An ordinary day for 25-year-old Alexander is similar to most others: He goes to work and likes to go shopping or hang out with his friends or girlfriend. But because Alexander was born with spina bifida, he uses a wheelchair, and that has caused a few practical challenges in his apartment.
For example, Alexander’s kitchen was equipped with base units, so he could not get his wheelchair under the kitchen worktop. This meant that he sat in an uncomfortable working position in the kitchen. It was also difficult for him to reach the tap, open the cupboard doors and put things in the oven.
Likewise, the bathroom was difficult to use because it was not accessible for a wheelchair user: The washbasin was too high, and the base units prevented Alexander from getting his legs under the washbasin when washing hands or brushing his teeth.
”My kitchen table and washbasin were too high, so I got an uncomfortable sitting position.” says Alexander
Together with Holbæk Municipality, Alexander refurbished his kitchen and bathroom, so they became accessible to him. The kitchen worktop had to be lower so he could use it. He also needed a solution where he could reach things and where he did not have to sit sideways to use the stove or sink.
In the bathroom, they wanted a washbasin that provided better access for Alexander. It also had to be height adjustable so his guests could raise the washbasin to a height suitable for standing users. At the same time, the washbasin could not be too large because he still needed space to get around with his wheelchair.
”It looks like a regular kitchen that can go up and down.” says Alexander
In the kitchen, Alexander chose a height-adjustable Flexi+ table frame for his worktop, and no base cabinets were fitted. Now, he can adjust the kitchen worktop to a suitable height, and he has a good sitting position when using the worktop, tap or hotplates.
In the bathroom, Alexander got a QuickWash washbasin. It can be set in two heights and can also project off the wall. This way, Alexander can lower the washbasin and come close to it, and there is plenty of room for the wheelchair underneath the washbasin. And when he has guests, they can quickly raise the washbasin, if required.
When Alexander ordered the new equipment for his apartment, he was a bit nervous about the result as he worried that it might look a bit too handicap-friendly. But the result is excellent, he thinks. So great that the kitchen looks like a regular kitchen. The only difference is, that Alexander’s kitchen can move up and down.
When starting a refurbishing project off, there are many details to consider. For example, the existing water pipes can affect at which height a new washbasin can be mounted. That is why Alexander recommends liaising with professionals. But even though there have been surprises along the way, the new solutions have made a huge difference. Now, Alexander can easily use the kitchen and bathroom, and he has no problems getting access with the wheelchair.
”Now, I can get under the washbasin, and that makes all the difference. Actually, it solves the problem.” says Alexander