This year has had a huge effect on almost every part of our day to day lives.
The pandemic has influenced how we work, attend school, travel, shop and even relax. At the height of the pandemic we were all aware of the difficult situation faced by many senior living facilities across Canada, leaving seniors more vulnerable and worst affected by the virus.
For some, this situation has offered an opportunity to reflect on how well our needs are met by our accommodation at home. Whether you are concerned for your own needs as you age, or those of a loved one, to continue living happily in our own homes as we get older, often some adaptations may be required.
When mobility concerns start to affect you or your family, your living space can become an additional burden if it is challenging to get around. Entrances, stairs and bathrooms should not be a barrier to the enjoyment of one’s home.
If you are keen to maintain your comfort at home far into the future, consider renovating the areas that can become an obstacle for mobility, swiftly making your home accessible again. At Stiltz Home Elevators, we look at five of the most common needs:
The first consideration for most new wheelchair users or those who need another form of walking aid, is the doorways within their home. Even in a single-storey house you probably have an entrance way with a couple of steps to gain access. Making the front porch easily accessible is crucial, whether by introducing a ramp, which can be portable or fixed, or renewing the doorway with a wider alternative. Similarly, entrances within the home may need renovating to improve access by consulting a qualified structural engineer. In some cases, rearranging the layout of furniture within some of the most used rooms can help make it easier to get around safely.
Making sure the bathroom is a safe place that can be used without assistance is crucial for maintaining privacy and dignity as we age. Ensuring the bath is at a suitable height, grab handles are in place close to the bathtub and toilet are relatively simple things to introduce. Walk in bathtubs can make baths a regular option once again. However, if wheelchair access is needed within the bathroom this may be a larger renovation project. For some, a wet room can be a helpful solution, with seating in place to enable a comfortable shower.
Tiles that become slippery when wet can be replaced with non-slip surfaces throughout which reduces the risk of falling.
These are a hazard for many, not just those with reduced mobility. No one wants to be reduced to living in only certain areas of their home if this can be avoided, though many have concerns as to the difficulties which may be involved in using equipment such as stair lifts. Not to mention the visual impact of these on the home itself. A home elevator may be the ideal option in this case, as a home enhancing feature for both yourself and others. With choices which can comfortably accommodate a wheelchair or walking frame and match your décor to boot, requiring no load bearing walls, the introduction of a home lift has proven to be an elegant, swift, safe and life changing solution for many Canadians.
Appliances / Kitchen
To make your kitchen suitable in the event of needing a wheelchair there needs to be sufficient space to pull up to the table where you eat, as well as having appliances and counter tops within easy reach. So, if you are planning a new kitchen soon, think ahead to ensure the arrangement you choose will have longevity and suit your future needs. Avoid stacking large appliances in the utility room, seek to have your oven at a height easy for you to lift trays in and out of and allow for enough space between counters and upon entering to accommodate a walking frame.
As well as tiles which can become slippery and hazardous, hardwood floors, thick rugs (or those which are prone to slipping) and even the grouting between floor tiles can cause problems for mobility aids such as walkers or sticks. Often, short pile carpet to provide a level surface throughout can be the easiest solution.