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Checklist: Disability Remodel

Designing the interior of a home is critical for accessibility, especially the kitchen and bath areas. Wheelchair accessibility issues should be emphasized within these areas.

Kitchen

When designing or redesigning a kitchen you should make sure that the aisles are wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and walkers.

Sink depth can be a very important consideration if the user is in a wheelchair. Some manufacturers provide sinks that are not as deep as your standard.

Faucets that have extended handles and spouts are readily available in many styles and colors. Also, faucets should be within easy reach and easily operable with one hand. For individuals without the use of their hands or who have limited strength, faucets equipped with electronic sensors are designed to automatically turn water on and off.

Cooktops and stoves can be installed at a height that is good for either standing or sitting.

If a person is partially blind, selecting a cooktop that has contrasting colors, such as light surface and dark burners, will help distinguish between hot areas.

Sliding cabinet doors work better for people seated in a wheelchair.

If you are remodeling consider adjusting some of the work surfaces to a 30-inch height rather than the standard 36-inch height. This will aid a person who is seated or a child who may want to help out in the kitchen. It is also good for those who suffer with back problems or have limited reach.

Countertops with rounded edges can reduce injury if someone should happen to fall or bump into them. Wallcoverings can be used to distinguish between areas. Bright colors are helpful for people who have limited vision or limited depth perception to distinguish between walls, cabinets, doorways, etc.

Motion sensors and timers can be used to turn lights off and on. This is especially helpful for those who have difficulties with reaching.

Bathroom

Make sure that the switches are at a height that can be reachable for someone who is in a seated position. Small children can also benefit from this design consideration.

Tubs and showers should be equipped with grab bars, hand held showerheads, non-slip flooring and seats.

When installing grab bars in a private residence, when possible, ask the person who will be using them to determine the location for installation.

You can turn down the water heater thermostat to prevent accidental scalding. This is also a good idea if you have small children in the household.

Exterior Home Tips

It is necessary not only to look at the interior of a home, but also the exterior when it comes to accessible/adaptable design.

Putting a shelf or shelves next to an entry door for sitting packages on is very handy and inexpensive to make.

Guardrails should be installed on both sides of wheelchair ramps.

To be fully accessible, driveways and walkways need to be designed wider so that car doors and sliding doors on passenger vans can be fully opened with enough space left for a wheelchair to easily maneuver around.

Surfaces should be of rough texture to prevent slipping.

Porches built should have a wide radius to allow someone in a wheelchair to comfortably maneuver.

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