People with limited mobility will inevitably need help getting around the house, even if they already have a walker or wheelchair. If you are going to accommodate a person with mobility challenges in your house, you will need to make a few modifications to ensure that the environment is comfortable for them.
General Bedroom Characteristics to Consider
The bedroom’s location is essential to the comfort of the person with limited mobility. The ground floor is ideal, as they’ll be able to avoid moving up or down stairs. The bedroom should also be located close to, and on the same floor as, a bathroom so that your guest can have easy access.
It must also be situated far away from any sort of pollution, and it shouldn’t have too much moisture that could cause a respiratory infection. The floor should be made from non-slip material and should always be dry. If the floor is made of slippery material, either replace the whole floor or use non-slip mats.
Finally, there should be enough space in the room to accommodate a wheelchair or any other mobility-enhancing device, and the room should always be well lit
Here are a few more specific modifications you can make to your bedroom when housing someone with limited mobility.
The bedroom doorways should be wide enough to accommodate wheelchairs and other mobility devices. Revolving doors could also make it easier for people on wheelchairs to enter and exit the bedroom. Alternatively, a lever style handle can make the door easier to open.
The recommended doorway width is at least 36 inches, but the ideal width is at least 42 inches.
Bedroom Size and Location
The bedroom should have enough space for mobility devices to move around easily. Individual circumstances should dictate the size of the room.
The bed size also matters. If it’s too small, the person may fall off and not be able to get back on. There should be a lot of room around the bed to allow for a wheelchair, or any other mobility device, so that a mobility device can easily get close to the bed.
If there is no available bedroom on the first floor, consider modifying another room and converting it into a bedroom.
Minimize Risk for Injuries
Ensure that there are no obstacles on the floor that could cause an accident. Be extra careful with cords, as they are likely to cause severe falls or fire accidents. Slippery tiles should be replaced or covered with materials that have a firm grip, and take care of excess bedding dragging on the floor. Bed skirts should be avoided as well.
Adjust Bed Height
The height of the bed should be at a comfortable position so it’s easy to get on and off of it. The top of the mattress should be at the same level as the wheelchair seat and its length should be 20 to 23 inches.
Install Ceiling Lifts
Motorized ceiling lifts are used to raise and lower the bed for ease of use. They can also slide horizontally to move a wheelchair user in and out of the bed.
Use Bed Rails or Grab Bars
Bed rails and grab bars are support systems for getting in and out of a bed. They also make it easy for caregivers to care for people with limited mobility.
A Few More Suggested Modifications
A few other tips to take into consideration include:
- Install bed rails to prevent falls
- Improve lighting in the bedroom
- Install a bedroom phone
- Install wall to wall carpeting