How to prepare for Aging or Living with Disabilities

Having spent the past 3 weeks going back and forth to the hospital to visit my mom who had a heart attack recently and is waiting to undergo open heart surgery, I began to notice while wandering around the hospital how everything is so not made for people in wheelchairs or physically incapable of proper mobility.  All patients have is the nurse’s button to help them get what they need, except for the bathrooms which are equipped with handicap bars near the potty.  

Did you know that most homes and apartments are not equipped to deal with those who have disabilities in a physical nature? It makes me think what we are going to do as time goes on for both my parents and ourselves.

My hubby walks with a limp and now we have stairs, and on a good day? it takes him a few to get up them.  I know the rents are in an apartment on the ground floor. Still, if mom has to use a wheelchair while recovering from surgery, nothing is accessible to her!

Tips to Providing Better Living for Those with Accessibility Issues

  • Bedroom: Add a phone and alert system near the bed and you can include a trapeze or overhang lift to allow those to get out of bed on their own. 
  • Bathroom: Install a phone or alert system near the toilet, shower and bathtub and a lift (such as the Minivator Bath Bliss 311 Bath Lift) with a bottom between 13-30 inches, a toilet seat lift, and grab bars next to the toilet and in the shower or bathtub.  Most accidents and falls occur in the bathroom.
  • Kitchen: Change up the height of the countertops and cabinets to make them lower and within arms’ reach for someone in a wheelchair. Table height should be at least 27” of knee clearance between the floor and the table underside, and clear a floor area of 30”x48” at each seat.
  • Entryways: Extend the door widths to at least 32” so that power chairs, electric wheelchairs, and mobility scooters can easily fit through, and stair lifts or wheelchair ramps should be installed in garages or other entryways to the home.
  • Stairways: Stairs are a big issue so consider adding a stair lift, such as the Summit Indoor Stair Lift from Harmar, can help residents easily access a basement or second floor.
  • Pathways: All paths should be wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair, scooter and around 36″ for halls and 32″ for doorways.  
  • Lighting: Ensure lighting in the home is well-lit and visible, and create panels that are low enough for someone in a wheelchair to control. 

It’s not fun thinking about getting older and how we may need to change things in our home.  

Grants are provided by the government and other agencies for home improvements to that are wheelchair bound or with physical disabilities. Planning ahead is important.

Do you ever think about how to prepare for aging?  Do you live in an inaccessible home?


Disclosure: I’ve partnered with Home Access Products to bring you this post. All opinions are 100% my own and are strictly meant for the purposes of sharing this valuable information with our readers.  Thank you!

28 thoughts on “How to prepare for Aging or Living with Disabilities”

  1. Thanks so much for providing so much in depth information. I especially appreciate the awesome little blue print. It is definitely so important to make sure a home is wheelchair accessible, especially when knowing a person with disabilities. Ramps are great for everyone, not just the disabled and it is great to have a home be accessible to everyone.

  2. My husband was just diagnosed with multiple sclerosis, and so the future seems very uncertain right now. It is comforting to me to know that there are options for disabled people to still be mobile in today’s world! Mobility scooters seem like a great way to still get around for people with paralysis in the legs. I hadn’t realized it, but even if ramps are installed everywhere, doorways and pathways would still have to be big enough to accommodate the wheelchair! Thanks for all your insights. I am sure they will come in handy.

  3. My grandma is having a hard time walking around right now, and my mom doesn’t know what to do to help. That being said, I really appreciate you sharing with me that your mom uses a wheelchair to get around. I definitely think that something like this would help my grandma out a ton. I’ll have to show this to my mom and see if she’d be interested in getting my grandma one. Thank you for all the insight you gave.

  4. Great tips for people living with disabilities. It’s important to take extra care to ensure safety as you get older. Thanks so much for sharing.

  5. I really like what this article says about having counter tops lowered for the ease of use with a scooter or wheelchair. It think that having the necessary counters and bathroom accessories lowered would really help the quality of life for my mother. Thanks for sharing, this has been very helpful.

  6. My grandma is getting very old, and she lives on her own, so we are worried that she is having a hard time getting around in her home. One of our biggest worries, are the stairs in her own. But, I never would have thought about getting one of those chair lifts. I’ll definitely have to let my mom know about this, and see if she thinks my grandma would benefit from this.

  7. Indeed, it’s always nice to make sure your home is as easy for you to use as possible. I’m old and starting to loose the ability to use my legs, so I am in the process of making all these changes. During these changes, I realized I should have done most of these things anyway, just in case. I have always been bad at being prepared.

    1. Yes it is but it’s not always easy Terry. We all get older sometimes preparing isn’t something we think of. I’m bad at preparing for things also. LOL Thanks for commenting.

  8. Great insights. Yes ramps are an essential mobility aiding product, but they also pose an accident or injury threat if you have kids in the house. Ramps are helpful but not always safe.

  9. When most people think of wheelchair ramps, then they only think of the wheelchair ramps being needed to enter or exit the home, but there are other places in and around the home that wheelchair ramps are needed for a senior. For a senior to have mobility in and around the home, then wheelchair ramps can add mobility.

    1. That is very true and many people forget cupboards being a proper height, or washrooms being more accessible!

    2. People who depend on wheelchairs and other mobility aids will find wheelchair threshold ramps, aluminum wheelchair ramps, portable wheelchair ramp and other ramps for wheelchairs useful.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *