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Thread: What can I do to make my apartment accessible

  1. #1
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008

    What can I do to make my apartment accessible

    I can't reach things in my apartment and I was wondering if folks could offer suggestions on changes I can make. Since it is an apartment I can't make structural/permanent changes but I am interested in strategies, different ways of storing things or putting lanyards or attaching reaching sticks, bigger knobs etcetera. Anything I can put in and remove later is okay.

    Getting dishes or anything out of the above counter sinks is real tough. Reaching to the back of the below cabinets is hard to and I've tipped my chair reaching before. I have casement windows - the kind that hinge at the top and swing out. I have cord lanyards on each one but they only help me pull the window in and I still have to latch it. I've used a long handle to bang on the latch while pulling on the cord to keep the window shut. It's not a good system. I do the reverse to open them it isn't good either. The bathroom sucks. I put in door widening hinges (wheelchair hinges) and I gained 2 inches there. I can get my chair in the bathroom sideways but I can't close the door and reaching in to the sink to rinse and spit it a hassle. Add all the extra work in everyday and it's exhausting and even keeps me from doing a lot of things.

    I'd love an actual wheelchair accessible home, I dream about it but for now I am in an apartment and I need all the ideas I can get to make better. I think I'm pretty open-minded about anything that could help. Basically anything that is waste level - chair level, is great. Anything above or below sucks. But I'd like to find ways to make this place work better for me. Any help?

  2. #2
    For the kitchen, if you have a Container Store nearby, check it out for easily installed and removed slide out drawers for inside your bottom cabinets. Large lazy Susans are also an option for corners, either inside cabinets or on the counter, and they have these as well.

    Reorganize your kitchen so you only keep uncommonly used items in the cabinets over the counters, and keep as much on the counters as you can instead. For example, a counter standing spice rack, or a magnetic one that sticks to the side of the refrigerator. You can probably store some light weight items on the bottom shelf of these cabinets if you can access them with your reacher.

    Have you considered removing the bathroom door completely and replacing it with a simple curtain (spring loaded curtain rod)??

    When brushing your teeth, just rinse and spit back into the water cup (best if you can use a paper cup) instead of trying to spit directly into the sink...or consider brushing your teeth at the kitchen sink instead.


  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    I hang a lot up in my kitchen on a wall. Got bars and S-hooks from IKEA along with hanging baskets...put all my commonly used smaller items and hang all utensils that have holes in end. The bars kind of look like smaller towel racks. Also found a hanging dish drainer at IKEA...keep 4 plates in it that I can easily's hanging in wall under my cabinets.

    in a previous apartment I took cabinet doors off two sets and used "under the shelf baskets" hanging below the bottom cabinet shelf. Probably would've worked leaving doors in, I also struggled to open them.

    Plate ten racks or lid racks work great to store plates vertical if you have the counter space. Leaves space between the plates so easier to pick up instead of from a pile above your head.

    In the kitchen I use a cheep pair of kitchen tongs almost as much as a reacher. Found some that have grippy texture on ends so I trust them picking up more fragile items. I also primarily use plastic cups, plates and bowls so when they drop they don't break. Have a few real plates for microwaving and such.

  4. #4
    Like you said, it's a lot harder when your in a apt you don't own, pretty hard to justify putting in roll under counters and that sort of thing. Are the doors wide enough, if your scraping you could always put on those special hinges that allow the doors to go open wider. You could get storage boxes with drawers to put in places to access your stuff more easy. For higher stuff you could get a grabber stick, those come in happy. My Dad Gave me a Golden Retriever Grabber shortly after I was injured. I'll never forget, he told me he held off giving it to me for a while because he thought I'd be pissed off him getting me a H/P assistive device, ya I was pretty angry the first few years after I got in the chair.
    "Life is about how you
    respond to not only the
    challenges you're dealt but
    the challenges you seek...If
    you have no goals, no
    mountains to climb, your
    soul dies".~Liz Fordred

  5. #5
    Senior Member grommet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Thanks Curt. I've already done most of the things you suggest. Storage boxes are an idea. Maybe something from Ikea that rolls. I've gone through different grabbers but the only one that has lasted is one I've had nearly 20 years and they don't seem to make anymore. Maybe it'll never wear out.

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