Photo by Jennifer Mathis

As we grow older there may be a number of reasons why we may have to remodel a house to accommodate someone with mobility issues. Perhaps you’re finding it harder to get around, or maybe you’re overseeing the project for a friend or relative. It’s also commonplace for older relatives to come and live with younger families as they grow older, and changes will need to be made.

All the living areas should be located on a single level of your home. If you don’t live in a bungalow then you will need to create a living space in the main floor of your home. A room that was previously used as a family room or living area will need to be converted to a living space, and that also means creating a bathroom nearby if you don’t already have one on the main floor. There may also be some extensive building work involved if you need to remodel a room or build an additional bathroom.

The bathroom itself needs a vastly different design to the usual bathrooms you find. It will need to be much bigger to allow room for a wheelchair user to manoeuvre, as well as have special reinforced toilet seats and grab rails. Sinks should also be lower than usual to be easier to reach, and bathtubs and showers can be fitted with tub transfer seats that allow a person to transfer into the shower or bathtub easily and safely.  The cost of remodeling a bathroom to accommodate a wheel chair and make it accessible can vary great – try our bathroom remodeling cost calculator to get an instant estimate.

If there are steps and stairs going into and out of your home then you will need to build ramps for better accessibility. Materials are an important consideration too -wood can be slippery when wet and will not last as long as concrete or aluminium. Most wheelchairs are between 24-27 inches across so doorways may need to widened to accommodate them easily.

Kitchen units may need to be lowered, and appliances placed in easier to reach places. Adjustable countertops or pull-out shelves are also a good idea so that everyone can use the kitchen at a level that it comfortable for them. Lazy Susans and carousel cupboards are also great innovations as they make those tricky back of the cupboard areas easier to reach!

Remodeling a home to accommodate a person with mobility issues can be a big project and involve a lot of upheaval, but keep in mind that the quality of life that will result from it will be priceless!