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Guest Blogger: Designing Home Extensions for the Disabled

Entry #2090 March 10, 2013

 

At some point, you might find that one of the residents in your household is disabled or that an elderly parent is going to come to live with you. As a result, you may have to craft some home disabled extensions that are suitable for the individual’s disabilities. While you are working with the contractor, what are some of the components that you need to consider?

handicapped ramp home

handicapped ramp home

Image via: Frederick + Frederick Architects

The Extension’s Purpose

As you are shaping your plans for the extension, you really need to be thinking about the main purpose for it. For example, some people choose to have an extension added for vanity purposes, but they want the disabled person to have access to the area too. You might also be crafting a new bathroom that provides more room for a shower seat and a wheelchair or a bedroom on the first floor to accommodate a person who can no longer go up the stairs.

Asking for Input

You really should not leave the disabled person’s input and suggestions out of the equation. Even if this individual has a physical disability, it does not mean that he or she deserves no voice in the matter. Let this person be a part of the conversations, provide input on the amenities he or she would like and help to choose out the colors and style for the new room. Since you are all residents of the house, it is important that this process be a true group project with feedback from all.

Accessibility

If the person is in a wheelchair, you need to be sure that a ramp is provided for any spaces that require upward mobility. Furthermore, be aware of a lip in the floor as these can be impossible for a wheelchair to get over. Choose smooth and straight surfaces, and try to make the extension on the first floor of the house.

handicapped ramp interior home

Ensure each area of your home is accessible

Image via: Steve Keating Photography

Space Considerations

You must also take into account any equipment that the disabled person needs to get around. For example, people who are in a wheelchair need a certain width of a door to be able to get in the space or into the new room. The person might also have an oxygen tank on him or her, and you’d need to think about the ease of getting that piece of equipment into the room. You also want the extension to have enough large itself. A very small den or sitting room might not be appropriate.

Subtle Changes

Chances are, the disabled individual does not want attention drawn to the fact that he or she is disabled, so you need to be careful about where you place these modifications. Let’s say that you are installing a bathroom that is more suited to your disabled parent’s physical situation. Instead of making that the main bathroom in the house, consider a suite-style bedroom. Your parent’s bathroom will be located in the bedroom, which allows a greater sense of privacy for the person.

handicapped ramp patio

Ramp adjacent to stairs is convenient for the user

Image via: Jennifer Weiss Architecture

An Experienced Contractor

Creating modifications in the home for a person who has disabilities is not something that just anyone can do. You want to ensure that the contractor actually has some real-life experience in this field. Be sure to ask for samples of work to see what you are in store for if you pick this particular contractor.

Home extensions can be really helpful for people with disabilities, and you want to ensure that these rooms and spaces are crafted to really help the individual out. Through following the aforementioned steps, you will be able to achieve that new living space that really makes a more suitable living situation for your loved one.

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