Senior Living 2018 header image

Design a Wheelchair Accessible Home

Whether you are building a new home or remodeling your existing home take the extra step and plan a wheelchair accessible home.  Design your home to allow you to remain in your home through all ages and stages of your life. This planning will save you money and time down the road.   There are universal design principles to follow when planning your design for a wheelchair accessible home. Hire a designer who specializes in aging in place to plan your home.

Wheelchair Accessible Entrance

At least one door of your home should have no steps, preferably this should be from your garage into your home.   This will allow you to easily go in and outdoors in a wheelchair without maneuver steps. If you are remodeling and you may need to add a ramp to achieve this.

Widen Your Doors

Make your doors wide enough to allow wheelchair access. The door should be at least 42 inches – this will allow you to move a wheelchair in and out or walk with a walker.

Widen Your Hallways

When laying out your floor plan think about having an open floor plan that will allow you to maneuver from room to room.   The hallway should be about 42 inches wide to accommodate a wheelchair.  If you have a two story home you may want to install an elevator or chair lift.   Plan an extra wide stairway it so that a chairlift will fit.

Create a Barrier Free Bathroom Space

Design bathrooms to have a shower that allows for easy access.  Install grab bars,  sink and plumbing fixtures that are easy to access.  Design your cabinets so that in the future you can use them from a wheelchair.

Measure the Height of Your Outlets

Install light switches with sliding dimmers to make it easier to turn light switches on and off.  These switches should be about 48 inches to that they are easy to reach from a wheelchair.  Place your electrical outlets including your telephone and cable to be 18 to 24 inches from the floor.

Choose Levers over Knobs

When choosing hardware for your doors and cabinets considering using a lever type handle.  When selecting your door locks choose a keypad lock for easy use.

Create Reachable Storage

Create plenty of closet space that can be reached from a sitting position.  In the kitchen plan to have rolling shelves to easily reach your cooking utensils.

Tips

Using universal design principles will save you money.

Plan ahead to allow you to stay in your home for a long time.