Top 5 Ways to Make Your Home More Accessible

Older couple walking together using a walker.
How can you enjoy your home and garden as you age? 

We’re all aging, and that means that eventually, the question will come up: do you want to be able to stay in your home? For some, the answer is simple and so is the solution. They might own a rancher in a walkable community. For others, the answer is more challenging, because their home is not very accessible at all. What can you do to make your home accessible before you need it? 

1. Make It Easier to Enter and Move Around

If your home has a lot of stairs, consider adding a ramp to the front. This makes it simpler for people with walkers, wheelchairs, or other mobility challenges to enter your home. Reduce carpeting and throw carpeting inside your home. Carpeting can make it more difficult to get around, and throw rugs can be a tripping hazard. Install a stair lift, or determine whether you can shift some of your bedrooms to the main floor. 

Before you make any large-scale modifications inside the home, check with your local authorities to see if a permit is required to do this. 

2. Change the Handles

For those who have arthritis or other mobility challenges in their hands, grasping handles can be difficult. Replace doorknobs with levers, and add d-shaped handles to cupboards. Amerispec mentions that “installing grab bars and handrails is another easy way to make your home safer without making a major change.” These include bars around the toilet and the shower.

3. Create a More Open Floor Plan

An open floor plan is easier to navigate if you have a mobility device. Make sure that you take some time to clear the clutter as well, since you want your floor plan to be as open as possible, not cluttered with furniture. As you add a more spacious feel to your home, increase the size of doorways to make it easier for walkers, wheelchairs, and movement in general.

Small plants in a square planter.
Make your garden easier to care for and water.

4. Simplify Your Garden

Make your gardening easier so that you can enjoy your garden as you get older but not worry about the maintenance. Your plans could include:

  • Reducing your flower beds to a more manageable level. Install a watering system or at least a longer hose, so that you don’t need to haul a watering can around to water.
  • Widening your pathways, reduce holes where water can pool, and put down packed materials that are easier for wheelchairs and walkers to navigate 
  • Adding tall garden boxes that reduce the need to bend 
  • Replacing plants that are high-maintenance with lower-maintenance, water-conserving plants such as sedums 
  • Replacing some of your landscaping with permanent elements such as rocks or benches

5. Reduce Challenging Outdoor Maintenance

As you get older, some parts of garden and home maintenance get more challenging. It can be more difficult to bend down or walk up and down stairs or a ladder to conduct your maintenance. Look around your home and determine how you can simplify your exterior maintenance. For instance, you could install a motorized awning that provides shade at the click of a button, or you could add a gutter cover to your gutters so that you’ll never need to stand on a ladder to clean them again.

At Harry Helmet, we want to work with you to make your home life easier. Talk with us about installing time-saving devices such as gutter covers and awnings. Schedule a free estimate today.

Written by Del Thebaud

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