Maintaining Independence & Making Life A Little Easier For Wheelchair Users

29th May 13

We all value our independence, but for wheelchair users, this can be a little more difficult to maintain. Luckily, with a bit of thought and a few small changes around the house, it's pretty easy to make life a little easier for wheelchair users. We've put together a few things to keep in mind to make your home as accessible as possible.


Stairs are obviously a particular challenge for wheelchair users. Installing a ramp to provide access to a house will make it accessible for everyone, regardless of mobility limitations. Aluminium or concrete are recommended for external ramps as they are strong and durable. Wood ramps can also be installed, but can be slippery without a suitable coating and tend to be less durable.

Platform Lifts

In multi-storey houses, internal staircases present a similar challenge to external access stairs. However, ramps are impractical for internal stairs due to space considerations. Platform lifts enhance indoor accessibility, allowing wheelchair users to move between floors and are also safe to use and are cost efficient.

Platform lifts are also suitable for outdoor spaces, as they are weatherproof and durable. In existing buildings where space is too limited for ramps, platform lifts offer another option to increase accessibility for wheelchair users.

Bathrooms and Showers

For wheelchair users, large bathroom spaces are much easier to negotiate. Showers can be particularly hazardous, as the small spaces and slippery surfaces create a particular risk potential. This can be easily overcome by installing walk-in or roll-in showers with no lip or other obstructions. Safety can be further enhanced by including grab rails in the shower, and ensuring the floor has a non-slip coating. These simple changes contribute significantly to a wheelchair user maintaining independence.

For wheelchair users, the height of amenities around the house can be challenging. To make life easier, keep basins and taps a little lower and consider raising the toilet seat to minimise the change in height required to use it.

Kitchen Benches and Cupboards

Again, height and space are important considerations in the kitchen. Make sure kitchen countertops are at a level appropriate for a wheelchair user, and that cupboards have handles at a reasonable height. Having enough space to completely turn a wheelchair around in the kitchen will also make things a lot easier.

Doorways and Closets

Doorways and closets can be quite narrow, particularly in older houses. To make life easier, make sure that doorways and the entrance to closets are wide enough for wheelchair users to pass through comfortably.

If you are interested in improving the accessibility of your house for wheelchair users, Pandect Australia offer a full range of simple, safe and cost-effective platform lifts. Talk to us to find the most appropriate lift for your property. We will gladly recommend a solution that will help maintain independence and make life a little easier.

Filed under Residential Lifts

Written by

Ian has over 30 years experience in the service sector within Australia, New Zealand and Europe. He has gained a wealth of national and international knowledge throughout this time specialising in quality operational and service delivery both in the private and public sectors. For the last 6 years he has owned and operated Vestner, a New Zealand company specialising in the...

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