Pain and disability can limit one's ability to live comfortably. Because a majority of time is spent in the home, adjusting the home environment can prove critical for improving quality of life. When a person cannot adapt to limitations easily, sometimes it is easier to adapt the environment to the person. This concept has been utilized successfully in the workplace in the form of workstation ergonomics. Fitting the chair, desk, and computer to a worker can drastically reduce the risk of repetitive use injuries. Taking this concept even further, home environment adjustments can be very important for gaining accessibility and living more comfortably. Here are some tips for improving your home environment with smart design.
- Lever handles on doors and faucets can be easily operated with a push
- Grab bars in the bathroom can make the area safer and easier to use
- Toilet seat height at 19" can make it easier to get off the toilet
- Raising the dishwasher to 42" can save everyone's back
- Top loading washers and dryers improve accessibility in the laundry room
- Lowering ovens and microwaves can reduce the amount of heavy lifting in the kitchen
- Freezer-on-the-bottom refrigerators help to gain access to frequently utilized places in the frig
- Place frequently used items like a favorite pot or tool within closer reach
- Customize countertops to fit the height of the user in both a standing and seated position
- Widen the doorways to at least 32" to accommodate walkers and wheelchairs
- Handrails on both sides of stairs and steps (inside and outside) makes getting around easier
- Improve the lighting around the home can help to prevent falls
The only thing constant in life is change. Your environment can change with you to fit your needs. All of these ideas can help you improve your quality of life and improve your comfort level within your own home. As the body ages and changes, limitations become unavoidable. So, it is important to be smarter than the problems that cause limitations. With smart home design, you too can outsmart your problem.