Independence and autonomy are so important to our overall wellbeing, and for those with a spinal cord injury or other disability, there are a number of steps we can take to make sure the home allows for maximum freedom and self-reliance.

In honor of National Spinal Cord Injury Awareness Month, the in-home care professionals at THE MEDICAL TEAM offer the following modifications to one of the most important rooms in the home for expressing self-sufficiency: the kitchen. These alterations provide easier access for those in a wheelchair to independently prepare meals, clean, organize, and more.

Refrigerator: Based upon the individual’s particular needs, there are several refrigerator options for better wheelchair accessibility:

  • A small, compact refrigerator placed at the appropriate level may be sufficient for those living alone
  • A mid-size model mounted underneath a counter with pull-out shelves
  • A full size fridge with side-by-side doors and shelves that can be pulled out

Microwave: So much cooking can be done easily with a microwave, and there are a variety of styles to meet different needs. For instance, an under-counter mount can be utilized, or simply a cart at the appropriate level.

Storage and organization: Think through which items are used most frequently and store those in the most convenient locations. For instance, rather than placing dishes, pots and pans in a higher cabinet, use large, pull-out drawers that are easy to reach. Pull-out shelves are also extremely helpful to prevent the need to reach up or back, and pull-out countertops provide a great work surface at the perfect height for wheelchair access.

Sink: Under-sink cabinets can be converted into an open area to allow a wheelchair to roll beneath and more easily reach the sink. Height-adjustable sinks are also an option to consider, as well as a movable faucet.

Dishwasher: Loading and unloading a standard dishwasher can be challenging for someone with limited mobility. Pull-out drawer styles are available to make the task easier.

Partnering with the professional care providers at THE MEDICAL TEAM provides even greater independence for those with a spinal cord injury or other conditions that restrict a person’s mobility. We can assess the home and provide additional tips to enhance safety and efficiency, and create a personalized plan of care to assist with whatever tasks are needed to allow individuals to remain at home. Serving New Orleans, Detroit, Austin, Dallas and the metro DC area, we’re available for as much or as little assistance as needed. Contact us to learn more.