Are you considering making accessibility modifications to a property? Perhaps you’re wondering which accessibility adaptations and modifications are going to be the most helpful.

There are so many ways of making a space more easily useable that it can be a little overwhelming to know where to start. 

Read this blog for five changes that are easy to implement and that could make the world of difference.

1: The Shower

Maintaining independence is really important. But as we’ve seen so many times at the John Ford Group, the bathroom is one area of the house that typically presents the most challenges for people with reduced mobility. 

When it comes to personal care, several options can provide a high level of independence so that your patient or customer can retain dignity and bathe or wash in peace.

Level-Access Showers

Taking away the physical barriers of standard showers, such as steps up to cubicles or shower-over-bath setups, heavily reduces the chance of the user tripping or slipping. It also changes the range and angles of movement required to be able to use the facility, making level-access showers easy and comfortable to use for everyone, including wheelchair users. 

Because level access showers, or walk-in showers, have non-slip flooring rather than a tray, they are easy to clean and maintain and can come in a variety of sizes with additional features for extra support, including grab rails, seats and foldable shower screens.

Level access shower

Walk-In Bathtubs

Like a walk-in shower, a walk-in bathtub can transform personal care for someone living with a reduced range of movement. 

Relaxing in a bath can give patients and customers a comforting experience that showering doesn’t, but standard baths are difficult to step into and sit or lie down in. Walk-in baths have watertight doors so that users can independently get into the bathing area with ease, shut the doors and run a blissful bath safely.

Temporary Shower Pods

Sometimes, getting upstairs to the bathroom can be tricky in itself. Enter the shower pod.

Temporary shower pods are wired into the domestic fuse board and can be erected anywhere there’s enough room – approximately 1.2㎡ – and access to a cold water feed. The pods are completely waterproof, quick to install and enable users to wash independently and safely, featuring fold-up seats if required and bi-fold front opening doors for easy access.

Shower Seats

The addition of a shower seat to an accessible bath, shower or wetroom is super simple and key to maintaining safety whilst showering or bathing. When you’re living with a reduced range of movement, washing can be tiresome, so a seat that the user can fold down when needed provides a safe place to sit and rest without posing a trip hazard.

2: Motorised Blinds Or Curtains

Twisting and reaching to open or close blinds and curtains can be really uncomfortable, or even downright impossible, for some people with a reduced range of movement.

Going motorised, where blinds and curtains are operated by a remote control or even an app on a smartphone, takes away the struggle and provides the utmost convenience for all members of the family. 

Particularly handy for hard-to-reach windows, motorised window coverings also remove the need for fiddly and potentially unsafe cords and chains, and you can even set timers for your blinds or curtains for improved security when you’re not at home. 

3: Easy-To-Reach Storage

If you think about it, kitchens in particular, are designed in such a way that most of the storage is impossible to reach from a seated position. Not helpful.

Removing wall cupboards and adding extra under-the-counter or freestanding cupboards is one way to go, but money and space constraints mean this isn’t always possible.

Instead, you can have drop-down shelves fitted into your existing cupboards. Operated by a handle that is easily reachable from a seated position, drop-down or pull-down shelves gently lower out of high cupboards to make the contents accessible for wheelchair users.

Pull-out larders and worktops are another couple of easy wins when it comes to modifying a kitchen that are useful for everyone. A pull-out worktop can also be installed at exactly the right height for its primary user to make sure their legs can be wheeled under comfortably.

4: Flooring

Adapting flooring for improved accessibility is entirely personal, depending on the nature of the disabilities or conditions of the customer or patient. 

Consider these different flooring factors when you’re thinking about which changes to make:

  • Carpets, especially the luxurious deep-pile versions, might feel fancy, but they’re completely impractical for people who use wheelchairs or walking aids.
  • Uneven or badly fitted flooring can be a huge hazard for anyone with reduced mobility.
  • Installing non-slip flooring in bathrooms and kitchens, where humidity is abundant, is a great way of ensuring safety for those living in the property. 
  • Different floor coverings in different rooms can help people who are visually impaired to recognise which room they’re in.
  • Carpet and rugs can help to reduce noise severity, which can relieve those living with dementia or hearing difficulties as it reduces background sounds.
  • Carpet is safer if your patient or customer is prone to falling.

5: Sinks & Taps

This might not be front of mind, but sinks and taps might be inherently difficult to use for anyone with reduced mobility because dexterity can be a challenge. And for wheelchair users, sinks don’t tend to be easy to fit under!

To remedy the issue, install taps that are easy to turn and, if needed, change the height of the sink. This can look like installing a lower sink, or even an adjustable height sink. Wall-hung sinks come in a range of styles and enable wheelchair users to wheel under the basin and reach the taps properly instead of trying to sit side-on and twisting awkwardly to wash their hands, brush their teeth or, in the kitchen, do the washing up.

Simple Changes Make Big Differences 

Whilst a fully adapted home is the dream, it’s not always possible. So start small. Consider making one or all of these suggested changes to radically alter life in the home.! 

Looking for more information about adapting different rooms of the house? Why not start with the bathroom? Read our recent blog to find out why it’s not just the toilet that could benefit from a modification.