Spouse In A Wheelchair And Purchasing A New Home? Changes You May Have To Make

Posted on: 25 July 2016


If you are purchasing a new home and your spouse is in a wheelchair, the home is likely not already set up to accommodate your spouse. Fortunately, you can make modifications to the house you purchase to turn it into a wheelchair accessible home. Below are some things you will need to change.


One of the main things you will have to change is the width of the doorways. To meet the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), doors for wheelchairs must have a clear width of at least 32 inches

When changing the doorways, consider the lip at the entrance. For example, if there is a lip on the bathroom entrance, this makes it very difficult for a wheelchair to get over because the front wheels are so small. If your spouse has a powered wheelchair, however, this would not be a problem.

Entrance to Your Home

To make it easy for your spouse to come in and out of the house, you need to install a wheelchair ramp. There are ADA guidelines you'll have to follow, such as the slope ratio, the area at the top and bottom of the ramp, and the width of clear space.

You can choose the materials used for the ramp, but they need to be slip-resistant, firm, and stable. You can use concrete, steel, or wood.  Composite materials are a good choice, as they meet ADA guidelines. You should also have handrails with spindles on each side of the ramp.


Flooring can be a big problem as your spouse moves from room to room if you have decorative rugs or carpeting. Hardwood, ceramic tile, and sheet vinyl that has an embossed surface work well.  If you want carpeting, a low-pile carpet is best. Cover up any cords that are exposed on the floor. Install rubber ramps to make all thresholds safer.


There are many modifications you can make in your kitchen to help your spouse. The countertops can be lowered so they can easily reach them. Use roll-out storage units, and install a sink that allows your spouse to roll their wheelchair under it. Adjust the location of outlets and controls so your spouse can reach them.

Install a microwave at their level. Use a stove top on top of a counter that has space underneath it for your spouse to roll their chair under. This will allow them to cook meals.

Talk with your real estate agent about wheelchair accessible homes. If you are lucky, they may be able to find a home in your area that is already set up like this.