safe and comfortable to get around in. There are options that you can turn to that will help.
For example, you might consider installing a stairlift. These are chairs you can sit in that will bring you from one level to another. These also have the advantage of being relatively easy to install and remove without making major structural changes to the home.
This is a great option for people who have light mobility aids that they can hold while they’re ascending or descending, or those who have multiple mobility aids and can designate them to different levels. These also have the advantage of being relatively easy to install and remove without making major structural changes to the home.
If you’re not in these two groups, however, you may need to consider installing an elevator. These are bigger projects and are usually much pricier (as much as $40,000, compared to a stairlift’s $5.000). However, they can provide easy access to every floor in your home.
For many people with disabilities, bathrooms can be a tricky and dangerous space. Trying to use a bathroom made for able-bodied people can lead to serious slips and falls, which can lead to injury and even death. That’s why it’s important to get the appropriate renovations done to the bathroom you’ll use in your new home. While a full-scale remodel can run up to $26,000 in Gig Harbor, there are more affordable options such as adding a big sit-in shower with a movable showerhead. This allows you to rest comfortably while you get clean, and easily reach everything you need without practicing your contortionist routine. For an extra touch of luxury, consider pairing the removable head with a ceiling rain showerhead.
You should also install plenty of grab bars in the bathroom to make the space as safe as possible. Even without needing to step over high tub walls, wet floors will always create a hazard. Having grab bars installed can be a lifesaver in a tricky situation.
These are just a few of the upgrades that can make a home more accessible for many people with disabilities. However, what works well for one person may not be a good investment for another. Remember: Your individual situation will always be your best guide. Consider reaching out to your local disability services or a medical professional to get advice. They can help you figure out exactly what you need to make a home as safe and easy to navigate as possible.
Article written by Patrick Young
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