3 Tips to Make Your Home Disability-Friendly

Whether you’ve been diagnosed with a disability, another member of your family has one, or you’re inviting a disabled family member to come and live with you, there are plenty of reasons you might want to make your home disability-friendly. From hearing loss and heart disease to mobility impairments and neurological conditions, you or your loved one have specific needs, and your home must meet those needs. Whether that’s thinking of potential hearing aid interference while setting up electronics or making the focal point of each room as accessible as it is aesthetically pleasing, making your home disability-friendly doesn’t need to be expensive, time-consuming, or difficult. In fact, accessibility can often be implemented in your standard redecorating process, just by keeping their unique needs and professional recommendations in mind.

1. Consider the disabled person’s needs and struggles.

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Depending on their disability, every disabled person will have different needs and struggle with different aspects of navigating the home. Even two people with the same hearing loss or other disability can have unique accessibility requirements in different spaces. Someone using hearing assist hearing aids might find that certain WiFi signals interfere with even the best hearing aids on the market. Consider adjusting your internet connection’s frequency to make sure your disabled loved one can use their hearing aid as needed without issues. If their severe hearing loss makes a noisy environment overwhelming, consider setting up a quiet room where your loved one can escape the background noise and mentally recharge.

2. Prioritize accessible design.

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An accessible home doesn’t need to be an unattractive one. Look at your kitchen design, for example. A stunning accent counter or custom cabinets might be great ideas for the focal point of a kitchen, but it’s just as important that they’re disability-friendly, too. Make sure that the sharp corners on your recycled glass counter don’t put your blind partner at risk or that your newly moved-in parent can reach the kitchen cabinets from their wheelchair. Even the simplest adjustments can give your home the accessibility boost it needs. Move your loved one’s favorite cereal to a lower shelf, or consider adding an eye-catching backsplash as a less dangerous focal point in your redesign plans. Whenever you want to add or change a room’s design, make sure it’s accessible and beautiful.

3. Consult official guidelines.

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If you’re not sure of how to better accommodate your loved one with severe hearing loss, mobility impairment, or other disabilities, take some time to consider official recommendations, like the Americans with Disabilities (ADA) Standards for Accessible Design presented by the United States Department of Justice. Alternatively, consult their audiologist or another specialized physician to get an idea of the specific direction your accessibility efforts should head in. It might be as simple as upgrading to a new hearing aid that connects to your TV with improved sound quality so they can enjoy their favorite show with proper amplification. Maybe you can create a disability-friendly pantry to store commonly used ingredients that are inaccessible in your existing cabinetry. You might implement more intense renovations, replace existing fixtures, or add a few DIY projects to your weekend. Talk to the pros in whatever field you or your loved one’s disability falls into, whether that’s an accessibility specialist or a medical professional.

Whether you live alone with a disability and want to make your home more accessible in the long term or you’re making things more disability-friendly for a child, partner, or other loved one living with you, you as the homeowner don’t need to invest in special features and expensive devices to improve your home. Consider the unique needs that come with the specific disability you’re facing and keep them in mind as you redesign your home. Take the time to research official recommendations and build the accessible space you and your family need.

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Troublemaker. Wannabe music fanatic. Beer aficionado. Devoted food junkie. Twitter fan. Freelance thinker.Won several awards for analyzing sheep in Cuba. Spent 2002-2009 promoting action figures in the UK. What gets me going now is getting to know pond scum in the UK. Won several awards for investing in toy soldiers on the black market. Spent several months getting my feet wet with spit-takes in Gainesville, FL. Spent 2002-2009 testing the market for tobacco in the aftermarket.