Thinking of making changes to a property to improve its accessibility? 

Stairlifts and wider doorways are certainly life-changing, but not all adaptations have to cost a lot or require lots of building work.  

If you want to adapt your home to accommodate visiting guests, or you’re looking for smaller changes to complement bigger adaptations, this blog will take you through three key small changes to make your home more accessible.

Small Changes vs Big Changes To Make A Home More Accessible

Making a home more accessible isn’t as daunting as it sounds, and small changes can make just as much of an impact as the more extensive and expensive options. 

Small changes, or minor adaptations, are things that don’t require substantial alterations to the structure of your home. You can execute some small adaptations yourself, usually ones that involve drilling and minor works, but others are best left to the experts.  

Big changes, or major adaptations, require more planning and the guide of a professional contractor. This type of adaptation might include installing a wet room, widening doorways or remodeling a kitchen. 

For more information about funding opportunities for major and minor adaptations, click here


1# Grab Rails

Grab rails are short, sturdy handrails. They can be placed anywhere in the home to provide rest and support and help ease pressure from the joints when the user is moving in ways they find difficult. 

Grab rails make any home more accessible because they are simple to install and beneficial for all. 

Types Of Grab Rails

Horizontal grab rails are especially helpful for a user who is raising from or lowering down to a seated position.

Vertical grab rails are best placed in parts of the room where someone with reduced movement will likely need help pulling up into a standing position. 

Angled grab rails, which are installed at a 45° angle away from the point of intended use, provide support the whole way through a movement from standing to sitting or vice versa. These protect the wrists and mean the user doesn’t have to lean too far forward and risk falling. 

Inclined grab rails are the fourth type that can make your home more accessible. They are particularly helpful if you experience wrist pain as your body weight can be supported along the whole rail, one end of which is elevated at a slight angle. 

How Grab Rails Help

All four types of grab rails help support users with reduced mobility while they perform movements they find painful, uncomfortable or difficult, protecting their muscles and joints and reducing the risk of falls and injuries.

Best Places To Put Grab Rails

Grab rails in the bathroom help to make your home more accessible because of the range of movements needed to use the toilet, shower or bath. They can also provide something to steady yourself with whilst standing for longer periods, as you do in the shower or by the sink. 

The kitchen is another place where grab rails can enhance independence, making moving around the room easier and safer.

And last but not least… place grab rails outside of a property. Whether installed by the front door, back door or around the garden, grab rails fitted externally mean users can enjoy their outside space without worrying about struggling with steps, uneven ground or while standing for a period of time.

Small changes for more accessible home

2# Shower Seat

If standing for long periods is tricky, shower seats eliminate the need to keep yourself steady on a slippery floor. Shower seats allow users to sit safely and comfortably whilst they shower.

Types Of Shower Seats

Shower seats are typically made from durable, waterproof materials and feature non-slip feet.

Multipurpose shower chairs work as both a practical shower seat and a commode chair. A removable section makes it possible to place the structure on top of a commode pan or positioned above a toilet. 

Fixed shower chairs are permanently affixed to the wall, and you can fold them up when not in use. These can only be installed if the wall is strong enough, but they do save plenty of space and hassle if multiple people use the shower facilities. 

How They Help

Anyone with a restricted range of movement or who finds it difficult to stand for long periods will benefit from a shower seat. Balance problems, pain and even breathlessness, are factors which might cause someone to feel unsteady or unsafe whilst washing; shower seats reduce the risk of slips and falls that occur when the body tires.

3# Lighting

Lighting might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you wonder about making your home more accessible, but it can have a huge impact.

After around age 45, we need far more light to use our eyes comfortably. We’re an aging population in the UK, and standard lighting is usually completely insufficient for many people – especially people with visual and physical impairments.

What we’re used to is a light switch that offers two settings, on or off, and when the light is on, this tends to cast shadows that can be difficult to navigate when you’re visually impaired. There also tends to be a lack of task lighting (that is, lighting specifically placed to illuminate particular spaces where a user typically performs a certain task).

The placement of light switches in a wheelchair-friendly home also needs to be considered to ensure they are within reach of a seated position. 

Best Locations To Change Lighting 

Plenty of places in the typical home benefit from thoughtful lighting changes. 

The Front Door

Installing a sensor light that illuminates the path up to the front door – and stays on whilst the individual unlocks the door – ensures getting into the house is a safe process. 

Stairs And Hallways

Frost-tinted bulbs can help to reduce glare, and LED lighting strips can be inlaid along the length of the staircase, or even under each step, for extra visual help.

Bathroom And Kitchen

Task-specific lighting, for example hooking up under-cupboard lights that shine onto the worktops beneath them, is the best way to help people that struggle to see properly gain independence in these rooms of the house. LED strips can also be used to highlight important areas, like the toilet, basin or shower area.

Making Your Home More Accessible Can Be Simple 

Adapting your home to make it more accessible can feel daunting, but minor changes are a great place to start. 

Whether you’re making adaptations guided by an OT or just trying to make a home more comfortable, we can help identify what needs to be done.

Get in touch with our friendly team today, who are more than happy to offer advice.