How accessible is your home? 3 questions to ask

by | May 1, 2024 | Feature, Home and Living

Thinking about how your home would function for visitors with different abilities might not be top of mind. However, considering where someone else might struggle around your home can help you discover ways that you or your family members could benefit from a more accessible space. Consider these three questions to get you started.

Could anyone navigate the entry?

An entry without steps is essential for an accessible home. If every entrance has stairs, you can make them safer and more accessible by adding sturdy railings on both sides of the steps. You can also consider installing a ramp. If you plan to landscape, avoid creating unlevel or complex pathways. They can create problems for someone experiencing mobility challenges and could be confusing to someone living with a condition like dementia.

Is there room to manoeuvre inside?

Space to turn around a wheelchair or walker is an important part of making a home accessible. Popular open-plan layouts can facilitate this well, so you may have an easy win here already. If you don’t have an open-plan space, doors and hallways should be at least 36 inches wide. Arranging furniture to keep walkways clear removes trip hazards for all.

Do you have a main-floor bathroom?

If climbing stairs is a challenge, a bathroom on the main floor will make the home safer and more comfortable for residents and guests alike. It’s something to consider if the time comes for renovations.

Having grab bars near the toilet and shower area can also make a bathroom more user-friendly.

If you want to make your home more accessible for people of all ages and abilities, a health professional like an occupational therapist may be able to help. They have training to help people of all abilities continue doing their daily activities. Find more information at the College of Occupational Therapists of Ontario’s website, coto.org/ot

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