Around 50 million adults suffer from chronic pain in the U.S. If you’re one of the many people who has to deal with this condition, making upgrades to your home can significantly increase your comfort. An additional benefit: You can also increase your home’s resale value.
Where should you start? Which upgrades enhance your security and well-being? How can you get the most out of your renovation budget? Consider the five tips below as you plan your next remodeling project.
1. Install a Ramp
Both your indoor and outdoor stairs pose a fall risk. What’s more, these devices are impossible to navigate if you use a wheelchair. Installing an ADA-compliant handicap ramp can make your home accessible for all.
Your friends without disabilities will thank you, too. After all, wheelchair ramps can help when you’re carrying in the groceries, rolling your luggage, and pushing a stroller. However, that’s not to say there aren’t other options.
If you decide against an outdoor ramp, you can find heated riser pads that melt away snow and ice, preventing slips and falls. According to experts, manual systems typically cost up to $15 per square foot. Better yet, clean out your garage if you live on a slope and gain a direct entrance to your home.
2. Rearrange Your Cabinets
If you rely on a wheelchair or have mobility issues in your upper body, reaching items on a high shelf may prove to be problematic. When you organize your kitchen, try to move frequently used items to lower shelves. This way, you can access the objects you use daily without asking your significant other or children for help.
Exercise caution when it comes to storing items in your oven drawer, however. The general rule is, if you can’t put it in a heated oven, it shouldn’t go in the drawer. Place mitts and other meltable objects elsewhere as well.
3. Upgrade Your Flooring
If you have carpeting in your home, you’ll get quite the arm workout trying to push a wheelchair. You may end up tripping your walker as well. Likewise, hard tile floors can cause broken bones if you take a fall, and they leave your feet freezing in the winter.
Instead, opt for laminate or traditional hardwood floors. Both contain cushioning to soften the surface — and they enhance your home’s resale value too. Although hardwood floors have a higher upfront cost, they can last for several generations.
You may feel unsure about the cost of new flooring, especially if you’re a first-time homebuyer and you’re browsing fixer-uppers. But today’s homebuyers may only need a 3% down payment or none at all, making the improvement far more affordable.
4. Install Grab Bars
A sizeable percentage of household accidents occur in the bathroom. If you use a wheelchair, you can fall when moving from your seat to the toilet or tub. Slips in the shower can leave you stranded and crying for help.
To determine where you should hang your grab bars, get in and out of the tub as you normally would. Locate the bars where you naturally grab. If you live in an older home, you may need to hire a contractor to reinforce the walls and make them strong enough to support your weight.
5. Clear Away Any Clutter
If your floor has toys scattered all over, you could trip and fall. Furniture that’s too close together also makes it difficult to maneuver a wheelchair or walker. Fortunately, adopting a minimalist lifestyle offers a host of benefits besides safety improvements. You’ll also save money and reduce unnecessary stress and anxiety that results from looking at clutter.
To organize without an endless chore list, try giving away one item each day. This practice will result in owning at least 365 fewer things at the end of the year. Practice one-in-one-out living — every time you buy something new, donate or recycle something else.
If you make a schedule of chores, take before and after photos when you clean a small area. When you see how your home can look, you’ll feel motivated to tackle the remaining mess.
Enhance Your Home, Improve Your Comfort
You can increase the resale value of your home and significantly improve your comfort with the five upgrades above. Your home is your sanctuary. Make it your retreat from unnecessary pain and suffering, too.
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