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Universal Design: How to Make Your Home Disability-Friendly

Published on September 17, 2020

Supported independent living not only involves selecting the right home for NDIS participants. It also requires universal accessible design. Those with physical disabilities will need a home that makes their daily routines more manageable.

If you’re looking for, building, or designing a home for your NDIS participant, follow these quick tips to make sure the home is disability-friendly and fully accessible.

1. Find Functional Furniture

NDIS participants with physical disabilities may feel restricted with the furniture that’s available in the market, so it’s important to get pieces that are actually functional. Get furniture that does not make them exert too much effort to complete repetitive movements like sitting or standing.

For example: Having adjustable furniture – such as pull-out shelves – are perfect for those who are wheelchair-bound. 

2. Create Wider Entryways 

For easier wheelchair access, build wide doorways with gentle slopes or ramps and lever handles instead of doorknobs on doors – as doorknobs may be more difficult to turn for those with dexterity issues.

3. Use Two-Way Switches

This is a great boon for those who require crutches or have visual impairments – especially people who cannot see well in the dark. It’s typical to install one light switch by the door, but it’s worth considering putting another switch, connected to the same light source, by the bed for example. This eliminates multiple return trips between a single light source switch. 

4. Use Appropriate Flooring

The type of flooring required depends on the participant’s disability as well as their aesthetic requirements. Here are some ideas for the home with respect to one’s disability:

  • Participants with dexterity issues: Vinyl flooring for their slip-resistant abilities and being affordable.
  • Wheelchair-bound participants: Hardwood flooring for a flat surface. This can susceptible to scratching – maybe consider getting more robust quality material.
  • Participants with Joint issues: Carpeted flooring for softer cushioning. Not ideal for wheelchair users.

5. Install Grab Bars

Those who may have issues balancing, standing up from their chairs, or simply need extra support will benefit from grab bars. Often seen in bathrooms, you can also install a riser on toilets for seniors who have difficulty standing up or bending over due to muscle dystrophy.

You can help your family member get disability housing in Tasmania through supported independent living. With OnTrack Tasmania, get access to the best NDIS Housing Packages with our Independent Living program. We offer other support accommodation services based on your funding arrangements with the NDIS. Contact us on our website and find a home with us.