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50 Solutions to Make Your Home More Accessible



1. Ensure your first floor contains a bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, and laundry room

2. Eliminate throw rugs

3. Increase the lighting in dark places throughout your home

4. Ensure the light fixture has at least two bulbs

5. Install lighted switches if not using automatic lights

6. Install dimmer switch controls for control of glare

7. Install light switches at the top and bottom of stairs and at each end of the hallway

8. Choose light sources with a color rendering index of at least 80 to provide the most accurate color perception

9. Ensure your lighting fixtures have at least two bulbs to provide backup in case one burns out

10. Window treatments to reduce glares from occurring

11. Raise/lower switches and outlets for easier access

12. Ensure all cords are not in the walking path

13. Include carbon monoxide detectors that have visual and auditory alarms

14. Ensure all smoke alarms are working and have visual and auditory alarms

15. Set your water heater temperature to a lower setting

16. Remove clutter on the floors

17. Unplug unused appliances

18. Install a no-step entry

19. Install lever door handles on all doors

20. Use 36” doors throughout the home and ensure the door can be opened at 90 degrees

21. Swing away hinges can provide 1 ¾ inches of additional doorway clearance

22. Sliding doors are another great option to increase entry access (similar to a barn door configuration – pocket doors have drawbacks)

23. Widen hallways to 42” to 45”

24. Widen the bathroom for access to a wheelchair

25. Install flooring throughout the home – make sure to prevent glares or slippery conditions (i.e., A company called Slip Doctors has a floor coating that will improve traction to reduce the risk of falls)

26. Make sure to color contrast throughout your home, do not use the same color scheme (i.e., White walls and white floors)

27. Include pull-out, pull-down, and pull-up shelves in cabinets

28. Install grab bars as towel bars

29. Install grab bars on the outside of the bathtub or shower unit and within the unit

30. Create a no-step shower entry

31. Install a fold-down shower seat

32. Install a hand-held shower head with an on-off switch

33. Roll-under sink – can include a rolling cart to replace the lost storage space until needed use of the roll-under sink

34. Consider wall blocking for future fixtures

35. Select appliances that do not require you to reach over to adjust the setting (i.e., reaching over a hot burner to turn the temperature setting can increase the risk of injury)

36. Ensure the oven/stove has a warning light to indicate if the surface is hot

37. Deep roll-in closets

38. Stacked closets for future elevator installations

39. Easy to read thermostats – Mount no higher than 48 inches above the floor

40. Consider a dual fuel system for comfortable heating

41. Floor heating to eliminate cold spots – can be added under the bathroom tile or in front of the kitchen sink

42. Pilot light on a switch for a reminder to turn off the ventilation fan

43. Timer switch or humidistat control will allow the fan to turn off automatically

44. Install an exterior venting exhaust duct instead of recirculation units in the kitchen for ventilation

45. Install wireless control systems – garage door opener automatically opens, house lights turn on automatically upon entry, etc.

46. Purchase a WiFi outlet plug to turn on a lamp or television by voice command.

47. Emergency backup generator systems powered by natural gas or propane

48. Include additional space in the garage for a future ramp or raise the floor level with the main floor of the house

49. Highlight changes in level, steps, edges, or railings

50. Wall color at adjoining corners to distinguish the two walls




About the Author

Jackie Baumgartner is currently a third-year Doctor of Occupational Therapy student from the University of Mary in Bismarck, ND. She is currently completing her doctoral capstone at Sparling Construction/GoUniversal. Jackie will be graduating in the spring of 2021 and plans to begin her career as a traveling therapist with her husband. She is very excited to provide you with information regarding different topics about home modifications, disabilities, and ways to make your home more accessible.












References

Hoffacker, S. (2021). Universal design strategies for safe, comfortable, and accessible homes. Retrieved form https://www.stevehoffacker.com/universal-design-strategies/

National Association of Home Builders. (2017). Design concepts for livable homes and aging in place (CAPS II). Washington, D.C.: NAHB.

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