Accessibility at Home: Tips for House Hunters
House hunting can be a long and tiresome process, especially when you have particular needs to consider. Finding the right accessible home means a lot when you or a loved one require certain modifications, and if you’re on a tight budget, you’ll often encounter some limitations when you’re ready to scour the market. Fortunately, there are some options you can take advantage of, including looking for homes that don’t quite meet all your needs but can easily be modified down the road. So, figure out a budget and make a list of all the things you want in a home; then, check out this guide for help on getting started.
Check Out Your Funding Options
Modifying a home doesn’t have to be financially out of reach. There are several funding options available for various accessible mods, including grants, special loans, and financial assistance from organizations such as the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the Red Cross. Depending on your needs and personal history, you may qualify for at least one of these funding options, so do a little research to find out more about how to fund things like adding a chair lift or making the bathroom safer. Pay close attention to the eligibility requirements for grants.
Pay Attention to the Thresholds
Many newer homes are built with small modifications included, such as low- or no-thresholds and walk-in showers, which are perfect for an individual who uses a scooter or wheelchair to get around. Older adults will benefit from these features, as well, since steps and thresholds can cause them to trip and fall, a major cause of injury in seniors. If you find a home you like that doesn’t include this modification, you can make the change yourself pretty efficiently and without laying out a lot of money by adding small safety ramps to the affected areas.
If the homes in your area haven’t had bathroom updates in a while, you’ll want to make some changes to ensure your safety. Installing a walk-in shower rather than a tub can be a pricey upgrade, but if you don’t want to go that far, you can make some modifications to the tub itself by adding non-slip rubber grips, a shower seat, and a grab bar. Adding lighting and painting the walls a contrasting color behind the toilet and sink will help those individuals with vision impairments. It’s also a good idea to add a grab bar near the toilet, as well as easy-to-clean rubber safety mats on the floor to prevent falls. Bathroom updates can be pretty costly, so the more accessible options you can find already completed in a home, the better.
Countertops and Doorways
An accessible home should have plenty of space to move around in, and doorways should be wide enough for a wheelchair or other large piece of equipment. Countertops should be at a reasonable height according to your needs; these can be lowered, if necessary, but if you don’t want to add the expense of a kitchen remodel to your budget, look for a house that already has the right countertops in place. Think about your current, as well as what they’ll be in the future. Will you require room in the kitchen to maneuver in? If so, it’s a good idea to look for a home with an open floor plan that doesn’t have obstacles such as an island to block your path.
Finding an accessible home means a lot for your future safety and comfort, so sit down and write out a list of all the things you want and need in a house. Be thorough, and take your future needs into consideration. Careful planning is the key to finding a home that meets all your criteria.