When living with a disability, comfort and accessibility is key. So if you are designing a bedroom from scratch or adapting one to facilitate things like an electric adjustable bed, our simple top tips can help you ensure both.
1. Take advantage of an adjustable electric bed
An essential part of comfortable living for most people with a disability is a good electric bed. Such is their growing popularity, that some hotels have even started incorporating electric adjustable beds into their disabled access rooms. Adjustable electric beds are perfect for people who:
- need help sitting up, lying down or staying in bed
- wish for back support when sitting in bed or need to lie flat for extended periods
- need the bedclothes away from their body or legs
- have difficulty moving, turning or getting in or out of bed
- have continence difficulties or back pain
2. Doorways & Entrances
It is crucial you consider creating wider doorways before you do anything else. If the person using their new room will require a wheelchair either immediately or in the future, you will need to create a clearance of at least a 32″ to roll the wheelchair through a doorway under your their power.
In addition to creating wider doorways, it is also important to create smooth entrances. Making some little changes can go a long way towards improving the quality of life for a person living with a disability. One of the most important is a wheelchair ramp. As making a home fully accessible will require some renovations, it is crucial you plan for any temporary disruption and consider how it will be managed.
3. It’s not all about building things
When it comes to preparing a house for someone who will be living in it with a disability, destroying obstructions is just as important as building things. Go through the house room by room and assess each and every potential obstructions or hazard. Some of the most common which are often overlooked include:
- rugs or lose carpets
- floor tiles, lino and carpets which are not securely fastened
- furniture which will obstruct ease of movement for things like wheelchairs
- large furniture which the homeowner will not be able to move unassisted
- unnecessary clutter which will just take up space and slow down the movement
- anything that reduces straight traffic lines through the house
- anything that inhibits a necessary 90cm clearance either side of the electric bed
4. Think about technology
This is another – and more modern – issue that is often overlooked at the design phase, leading to a lot of retrofitting and rethinking later on. Technology is such a big part of living nowadays and it is especially enriching for the lives of people living with disabilities. So make sure that all switches and plug sockets can be easily accessed. It’s also a good idea to think about installing additional technology like intercoms and systems to control bed, phone, lights and audio-visual equipment.
5. Don’t hang back with handrails
You can never have enough handrails and grabbers in the bedroom of somebody living with a disability. But it’s crucial that you install ones that are strong enough to take the weight of the person using them.
6. Consider storage needs
It’s often the simplest things we overlook. Things like lower hanging closet space and having favoured items within easy reach is very important for increasing the confidence and independence of those using the bedroom with disabilities.
The tip of the iceberg
Creating an accessible bedroom with an electric adjustable bed is just the start. Luckily, there is a lot of help at hand from the experts at the Adjustable Beds Page, who can also help you navigate the many grants available. Finally, anything we haven’t covered here is also available for those designing buildings at the National Disability Authority.