An architectural barrier is any constructive element that prevents movement and movement from one space to another safely in various domestic environments, particularly for disabled or elderly people with limited motor or sensory capacity. For example, it can be an impediment such as A step, a group of steps, or a difference in height Between rooms or at entrances, balcony or courtyard access.
If you are thinking of changing your home to make it more comfortable for a disabled family member, or if you want to adapt the space in your home walls to make it easier for an elderly person to move around, or for a momentary disability, there are some steps you can take that can make a difference.
he path to the front door should be wide, gently sloping, and free of steps. A slope with no steps could make it easier for a mother in a wheelchair to carry her child outside or make it easier for the grandparent to care for her grandchildren, who would not have to make efforts to lift their tricycle or bicycle for them to go out to play.
In addition to spaces, it is important to use the right tools to move within the walls of the home as well as outside. For this reason, MIA MEDICAL ITALIA offers the possibility of being able to Rent or purchase electric wheelchairs, both outdoor and indoor, such as the Slim Folding Aluminum Electric Wheelchair, which allows comfortable mobility due to its small size.
Corridors and hallways
The passageway that allows movement from one room to another with the use of a wheelchair should be no less than 90 cm wide. For maneuvering, on the other hand, the required space recommended is 150 x 150 cm.
As for the doors, the knob handles should be replaced by lever handles. Lever handles are easier to use can be easily grasped by a person with arthritis or dexterity problems.
Kitchen countertops should be of adjustable height or of a height that is comfortable for both sitting and standing work.
With a Work surface of adjustable height or a surface accessible while seated, both a person in a wheelchair and an elderly person will be able to cook effortlessly at the height of their aids. It would also be important to use some movable storage compartments, which can be moved as needed.
The best solution would be to have adjoining kitchen and living room to facilitate maneuvering for a possible wheelchair. As for the arrangement of furniture such as tables and sofas, the distance between pieces of furniture should not be less than 70-90 cm so as not to impede movement. Mats can prevent the sliding of the wheels of a walker or wheelchair. It is good to remove them to facilitate all aids with wheels. Such as Iil axillary walker or rollator.
The space needed for freedom of movement around the bed is around 150 cm, a figure to keep in mind when deciding where to place other furniture such as closets or side tables.
A two-way switch, one at the doorway and one at the bedside, is more functional than a one-way switch. The reason? A person with motor problems will be able to be autonomous and will no longer need to call someone else to turn off the light. Or in case a family member uses a cane, that person will be able to move around the room without fear of tripping and falling because of the darkness. Remember there, too, to remove all the pads that prevent an orthopedic bed from being moved with ease.
The bathroom should be spacious with a wide entrance, to allow smooth mobility for both a wheelchair user and an elderly person who needs to move with a walker or a cane.
At MIA MEDICAL ITALIA, we offer different types of indoor walkers, to allow you to choose the one that best suits the space in your home.
The stairs should have a handrail on both sides, which should extend beyond the first and last steps. In addition to a family member with motor problems, handrails can come in handy for the whole family: for young children, the elderly, or anyone who may have even a momentary problem, such as a sprained ankle or a broken foot. In short, they can come in handy at any time.
The extension of handrails beyond the steps, on the other hand,would allow a visually impaired person to get a feel for the stairs without tripping over the steps. It would also help elderly people to ascend and descend stairs safely at all times.
For climbing and descending stairs with a wheelchair, on the other hand, the stairlift is critical, as travel on both indoor and outdoor stairs. Thanks to MIA MEDICAL ITALIA, it is possible to rent a electric stairlift For less than 4 euros a day.
It is important to consider the needs of those who struggle to move, so that spaces can be designed so that the home is not perceived as a prison, but as a place to feel comfortable and safe. A barrier-free home is a livable space of independence and freedom of movement. A space that is well designed according to need improves the quality of life and can make a difference.
Expenditures for the removal of architectural barriers are a priority in the case of the elderly and disabled, whether we are in the process of buying a new home or improving the condition of the one we currently live in.
Law 104/92 provides incentives for VAT-advantaged purchases of aids and accessories that improve accessibility and tax breaks for home renovations to eliminate architectural barriers.
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Last, and not least , we must understand that breaking down architectural barriers serves patients who have a permanent or even momentary disability, but also all the people who have to assist these patients to be able to have more room to maneuver !!!