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It’s safe to say that life can throw curveballs. Early last year, my partner and I were moving the last of our furniture into our first home together. The final piece to be installed was a giant (and very heavy) television cabinet, which we decided to carry up the stairs. Our first mistake. The second mistake was not deciding to tape the glass doors down. Why was this a bad idea? The doors (decided) to detach themselves, shattering to pieces upon impact and sliding around my partner’s feet – slicing through both Achilles tendons. Needless to say, he was wheelchair bound for two months, spending the following six months learning how to walk again. The hardest part of this way realising how frustrating it is to manoeuvre a wheelchair in a tiny and ill equipped space. Obviously our two month wheelchair stint can’t compare to a life bound to a chair, however it got me thinking: what would one need to make life in a chair more comfortable? Whether you need to re-arrange your home for a few months, or re-design your layout, here are some of the things to consider when making your home wheelchair friendly.

Widen your Doorways

The standard door frame featured in most houses isn’t usually wide enough to accommodate a thirty-two inch wheelchair. Luckily there are some fairly simple (and not so simple) things you can do to make navigating your way through a doorway much easier. You could consider replacing your existing hinges with offset hinges, allowing the door to open the door a further two inches or taking the door off completely and replacing it with a pocket style door.

Build a Ramp to the Main Entrances

Creating a wheelchair friendly home starts with the entry to the front door. Anyone who is using a wheelchair, cane, or crutches will very likely struggle when navigating the stairs leading up to their home, so for this reason, it’s really important that a ramp is installed. A contractor like Additions Building will be able to properly design and fit a ramp that’s suited to your home. Unless you have the expertise, this is not a job you should take on yourself.

Eliminate Thresholds

If you are planning on a redesign of your home, it’s certainly worthwhile to remove all thresholds that contain a smaller bump. This will make it easier for a wheelchair to effortlessly transition into different areas of the home.

Ensure a Wide and Clear Pathway

To accommodate to the wheelchair, all pathways should be clear of any clutter, and awkwardly place furniture, to allow a safe passage.

Install Handrails and Grab Bars

You don’t need to be in a wheelchair to notice the benefits of installing a handrail, however, when you have limited mobility, handrails ensure safety for even the most basic of tasks. Handrails and grab bars can be installed in your bathroom near the toilet, bathtub and shower, as well as near the bed.

Place Frequently Used Items on your Countertops

Just because a member in your family uses a wheelchair, doesn’t mean they should have to lose their independence. Keep their frequently used items in a space where they can easily access them. This could include keeping your microwave, toaster, or blender on a low bench top instead of keeping them over the stove or in the cupboards.

Have you needed to change your home to a more wheelchair friendly environment? Leave your tips in the comment box below.

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The kids' eyes lit up when I said that summer break is only a few days away. They've been looking forward to going to the beach for a vacation. I am too, except that we might have to wait until summer classes are over. Ria is graduating in Grade 6 and has to have summer classes to cope with her requirements before she could proceed to Grade 7.

She has indicated interest in learning Piano and voice lessons at her school and we are very supportive about that but her classes have to be a priority. We might put our good behringer amplifier from guitar center purchase on hold this summer because we are expecting many school expenses. Roi could still learn his guitar without an amplifier, anyway.

I am still hopeful that we could go for a short summer vacation. Let's see how our schedules work out.

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When Ria showed me her art project, I was wowed. I don't have the gift of drawing/ painting so you can imagine how proud I am right now of our girl. I actually have two siblings who are so gifted with arts and I am grateful that Ria has that talent in her genes!

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Shhh! The artist at work.

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That paper on top is the original drawing she printed from the internet. The bigger picture below is Ria's artwork.

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Ladies and gentlemen, the masterpiece!

Ria said she is going to have this framed and at the end of the school year, they are going to have an art gallery in school.  Their artworks are going to be displayed on walls for other parents and children to see.  She even said that the paintings are for sale, and they'd get to keep the money.

When she asked me if I'd buy this piece for P 500, I said "yes" without thinking twice.  "I'd even gladly buy it for a thousand, dear!" I told her.

She beamed.  "I am so proud of myself," she said.

"Honey, you don't have the slightest idea how  proud I am of you," I replied.

That made her day-- and mine, too.

 

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