Everyone deserves to have a peaceful night in a clean and safe bedroom. Unfortunately, many bedrooms may not be safe for seniors and especially those with disabilities. Because we start and end our days there, the bedroom should be one of the first areas to start when improving homes.
Bedrooms are commonly placed upstairs in many homes, which makes them increasingly hard to get to and increases the risk of injury going up and down stairs. Additionally, bedrooms can be one of the most cluttered rooms in the house, making it easy to trip and fall and hard to maneuver for seniors in wheelchairs.
To ensure bedrooms are safe and accessible for people with disabilities and seniors, it is important to design the room within the universal design principles. This means modifying the bedroom to be accessible for anyone and is a good way to plan for the long term. Follow the tips below to help make any bedroom accessible and keep seniors feeling independent.
The bedroom should ideally be on the first floor as well as close to the bathroom as possible. Setting up handrails between the bedroom and bathroom is very important. This will help eliminate falls that occur when going to the bathroom at night when there is much less natural light.
The bedroom should have enough open space for a wheelchair’s 5 foot turn radius in addition to 3 feet of clearance around the bed. For ease of access for walkers and wheelchairs, the bedroom door should be at least 3 feet wide.
Bedroom Storage and Furniture
To increase space in the bedroom, utilize simple and easy access drawers and modify the closet. This will prevent an excess of clutter which can hinder the mobility of wheelchairs and be a tripping hazard. Avoid storing any important items under the bed, as it is very hard to reach and could cause back injuries.
A comfortable and accessible bed is one of the most important parts of the bedroom. Being able to get a peaceful night of sleep improves the quality of life for seniors and those with disabilities. Be careful to make sure that the bed is not higher than the height of the wheelchair. If you feel the bed is not safe in its current form, there are many options including ceiling lifts and grab bars.
Lighting and Safety
Adequate lighting is crucial to ensuring that a bedroom is accessible for all disabilities. Try to pick a room with a good amount of natural light and supplement with lights that can easily be reached from bed.
It is a good idea to keep a phone within reach of the bed to avoid any accidents rushing to the phone and to make it easy to call in case of a health emergency. Additionally, all alarms should be equipped with flashing lights to accommodate for seniors who are hearing impaired.
Making these changes is a great start to creating a fully accessible bedroom. Some improvements may seem challenging and costly but you can’t put a price on peace of mind.