Challenged Mobility? Your Home Can Support Your Independence
Home accessibility can be a challenge for those with mobility concerns. A home that suits your needs can seem like it’s just an impossible dream. However, with a few smart strategies, you can either modify a home to support your independence or find one designed with accessibility in mind.
Modify your home
Supporting independence. Your home should support your lifestyle in ways that keep you moving freely and independently. There are many options to modify a house which improve accessibility, and sometimes those options are inexpensive and easy. Many people fear that accessibility means a stiff, institutional-looking atmosphere. Thanks to modern design trends, options are available which are not only functional but also attractive.
Entryway access. Being able to travel comfortably from your car to your front door is a concern for many people. Ideally, you can enter the home without navigating stairs. Many homeowners opt to build a wheelchair ramp. Ramps are a convenient and relatively inexpensive option, and they allow people to move more freely from the car to the front door with baby strollers, walkers, scooters, canes, or bags of groceries. Another suggestion is to create a graded entry with materials such as colored and textured concrete or flagstone. The landing at the door should provide a spot to lay packages, and there should be ample lighting for nighttime visibility.
Bathroom accessibility. Several components help improve bathroom accessibility. Better Homes & Gardens suggests a barrier-free entry to the shower area, as well as a built-in seat and handheld spray nozzle. Water controls should be mounted at two levels, one for standing access and one for seated access. Toilets should offer raised seat heights, and consider installing grab bars and rails as well. Note grab bars should be mounted appropriately for weight bearing, and there are designer grab bars that blend seamlessly with bathroom decor these days.
Throughout the home. There are a number of mobility aspects that apply to the overall design of your home. Your home should offer living space on one level, including a bedroom, bathroom, and kitchen area. Bob Vila recommends installing roll-out storage in lower cabinets for easier access to items. Homeowners should also consider removing any slipping or tripping hazards and adding non-skid treads on slippery surfaces.
Buying a new home
Growing market. There are many reasons for choosing to purchase a new home instead of modifying an existing one. Arranging and living with construction can be a headache many people don’t enjoy, and sometimes there are other reasons a home isn’t meeting your needs, such as location or size. With more people thinking in terms of staying in their homes as they grow older, the number of accessible homes are on the market in Bozeman is increasing.
Do an evaluation. In order to find your dream home, you should make some notes about what your priorities are. To help with your determination, a home-accessibility checklist can be a boon. List items you can’t do without, and also list preferences. Then when you’re home shopping, you can compare what’s available with your list. Your personal circumstances and your budget will dictate your priorities but your REALTOR can talk through that with you (and they will be thrilled that you’ve done so much homework).
Dream home becomes reality
Your home should support your lifestyle and independence. Simple modifications can be inexpensive and attractive, and the market is ever increasing with accessible housing options. With some careful planning, your dream of an accessible home can be your reality!
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