Making the Holidays Accessible with Temporary Assistive Technology

Thanks to the West Virginia Assistive Technology System (WVATS) for this reminder that borrowing assistive technology can help our holiday visitors feel right at home!

During the holiday season, many people welcome family and friends into their homes for food, fun, and festivities. Preparing for visitors may involve more than planning a menu. To make everyone as welcome and comfortable as possible, consider the accessibility needs of the guests. Do they have difficulty getting around? Does arthritis or other barriers limit their grip strength? Assistive technology can make a home more accessible and enjoyable for everyone.

Temporary ramps can be placed when needed and stored when not in use. Ramps vary in length. They can range from a threshold ramp to one that accommodates several stairs. Many can be used inside or outside. Keep in mind the height and slope of the ramp, so it is not too steep for a person to use.

A doorway with a temporary metal threshold ramps.

Light switch extenders can be placed over traditional switches. These allow shorter users or those using a wheelchair to reach the lights more easily. Grips or lever doorknob turners can go over traditional doorknobs for guests who do not have the strength or ability to grip a doorknob. Offset hingesOffset hinges can add inches to a door frame. This makes the door wider for guests to enter.

Using a lazy susan on the dinner table may allow individuals to access food choices more easily. Pitchers that squeeze from the bottom might help with pouring drinks. Adding non-slip material under platters and plates may help keep dishes from shifting on the table.

A bowl of fruit on a nonskid place mat.

Temporary grab bars can be used in the bathroom. A steady stander toilet rail may help someone that needs assistance getting up and down themselves. Handheld showerheads, transfer benches, and shower chairs may be used for guests staying overnight.

Toilet with attached elevated seat and grab bars.

State and Territory Assistive Technology Programs have short-term device loan programs where you can borrow equipment as well as reuse programs for finding gently-used free or low-cost equipment you can keep. Borrowed equipment is available at no cost for up to 30 days, and can provide assistance in temporary situations or help users see if devices work for their situation.  For more information about assistive technology and temporary accommodations contact your State or Territory AT Program.