Caring for a disabled loved one at home is often the preferred method; however, when the person requires an assistive device, such as a wheelchair, certain precautions and home modifications need to be taken to ensure the person’s safety and ease of mobility. The following are some wheelchair safety tips to keep both caregivers and persons with disabilities safe at home.
- Install ramps where possible in the home and widen doorways if necessary for easy accessibility.
- Ensure the wheelchair is visible. Wheelchairs often ride low to the ground and the person may not be able to be seen when in between cars in a parking lot or on the street. Make sure the wheelchair has a folding flag that can be raised to increase visibility.
- Body positioning for the person in the wheelchair is very important. For safety reasons, the person should be fully contained within the wheelchair when it is in operation, meaning no extremity should hang or dangle from the side of the chair.
- For those who live in an apartment and regularly use an elevator, it is important to know where the areas of refuge or means of egress elevators are within the building and establish a relationship with the fire department or other first responders who would respond to your home in the event of a fire or emergency.
- Grab bars should be installed in all bathrooms and install a shower stall with no threshold to allow wheelchair access.
Making the home wheelchair accessible may take some time and modifications, but your loved one will be safer and happier because of it. For more information on how to make your home safer for a person with a disability, contact the care experts at Genacta In-Home Care of Alaska. We understand the special needs of persons with disabilities and can provide a full home safety evaluation to help you maintain a safe and happy home.