Providing a Welcoming Home
My goal is to demonstrate how to make adaptations to your present home, to accommodate your loved one's special limits in mobility. Ideas here have been gathered from a devoted group of families who are learning as abilities change. As all of us age, our needs will change. It makes sense to plan ahead for these changes. If a family member or friend is injured or becomes disabled through an illness or aging, accessibility will help all of us. I hope you can find some ideas here that will help you create a usable home for your family, whether or not they are disabled. Please click on the category that interests you, Kitchen, Bathroom, Ramps etc, to find full descriptions and photos of the work done. Be sure to check out the added suggestions by other parents and our Links page. They will be updated as I learn more
This is a site in progress. If you have made adaptations that you think should be included in the web site, please email me about them and provide photos that I may include here. My goal is to show that adaptations need not be institutional in appearance. They also need not be prohibitively expensive. Although we were given a $30K estimate for renovating our daughter's bathroom, we kept looking and managed to do the entire job for closer to $3K. Please get multiple estimates and be creative in your problem solving.
The bathroom below used a similar approach to the one just above. A standard shower stall existed, with the floor below grade. A short wall was added to one edge of the shower space, the floor was brought up to the level of the bathroom floor and sloped to the drain. Grab bars were installed, a folding bench and hand held shower all make for functional space within easy reach of the user.
The new wall is about 30 inches wide and allows a good open section for entry to the shower. This design has actually allowed for no shower curtain to be needed, if the user is a little careful with the spray direction of the hand held device. Another grab bar was added at the water source end to assist in positioning on the bench.
The door to the toilet area was removed and the entrance was widened to allow wheelchair access. At the very left you see the entrance into the shower area.
This bathroom uses the wet room approach, being sure that any surface that gets wet will drain to the low point where the drain is. There are not walls around this shower, which allows easy access by the person showering and any assistant who might be helping.
For the sink areas, counter tops provide plenty of space for personal items and allow rolling under, while drawers provide an abundance of storage.
Below are some really clever adaptations one family came up with to address a reach issue. By turning a standard bathroom basin sideways, the water faucet is much easier to access. You would want to be careful to pipe the drain as far to the rear as possible, so knees aren't hitting the pipe, if a wheel chair is involved.
Below you can see the wall grab bars, but again they were not quite what this young person needed, so the family located attached toilet frame bars on Amazon for less than $40.00. They also located a "family toilet seat" which has two diameters for the inner opening, which adds a greater feeling of security for kids and those with tiny bottoms. See the LINKS section for where you can find this type of product.
The shower stall has several grab bars allow options for positioning inside the shower. A hand held shower head on a rod, facing into the shower helps keep the water where it belongs. Remember when building a shower that water will go from a higher level to a lower one. Whenever possible, the drain of the shower should be the lowest point in the room.