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Adding Accessibility: How To Reduce Mobility Hazards at Home

Living with limited mobility can present unique challenges, especially when it comes to navigating your own home. Simple tasks that many people take for granted can become potential hazards for individuals with limited mobility. In this article, we will explore the ten biggest hazards at home for those with limited mobility and provide practical solutions to fix them. By addressing these hazards, individuals with limited mobility can enhance their safety and independence within their living spaces.

Fine Home Contracting is a Certified Aging in Place specialist, with experience in reimagining homes to be more accessible. Our teams identify the largest hazards present and develop a plan to make your home safer, more convenient, and completely accessible regardless of any mobility issues.

1. Slippery Floors

Slippery floors are a significant hazard for individuals with limited mobility. The risk of falls and injuries increases when floors are not slip-resistant.

To fix this hazard, consider the following solutions:

  1. Use non-slip mats or rugs in high-traffic areas.
  2. Apply anti-slip adhesive strips to the floor.
  3. Choose flooring materials with a textured surface for better traction, such as cork or rubber.
  4. Install hand rails and grab bars nearby any areas that are likely to remain a slip risk.

2. Poor Lighting

Insufficient lighting can make it difficult for individuals with limited mobility to navigate their homes safely. Shadows and dimly lit areas can lead to accidents and falls. Dark spaces that can result in increased trip hazards are commonly found in hallways, bathrooms, and basements.

To improve lighting and reduce this hazard, try the following:

  1. Install bright LED light bulbs throughout the house.
  2. Add motion-sensor lights in hallways and staircases.
  3. Use task lighting near workstations and reading areas.

3. Obstructed Pathways

Cluttered or obstructed pathways pose a significant risk for individuals with limited mobility, especially those using mobility aids like walkers or wheelchairs.

To clear pathways and create a safer environment, follow these steps:

  1. Remove unnecessary furniture and objects that obstruct movement.
  2. Ensure electrical cords are properly secured and out of the way.
  3. Keep pathways free of loose rugs or carpets that can cause tripping.
  4. Consider widening any pathways that are too thin to be comfortably walkable or wheelchair accessible.

4. Lack of Handrails and Grab Bars

The absence of handrails and grab bars can compromise the stability and balance of individuals with limited mobility. These essential support aids can prevent falls and provide assistance while navigating stairs, bathrooms, and other areas of the house.

To address this hazard:

  1. Install handrails along staircases and ramps.
  2. Place grab bars in bathrooms near toilets, showers, and bathtubs.
  3. Ensure handrails and grab bars are securely fastened and can support weight.

For more information on handrails and grab bars, check out our exhaustive guide here. 

5. Unstable Furniture

Unstable furniture can be hazardous, as it can lead to falls and injuries. Individuals with limited mobility may use furniture for support or to maintain balance.

To make furniture more stable:

  1. Check that all furniture legs are even and properly secured.
  2. Avoid furniture with wheels or casters unless they have locking mechanisms.
  3. Consider using furniture straps or brackets to anchor items to walls.

6. Bathroom Hazards

Bathrooms are notorious for presenting hazards for individuals with limited mobility. Slippery surfaces and difficulties accessing essential facilities can increase the risk of accidents.

To make bathrooms safer:

  1. Install non-slip mats or adhesive strips in bathtubs and showers.
  2. Use a shower chair or bench for added stability and comfort.
  3. Consider installing a raised toilet seat or grab bars for easier transfers.
  4. Consider converting your tub or shower to a curbless shower to minimize fall risks.

7. Uneven or High Thresholds

Uneven or high thresholds can pose challenges for individuals with limited mobility, especially those using wheelchairs or mobility scooters. These thresholds can cause tripping hazards and difficulty in moving between rooms.

To address this hazard:

  1. Install threshold ramps to create a smooth transition between rooms.
  2. Replace high thresholds with lower alternatives or consider door widening if necessary.
  3. Ensure thresholds are well-maintained and free of any loose or damaged materials.

8. Lack of Accessibility Features

Homes lacking accessibility features can greatly impede the mobility and independence of individuals with limited mobility.

To improve accessibility:

  1. Install ramps or lifts for easier access to entryways and different levels of the house.
  2. Widening doorways to accommodate wheelchairs and mobility aids.
  3. Consider installing an elevator or stairlift for multi-story homes.

9. Unsafe Kitchen Setup

The kitchen can present numerous hazards for individuals with limited mobility, including reaching for items, handling hot surfaces, and navigating around appliances.

To create a safer kitchen environment:

  1. Store frequently used items within easy reach.
  2. Use adaptive kitchen tools and utensils designed for individuals with limited mobility.
  3. Install safety features such as stove guards and automatic shut-off devices.

10. Lack of Emergency Preparedness

In emergency situations, individuals with limited mobility may face additional challenges. Without proper emergency preparedness, their safety and well-being can be at risk.

To enhance emergency preparedness:

  1. Develop an emergency plan and communicate it with family members or caregivers.
  2. Keep emergency supplies, including medications and important documents, easily accessible.
  3. Consider using medical alert systems or wearable devices for added peace of mind.

Living with limited mobility presents unique challenges, but by identifying and addressing the ten biggest hazards at home, individuals can significantly improve their safety and independence. From ensuring slip-resistant flooring to installing handrails and grab bars, each step taken towards creating a safer living environment is a step towards enhanced well-being. By implementing the suggested solutions in this article, individuals with limited mobility can make their homes more accessible and enjoy a better quality of life.

FAQ:

Are there specific design approaches that are beneficial for home modifications?2024-02-12T17:15:03+00:00

Universal design principles, which aim to make spaces accessible to all regardless of age or ability, are particularly beneficial in these modifications.  Universal design principles in accessible remodeling focus on creating spaces that are usable and effective for everyone, regardless of age, size, ability, or disability. This approach includes features like wide, level entrances without steps to accommodate all users, including those with mobility aids; doors with lever handles instead of knobs for easier operation by people with limited hand strength; open floor plans with ample turning space for wheelchairs; varied counter heights in kitchens and bathrooms to accommodate different user needs; and slip-resistant flooring to reduce fall risks.

What are the key features to consider for making a home more accessible?2024-02-12T17:13:52+00:00

Key features include wider doorways, no-step entries, walk-in showers with grab bars, lower kitchen counters, and lever-handled door knobs and faucets.

What does “aging in place” mean in home remodeling?2024-02-12T17:13:39+00:00

Aging in place refers to making modifications to a home to ensure individuals can live safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age or ability level.

How much does converting a garage to living space typically cost?2023-10-06T18:00:13+00:00

Converting an attached single garage typically runs $25,000-$45,000. It costs $5,000-$10,000 just to redo the garage door into a regular entrance. Upgrades quickly increase costs.

How much does an accessibility home remodel cost in Connecticut?2023-09-13T15:01:40+00:00

Basic upgrades like grab bars and Lever handles cost a few hundred dollars. Full accessible bathrooms start around $15,000. Extensive whole home remodels range from $50,000-$100,000+.

What are the best flooring choices when remodeling a home for elderly parents?2023-09-13T15:01:23+00:00

Avoid slippery floors. Opt for matte finish hardwood, low-pile carpets, slip-resistant tile, sheet vinyl, or vinyl plank floors.

How can I remodel my home for parents with dementia?2023-09-13T15:01:06+00:00

Simplify the environment. Use familiar furnishings. Install good lighting. Provide ample visual cues and reduce clutter that causes confusion. Secure potentially dangerous items.

What are the best home remodel ideas for elderly parents in Connecticut?2023-09-13T15:00:53+00:00

Focus on one-floor living, non-slip flooring, grab bars, wheelchair/walker friendly doorways, an accessible bathroom, and a private suite with bedroom and sitting area.

Can I receive financial assistance for home modifications through CAPS?2023-06-09T13:06:01+00:00

While CAPS does not provide financial assistance for home modifications, there are several programs available that can provide financial assistance or grants for such modifications. Your CAPS professional can help you identify these programs and assist you in the application process.

What are the benefits of hiring a CAPS professional?2023-06-09T13:04:26+00:00

Hiring a CAPS professional offers several benefits. These professionals have specialized training in understanding the unique needs of older adults, ensuring that modifications are both safe and aesthetically pleasing. They can help you achieve your aging in place goals while also increasing the value of your home. Using a CAPS certified contractor may also make you eligible for grants and cost reduction programs related to CAPS.

What types of modifications can CAPS professionals make to my home?2023-06-09T13:03:16+00:00

CAPS professionals can make a variety of modifications to your home, including installing grab bars and handrails, widening doors, installing stairlifts or elevators, improving lighting, and creating accessible bathrooms. These professionals are trained to provide modifications based on your unique needs and preferences.

What is the difference between aging in place and assisted living?2023-06-09T13:02:54+00:00

Aging in place refers to the ability to live independently and comfortably in your own home, while assisted living provides a more structured environment with care and assistance provided by professionals. Aging in place allows you to maintain your independence and freedom, while assisted living may be necessary if you require more support and care.

Published On: July 12th, 2023 / Categories: CAPS, Home Improvement Contractor, Home Remodeling, Uncategorized /

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