3 ways to make your home more accessible for all

There’s a growing concept in the homebuilding world known as “visitability.” Simply put, the idea is to build homes that are accessible to all, regardless of any mobility or cognitive impairments. There are three key considerations to be mindful of if you’re trying to make your home more accessible.

Easy entry
In a perfect world, you’ll have a no-step main entrance. But many homes feature one or more steps at the front door. If that’s the case, explore whether you can have an accessible, level entrance at the side or rear of the house.

Hall pass
Interior doorways should be at least 36 inches (90 centimetres) wide to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs. They should also have lever-style handles for easy opening. Hallways should be at least 43 inches (110 centimetres) wide and be clear of clutter and carpet runners that could be tripping hazards.

Perfect powder room
A main-floor bathroom is the final must-have. But it needs to be large enough for someone in a wheelchair to access the fixtures. That means you’ll want at least a 60-inch (150 centimetres) turning radius in the middle. Choose a faucet with a lever handle or one that is motion-activated. Finally, make sure the space has bright lighting.

When deciding what changes are needed to do things safely and more easily, you may want to work with the people who can help make it happen. This includes licensed health-care professionals like occupational therapists (OTs). They help people develop strategies to adapt and continue doing the activities they want or need to do, from cooking, to self-care to getting around.

You can verify an OT is licensed and find out what to expect from a meeting through the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario at coto.org/ot.

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