The bedroom is your own personal retreat so it needs to be a place designed just for you whether you are handicapped in any way or not. Think of your bedroom as your own personal space for sleeping, relaxing and recuperating when you are not feeling well. Make it special with adjustable closet systems (admit it, how often to you go to the bother of rummaging around up on that highest closet shelve?) and other “smart house” products to regulate light and heat.
Flooring: Install dense, low-pile flooring material to help people with mobility problems keep their footing. You are more apt to be walking around in slippers or bare feet here than anywhere in your house, except the bathroom.
Room Arrangement: Arrange the room so that you have a lot of open floor space by putting dressers and any other large furniture pieces against the walls. Sharp edges on nightstands and dressers are a hazard if you fall against them so try to position tables, chairs and lamps so that they won’t interfere when you are transferring in and out of bed.
Lighting: Adapt lighting, whether natural or artificial to reduce glare and shadows for those with visual impairment. Add lights near chairs or on bedside tables and remember to keep cords safely out of walking areas. Touch lamps are wonderful in many respects as you have instant light without fumbling with switches. One step up from the touch lamp is the motion sensor light that turns on automatically when you enter a room. A telephone with large buttons, automatic dialing programmed in for emergency use.
Beds: If getting in and out of bed is an effort, consider adding a side rail to the bed. If you suffer from circulatory or respiratory problems or just like the added convenience consider and electric bed that allows you to raise the top of bottom portion of the bed independently. A good mattress goes without saying, but make sure it is at a comfortable height (your feet should be able to touch the floor when you sit on the edge of the bed). If you are using a wheelchair you want the mattress height to be level with the height of the wheelchair for easier transfers in and out of bed.
Other furniture: If your bedroom is big enough (do you really need a queen/king sized bed?) include a chair for reading or talking on the phone. You may not want this in your bedroom but consider a electric chair with automatic risers that lift and tilt the seat for easier in and out access. Be sure the drawers have easy open latches and rollers that slide easily.
Closets: Install an adjustable closet system to pull all items within reach. This is a terrific feature that you can enjoy right now without thinking ahead to when it is a necessity. You will want to choose a system that will support the weight of your items. Wood is sturdier and probably a better option for you that wire racks. A wall-hung system is superior as it provides roll-under access for a wheelchair and is easier to clean. Investigate adjustable rods and add on features such as tie, racks, fold-down pants racks and pull out baskets and a carousel system. You can customize your closet system for your own personal needs.
Source: The Accessible Home by Nancy Baldrica of Creative Publishing International.