Vacationing can be tricky for people with mobility concerns. Whether boarding a Panama Canal cruise or just getting into a local museum, attractions are not always as accessible as they should be. So when it comes to your vacation home, there’s no excuse not to ensure it is completely wheelchair-friendly.
Ensuring your vacation home is fully accessible is one of the most important parts of owning property overseas. Whether you have a family member in a wheelchair or are planning to rent your home out in the future, making sure your property is wheelchair-friendly is an important step to ensure comfort and safety. Here are a few tips on improving the accessibility of your vacation home.
Assess your home’s current accessibility
The first step in making your vacation home more accessible is to assess its current level of accessibility. This will help you to identify the areas that need to be improved. Start by looking at the entryways, hallways, and doorways. Are they wide enough to accommodate a wheelchair? Are there any obstacles or uneven floors that could pose a risk? Consider the location of the bedrooms, bathrooms, and kitchen. Are they easy to reach? Are there any steps or stairs that need to be navigated? Once you have identified the areas that need to be improved, you can start planning for the renovations.
Widen doorways and install ramps
Widening doorways and installing ramps are two essential renovations that will make your vacation home more wheelchair-friendly. Most wheelchairs are 24-27 inches wide, so make sure your doorways are at least 32 inches wide. If your doorways are too narrow, you may need to consider widening them. Installing ramps will make it easier for wheelchair users to enter and exit your home. Ramps can be made from concrete, wood, or aluminum, and they can be permanent or temporary.
Install grab bars and handrails
Grab bars and handrails are important safety features that can help wheelchair users to move around your home with ease. Install grab bars in the bathroom, next to the toilet, and in the shower. Handrails should be installed in hallways and stairways to provide support and stability.
Adjust the height of countertops and cabinets
Adjusting the height of countertops and cabinets is another important renovation that will make your vacation home more accessible. Lowering the height of countertops and cabinets will make it easier for wheelchair users to reach them. You may also want to consider installing pull-out shelves and drawers to make items more accessible.
Upgrade bathroom fixtures and layout
The bathroom is one of the most important areas to consider when making your vacation home more wheelchair-friendly. Upgrading the bathroom fixtures and layout will make it easier for wheelchair users to use the bathroom independently. Install a roll-in shower with a shower seat, a handheld showerhead, and grab bars. Install a raised toilet seat and install a sink with a roll-under area to allow a wheelchair user to use the sink comfortably.
Choose the right flooring materials
When choosing flooring materials, it’s important to choose materials that are slip-resistant and easy to navigate. Avoid carpets and rugs that can be difficult to navigate with a wheelchair. Instead, choose hardwood or tile floors that are easy to clean and maintain. You may also want to consider installing a slip-resistant coating on your floors to reduce the risk of slips and falls.
Whether you are considering retiring in Panama or looking to rent out your Caribbean beach house, ensuring your home is accessible is an important part of planning for the future. With these essential renovations, you can make sure your home is wheelchair-friendly and comfortable and guarantee a great vacation.