Exterior Home Accommodations for Individuals with Disabilities
Creating accessible home accommodations for individuals with disabilities is crucial to ensuring that everyone is able to live safe, happy, and productive lives. While some homes may be built with accessibility in mind, most older homes are not. There are a number of minor and major tweaks you can make to a home to make it more accessible to family and friends with disabilities.
Questions to Ask
Before you can make your home more accessible you need to know exactly what needs to be improved. Ask yourself these questions and make a list of the things you can fix:
- Are outside paths free of tripping hazards and well-lit?
- Do entrances have good lighting and plenty of turning room?
- Is the home on one level?
- Are there any step-free entrances?
- Will door thresholds be difficult to navigate?
- Are staircases outfitted with handrails and good lighting?
When you’re looking to make your home accessible, wander through the home with these questions in mind. Create a goal list that prioritizes projects to make your home accommodations for individuals with disabilities. Also, keep in mind that seasonal changes may also provide unique challenges for people with disabilities -- shoveling snow or installing shutters for stormy months are things to consider.
Home Accommodations for the House Exterior
At least one entrance to your home should have a flat threshold or a ramp with a railing on both sides to allow the home to be easily accessible. Near your entrance, include enough space to navigate around an opened door. You may also want to include a bench or shelf to place items as you open the door.
Should you ever require emergency care, you want your home to be easily found. Be sure to have your house number displayed in an easily visible location on your house with reflective numbers that are at least three inches tall. You may even want to consider having a light on the house numbers.
Widen Door Frames
Most wheelchairs are around 25 inches wide, therefore a door frame should be at least 35 inches wide to provide enough space for a wheelchair or walker to navigate through. Sometimes removing the door frame is all you need to do to provide enough space, but contacting a renovator may help to ensure enough space without compromising the design of the home.
Add a Lower Peephole
Peepholes indoors are often set at a height that only works for individuals who are standing. If you want to accommodate someone who may use a wheelchair or a walker, a lower peephole can be helpful. Another option besides a peephole is a security camera that will allow you to see who is outside without moving to the door.
Home Entry Ramp
A gradual ramp can be the best option for someone who is using a wheelchair -- the more gradual the ramp the better. A gradual ramp cuts down on the shoulder strain of steeper ramps, and the wheelchair user does not need to pop a wheelie to get over a threshold.
5-Foot Turning Radius
For people who use wheelchairs, a 5-foot radius is essential for making a 360-degree turn for most standard wheelchairs. Larger wheelchairs may need a 6-foot radius. But for most, a 5-foot radius will be enough space to navigate all turns.
These exterior home accommodations for individuals with disabilities can create a home that is truly inviting and available to the comfort of those in your life who have disabilities.