For many aging individuals living alone, a wheelchair can serve as a safe way to get around the house. Loss of balance and strength are common signs of aging, and therefore, a wheelchair will often become a necessary purchase at some point in time.
Unfortunately, bathroom doors are rarely wide enough for a wheelchair or even a walker to pass through. To accommodate the aging loved one’s in our lives, CaregiversHome.com made a few suggestions as to how to offer increased access into narrow passages, specifically for those to the bathroom or bedroom.
Here are the four tips from CaregiversHome.com to make that happen:
1. Replace the standard hinges with offset hinges. This will allow the door to clear the frame when open, which will give you at least another inch of clearance. If there’s no room for the door to “offset” because of counters or fixtures in the bathroom, replace the hinge
s as above, and reverse the direction so the door opens out instead of in. This will require some basic handyman work.
2. Replace the standard door with a bypass door. A bypass door slides on a rail to one side of the outside wall. While this solution is quite cost effective and easy to do, it may also create a real trip hazard at the door, so it’s not the safest choice.
3. Install a pocket door that slides into the wall. Because you will have to rebuild the door frame and the outside wall of the bathroom, you can install as wide a pocket door as you choose. This option is the most expensive and requires the most skill to complete, but aesthetically it is the most pleasing, especially if you are thinking about the later re-sale of the house.
4. Remove the door altogether and hang a tab curtain over the doorway. I say tabbed because these curtains slide easily, and lined because you want to block “see through.” Store the removed wooden door so you can put it back up some day.
And for any other suggestions about getting around easier in a wheelchair, don’t hesitate to talk to your Freedom Home Care caregiver. They’re always happy to help and are full of ideas to make life at home more comfortable.