- Friday, 02 November 2012
If you, or someone you live with, has limited mobility there are several things that can be done to improve your home environment. These ideas can be applied in advance if you decide your best option is to move to a new retirement property.
When you are planning your move to a new property you may find it useful to take these design factors into account when making your choice.
Design your new home
If general mobility is becoming an issue, consider how you can create the space to move around safely, including using a walking stick, frame or wheelchair.
Request that handrails are installed, particularly where there is any change of level or places where balance is required (steps, bathroom, toilet). Correct positioning of such adaptations is so important.
If you need to put in new flooring at any point it is best to choose something non-slip, especially in kitchens and bathrooms where wet floors can be particularly hazardous.
If you already use, or expect to need, a wheelchair, you may have to have some doorways widened and the layout of rooms changed
Minimising changes of level around the home through ramping or alterations is particularly advisable.
Stairs are likely to become increasingly difficult to use if you have hip and knee problems. It is currently considered best to try to use stairs for as long as it is practical and made safe (e.g. installing a second banister), as this contributes to maintaining mobility and muscle tone. However, there may come a point when this is no longer possible.
Checking the viability of installation of a stairlift (not all stairs are suitable), or even a through-floor lift in some cases, could help with planning ahead.
Some housing built for older people will already be designed to make them easier for people with limited mobility to manage, such as having wide doorways, space for adaptations and equipment and with no steps or stairs. But it is always best to plan in advance to ensure that your new home will suit you longer term as needs change.
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