Purchasing A Wheelchair Accessible Home

 By: Kevin Germain
Looking for a new home is time consuming and downright painful. Imagine however if you were looking for a home that needed to be handicap accessible. Your laundry list of requirements is totally different than the average homeowner. It is important to find a home that can be easily altered to become wheelchair accessible if you have not found one that is already suited for the needs a wheelchair imposes.

Requirements to make a home more wheelchair friendly start with the entrances and exits of a home. In order for a home to be accessible there must be at least one entrance equipped with a wheelchair accessible ramp. It is a good idea that you make all of the homes exits and entrances safe for wheelchairs to provide comfort for the individual to get in and out easily. It is easier than one might think to add a ramp off the deck in a backyard and to add threshold ramps to garage entrances and exits. Also, wheelchair accessible ramps are made to enhance the beauty to any front porch area. The more ways to get in and out of the home the safer and more comfortable a wheelchair bound individual will feel.

In dealing with exits and entrances it is important to remember the width of a wheelchair and the turn radius required to move freely in and out. Make sure all door and hallways, including vestibules are at least thirty-six inches to provide adequate space for wheelchairs and walkers to maneuver. If hallway doors are too tight it can help to reverse the swing of the door out to provide an extra few inches through the doorways to rooms throughout the house.

Wheelchair access throughout the home is only one issue that handicap people face within their own homes. Issues that are just as important are items such as accessible electrical outlets, accessible smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, along with making sure fire extinguishers are all within reach of a wheelchair user. Simple tweaks can make sure that items are made to be convenient for all household users. Smoke detectors can be wired into the wall and outlets can be placed higher up making the reach less of a burden.

I mentioned earlier wheelchair accessible ramps and think it is important to also mention that outside ramps will need to be maintained in regards to snow and ice. There are two ways in which this can be done, manually or by installing special heat coils designed especially for the prevention on snow and ice build-up. Otherwise ramps become obstacles not only for the member of your household in a wheel chair but also those maneuvering the ramp by foot. Keeping a clear path in and out of your home is of up most importance.

In keeping your home accessible for wheelchair use it is important to remember that rugs and carpet add to the difficulty of maneuvering. Furniture should be place so that a thirty-six inch path is clear with a turning radius of at least five feet. The more open the floor plan, with the least amount of clutter is the best option for a home that needs to be handicap accessible. Threshold ramps can be installed to make transitions less difficult from room to room.

A home that is wheelchair compatible would have a wish list of a thousand things to make life easier. Levered door handles, roll in showers, removable shower heads, grab bars and appliances only those with front controls and front access however we know this is not always going to be possible right off the bat when purchasing a home. When the search begins narrow your must haves down to include a list of things that a home can have that can be easily converted. The house might not come all together but at least make the work that you need to put into it minimal with purchasing a house that comes with tools that will make it easier.
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