It’s important to make your home accessible. That way if your mobility becomes impaired, you can still get around your home. It also means your home is accessible to visitors with mobility impairments and future owners who may have a mobility impairment.
Here are some ways you can make your new home accessible.
Make sure your exterior pathways are at least 1-metre wide and flat, so there are no trip hazards.
The surface should be slip-resistant. Paths should be well-lit. Motion-sensor lights may be a good option.
Make entrances as close to the ground as possible, minimising the number of steps.
If you can’t avoid having steps, make sure they’re evenly spaced, not too high, and plenty deep.
If you have steps or a ramp, putting handrails on at least one wall near the entrance is a good idea.
The area directly outside the entrance should have at least one square-metre of unblocked space. It should be covered and have adequate lighting.
It's a good idea to surround decks and verandas with railing.
Garages and driveways
Make sure your parking space is wide enough for everyone to get in and out of vehicles.
It’s a good idea to have children’s play areas away from driveways and parking spaces.
Doorways should be 810mm to 910mm wide.
Lever-style door handles are easier to use than doorknobs.
Sliding doors can be easier to use for people with reduced mobility, so use them where you can.
Make sure hallways are wide enough to accommodate mobility aids. A width of at least one metre is good.
Hallways should be uncluttered and well-lit. If there’s an emergency, you need to make sure everyone can get out in a hurry.
If you’ve got a two-storey house, make sure there’s a bedroom on the ground floor.
Bedrooms should be big enough so that there’s plenty of space around the bed. Think about being able to get all the way around the bed with a large mobility aid.
An accessible bedroom with lots of space around the bed
If you’ve got a two-storey house, make sure there’s a bathroom on the ground floor.
Ensure the walls of the bathroom are strengthened so you can put in grab rails and shower seats.
Grab rails should be placed near the shower and the toilet.
Never use towel rails as grab rails - they're not strong enough to safely support the weight of a person.
Fixed grab rails are safter than suction ones – they’re stronger and can take more weight.
Use a lever-style tap at the sink.
In the shower, use a hand-held shower head on a slide rail.
The floor surface should be slip-resistant and easy to clean. Avoid tiles as they’re generally slippery.
If you have a shower cubicle make sure the floor area is at least 1 square metre, and the threshold is low, about 50 millimetres or less.
Make sure the entry is at big as possible to accommodate large mobility aids. At least 800 millimetres is good.
Ideally, you’ll have a level-entry shower, sometimes called a wet area shower.
Make sure the shower is at least 1.44 square metres big.
Avoid having glass around the level access shower. Use a long-weighted shower curtain instead.
Use lever-style taps.
Place appliances at a comfortable height to reduce bending. Don’t put them in the corners.
Choose appliances with easy-to-use knobs, handles and controls, preferably near the front.
Allow space next to the oven and microwave to put hot dishes on.
Consider using drawers instead of cupboards.
Put in a pull-out pantry These make everything far easier to reach, especially for those with reduced mobility.
Avoid sharp edges as older people can cut themselves more easily.
Make sure the floor is slip-resistant and level.
Making your home accessible is one of the best things you can do to retain your independence. By following these tips, your home will be more accessible.
Last updated on Monday, 11 September 2023