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Atlantic Builders often carry out disability adaptations for families who need to improve disability access to their homes. Here we offer some advice on thinking about the sort of adaptations often needed.

Throughout our lives each and every one of us will experience some type of change that will cause us to adapt to certain situations. One of the biggest changes we sometimes have to adapt to is the disability of a family member. These changes will happen without warning and they sometimes happen with age as we grow older.

Regardless of the situation, when disability occurs in your life, there are some things that will need to be done to your home to accommodate for these drastic changes. We will take a look at some of the most important consideration that should be looked at when adapting for the disabled.

Adapting the external doors to your home for disability access

The first aspect that will need to be considered is the entrance to the home. A standard exterior door should be at least 36” wide. This is wide enough to accommodate most wheelchair access. If you have to move a hospital bed in and out of the home, you may need to install an exterior opening up to 48” wide. After the decision has been made as to which exterior opening will be used for main access, you will then need to add a ramp. Before you construct a ramp, be sure to check local authority disability regulations as to how the ramp should be constructed. Be sure the ramp is constructed in a sturdy manner and is made of materials that will stand up to the elements the ramp will be exposed to.

Adapting the doors inside your home for disability access

After the exterior opening have been taken care of, it is time to move inside. Carefully consider which of the interior doorways and openings will be used the most. You will then need to make sure these openings are wide enough to allow a wheelchair to pass through. Access in and out of the rooms that is used the most is very important. Not only is it important to have wheelchair access it also important that these opening allow access for other medical equipment that may be necessary. A smaller door unit is easily replaced with a larger unit.

Adapting the bathroom for disability access

When the doors and openings of your home are equipped for disabled access you will then need to move into the bathroom. The first item that will need to be changed is the toilet. A disability toilet can be installed in the place of the standard toilet. This type of commode is taller and will allow the disabled person to transfer from the wheelchair to the toilet in a much easier manner.

Other things to think about when planning disability adaptations

The tub and shower will also need to be converted for disabled access. Some showers are designed to move a wheelchair in and out of the unit. There are also many different styles of tubes that can be used as well. The bathroom vanity cabinet will need to be designed to allow for wheelchair access – it will likely need to be lowered. The wheelchair occupant can comfortably pull up to the sink if it is installed to the correct height. Handrails and grab bars will also need to be installed where needed.

These are a few things that will need to be considered when adapting your home for the disabled. You can check with your local occupational health advisor for any assistance that you may need.