Man in a wheelchair opening a kitchen drawer

Make your home ADA compliant: 8 Helpful Tips

In Buyers, Homeowners, Sellers by Doug Phelps

Rather you have a disability or you have an elderly loved one moving in who is living with a disability, it’s important to make sure your home is accessible to all who are in it.  About 26% of all Americans have a disability so a home that is ADA accessible (compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) could be a hot commodity when you go to sell your home. Depending on the nature of the disability, there may be some better options than others to help make your home better to navigate.  Some things are as easy as rearranging your furniture, and other options include major construction and hiring a professional.  Below are some options to consider when trying to make your home more ADA friendly:

1. Add ramps to stairways and porches

Almost everyone loves a big, beautiful wrap-around porch and great front yards help sell homes but to someone who has mobility issues or uses a wheelchair, porches may present a problem. A great solution to stairs may be adding a ramp or even a stair lift, depending on how many stairs your porch has.  This may apply for a short staircase inside the house as well.

2. Install a stair lift or mobile stair unit

For larger staircases indoors going from level to level, it may make more sense to install a stair lift.  These units can be professionally installed by companies who specialize in installing them.  There are units that include a seat for a user, or there are units that can help move a wheelchair up and down stairs as well.

3. ADA friendly shower and bath

Slippery showers and baths also present an issue for someone with a disability.  A good option may be installing a walk-in shower so that there is no need to step over a tub. There are also shower chairs that make it easier to bathe while seated.  Walk-in showers are also something that can be professionally installed.

4. Widening doorways

This is something that will also likely need to be done professionally but it may be a good idea to widen doorways in your home.  Some doorways are simply too narrow for a wheelchair to fit so widening a doorway will make it easier for a user to get in and out of rooms.  If you are currently home shopping and need to accommodate for a wheelchair, make sure to measure doorways and be aware of how accessible the home is.

5. Toilet Riser

Some people have trouble sitting down or getting up from a seated position, and a toilet riser will help the seated position to not be so low. This handy helper will be available at any medical supply store and should be easy to install at home. 

6. Get rid of carpet and replace with hardwood

Both wheelchairs and walkers commonly get stuck on carpets.  Carpets and rugs can also bunch up and possibly trip someone.  If your home has carpets, consider trading them in for hardwood.  Also be weary of tile as a walker could get stuck in the middle grout between tiles.

7. Add grip rails

Rails are most often seen in a bathroom near a toilet or a shower, but rails can be added to almost any room and installation is easy and can be done at home.  For example, a rail near a bed may help someone get out of bed or a rail near a door may help a user get in and out of the doorway.

8. Arrange your home for easy accessibility

Outside of things to install, pay special attention to how things are arranged in your home when accommodating someone with a disability.  Again, depending on the nature of the disability it is very important keep in mind the most helpful solution to the disability at hand. For example, someone who has visual impairment will have different needs than someone with mobility difficulties. Some ideas include: arranging furniture so that it’s easy to maneuver around.  Also keep things in lower cabinets where it’s easier to reach.  Another good option is to lower bars in the closet so it’s easier to reach when in a wheelchair.  

 Do you have concerns or questions about finding a home that is ADA compliant? Are you in the market to buy or sell your home?  Call and text me at (720) 323-4176 or email me at [email protected]

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