If you have a handicapped family member, home renovations may be necessary to accommodate them if they will be using a wheelchair.
Most homes — even those being built today — do not take handicaps into account, even though according to a U.S. Census Bureau report, 3.3 million people (1.4 percent of the U.S. population) use a wheelchair.
Many Americans who intend to stay in their homes as long as possible consider the possibility of mobility impairment when they plan a home renovation. Homeowners typically do home renovations to increase or open up space to accommodate a growing family or their desire to entertain more often.
Age in Place
But as these same homeowners approach retirement age and they see their home is in need of updates and improvements, they take the opportunity to add in some important safety features that they may need later on, such as grab bars in the bathroom and no-clearance shower stalls equipped with benches or stools when they plan their home renovation.
These types of home renovations are easy enough to make, but specifically adapting a home to a wheelchair user is a bigger project. If a member of your household has suffered a stroke or been diagnosed with Parkinson’s or another disabling disease, you will need to make home renovations.
The following home renovations may be necessary to accommodate wheelchair users:
Many homes have stairs leading up to the front door, and even those that don’t aren’t necessarily wheelchair accessible. Building a ramp to the front door or another door in the house is a necessity to accommodate anyone who is unable to climb stairs.
Modern homes with a more open floor plan will not have as many doorways, but the ones they have must be a minimum of 32 inches to fit a wheelchair through. Sometimes this can be accomplished by merely removing the door frame, but this isn’t really an option for bathrooms.
Even if the doorway is wide enough, your bathroom has to have enough room in it for the wheelchair user to enter and shut the door, which is not the case with many main-floor-level powder rooms.
Sometimes you can just switch the door so that it opens out instead of in, but other times you must make structural changes.
Depending on your style of home, you may not have any bedrooms on the main floor, such as if you live in a colonial. If an elderly relative has come to live with you, you may need to construct a bedroom on your main floor.
You have several options for this type of home renovation, depending on your budget and your family’s wishes. The cheapest way to go would be to turn your dining room or a part of your living room into a bedroom. This would make sense if the situation was temporary, but could be quite disruptive to household routines if the arrangement continued for years.
If you have a porch, sunroom or garage, converting one of these into a bedroom would be the least amount of work. Another option would be adding a room or a bump-out to the back or side of your home.
Take a look at these other suggestions for modifications you can make to your home to help your relative stay mobile and safe.
Home renovations to accommodate wheelchairs are usually immediate needs. If you need renovations done quickly to accommodate a relative with a new medical situation, call us here at Falk Construction. We will make you a priority on our schedule for your important home renovation.