A Room-by-Room Guide to a More Accessible Home

If you’re planning to live in your home in older age instead of thinking about alternative living accommodation, it probably won’t be surprising that you will have to make a few changes to ensure that your home is as comfortable as it was when you were younger. Here’s a room-by-room guide about what you can change to make your home suitable for every age.

A Room-by-Room Guide to a More Accessible Home

The Outside

The outside of your home should have a clearly visible address number, a doorway threshold that won’t trip you up, and handrails on any steps and stairways.

The Kitchen

The kitchen should have easy-to-access cabinetry that is simple to pull out. There should be specific lighting for the sink, cooker, and any food preparation areas. The kitchen sink tap should also be sensor-based or lever-based, and you should avoid knobs or handles. The tap should also be pressure-balanced and not exceed temperatures of 50 degrees. The floor should not be polished with a slippery wax.

Steps and Stairways

You should have safe and secure handrails on both sides of the stairs, placed at an appropriate height for the intended users. It’s also important to be able to turn the stairway lights on and off at both the bottom and top of the stairs. Stairs should be carpeted or have a nonslip adhesive strip on them. The edge of the stairs should be marked clearly.

The Bathroom

The lavatory should be a higher, comfort-height model to allow for easy sitting. The sink, bathtub and shower taps should have easy-to-use lever handles rather than knobs. The bathroom walls should be reinforced and feature grab bars in the bathtub, shower and near the lavatory to allow for easy leverage. Rugs in the bathroom should be rubber-backed so they don’t slip. Ideally, the shower or bath should be walk-in and should have the accessibility options seen with the latest models for walk in showers. These include no-step entry, a hand-held or adjustable showerhead, and a permanent or removable seat so you can bathe while seated. Any exposed pipes should be insulated.

Living Room and Bedroom

Furniture should be arranged to allow clear and wide passageways, and electrical cords and wires should run along the wall to prevent tripping. The bed should be placed close to the bathroom for easy access, and natural light should be used to the fullest. Closets should have interior lights and adjustable shelves.

Throughout the Home

Light bulbs should be properly rated and be the highest allowed wattage for maximum light. The home should have touch control lamps as well as devices on a timer to minimize the need for switching on lights. A telephone should be available in multiple rooms, including the bedroom and bathroom. 

Night lights can be good as well — put automatic night lights in hallways, bathrooms and also near any steps. Smoke detectors should be installed on every floor and should be tested properly so that they can be heard in all bedrooms. Flashlights should be kept in many rooms just in case there’s a power failure, and there should be at least one step-free entrance into the home.

There’s a lot of detail above, but if you follow this room-by-room guide you’ll have a fully accessible home in no time!

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