Building barrier-free: Tips for the homes of those in need of care

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barrier-free living

Nothing should stand in our way in our own four walls. However, if the body is weak or in need of care, you can the most obvious everyday actions lead to a problem. Stairs and steps cannot be managed alone and showering independently in a shower tray no longer works due to the high entry and long standing times.

In order not to let these obstacles get out of hand, a conversion into a barrier-free home is of great importancewhen it comes to enabling an independent everyday life without restrictions. But what needs to be considered before barrier-free construction and what building subsidies are available? In this guide you can find answers to these questions.

1. Before the renovation: What needs to be taken into account when planning?

Wheelchair accessible vs. barrier-free

The terms “barrier-free” and “wheelchair-accessible” are precisely defined and stand for set standards that must be adhered to if you want to plan and build accordingly. A wheelchair-accessible apartment usually meets the standards of a barrier-free apartment, but must also be, for example, B. ensure movement areas of 150 x 150 cm, while in the barrier-free apartment it is only 120 x 120 cm.

A renovation means a lot of planning. Around To avoid stress and a confusing mountain of tasks in advanceyou should find out what you need to consider during the planning phase, to make the apartment barrier-free. First of all, you should residents with physical limitations are taken into account. What needs do they have? What challenges need to be taken into account? This can vary from person to person, so it is important carry out an individual assessment.

A person who sits in a wheelchair must use it fit through every doorin order to be able to lead an independent lifestyle and Having access to all rooms in his apartment. The shower should also be at ground level so that entry is easier and there are no major hurdles that make it difficult to shower independently. For some people, however, it makes sense to integrate a shower seat that replaces the need to stand in the shower for long periods of time counteracts excessive load becomes.

So it’s about to minimize individual barriers in your own hometo make living easier. These often include obstacles such as steps, uneven floors and narrow doorways, while wide doorways and passageways, flat thresholds and non-slip surfaces can be important aspects of accessibility contribute to the mobility of residents. In addition, special facilities and adaptations should be considered, such as ramps, stair lifts, special showers and toilets or possibly integrated intelligent assistance technologies. It can also be helpful to plan the living space on the ground floor if there is an opportunity to minimize the need for stairs and to guarantee access to all important rooms.

For people with a progressive disease, future needs should also be taken into account, just as for people of older age.

Overall, planning a handicapped-accessible home requires a Thorough assessment of needs and requirements of residents as well as careful consideration of barriers and special adaptations. Good planning, which may be accompanied by extensive advice, can help a safe, accessible and comfortable home for people with physical limitations to create a place where they can live and feel comfortable.

Being able to feel comfortable at home should be guaranteed in any case.

Being able to feel comfortable at home should be guaranteed in any case.

2. What regulations are there?

If you as a construction company want to designate a building with privately used living spaces as barrier-free, you have to do so comply with various regulations. The exact regulations and building law requirements that constitute barrier-free construction can vary vary from state to state. The following overview shows you an excerpt of the regulations that must be adhered to when building barrier-free buildings:

regulation Details
Shared, step-free route
  • Paths from public traffic areas to building entrances must be barrier-free
  • From a building height of 13 m, an elevator is required by building regulations and can be accessed without steps
Barrier-free corridors and movement areas
  • In residential buildings there is a minimum width of 1.20 m and a turning area of ​​1.50 x 150 m after a maximum of 15 m
  • Sufficient movement and turning areas in living rooms, bedrooms, bathrooms and the kitchen
Low windows and wide, threshold-free doors
  • Doors without thresholds or lower door stops that are safe to pass through
  • In every lounge there is at least one window with a low parapet with fall protection
Barrier-free and safe bathrooms
  • Minimum lateral distances for sanitary facilities according to DIN
  • Sufficiently stable walls for installing grab handles or entry aids

While there are no strict laws regarding accessibility when privately planning a home or converting private living spaces, as it depends on the individual needs of the individual, the Federal government as builder for public buildings and open spaces obligated to do so accessible and usable for all people to plan. Important aspects include, for example:

  • Two-sense principle: Information transmission in public transport and open spaces as well as in rooms within apartments and buildings is required, which appeals to at least two of the three senses (sight, hearing, touch).
  • Guidance systems: Barrier-free design of guidance systems, floor indicators, acoustic elements and path markings
  • Communication and equipment: Barrier-free, recognizable and usable controls and communication systems; Rounded or protected edges on equipment elements
  • Natural areas, green spaces, etc.: Publicly accessible green spaces and leisure areas must be accessible and designed to be barrier-free in terms of accessibility, walkability, wheelability and orientation

3. What funding opportunities are there?

barrier-free access

Necessary furniture, including ramps and other aids, can be financed through grants.

Around the costs of barrier-free construction not having to carry everything yourself grants can be applied for, which can be used to finance housing suitable for people with disabilities. Per person can be given a care level of 1 to 5 a subsidy of up to 4,000 euros from the nursing care insurance fund can be paid to widen doors, build ramps with a minimum width of 120 cm or make the bathroom barrier-free.

The same can be done with it the financing of the installation and conversion of necessary furniture or the integration of technical aids are supported. If the care situation of the affected person changes significantly, this subsidy can also be granted again if Appropriate measures in the living environment become necessary.

Promotional loans can also be considered, and not just if you build barrier-free: the purchase of a property that has been converted to be barrier-free, for example, is supported by the KfW fundedas well as expanding living space or converting it into an age-appropriate house. In general, it may be worth getting advice from your bank Offer tailored to you and your individual needs to obtain.

Image credits:,, (sorted chronologically or according to the order of the images used in the buying guide)