Physical impairment can greatly reduce a person’s independence and autonomy, and some of the simplest actions can become impossible to carry out. Turning on a light switch may be unmanageable from the height of a wheelchair, and changing the channel on the television can be cumbersome for someone with limited dexterity or paralyzation. Thankfully, electronics have provided solutions to the challenges of limited mobility. Some of them can simply be purchased at a store or downloaded from the internet, and some must be installed by professionals, but all of them offer a chance at greater self-sufficiency in the face of physical impairment.
5 Electrical Upgrades and Lifestyle Improvements for the Physically Impaired
- Automated Door: One of the first things that comes to mind when thinking of the difficulties one may face in the home with physical impairment is getting through the door. Obviously, it’s going to be difficult with a wheelchair, walker, or cane. However, almost any physical impairment can make opening the door a challenge. That is why automated doors are essential for lifestyle improvements for the physically impaired.
Commercial automated doors typically have a large handicapped symbol on a button near the door, but there are many other options when it comes to the home. Touchscreens and motion detectors are common solutions. These can be applied to all types of doors in the home including sliding glass doors and pocket doors. Being able to easily open the door to the bedroom or bathroom can make a huge difference in the life of someone with a physical impairment.
- Motion Sensors: Lights are the biggest application for motion sensors, and they are used by almost as much by those without physical impairment because of the convenience. It is a simpler solution than using a remote or a smartphone application because turning on the light should be a mindless action. Motion sensors are the best way to mimic the ease of flipping a switch. In fact, they are a slight improvement.
Another common application for motion sensors is sinks (you’ve probably seen these in public restrooms). It enables a person to do the otherwise simple action of washing hands or getting a glass of water. Again, these electrical upgrades are installed to give independence back to people who may have lost it due to physical impairments.
- Voice Activation: Voice activation is a technology that has gained momentum in smart home products, and practically anything can be plugged into a voice controlled power source with varying amounts of voice control. Lights, thermostats, televisions, blinds, and even teapots can be controlled with simple voice commands. It is easy to imagine the opportunities this gives people with physical impairments, and voice commands are quickly becoming commonplace in the world like they used to be in futuristic sci-fi movies.
- Smart Phone Control: A lot of the advanced technology available today is not fully developed, and smartphones have created an excellent segue into development by creating a “remote control” for things that aren’t quite up to voice controls. Like voice activation, smart phone controls can be applied to many electrical fixtures and appliances, and it is often a less expensive option. Physical impairment can cause strained budgets, and smartphones make electrical upgrades an affordable option.
- Smart Appliances: Impaired or not, everyone should have a stove that turns off after a certain amount of nonuse. Imagine the fires that could be prevented. Today’s smart stoves do more than that. They’ll also turn off if they sense a gas leak. Voice activation is becoming basic in a smart stove, and now, the stove will remind you when it is time to stir or flip your dinner.
Refrigerators are also becoming more “smart.” The top-of-the-line smart fridges mirror your television, allow you to see what’s in your fridge without opening it, and can even order food through Alexa. This may be more of a luxury than a targeted improvement for the physically impaired, but in areas where it’s available, this device facilitates an easy grocery shopping trip from the front of the fridge. This eliminates the need for a motorized cart and frustrating experience at the store.
Many appliances are becoming smart, and they are able to be voice controlled or remotely controlled from smart phones. All of these advancements make it easier to live a normal life with a physical impairment.
With the right electrical upgrades, independence with physical impairment is regained!
While some of the upgrades and lifestyle improvements in this article are spendy propositions, many are quite affordable and should be considered when one is facing a loss of independence because of physical impairment. Some of the smallest solutions can greatly enhance life in a world where it can be very frustrating not to be able to easily flip a switch or go to the grocery store. All of these technologies are growing, and the future will bring even more solutions to those who need it most.