Bedroom Accessibility Modifications

With about 61 million people in the U.S. living with a disability. the COVID pandemic is forcing many to suddenly move in with family and relatives who do not have accessible spaces in their homes. This means that people with disabilities may be uncomfortable or even unsafe in a room that doesn’t set them up for independence. Bedrooms, in particular, are supposed to be our safe haven, but that simply isn’t always the case during the COVID crisis. 

A disability can impact your sleep in a number of ways. An irregular sleep schedule, an uncomfortable bed without pressure relief, and more can be counterproductive to good sleep.  Many with disabilities report poor sleep, and research has shown that those with an intellectual or developmental disability can have long term sleep disorders.

And living with a disability might mean you spend more time in your room than the average person. Most homes are not prepared to handle the demands of a disability, but there are some modifications you can make in order to make it more suitable for you.

Location: Just because a room is the master bedroom doesn’t mean that it is right room for you. Consider layout and space, for those with mobility issues a room on the ground floor is ideal. A room measuring 10’x12’ is a recommended size. You will want at least 3-5’ clearance around the bed with a minimum of 5’x5’ open floor space so you can turn your wheelchair easily.

And don’t forget about access to the bathroom. Older homes feature narrow doorways that make it difficult for wheelchairs or other equipment. 36” doorways are minimum, although 42” wide are ideal.

Some assistive technology that can help include:
Bed rails – these run along the sides of your bed to ensure you don’t fall out.
Grab bars: help you get in and out of bed, and can also help you sit up, roll over, or move around without assistance.
Hand blocks: are portable weighted handles that similar to grab bars. These can help you lift yourself to move.
Rope Ladders: hook on to the foot board and help you pull yourself up.

It can seem like an overwhelming and expensive task to outfit the home. There are many organizations available to help you find the right support. Check it out here.