As we approach the season of gratitude and togetherness, it’s essential to ensure that our homes are warm, welcoming, and accessible to all. Whether you’re hosting Thanksgiving for family or friends, creating an inclusive environment can make the celebration more memorable for everyone. As an occupational therapist and realtor specializing in holistic real estate and accessibility consulting, I’m excited to share some tips on how to make your Thanksgiving space truly accessible and visitable.
Begin by evaluating the entrance to your home. Ensure that the path from the driveway or sidewalk is clear and free of obstacles. If there are steps, consider installing a temporary ramp or providing assistance for those who may have difficulty with stairs. This simple adjustment ensures that everyone can enter your home comfortably. If a more accessible entrance is available, consider making that an option for guests to use.
Consider a rubber ramp like this one! https://amzn.to/3SJ3DMY
Check the width of doorways to ensure easy passage for mobility devices. If necessary, temporarily remove doors or use door stops to create a wider opening. This small modification can significantly improve accessibility for guests with wheelchairs or walkers.
Plan your seating to accommodate various needs. Arrange furniture to allow for easy navigation, ensuring there’s enough space for mobility devices. Consider using stable and comfortable chairs, and provide a mix of seating options (ex: chairs with arm support, wiggle seats for children, etc.) to cater to different preferences and requirements.
Adaptable Dining Spaces:
Create a dining setup that allows everyone to comfortably enjoy the Thanksgiving feast. Ensure that the dining table is at a height suitable for wheelchair users and leave enough space for individuals to move around. If possible, use adjustable tables to accommodate different needs.
If you have a wheelchair user, consider adding an adjustable height table to your set up: https://amzn.to/3QFKQiN
Lighting and Visibility:
Good lighting is crucial for creating a welcoming and safe environment. Ensure that the dining area is well-lit to assist guests with visual impairments. Consider using tablecloths and dishes with contrasting colors to enhance visibility for those with low vision.
Make sure your restroom is accessible to all guests. Install grab bars if needed, and check that there is enough space for individuals using mobility aids. Consider placing a non-slip mat in the bathroom to prevent accidents or removing mats from the area.
Check out these trendy toilet arm rails for increasing ease with sit to stand –https://amzn.to/47pdpb4
Communication and Sensory Considerations:
Be mindful of guests with hearing or sensory sensitivities. Choose a quieter location for conversation, and consider providing a designated quiet space for individuals who may need a break from the festivities.
Inquire about any dietary restrictions or allergies your guests may have in advance. Clearly label dishes with ingredients to help those with food allergies or dietary restrictions navigate the Thanksgiving feast safely.
By taking these steps, you not only create a more accessible and visitable space but also foster a sense of inclusivity and warmth during the Thanksgiving celebration. This Thanksgiving, let’s come together to create spaces that welcome everyone with open arms and open hearts!