5 Helpful Features When Using a Wheelchair in an ApartmentNovember 4th, 2010 by Daphne Mallory
If you’re a renter who uses a wheelchair in the apartment, then you should be focused on features that are non-negotiable in your apartment search. Standard apartments have too many barriers that are difficult to overcome, and you’re not likely to convince a landlord to make the necessary alterations just for you. Some landlords do specialize in renting apartments that are accessible and barrier free for renters who use a wheelchair. Knowing what to look for is helpful, so that you can avoid renting the wrong one.
1 - Wide Doors
The first feature impacts your ability to get in and out of the apartment safely. You need wide doors when you’re in a wheelchair. Apartments that are not accessible for people with mobility limitations have doors that are inadequate. The width is not enough to fit a wheelchair through. On top of that, there might be a storm door that makes the entrance even more narrow and difficult to get through. Any apartment you’re considering should have wide doors.
2 - Wide Hallways
Once you’re inside the apartment, you’ll need to get from one room to the next easily. You can’t do that with narrow hallways. The hallways need to be wide as well for you to wheel yourself through without discomfort. You also need to be able to turn around. Regular apartments often make this impossible.
3 - Bathroom
If the hallways are wide enough to get to each room easily, then the first room you’ll want to check out is the bathroom. The showers and toilets are your main focus when comparing features. For the toilets, you’ll want to check the amount of space on either side. Remember, you have to get on and off safely from a wheelchair. It should also be at an appropriate height for you to get one without risk of falling. Support bars are also important, because you’ll need something to hold on to.
Showers are also a big deal. You need one without a tub preferably, where the only option is to climb in. A walk-in shower is preferable. There’s a drain in the middle of the shower to collect the water, so you don’t have to worry about water spilling out and damaging the floors.
4 - Kitchen
A great feature to look for in the kitchen is the height of the counters. You want to be able to use them without hassle for food preparation, so it’s nice to have them at a level that you can reach. However, if the other features discussed so far are present, and the rent is in your price range, then don’t ignore the apartment just because the counters are low. There are other ways to work around that, including using a free standing table that you purchase on your own, or a kitchen table.
5 - Bedrooms
You want bedrooms big enough to fit special beds, such as hospital beds, as well as any medical equipment. Then, it’s important to have ample room left over to move around without any safety risks. Walk-in closets are important, because it’s easier to reach your clothing and other items you store in the closet. An apartment with these bedroom features will make apartment living comfortable.
Find apartment ads that are specific for people who need to use a wheelchair in an apartment. Read reviews on apartment communities to confirm that the apartments are actually as good as advertised.