A disability can affect countless aspects of a person’s life. When it affects the person’s sleep and access to their bedroom, adjusting the space to better suit the individual’s needs may be in order.
In this guide, we’ll discuss some general concepts that are frequently applied to the design of bedrooms for people with disabilities. However, it is important to note that not all solutions work for everyone, so individuals will likely need to make adjustments based on their unique needs and situations. A qualified medical professional can help assess your condition and make more specific suggestions for you.
Size and Space
The size of the bedroom and the layout of the space may be important for those with disabilities. This is particularly true for people with mobility issues. If the person uses a wheelchair, walker, or other mobility aid, they will likely need extra space to maneuver. The location of the bedroom is also important. People with mobility impairments may benefit from a first-floor bedroom to reduce the risks associated with climbing stairs.
Adjusting the bed to the ideal height for the individual can make it easier for them to get in and out of bed. There are several ways to adjust the height of a bed. Replacing the bed or mattress can make it easier to select the desired height. You can also modify your existing sleeping space by using risers for the bed. Depending on your mattress and bed design, you may also be able to add or remove a box spring to adjust the height. You may want to review manufacturers’ instructions to determine whether the components of your bed require a box spring.
Because it usually requires extra space to maneuver using mobility aids, widening the doorways to a bedroom may make it more accessible. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) recommends a minimum 32-inch wide doorway to make businesses accessible, and these same principles may also make bedrooms more accessible. While 32 inches is considered the minimum width, wider doorways are often easier to navigate through.
Changing out door knobs can also be a simple way to make a bedroom more accessible. The ADA notes that lever handles may be used in addition to or in place of round door knobs.
ADA Standards note that all flooring should be stable and firm. Stability and firmness mean that the surface of the floor should not move and should remain consistent when force is applied. Thick or bunching carpets or other unstable surfaces may be more challenging and dangerous to navigate with mobility aids. The ADA also recommends that flooring should be smooth and slip-resistant for greater ease and safety.
Some people may have trouble accessing their existing closet setup, which could limit their ability to reach their clothing. Lowering closet rods may make it easier for people who are wheelchair-bound or have difficulty reaching upwards. Additionally, widening closet doors may make it easier for people using mobility aids to access their wardrobes.
Minimize Risk of Injury
To make the bedroom as safe as possible, you may want to assess risks and work to reduce them.
Minimizing clutter and other potential obstacles can be useful. Tripping and falling can cause injury, so you should remove unnecessary objects from the floor and ensure no bedding ends up on the floor. Depending on your current setup, you may also wish to adjust your bed, doors, flooring, and accessories with safety in mind.
Finding a blend of comfort and safety can be challenging, so you may want to ask your medical professional for advice and/or referrals to help you design your bedroom.
Additional accessories can modify your bedroom more for added safety and functionality. Some homes may feature a step into or out of the bedroom, which may be challenging to navigate with a mobility aid. Adding a ramp may make it easier for some people.
Grab bars and rails may also be useful. Grab bars can be used for getting into or out of bed and/or adjusting position during the night. Rails can reduce the risk of rolling out of bed.
Get Additional Help
Making a bedroom more disability accessible can be complicated. While you may be able to make some simple modifications on your own, you may wish to hire a professional for more complicated projects. Since safety is on the line, you’ll want to ensure that any adjustments you make are completed correctly and are safe for you and/or your loved one to use. A contractor who is experienced in making homes more disability accessible should be able to provide guidance and services to modify your bedroom. You might also consider contacting a local disability council for advice on service providers near you.