Whether you’re disabled yourself or caring for someone with a disability, there are lots of considerations that can help improve quality of life. When it comes to living arrangements, a house should be designed to be useable by the occupant, no matter their disability. This practice is known as ‘universal design.’
Here are the top design considerations to consider when buying a new home or redesigning your existing one.
Some disabled people struggle when it comes to staircases. They can be a huge obstacle for people and should be limited in homes or removed entirely where possible. Outdoor steps and stairs into a home can prevent you even entering, so ensure you replace them with a ramp. While there are temporary access ramps available, it’s best to invest in a concrete ramp for a permanent solution.
In lots of cases, internal staircases are an even more imposing obstacle than outdoor steps. However, they’re inescapable in most two-story homes. If you don’t want to move house, you’ll need to design a way to make the stairs less of an issue in your home.
Depending on your needs and budget, a home stairlift from the likes of TK Encasa will provide an easy route up and down the stairs. It helps you retain independence and isn’t obtrusive, offering numerous benefits.
Rails and Support
One of the key elements of universal design is the application of safety rails and grab rails. Depending on your disability, a safety rail can vastly improve your confidence when getting around the home.
For a universal home, you need to consider tweaks to each room that will make them accessible for all. As well as your own disabilities, consider how guests or other people living in the home will use the room.
Only you will know your own requirements, but as a general guide your kitchen should have lower worktops and levers that operate the taps to allow you to get a good grip. Appliances should be easy to operate and reliable.
The bathroom is an area of dignity, so design it as best you can to be used independently. This can mean anything from walk-in showers to safety rails alongside your toilet. Natural light should be maximised to ensure good visibility.
The above factors are the main issues you’re likely to encounter when designing a universal home. However, if you’re disabled yourself, you’ll be aware of specific requirements you’ll have — incorporate them into your home accordingly.