Salt Lake City has one of the most significant populations of seniors, and some of them have mobility issues. Not every home is wheelchair-friendly, but there are measures you can take to make sure your home is.
Little Changes around the House
You need to make a few changes to make your home wheel-chair friendly. Stairs are a no-no, but you can easily replace them with ramps. Make sure that your ramps are fixed to the floor to prevent any accidents. Hopefully, you’re living in a bungalow. If not, you’ll need a bedroom on the first floor. Going up a staircase can be troublesome and dangerous even with those expensive chair lifts. Get an electrician to lower your light switches so you can reach them on a wheelchair. Reach-extending devices are a bother and quite hard to manipulate — so go with the more permanent solution. Make sure that you can access phones from any part of the house. Also, consider using a wearable medical alert device to be extra safe, especially when you’re living alone.
Remodeling the Kitchen
In the kitchen, everything beyond your reach as you sit on your wheelchair becomes useless or dangerous. Any hanging kitchen cabinets will gather dust and insects. You’ll probably need a full kitchen remodel to make it accessible. You’ll need custom cabinets that you can access with your wheelchair. You’ll need to work with a cabinet maker, letting him know your preferences as well as your reach and range of motion. Counters should be low enough to reach comfortably as well as have hollow spaces underneath so you can access them with your wheelchair. You’ll need to buy kitchen appliances with front-facing switches, so you don’t need to fumble for the switch every time you use them
Bathrooms are the most dangerous rooms in the house for seniors — doubly so if you have mobility issues. The bathroom needs to be wide enough to fit your wheelchair, and it should have clear lines and minimal obstruction. Make sure light switches are accessible or install a motion-detecting lighting system. You’ll also need to install grab bars at specific locations to aid mobility, especially around the toilet. Moving from the wheelchair to the toilet seat can be quite tricky, and a few extra handholds can make the task a lot easier. Showering unassisted or getting into a bathtub is impossible, but you can still use walk-in bathtubs. Walk-in tubs are specifically designed for seniors and people with mobility issues. They allow you to take your bath sitting down and access is as simple as opening a door and changing seats.
Losing your mobility doesn’t mean losing your independence. Performing certain activities might require more effort, but small adjustments and little aids from modern technology can make them more comfortable. Relying on yourself and doing things on your own is both empowering and uplifting. Stay independent for as long as possible and relish the feelings of dignity and satisfaction that only living on your own can give you.