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5 Things that make a home accessible beyond lacking a staircase.

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Derin

Harp teacher, able-bodied, spend my life opening doors for my fiance and pretending to like baseball.

Many times when apartment or house searching, a realtor or landlord will tell us a home is accessible because it has an elevator, is on the ground floor, and/or has safety bars in the bathrooms. These might be nice if we're in a cast for 6 months or using a walker temporarily, but for the more permanently disabled, these amenities don't help a whole lot. Here are 5 things that truly make a home accessible:

1. Light switches are lower and can be reached from a chair or the floor.
2. Doorways are wider than average, at least 3 feet.
3. The bathrooms and kitchen have room for you to turn around without having to back up. Living areas have enough open space to move freely without a maze of chairs and tables.
4. Kitchen appliances/counter tops have to be low and reachable-if you have to reach over a gas burner to the back of the stove to turn it on or off, it can be dangerous (unless you like the aroma of grilled gimp). This applies to microwaves as well- many apartments come with built in microwaves above the stove, so we had to bring our own to set on the counter to make it easier to to remove food.
5. Amenities that are convenient but not necessary: stall showers, sinks with space under them instead of built into the counter, and front loading washers.

We'd love any more ideas if you have them, send them in!

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