Certain situations or circumstances may cause people to live with disabilities for their entire lives. Their disabilities, however, do not have to limit them. In today’s post, we’ll look at some modifications you can make at home to help your loved one enjoy freedom of movement and access to the things they need.
At Table-Mate®, we are proud to offer a variety of portable table trays to meet all of your needs. In fact, our Table-Mate® V was designed specifically with mobility issues in mind. It offers easier access and an extra-wide base that comfortably straddles wheelchairs, lift chairs, and recliners. Shop online to see why our products are superior and order your tray table today.
Evaluate Your Home
Whether you’ve lived in your home for a long time or have recently moved, if you need to make accommodations for someone with a disability, then there are a number of items that you’ll need to evaluate to see how many changes are necessary. Here is a very brief list of questions to consider:
1. Are the walkways and entrances well-lit and free from tripping hazards?
2. Is there at least one entrance to the home that is step-free?
3. For multi-story homes - Does the ground floor offer a bedroom, full bath, and a kitchen?
4. Are cabinets and shelves accessible for height and ability requirements?
5. Are area rugs lined with non-slip material or secured to the floor?
Doorways and Doors
You might discover that the doorways in your home are too narrow to allow for a wheelchair or other assistive device to pass through. Sometimes the solution can be as simple as making the door swing in the opposite direction or installing special hinges. If this won’t work, then consider having the doorways widened.
Depending on the disability, your loved one may have difficulty opening doors that have door knobs. An easy fix is to install door handles.
Stairs pose an obvious challenge for anyone in a wheelchair. If there are stairs outside each entrance to your home, then make sure to place a ramp next to at least one of the entrances. Whether you choose to use concrete or wood, make sure that the ramp is wide enough and features side rails on both sides of the ramp. For stairs inside your home, the best solution might be to install a chair lift. If you live in a multi-story home, and there is a bathroom, bedroom, and kitchen on the main floor, then you may not need to install a lift.
Contrary to what you might think, a standard fire alarm does not emit enough volume for those with hearing disabilities to notice. Don’t do away with your standard fire alarm, simply add an additional visual alarm system that is designed to go off at the same time, and improve the fire safety in your home.
Bathrooms pose a risk for anyone, and the risk is increased for those with disabilities. Depending on the needs of your family member, there are a variety of accommodations that you can make to improve their safety. Raising or lowering the toilet seat can be very helpful. Installing grab bars near the toilet and in the shower is also a good idea. Another option is to completely eliminate the standard shower or tub and install an adaptive shower for easier bathing.
From kitchen counters and cabinets to sinks and appliances, there are a number of items in your kitchen that can be adjusted to accommodate a family member with a disability. Whether you are altering the height of the countertops or the sink, make sure to leave plenty of knee clearance for their wheelchair or walker. Install cabinets and appliances lower, and if possible, install appliances with touch-pad operation.
Outlets and Other Controls
While outlets generally tend to be close to the floor, the outlets in the kitchen and bathroom are probably located higher on the wall. Make sure that these are lowered to allow for easier accessibility, but not lower than 15 inches from the floor. Likewise, lightswitches and thermostats should also be installed much lower so that wheelchair users can comfortably reach them.
When it comes to lightswitches, not only should they be low enough to reach, but they should also be located in such a way that your family member does not have to navigate through a dark room to reach it. Check to make sure that the lightswitches in your home are located near the entrance of each room.
Portable Work Space
While there are many more accommodations that you can make, it’s important to make sure that your loved one is not confined to certain areas of the house when they want to eat, read, or work on a project. Table-Mate® V features six different height adjustments, three different angle adjustments, and an extra-wide base to comfortably straddle wheelchairs, lift chairs, and recliners. It is light enough to easily transport from one room to another while being sturdy enough to hold up to 12 pounds! When you are done using the table, it quickly folds flat for easy storage.
Life with a disability has its own unique set of challenges, and we are happy to provide the products that will make your life easier. Be sure to browse our online store to see all of the portable table trays we offer, and shop Table-Mate® today.