Understanding the Needs of the Disabled and the Elderly in the Home

Jul 20, 2017


Comfort is a key element for any homeowner who wants to enjoy their living space fully. For the disabled and the elderly, this is still important, but it is a bit more difficult to achieve. When people become disabled, or as they age, their needs change. The goal for these individuals, and for their families is to allow them to maintain their independence while going about their daily lives. Here are some of the kinds of projects that will be necessary to address their changing needs. 

  • Wider doorways. Many older people require wheelchairs or scooters for mobility. It is difficult to get through most doorways while using these devices. A 32” doorway is sufficient for wheelchairs using a straight entry. If the user has to turn to get through, then the minimum requirement is 36”. This work will also involve moving light switches to accommodate the new frame. Small sections of flooring will also need some work. 
  • Bathroom modifications. This area generally sees a substantial amount of work. Bathroom accidents can happen even to the able bodied, so extra care must be taken for the disabled. Grab bars near the toilet, shower and other areas are essential for safety. A walk-in tub is the ideal solution for someone who is unable to step over the edge of a standard bathtub. A person who has mobility problems can easily walk into an accessible shower, but some types are made to accommodate wheelchairs as well. 
  • Ramps. These installations make it easier to enter of leave the home in a wheelchair or scooter. Typically, they are made from wood, but sometimes they are made from concrete. It is also possible to get ready made ramps, but these are not suitable for all situations. 

Disability Remodeling Resources

Among the first issues you will face are the cost of the project, and where to find the proper resources to guide you. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers information on ways to get financial assistance. Low income homeowners may be able to get grants from The Department of Agriculture. The average cost nationwide for these projects is close to $6,000, but the maximum cost is roughly $20,000.

While some people see disability remodeling as the opportunity for a DIY project, this is too important to leave anything to chance. Ensure the safety of your loved ones by hiring a qualified contractor to make the necessary changes to the home. 

Call our Maryland office at 410-877-6112 or our Delaware office at 302-793-9352 to schedule an appointment for a free consultation. We’ll help with the entire planning and design process and assist with the difficult decisions like materials and colors as well.

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