Holidays Made Easier

Friendly Wheels, Issue 58
December 2012

Featuring Amigo owner and accessibility expert Shelley Peterman Schwarz

With winter weather approaching and holiday get-togethers right around the corner, Shelley Peterman Schwarz provides these helpful tips to help create an accessible home for the holidays.

Here are Shelley's tips for making the holidays safe, accessible and stress-free:

  • Create a path to your home. It can be difficult for someone who has a mobility or sight limitation to maneuver to the house in winter weather. Therefore, limit outside holiday decorations in order to provide space.
  • Create an accessible entrance. If a wheelchair is involved, provide easy access into your home. Consider the use of a side or garage door.
  • Consider a portable ramp. Ramps can help provide a safe and easy entrance to the home.
  • Provide adequate lighting. For the elderly or those with a vision limitation,  providing enough light is essential to ensure a safe environment.
  • Create an open floor plan. The holidays bring people together, which can cause crowding within a home. Provide extra seating and allow space for those needing wheelchair assistance to maneuver.
  • Place furniture in a way to encourage movement. Simple actions like moving a coffee table to the side or clearing off space to set plates and drinks can help make holiday entertaining run smoothly.
  • Keep clutter contained. Plan for a separate space to place bags and coats in order to maintain an open feel to your home.
  • Enhance hearing. Plan to accommodate those who may be hard of hearing by turning the volume of the television up for the big game or speaking louder in conversation.

Utilizing these simple steps can help provide a safe and entertaining holiday season for people with disabilities or limited mobility. We hope your holiday season is filled with love, peace and happiness!


For more tips on making life easier, visit Shelley's blog or purchase her latest book, Home Accessibility: 300 Tips for Making Life Easier, on


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