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6 min read

Renovations for the benefit of your loved ones with reduced mobility


6 min read

Renovations for the benefit of your loved ones with reduced mobility

BathroomRenovations for the benefit of your loved ones with reduced mobility

Anyone who lives in an environment that doesn't suit their needs when it comes to mobility or comfort will be subject to a great deal of frustration. To ensure a comfortable and pleasant living environment for an individual with reduced mobility, here's a look at the renovations to take on.

Adapting a home for a person with reduced mobility

home for a person with reduced mobility

Source : Canva

Initial considerations

When it comes to living with persons who have reduced mobility, it’s crucial to consider ways to improve the quality of living for your loved one. This comes down to questions of how to adjust living areas to compensate for any sensory loss or physical limitations. This doesn’t always require a complete remodel to your interior spaces, but some changes do need to be made. Here are some initial considerations for renovating your home to accommodate those with reduced mobility:

  • This project isn't necessarily expensive: There are plenty of low-cost changes that you can make to help those with reduced mobility, these include replacing cabinet knobs with easy-access pull bars, adding night lights along the stairwells, increasing bulb wattage, installing bars in the bathroom and entryway, removing old, slippery rugs or bath mats, and regulating water temperature to avoid injury. Of course, some of the bigger jobs are on the pricey side, so do make sure to plan a budget for this project.

  • Reduce glare around the home and increase lighting: One of the most basic modifications you can make to improve interior spaces is to make sure they’re well lit. If possible, paint interior walls with glare-free paint, making sure ceilings are white to reflect and disperse light in the space. Floors should be dull and avoid waxing, as this creates a slippery environment. Install extra light fixtures in rooms lacking in natural light and as mentioned, along any ramps or staircases. For other spaces, like the bathroom and kitchen, consider task lighting. 

  • Keep spaces uncluttered: Making sure to have clean and visible surfaces is very important when living with persons with reduced mobility. There should be plenty of space in each room to move around freely, with nothing obstructing clear pathways and not too much to bump into. Any unnecessary furniture should be donated or sold. Think minimal pieces with maximum functions, like multi-purpose furniture.

Renovating the kitchen

home for a person with reduced mobility

Source : Canva

In the kitchen, it's recommended that you install height-adjustable furniture. With adjustable furniture, it'll then be possible to adapt the level of workspaces as well as the height of each piece of furniture. If this is not a feasible option due to budget or location, opt for facilities that are low enough to be accessible at all times and to those with reduced mobility or in wheelchairs.

If the layout of the home allows, your dishwasher and fridge should be raised about 80 centimetres to prevent their opening from being blocked by the wheelchair. The sink, with front or side access, must be equipped with shallow bins to allow sufficient space for a wheelchair to pass. Thus, it will not be necessary to work at arm's length.

Another quick note regarding the kitchen, but one for all rooms of the home, is to install rocker-style push light switches. This style switch is much easier to use than our traditional toggle or flip switches since they’re bigger and need less effort to operate.  

Bedrooms and doors

Regarding choosing the bed, it's recommended that you choose one with a relatively low height in order to be able to slip in and out without having to stand or rise to the height. A space of 90 centimetres should be left on each side of the best, and a minimum space of 120 centimetres between the end of the best and the door (when it’s open). Regarding the dimensions of the bedroom doors, they should have a minimum width of 83 centimetres.

Rethinking the entrance

On the other hand, the entrance door must be at least 103 centimetres wide. It's recommended that you place the doorbell and lock at face height to avoid your loved ones stretching every time they want to get inside.

Further, the installation of a ramp is essential. At this level, it would be better to prioritize models with straight lines rather than models with curves, as the latter requires the execution of difficult maneuvers in a wheelchair. The sections of the ramp should never exceed 9 meters, with a maximum of 6 meters to be prioritized if the person using it is particularly weak.

A long ramp will need bearings in order not to subject its' user to excessive amounts of physical effort. Please note that this is a measure that is able to provide detailed information on the precise dimensions to be followed so that the ramp is of regulated measure.

Adaptions to be made to the whole house

home for a person with reduced mobility

Source : Canva

It should be noted that it's advisable to avoid carpets throughout your home, as they'll make the passage of a wheelchair quite difficult. As we mentioned in our introduction, in all rooms, it's necessary to leave a central space of a meter and a half, free of furniture or objects. This will allow for the free movement of the wheelchair.

When choosing cabinets and drawers, opt for sliding models. Drawers will be easier to open and cabinet doors will be less cumbersome when opened. Then, it'll be possible to search cabinets without constantly needing to move back to the chair to prevent it from blocking the opening.

The Housing Adaptation Program of the Société d'habitation du Québec

As mentioned on the website of the Société d'habitation du Québec, the home adaptation program allows an individual whose permanent physical impairment jeopardizes the accomplishment of daily activities to receive a subsidy for the adaptation and renovation of their homes to suit their physical needs. To be eligible, you must meet the following two conditions:

1- You must be able to provide a report produced by an occupational therapist attesting to the permanence of the impairment as well as the need to make changes to your home or apartment.

2- You must not be eligible for financial assistance under the insurance plans for the Société de l'assurance automobile du Québec or the Commission for Occupational Health and Safety. It should be noted that the maximum amount that can be allocated is $16,000 and it is unlikely to cover the full costs required to complete the work. The difference will need to be provided by the owner. Note that it is imperative to undertake the work after the approval of the Société d'habitation du Québec to be eligible for the grant.

Alberta’s RAMP program

home for a person with reduced mobility

Source : Canva

In the province of Alberta, if you or a loved one is a low-income individual with mobility issues, you’ll be able to apply for the Residential Access Modification Program or RAMP. This subsidy is granted to Canadian citizens or Alberta residents who use a wheelchair or live with progressive neurodegenerative disease. The government offers up to $7,5000 per person. For detailed information, take a look at the website. 

Nova Scotia’s Disabled Residential Rehabilitation Program

The province of Nova Scotia offers forgivable loans to homeowners in amounts of up to $16,000 towards renovations for making a permanent residence more accessible. This subsidy is given to low-income individuals for projects that improve access and use of basic facilities. 

There is also a specific grant available for those confined to a wheelchair, with up to $7,000 awarded to pay for accessibility modifications. You can find detailed information about these grants on the Housing Nova Scotia Website.

Ontario Renovates Program

This program will offer forgivable loans up to $20,000 for low-income individuals who own and occupy a dwelling that needs accessibility modifications. This can include making modifications to heating and cooling systems, furnaces, leaking basements, doors, windows, foundations, electrical and septic systems, and so forth. This program is determined by the city. So for more information, visit your city website like this one in Ottawa.

Get 3 renovation quotes for your home adaptation project can help you get quotes for your home adaptation project. If you submit your project to us, we’ll put you in contact with top-rated contractors. Fill in the form on the homepage (it only takes a few minutes), and you will receive quotes from companies that are specialized in home renovations.

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Last modified 2023-11-07

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