Sleep is said to be one of the most useful human activities. That makes the bedroom one of the most important rooms in the house. Unfortunately, many bedrooms may not be safe for seniors and especially those with disabilities.
In many homes, bedrooms are placed upstairs, which makes them increasingly hard to get to and increases the risk of injury going up and down stairs. Also, bedrooms can be overcrowded with objects which make movement of seniors with wheelchairs difficult.
To ensure bedrooms are safe and accessible for people with disabilities and seniors, it is important to design the room within the universal design principles. This means modifying the bedroom to be accessible for anyone and is a good way to plan for the long term. Follow the tips below to help make any bedroom accessible and keep seniors feeling independent so they can continue to live at home and age in place.
The bedroom should be on the first floor with a bathroom close by. Handrails between the bedroom and bathroom are very important to help eliminate falls that occur when going to the toilet at night when there is much less natural light.
The bedroom should have enough open space for a wheelchair’s 5-foot turn radius in addition to 3 feet of clearance around the bed. For ease of access for walkers and wheelchairs, the bedroom door should be at least 3 feet wide.
Bedroom Storage and Furniture
In order to enhance mobility of wheelchairs, prevent tripping and increase space in the bedroom, utilize simple and easy access drawers and modify the closet. Avoid storing important items under the bed, as they’re very hard to reach and could cause back injuries.
A comfortable and accessible bed is one of the most important parts of the bedroom. Being able to get a peaceful night of sleep improves the quality of life for seniors and those with disabilities. Be careful to make sure that the bed is not higher than the height of the wheelchair. If you feel the bed is not safe in its current form, there are many options including ceiling lifts and grab bars.
Lighting and Safety
Adequate lighting is crucial to ensuring that a bedroom is accessible for all disabilities. Try to pick a room with a good amount of natural light and supplement with lights that can easily be reached from bed.
It is a good idea to keep a phone within reach of the bed to avoid any accidents rushing to the phone and to make it easy to call in case of a health emergency. Additionally, all alarms should be equipped with flashing lights to accommodate for seniors who are hearing impaired.
Making these changes is a great start to creating a fully accessible bedroom. Some improvements may seem challenging and costly, but you can’t put a price on peace of mind.