There are many different types of disabilities, therefore, when making changes to a home to accommodate someone with a disability, you first need to consider what type of disability it is, the individual's specific needs, then the dimensions to follow based on disability access laws.
Here are some things to consider when adjusting the home to meet the needs of someone with a disability:
In the kitchen you may have to adapt counters. They may need to be shorter. Leave an open space so that someone in a wheelchair can move closer to the counter and have room for a wheelchair to maneuver underneath. You will also need to consider making sure there is space available to maneuver a wheelchair in the kitchen.
Some other objects that can be useful in the kitchen for someone with a disability include an electric can opener, an electric jar opener and food processor for vegetable cutting. When buying a stove, make sure the knobs are in front so the person in a wheelchair can reach them and turn the oven on or the top burners on.
In the bathroom you should consider having elevated toilet seats. Make sure you have bars by the toilet for someone who lacks balance to hold onto while sitting down or standing up. If you have someone that is in a wheelchair you need to have available a sliding board so you can transfer them from the wheelchair to the toilet.
Extended levers on the faucet make it easy to turn on and off the water.
5. Bath mats
If the bathroom has a bathtub, then make sure you have a floor length mat with a non-slip backing so it will adhere to the floor to prevent the disabled person from tripping over the mat.
Arrange the furniture in the room so outlets are easily accessible.
Make sure your lamps are touchable or react to sound so that the person with the disability can turn lights on and off when no one is around to help them.
Make sure the phone is cordless so the individual can carry it around with them and answer a call when the phone rings.
You can buy silverware with Styrofoam that makes it easier for someone with a disability to hold the utensil and use it while eating. Make sure all the utensils and pots and pans have white surfaces so they do not tip over when being used by someone with a disability.
Use handles as opposed to knobs so the individual with a disability can open and close doors by themselves without assistance. When buying a refrigerator make sure the handle is either on the left or right hand side depending on the needs of the individual.
11. Doors and walkways
When adapting the home for a wheelchair make sure the doors open wide enough for the wheelchair to go through and halls are uncluttered.
12. For the blind
When adapting a home for someone who is blind make sure he knows the layout and design so he knows which room he has come into and can count the number of doors or handles.
13. For the deaf
When adapting the home to someone who is deaf make sure you will have a TTD — teletype device so the individual can make phone calls for themselves.
Connect the doorbell to the lights so they will flash when a phone call comes in or when someone rings the doorbell for someone who is deaf.
Finally, you may want to consider putting in a shower with a built in seat and shower head with a wand that can be lowered so someone can sit down and shower by themselves or roll their wheelchair into the shower easily to bathe themselves.
These are just a few things to consider when adapting a home to meet the needs of someone with a disability. Above all, make sure to ask individuals with a disability what their needs are to adjust the home for them.
Davida graduated from Armstrong Atlantic University in Savannah, GA. and is CEO of Career Performance Institute, a career & personal development company. As a "Disabled American" she has many limitations to overcome based on society's attitudes.