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Accessible Home Modifications

Accessible Home Modification... Learn how to have a safer, more accessible environment

Home Modifications for Safety and Quality of Life

There are many simple Accessible Home Modifications and Independent Living Solutions that can increase the safety and convenience of any home. More people are choosing to stay in their homes as they age. Those with disabilities are constantly challenged to function more independently in their homes, and caregivers are looking for better and safer means in which to care for their clients or family members. By implementing some of these creative Home Solutions to mobility and daily living challenges, you or your loved ones can maintain independence with safety and confidence.

The Challenges

Safe and accessible entryways, inside and out
Falls inside and outside the home are the number one cause of injury among the elderly. Are you concerned about your loved one’s ability to maintain balance? Does he or she have coordination problems? What about walking and climbing steps? There are a number of obstacles in and outside a home that can cause mom or dad to trip and fall. Door thresholds, curbs, unlit entryways, wet flooring, raised room floors, carpeting etc. are just a few. Wheelchairs and entryways are a true detriment to independent living. Innovative Home Solutions and Accessible Home Modifications are available to meet these needs.

Limited reach
Limited reach, hand and arm strength, dexterity, ability to stand, height: Can mom or dad reach high above their head or pick up items on the ground? Are you concerned about ability to grasp? What about height? As people age they lose inches from their stature. They may also lose their ability to stand for long periods, or lose their ability to stand entirely. Many daily living tasks become disheartening for the aging or disabled without easy access to daily necessities. Many Independent Living Solutions are available to help ease those concerns.

The bathroom
The bathroom can be the most dangerous room in the home of an aging adult or differently-abled person. Are there non-slip surfaces? Enough clear floor space for aided mobility? Does your loved one use a cane or a walker? Is the bathroom a safe place for them when using their mobility equipment? Are the bathtub and shower controls reachable, easy to use and require little strength? Where are the grab bars in the bathroom? Are there grab bars near the toilet, shower and tub? Is a shower chair available and convenient? Ample space around the toilet? What bathroom modifications changes would your family benefit from?

Home Solutions

Entrance solutions:

  • At least one entrance without steps and a flat or low threshold
  • A 5’ by 5’ maneuvering space at the stepless entrance
  • Clean, textured pathways that lead to and from the curb
  • Well-lit entry
  • Motion sensitive lighting outdoors
  • Handrails
  • Ramps, or gently sloping path
  • Power entry door opener and locks provide increased security and protection

Interior solutions:

  • 32 inches of clearance through passagedoors
  • 42 inch-wide hallways where possible
  • Bedroom and bathroom on the main floor
  • Laundry on the main floor
  • No area rugs, and low-pile carpet with firm padding
  • Walk-in tubs provide both easy access and therapeutic benefits
  • Roll-in showers allow for daily hygiene for the wheelchair bound

Kitchen Solutions:

  • Maneuvering space at doors: If in-swinging door obstructs a bathroom or kitchen fixture, use offset hinges, swing door out, hinge door on opposite jamb or widen doorway
  • Increase the number of electrical outlets for additional lighting and reachable appliances and alarm indicators
  • Clear floor space in kitchen with a minimum 60-inch turning circle
  • Lever style or adaptable handled faucets
  • Handles, not knobs, on cabinets and drawers
  • Adaptable cabinets to reveal knee space or lowered to a manageable height

Bathroom Solutions:

  • 5’ by 5’ clear floor space in the bathroom
  • Non-slip flooring
  • Bathroom size of at least 5’ by 8’
  • Broadly applied bands of reinforcement inside walls around toilets and bath fixtures for installation of grab bars
  • Textured grab bars by toilet, bathtub and shower
  • Offset controls in shower/tub to minimize bending and reaching
  • 48” by 56” toilet space with centerline of toilet 18” from side wall
  • Shower bench
  • Hand-held shower head
  • Curbless shower, with non-slip surface and fold-down seat
  • Doors that can be unlocked from the outside
  • A bathroom telephone
  • Rounded counter edges
  • Walk-in tubs provide both easy access and therapeutic benefits
  • Roll-in showers allow for daily hygiene for the wheelchair bound

Remodeled stepless entry

  1. Covered entrance helps control water at low threshold and provides protection during inclement weather
  2. Provide adequate maneuvering space around screen or storm doors
  3. 5’ x 5’ minimum level landing area for maneuvering
  4. Walkway 4’ wide, sloped at 1:12 (1 inch of rise for every 12 inches of run) or less, slopes steeper than this will be difficult to manage and will necessitate handrails
  5. Using a combination of an earthen berm and retaining walls is an effective method for providing a stepless route to the landing while maintaining an integrated appearance with the home and surrounding site
  6. Original small stoop removed
  7. New porch landing set at same level as interior house floor, eliminates step at entry door
  8. Flush or low profile threshold, 1/2” high max
  9. Handrail with integral package shelf
  10. High contrast house numbers, easy to read from a distance
  11. Provide good overall lighting plus focused lighting at locksets and house number for nighttime security and ease-of-use
  12. Both entry and screen door provide a minimum 32” clear opening; lever handle hardware
  13. Additional lowered peephole for children and seated or shorter adults


Many options and innovations are available to you. From Accessible Home Modifications, Independent Living Solutions, Disabled Home Access and Bathroom Modifications, an AHIA member has the training and expertise to design, recommend and install the solutions best suited to meet your needs