Clean Bed – Looking Ahead – Aging – Disabilities And Home Design. Most people don’t want to think about getting older and all that it entails. They never want to believe that they might end up having to use a walker or possibly being in a wheelchair. That happens to “other” people. People who aren’t healthy and who don’t maintain an active lifestyle.
And when they least expect it… an accident or illness sets in and their world comes crashing down around them.
It doesn’t even have to be an illness that creates problems. Just the fact that as you age your needs and what you are able to do… change. That’s not an easy word for people to accept. And most people don’t want to look ahead… because that means acknowledging the fact that they will get old.
But if you look ahead and plan for the future… even at the young age 40 or 50… when you are planning on buying a new house… you will save yourself a lot of money and the headache of having to “re-design” your living space to accommodate your changing needs when you are in your 60’s and 70’s.
Simple changes like the styles of doorknobs and faucet handles can impact your ability to be self sufficient. As you age it gets harder to turn “round” doorknobs and faucet handles. By simply using “lever” style door handles and “single” faucet handles you have eliminated one major, yet little thought about problem as you age. A simple “style” change that can make your life so much easier.
Some other things to think about:
The width of your hallways is crucial. By having hallways that are wider you will be able to accommodate a wheelchair or walker should you need one.
Also, wider doorways of at least 32 “. If the chair needs to turn then you will need 36 “.
If someone is in a wheelchair there needs to be enough floor clearance of at least 60 ” so that a wheelchair can turn around without bumping into anything.
The counter space needs to be at least 30 ” wide and at least a 27 ” clearance (30″ – 32″ is preferred), and 19 ” deep.
The ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) says that the wheelchair access in the shower needs to beat a least 36 ” by 36 “. The curb cannot be more than A� in.
You can have a walk-in shower and bench if you are able to stand for short periods. There are roll-in showers that have shower seats. Be sure to have support handles that can take the full weight of a person.
The shower controls also need to be low enough so that a person in a wheelchair or a person that is sitting in a shower seat can reach them.
The height of the sink needs to be lower.
The toilet needs to be raised, they are too low for a person in a wheelchair. And a grab bar needs to be next to the toilet.
The medicine cabinet should not be too high from the floor. No more than 44″ is suggested.
Carpeting – not recommended. It makes it hard for wheelchairs to get around
Light switches – the height of the light switches should be low enough for a person in a wheelchair
The rods for the hangers should be lowered to a level that a person in a wheelchair can reach.
A ranch style house (all on one level) works best as you age, but you can also do things in the future such as install a chair lift if you have a multi-level house
Putting it on the main floor means that you won’t have to go down into the basement.
This article was meant to make you “think” about the was not meant to be “expert” advice. For more information on how to make your home “age / disability” ready…check out the ADA or other expert websites.
Planning for the future doesn’t mean that you are doomed to “need” all of the above changes. And making some of the changes mentioned doesn’t mean that your house has to “look” like you are “old and disabled”.
By being organized ahead of time… by planning for your future… you are taking a proactive approach to your life.