Ever considered what you’d need to do to make your home wheelchair friendly?
Wheelchairs are used by an estimated 1.2 million people in the UK, two thirds of whom are regular users.
The majority of wheelchair users in the UK are over 60, and while figures for the number of children in wheelchairs are sketchy 28% of wheelchairs users are under 60 according to The Papworth Trust.
For parents of children needing a wheelchair or power chair major changes can be needed to make their homes suitable for all the family, changes that can also make a major difference to their quality of life.
I asked some fellow mums with experience of caring for children in wheelchairs for their top tips on making their homes wheelchair friendly.
5 ways to make your home wheelchair friendly
1. Consider installing a wet room. “The best alteration we made was the wet room,” says Amy who blogs at Eps and Amy. “It allowed them to keep their independence and privacy. The wet room is also loved by those not in a wheelchair – so much better than a normal shower!”
2. Swap traditional doors for sliding doors. “We’re considering having a sliding door put in the smaller spaces of the house to enable my eldest son Chase, who is eight years old and uses a power chair to get around, to easily open doors himself without them being in the way of the wheelchair,” says Nikki who blogs at Glam & Geeky Mum.
3. Change flooring to vinyl. “We’ve changed the flooring in the property to be vinyl in the hallway as Chase’s wheelchair brings in a huge amount of dirt and I need to be able to easily clean it!” says Glam & Geeky Mum’s Nikki.
4. Remember it’s your house. “Even if you are getting a disabled facilities grant you are under no obligation to make the changes the council suggest if they wouldn’t suit your lifestyle,” says Laura who blogs at Mum On A Mission. “And think about the future rather than just adapting for now – kids grow!”
5. Plan ahead. “When we had Amy with us we had our archway widened to fit the wheelchair through – we had help from social services to fund the changes,” says Jenny at Midwife And Life. “I resisted a lot of changes they wanted to make because she had a life limiting condition and I didn’t want a lot of painful reminders around after she had gone. There is a lot of help out there.”
For further information and support see:
Allied Mobility who specialise in wheelchair accessible vehicles and wheelchair adapted cars.
Whizz-Kidz who provide disabled children with wheelchairs and mobility equipment to help them lead fun and active childhoods.
ABLEize who offer a comprehensive list of support groups covering a range of conditions and disabilities.
This is a collaborative post.