Making Life Easier For Those Using A Wheel Chair
Trying to make life easier for those using a wheelchair can be quite challenging. It can take some extensive remodeling and could become quite expensive. Some things are almost impossible to do if the person lives alone. Doing some changing here and there can reduce the impossible to almost easy. Some things are easy to do, like holding a door for someone. It sounds easy, but I have seen many people look away while someone struggles to get through a door.
Let's start with the house
This will be the biggest challenge. This will be where most of the time will be spent. Starting with the entrances, there needs to be an accessible ramp to each doorway. A concrete ramp is durable and will last many years. Entry doors and others throughout the house need to be wide enough for the chair to easily fit through. Carpeting is harder to traverse while tile and hardwood floors can get marred up. The best solution might be a good indoor/outdoor carpet.
The bathroom will need a complete makeover. A good handicap toilet needs to be installed. Also a grab bear needs to be firmly attached to the wall where it is easy to reach. Some people have limited reaching access, so a butt cleaner can be installed. This shoots a stream of water saving a lot of struggling. You might have to take out the old bathtub or shower and install a tub with a sliding door for ease of entry. Trying to get in a regular tub or shower with limited body movement can be very hard.
Using a top loading washer can be a nightmare for someone in a wheelchair. Replace these with a front loading washer dryer set. Using a reach extension, this will turn the nightmare into an easy chore. A table for folding clothes needs to be lowered to the right height. Trying to fold clothes with the arms upraised will quickly become tiring.
The kitchen needs to be designed with the cabinets down low. A lowered island with cabinets in the bottom can have a microwave/convection oven on top. With a crock-pot and electric skillet next to it, this could be the base of cooking operation. A regular range is much too tall to cook with. If possible, the sink should be lowered to a height that is easy accessed.
Getting a dog to help is a great idea. This will not just be a companion, but a service or working dog. They can be trained to pick up dropped items, fetch things you need, open doors with a tug rope or or a special made harness, and can even be trained to detect fluctuating blood sugar. These wonderful animals can be a real life saver at times.
When you plan ahead, you make life a lot easier for someone using a wheelchair. Grocery shopping, doctor visits, shopping malls, and other places will take longer. Finding a place to park can be a challenge sometimes. A lot of handicap accessible parking spots are taken by someone who does not need them. A regular spot does not work well because you need the extra width to get a wheelchair in and out. So please leave these spots to those who need them, it makes their life easier and you have my thanks.
Do you have someone close who uses a wheelchair?
The butt cleaner
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