Over the years, people collect items of interest as well as standard accessories like furniture and electronics. These can take up a fair amount of space in the home. While this does not present an issue for people with conventional mobility, changes in that status can lead to problems navigating safely through a living space.
Here are some tips on downsizing your home to make it more accessible for residents with mobility challenges.
Determine Your Needs
Think about the level of accessibility you or your loved one requires. Which rooms require full access? Which ones will the person not use? This basic information can greatly simplify the planning and execution.
Before deciding what to keep, thoroughly clean the home and dispose of any items that you definitely do not need. Try to avoid simply throwing them in the garbage. Recycle, donate, give away, sell, or store them whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to solicit help from relatives and friends.
Make a List
Now make a list of the items that remain. What on that list can you do without? What items might present a problem with accessibility? Could you replace those larger, problematic things with similar ones of a smaller size?
Ideally, an accessible home should have large, clear paths for those with canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. Even if you don’t need one of those devices yet, it is still a wise idea to measure and ensure that your new home layout could accommodate their use in future.
Try to make living areas as barrier-free as possible. Make sure to leave enough space in the bathroom for assistive devices like toilet safety frames and grab bars.
Once you have chosen what needs to go, it’s time to determine what to do with it. It is important not to leave this decision for too long as you might find yourself scrambling at the last minute. The earlier you begin, the smoother the process will go. You are also more likely to get a better price if you’re not in a rush to take the first offer.
Choosing New Items
With space now at a premium, think about multi-purpose replacements. For example, select furniture that also offers storage space. That means only one object to navigate around instead of two.
If you have found newer and/or smaller versions of items you need, order them and make sure they are in place before the person with accessibility challenges returns home.
Continue Your Downsizing
Don’t let unwanted items accumulate; get rid of them immediately. Periodically look at the contents of the home and determine whether each item needs to remain. Continuing to downsize helps to keep the living space manageable and safe.
Need additional advice when downsizing for accessibility? Right at Home’s experienced in-home care specialists will be happy to visit and offer suggestions that can make your home safe and accessible for everyone. Contact us today for more information!